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NaruTard 1.5

Yeah....anyone wonder why Canon mary sues are so widely accepted when fanon mary sues are not?

It really is one of the great mysteries in writing.

It's almost as important of a debate as to why pudding is ten times more awesome than ice cream cause it's not frozen. =_=

I doubt the reason is simply the creator of the characters...though being famous and whatnot does help fans accept their crap as opposed to some unknown author.

After all most (if not every one) MS's in fandom are created unintentionally. And even then some can be written quite well despite that.

10/6/2012 #1
TikiPrincess

I can list off several canon Mary Sue characters that are despised. Hell, the actor who played Wesley Crusher, and infamous Mary Sue, wrote a whole book about how much he hates the character he played on Star Trek TNG.

People don't like Mary Sue characters because they're "perfect". Everyone loves them, they can't do anything wrong, or if they do something wrong, it's because of another character or they're proven right in the end. There's no development, no conflict, nothing interesting about them.

Original characters, on the other hand, can be very interesting, even if they aren't canon. As long as a character is well-rounded with believable characteristics, I don't care if it's fanon or canon.

10/6/2012 #2
NaruTard 1.5

Yeah, people DO hate Canon Mary sues, but I like how nobody really points it out, or they rarely do yet every time a fan character is a sue you get a big what the hell were you thinking bomb. There are very few instances that I've seen where people slam the mary sue stamp on a canon character. (Usually because they can't contact the original author and whatnot)

Main characters I can let slide, somewhat, because they're the main characters. (IE: Harry Potter, Indina Jhones etc) But a side character that is a mary sue, canon or not, forget it, they're getting a big dunce cap from me ._.

10/6/2012 #3
Blue-Inked Frost

Anyone wonder why more people read canon than read fanfic?

Yeah, I think that would be the reason.

Maybe define your terms, too. 'Canon' Mary-Sues can be poorly written characters in original fiction like Eragon and Ayla, or can be 'canon Sues' in fanfic where Hermione changes over the summer and comes back with black straight hair and a Hot Topic wardrobe, or Draco starts wearing very tight black leather pants. For 'canon Sues' versus badly written original characters in fanfic, I'd say that one is more immediately obvious than the other. There is no girl in Harry Potter canonically called Fiametta Specialina Plumduffbottom, but there is one called Hermione Granger. So even if the Hermione in the fanfic is out of character, it could be slight enough for many readers to not immediately notice.

Characters can be well or poorly written, and there's one particular form of bad writing where a principal character is an author's darling. In fanfic, it's particularly manifested when someone wants to insert a character who suits their personal fantasies into the universe to displace the existing characters. Mary-Sue or Gary-Stu.

I think in fanfic, people 'should' give original characters a chance because sometimes they are well written - but who's to hold sway over other people's reading habits? There are plenty of badly written original characters. I've read some great fics with original characters, among them the Lauderdale's, and I've invented some myself, but if it's not to someone's taste then it's not to someone's taste.

Canon characters get more of a pass on the grounds that the fanfic reader is already familiar with the canon. Fanfic readers expect canon characters to appear even if they are poorly written canon characters. You can still comment that you think fanfic does something equally poorly to an aspect of the canon writing ("I hate the way the original writer doesn't care about how many bit characters die as long as their romantic leads are happy together, and I feel like your fanfic is heading in the same direction"), or make suggestions as to ways fanfic writers can represent or improve on characterisation ("Eragon is getting special moment after special moment and it would be great if you actually let someone else in his group achieve something for a change"). Complex, balanced characterisation is prized in original and in fanfic.

Except when it's not and people have different thoughts as to what's well-written. :)

10/6/2012 #4
Blue-Inked Frost

@NaruTard 1.5 (replying separately since I didn't see this post until after I made mine, and it's a slightly different topic)

Main characters I can let slide, somewhat, because they're the main characters. (IE: Harry Potter, Indina Jhones etc) But a side character that is a mary sue, canon or not, forget it, they're getting a big dunce cap from me ._.

I basically don't agree that a side character can be a Mary-Sue/Gary-Stu. Overly idealised and insufficiently developed, sure. Maybe you and I have slightly different definitions of 'side characters'. But to me a Mary-Sue has to be at the forefront of the story to be a Sue; they're an author's darling character. A Mary-Sue's obnoxious because there's too much about them, but a side character could be less obnoxious if there was more of them - if they were written in a way that gave more insight into their inner self and struggles and flaws.

