Podcast

110 – Depicting Manipulative Characters

The Mythcreant Podcast

Aha! You’re listening to this podcast, just as we always knew you would from all the subtle queues we’ve been giving you. Don’t you feel manipulated? Good, because this week we’re finally answering a question from a listener and talking about how to portray manipulative characters. Kristin joins us for a third time to discuss how to make manipulative characters sympathetic, whether or not manipulative characters should be sympathetic, and who exactly counts as manipulative. We go on at length about the pitfalls of manipulative characters, like how easy it is to stumble into sexist stereotypes or excuse abusive behavior. But we also talk about the benefits of portraying manipulative characters well. You’ll have to listen to find out what those are, though.

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Opening and closing theme: The Princess Who Saved Herself by Jonathan Coulton. Used with permission.

Show Notes:

Lord Vetinari from Discworld

Dumbledore from Harry Potter

Hogwarts Board of Governors (Not Directors)

Torres, Seven, and Janeway on Voyager

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Comments

  1. JackbeThimble

    To be fair Gandalf doesn’t disappear so much in Lord of the Rings, except at the very start on the way to Rivendell and when he’s dead. In the later books he’s continuously involved in the plot, but there are half a dozen things going on at any time and he can only be in one place at once. The Hobbit is an actually egregious example where Gandalf just leaves whenever his presence would invalidate the present conflict. Overall The Lord of the Rings is probably useful as a good example of how to use a powerful benevolent character without wrecking the plot.

  2. Jonas

    I wanted to add that Mistborn the brother situation, I think it was to show an explanation of how that society works. The other two books are really good in my opinion, but I definitely agree they should have eluded to her brother caring at least SOME. Book 3 gets way more into it.

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