For example, Galadriel is very beautiful and very wise and refuses the temptation of the ring in Lord of the Rings, and she is a minor character in the story. She is idealised, but it works well because she is a side character.

Often in general it's good to use more precise terms; sometimes flinging around Mary-Sue can only mean 'character I don't like'. I prefer it to mean 'specific type of poorly written character'.

10/6/2012 #5
Hippothestrowl

Erm... Harry Potter is not a Mary Sue, if that's what you're saying. He's ultra-noble, true but he's badly flawed. In the books, he deliberately goads Dudley Dursley in at least one scene (just before the Dementors), he often upsets Hermione rather cruelly, he gets irritable, churlish, and is hard to live with at times. He drives Ron away when Ron is helplessly influenced by the Horcrux. He definitely makes mistakes. He's intolerant at times, lazy with his schoolwork and stupidly lazy with life-critical responsibilities like learning Occlumency from Snape where he virtually does no homework practice at all.

It's the ultra-noble thing that perhaps makes some people think he's a Sue. Even there, his desire to thwart Voldemort is not to save the world but revenge for his parents' murder.

10/7/2012 #6
MasterFeign

I've never really liked fanon cause it seems to sort of pigeon hole ideas. Sure it may be fun if for examples James II of the Harry Potter universe finds the Marauder's map, but for everyone to do that, it's not as fun. As for Sueism in fanon, I'd think it'd be more prevalent than canon, simply because it's an author's own take more or less...

As a side note, I don't think Harry wanted to thwart Voldemort as revenge for his parents per se, but rather to stop the maddness that Voldemort was creating. That is to say, Harry was willing to die (a selfless act) when he entered the forbidden forest. It sort of exemplifies that by how Harry ends up thwarting him. Like that Voldemort in a sense kills himself because of how the magic works, as explained in the last book.

As for canon characters being Mary Sues. Aside from fanfic writers doing so, when it's already in the canon writing, it doesn't make a fun read to begin with. Take Bella or Anastia Steele, they're already "perfect" as is, so it's not as fun to use them in fanfiction. I suppose that is unless if the writer attempts to make them less Sueish.

10/7/2012 #7
Blue-Inked Frost

I agree with the point that Harry Potter and Indiana Jones and Alanna the knight and Joan of Arc for that matter shouldn't be called Mary-Sues, too. When the term reaches the point of meaning 'protagonist', or 'protagonist with talents', or 'fantasy protagonist with some unusual abilities', then it loses its relevance. If you're talking about a character you think is generally well written and enjoyable, then Mary-Sue/Gary-Stu shouldn't be the term you use. (Of course, we all have different definitions for what we think is well-written; there's nothing wrong with putting in your arguments.) You can be more precise by delineating the exact moments where you think a character strains the limits of probability about their achievements. Otherwise, if the character's generally considered entertaining and interesting, calling them a derogatory term is going to make people want an explanation.

10/7/2012 . Edited 10/7/2012 #8
NaruTard 1.5

Indiana Jhones in my opinion is the very definition of one of these 'well written' sue-ish characters.

1: Everybody seems to know Indy for one reason or another.

2: His hat NEVER falls off at a conveniant time, and when it does it's usually in a time where he can conveniantly escape a trap just to grab his hat.

3: Like bond, he usually gets the girl by the end (Note by getting I don't mean romantically unlike some spies I could mention ._. )

4: He's named after his dog......what the hell....really?

5: He wins about every fight even when the opponent is hulk sized (kind of hypocritical cause one of my favorite fight scenes is like that XD)

6: He survives a NUCLEAR EXPLOSION by hiding in a REFRIGERATOR and being blown sky high and doesn't break a single bone on impact...

Why is he so popular when he has all these sue-y traits? The story itself is entertaining, and the way said traits are presented are equally entertaining and sometimes humorous, or presented in such a way that they are funny. (The iconic scene where the thug pulls the sword out to challenge him and indy just goes 'meh' and shoots him is a good example.) With all these traits though, he does have at least a few flaws, more flaws than james bond has anyway.

10/7/2012 #9
Blue-Inked Frost

With respect, I think these are mostly silly reasons to cite Mary-Sueism.

1: Everybody seems to know Indy for one reason or another.

Being well-travelled is not a Sue trait. As well, Indy's acquaintances are probably there to serve the interests of the plot moving faster rather than having to waste time on introductions.

2: His hat NEVER falls off at a conveniant time, and when it does it's usually in a time where he can conveniantly escape a trap just to grab his hat.

It wouldn't be dramatic if the movies bothered to show hats falling off at a convenient time, would it? Grabbing the hat is an establishing character moment that shows his recklessness - and it's cool.

3: Like bond, he usually gets the girl by the end (Note by getting I don't mean romantically unlike some spies I could mention ._. )

Good to know that having love interests is a surefire sign of Mary-Sue! All well written characters ought to be chronically dateless.

4: He's named after his dog......what the hell....really?

Please, how is this in any way a Mary-Sue sign? It's a minor character quirk, and Indiana Jones (no 'h' in there) is a memorable name that flows nicely.

5: He wins about every fight even when the opponent is hulk sized (kind of hypocritical cause one of my favorite fight scenes is like that XD)

How dare characters be protagonists. I suppose you find David from the Bible story also a dreadfully written character. This is hypocritical, as you say. Honestly, it is Good Writing for characters to suffer and lose in general, but for light-hearted action fare there is nothing wrong with characters who have exciting action scenes and triumphs. And there are certainly plenty of times in the movies where Indiana has difficulty fighting one battle or another.

6: He survives a NUCLEAR EXPLOSION by hiding in a REFRIGERATOR and being blown sky high and doesn't break a single bone on impact...

Humour != Mary-Sueism.

Why is he so popular when he has all these sue-y traits?

Because most audiences, and most literary/movie critics for that matter, don't approach stories with some checklist of a certain kind of character - they concentrate on whether the story is entertaining, whether the character's well written as an example of the genre they're in, and so on. Besides, very few of the traits you list are inherent bad writing.

With all these traits though, he does have at least a few flaws, more flaws than james bond has anyway.

Are you talking movie Bond or book Bond? Because book Bond had many, many character flaws and was very much psychologically affected by the work he did.

10/7/2012 #10
TikiPrincess

I believe the original poster would benefit from learning the actual definition of a Mary Sue character. Goggle is your friend, NaruTard.

10/7/2012 #11
thelastpen
4: He's named after his dog......what the hell....really? - That's not quite right. /He/ chose to take his nickname from his dog because he preferred how the name sounded. That's not the name his parents gave him. His real name is Henry Walton Jones, Jr. And the tendancy towards dog nicknames continues in his kids - his son Henry Walton III is called "Mutt" and his grandson, Henry Walton IV, is called "Spike". That's a character quirk, not Mary Sueism.
10/7/2012 #12
NaruTard 1.5

Using David VS Goliath as a comparison is a tiny bit of foulplay(And not saying this just cause I'm christian either.) if you recall correctly, the giant fell to david not because of the stone he threw, but because of his trust in what god told him to do, or did you not read that part of the story and sleep through sunday school? Also, if you bring logic into it anyone, including a giant, would fall unconscious and maybe even die with a decent bonk to the head; especially if said bonk was from a small object going at a fairly fast pace.

Indy on the other hand wins by brute force, big difference, though the plane does kill the bad guy anyway at the end. I don't mind so much when they're roughly his size, but that huge bald guy that could probably pull a sixteen wheeler with his teeth was pushing it a little. When it seemed that indy wasn't going to win, the propeller conveniently chops the guy into bits.

At the very least, Indy sweats, unlike some spies I know lol

As for the traveling, WHEN did he travel? I mean, from the start of the movies(and their respective books) he only travels like two, maybe three times, and even before then people know him. I don't want to see all the traveling he did, but it'd be nice to know how everyone knows about him. And being the main protagonist doesn't count either, the only one I really accept is the government, they keep tabs on people that might be of use in those kind of stories.

As the sue litmus test says, these things are only the symptom, not the disease, that, and several people have different opinions on what sue is. They may be silly nitpicky things, but they don't hurt the character any, because he does have flaws, he does screw up sometimes, and he does occasionally lose. So yeah, that's why he's my idea of a well written sue-ish character, the traits balance themselves out.

10/7/2012 #13
cathrl
Galadriel is very beautiful and very wise and refuses the temptation of the ring in Lord of the Rings

and the consequence of this is that she can give the Fellowship basically no help since she has to stay well away in case it gets her next time.

Mary Sue Galadriel would be very beautiful, very wise, heroically risist the temptation of the Ring...and then come along with them to help. She'd never be tempted again.

Characters aren't Mary Sues because of what they do. It's because of what their actions should mean for the world around them and for their future behaviour... and don't. Mary Sue's decisions, character flaws and so on don't have consequences the way they should.

10/7/2012 #14
Blue-Inked Frost

I agree with cathri that Mary-Sues are more about the underlying disease than the symptoms. The disease is that the universe is centred around the character even when it's implausible; the symptoms vary from generation to generation and genre to genre (for example, the famous Pamela is very different from the modern goffic types that Ebony Darkness Dementia Raven Way skewers).

I'm not sure it's a good argument in general to say that "Mary-Sue so-and-so would have more special qualities" - you might as well say that "Mary-Sue Rhapsody would have magically regained her virginity *twice* and have twice as much special magical powers", or "Mary-Sue Ayla would have *everyone* love her rather than everyone but the evil-bad-petty-stupid characters", or "Mary-Sue Draco in Leather Pants would have an official harem of women married to him and be the king of Great Britain". Even writing like the Eye of Argon can be imagined to be worse! I agree that to call Galadriel a Mary-Sue she would have to have a *much* bigger part in the story and not be just a secondary character, and to seem imbalanced in the universe compared to other characters.

Stories typically centre around a protagonist, though, and pointing out the way a story centres around a protagonist and calling that Mary-Sue is simplistic and reducive and turns the term into meaningless babble. *All* characters have talents (characters who don't tend to be not interesting at all), and all complex well-written characters should have flaws. Claiming that having talents is a Mary-Sue trait that needs to be balanced by flaws makes no sense, because this means that all characters are Mary-Sues with balances.

Also, if you bring logic into it anyone, including a giant, would fall unconscious and maybe even die with a decent bonk to the head; especially if said bonk was from a small object going at a fairly fast pace.

Exactly. Giants can fall to small people, and telling stories where someone succeeds against the odds has been around for many, many years. (Also, ranged weapons are very useful in military strategy.)

10/7/2012 #15
TheByronicMan

A better example of a canon-Sue would be Anita Blake. The most powerful necromancer ever, the only known exception to the way lycanthropy normally works, able to pull a new magical power out of her a** as needed. Everybody wants her, many of them get to have her, but any member of her harem had best not cheat on her. And I'm speaking as someone who used to be a fan.

A less annoying, lower-key example would be Honor Harrington. She had her flaws, but gradually worked through them. She went from being competent but full of self-doubts to hyper-competent and entirely sure of herself. She achieved perfection just in time for her scheduled heroic death, but David Weber (with visions of fans chasing him with torches and pitchforks) gave her a reprieve. So she continues on, just a little too perfect. Fortunately the story arc has broadened to the point that other protagonists are helping shoulder the narrative.

10/7/2012 #16
Lorendiac

Years ago, I wrote maybe a couple of thousand words of parody of Honor Harrington. In my take on it, she gets her new assignment: To go represent the Star Empire of Manticore to some obscure and self-governing planet which has now become vitally important for some silly reason or other.

She is told that the current dominant political faction on that planet is called the People's Liberal Organization of Progressive Socialists, or PLOPS for short.

Since she knows that it is a Natural Law of the Universe that anything called "People's" or "Liberal" or "Progressive" or "Socialist" is always an Evil Mass-Murdering Regime with secret police terrorizing everybody else, she braces herself for the worst. Anything that uses so many of those buzzwords in its name must be the most hideously bad government in all of recorded history, right?

(In contrast, she is also aware that another Natural Law of the Universe says that all the best star nations always have hereditary titled nobility forming at least a portion of the government structure. The Manticorans, the Graysons, the Andermani . . .)

All through the story (most of which I just sketchily outlined), she is frantically looking for proof that the apparently-peaceful planet she is visiting is, in fact, full of downtrodden masses yearning to be free, with death squads sneaking out at night to shoot anyone who dares to criticize the way things are done.

Oddly enough, she never does manage to find such proof. I think her reasoning is that the death squads must be incredibly ferocious and efficient in making sure no one even dares to whisper a rumor of their existence to any visitors from offworld! She does die in the end, though -- I had some funny ideas for how that would happen, as I recall, but it wasn't because a "socialist" government ordered her assassination.

I never did finish the silly thing . . . much less post it anywhere.

10/8/2012 . Edited 10/8/2012 #17
NaruTard 1.5

Best example of a cannon sue....*sunglasses* Doctor Spock :D

What....am I wrong? :/ He gets laid like every ten seconds by every woman he meets....

With no concequences....

10/8/2012 #18
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