Can a story still be good if the protagonist is unlikable?

I’ve had a lot of interesting conversations with friends and family about whether or not a movie/book/video game can still be considered good if the main character is unlikable. Mostly, these conversations have circled around the movie Gone With the Wind.

I will be the first to admit that Gone With the Wind is a technical marvel of a movie. It’s shot very well, and the actors did a great job (too great in my opinion). The crane shot over the train tracks is one of the most iconic shots in movie history and deservedly so. Not to mention it has the nostalgic benefit of coming out during the Golden Year of Cinema, 1939.

But it’s still my least favorite movie. It might even be my least favorite movie because the rest of the movie is so well done. However, as a story person, I just can’t enjoy it because I just hate the main character, Scarlet.

Scarlet stank eye

Why is Scarlet enough to kill my enjoyment of an otherwise good movie? Well, she’s whiny, entitled, arrogant, and never changes. At the end of the movie, she’s just as annoying as she ever was, but now she feels kinda bad just because she realized that maybe she kinda likes Rhett Butler, and now he doesn’t like her.

Also, Rhett doesn’t deserve her.

Rhett is bae.gif

Rhett Butler is bae.

I can’t stand this movie because of Scarlet, but my mom and many other film buffs still love it.

Maybe it’s a personal thing. Maybe it’s just me that can’t enjoy stories with unlikable protagonists. It’s not that I can’t enjoy stories where characters do bad things, even if they are the main characters. One of my all-time favorite book series, Artemis Fowl, has a protagonist who is, at least for the first few books, kinda the bad guy. But what Artemis Fowl has what Scarlet doesn’t, at least to me, is charm. And remorse. And personality.

artemis fowl

If you haven’t, you should go buy this book right now.

James Bond is another character that I probably wouldn’t like as a person (in most of his movies) in real life, but that I enjoy watching the adventures of. Bond is charming and handsome and self-aware. He’s kind of a jerk, yeah, but his good qualities outweigh his bad ones just enough for me to not cringe watching him.

Bond.gif

I don’t know of another movie or book with a main character so aggressively unlikable as Scarlet. Even boring characters I can sit through better than her. I won’t necessarily enjoy the experience if the protagonist is boring, but I also won’t be actively annoyed by their very presence the entire time I’m watching or reading.

I guess what really bothers me about Scarlet is what I mentioned above: that she never changes.

One of the best things about reading a book or watching a movie is seeing the protagonist grow. It’s not always that they become a better person. A great example of a protagonist who grows into a worse person is Michael Corleone from The Godfather. But  most protagonists change for the better. In the series that I mentioned above, Artemis changes throughout the books from someone who uses his massive brain for the wrong reasons to someone who does it for the good of others.

In Gone With the Wind, though, Scarlet is the same person she was at the beginning of the movie, just a little more weary and smart. By not seeing the protagonist change, I am robbed of one of the most fulfilling parts of a story.

For me, Gone With the Wind would be just as annoying as reading an entire book where Delores Umbridge from the Harry Potter series is the main character. Annoying, entitled, condescending. Great qualities for an antagonist, but not ones I want to have in my protagonist.

Rhett Bitch slap.gif

The greatest verbal b**** slap in cinematic history.

>>>>>

But now I’m curious. I can’t enjoy stories where the main character is unlikable, but what about you, dear reader?

And what did you think about Gone With the Wind? Do you agree with me about Scarlet? Disagree and think I’m speaking heresy? Or maybe the fact that she’s annoying doesn’t bother you.

Let me know in the comments.

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Contra Mundum: Episode 10 – Let’s Get Historical!

I just realized that I forgot to post the last episode of Contra Mundum here. It was up on YouTube late on Thursday, though. So you should totally go subscribe to my YouTube channel if you want these episodes right after they come out.

Incidentally, I’m afraid there won’t be another podcast until next week since I’m home on break, and I left my editing computer with all of the software and recordings at my apartment.

But now, it’s time to introduce this new episode. I recorded this one a few months ago, but since we were talking about the opposite of current events, it’s okay!

Kristian Myrdal, my guest for this week, is a history major and lover of the tales of the little guy. In this episode, we focused on the micro-stories surrounding major events in history, instead of the big picture. I hope you all enjoy!

I had a lot of fun talking about historical events in this episode. History has been a passion of mine for a long time. Like Kristian, I also enjoy the smaller-scale stories that let you see into the minds of some of the people from times past.

There will be another history podcast sometime next year with another one of my history major friends. But next week, I’ll be sitting down with a global studies major to discuss life in other countries and missionary work!

See you next week!

NaNOwrimo

I’ve always wanted to participate in NaNoWriMo, which for those of you who don’t know, stands for National Novel Writing Month. Every November writers all over the world sit down to try to write a 50k word novel in just 30 days. It sounds like it would be something right up my alley, but unfortunately, NaNo just so happens to fall around finals season.

Every single year since I heard about NaNo, I’ve wanted to do it. But every year, I also have three projects, four papers, and nine tests to study for in November. And I’m only exaggerating slightly. So I always miss out.

Thankfully, however, two things are true for me this year. The first is that I am a senior. In just a few short months, I will have graduated from college and will go on to find gainful employment that (hopefully) doesn’t have homework.

I’m hoping that next year my plate will be clear enough to fit NaNo into my schedule. If that happens, I may also try doing the blog version of NaNo, NaBloPoMo, again. I did try that a year or two ago for about a week and a half before my school schedule got too hectic.

The other thing that I love this year is that most of my projects are writing this semester. So far, this month I’ve completed a 47 page screenplay, which is about 8,250 words. Technically, I didn’t have to write one that long. The requirement was a 15-30 page screenplay, but I’ve had an idea for a TV show pilot knocking around in my head for far too long, so this seemed like the perfect time to get it out.

I also wrote a short story, which I may eventually share here, which was 1,570 words. In addition, I’ve got another screenplay of the same length as the one above that I am going to finish over Thanksgiving break.

All in all, adding those together, I’ll have probably done around 18k words by the end of NaNoWriMo season. It’s not 50k words, but with my schedule, it’s not too bad.

Tell me, are you doing NaNo? How close are you to your end goal?

Contra Mundum: Episode 9 – The Super Geeks Unite! (Part 2)

Soooo, I finally took the time to edit that second episode of the Super Geeks podcast.

I’ll wait for your applause.

*dodges tomatoes*

I know it’s been a while. Fair warning, you should think about this episode as something of a time capsule. We recorded this originally in late May, and then the first episode came out in June. And now it’s November, so most of the movies for the trailers we talked about in this episode are out already.

So you’ll get to see if we were right in our assumptions about them. Enjoy!

So, this was a lot of fun to record. I hope you guys liked it as much as I did.

And for those of you who can’t get enough of the Super Geeks, Kevin will be back again in early December after Justice League comes out to talk about the 2017 super hero movies.

Assuming nothing crazy happens school-wise, I’ll be seeing you all next week with a new episode. This time about history!

My Unfortunate Hogwarts House Assignment

I was never allowed to watch or read the Harry Potter series as a kid, but I did read it when I was 16. I have been a fan since then, and ironically, I got my mom into it too. But, I had never done the actual Pottermore sorting quiz until earlier this year.

I’ve taken other “non-official” sorting tests before this. Usually, I either get Slytherin, Gryffindor, or if it’s an option, some combination of the two. I think I’ve gotten Ravenclaw like twice.

Before I tell you what I got on the official test, take a moment and think about which house you think that I would belong to. Let me know in the comments. I’m curious.

I promise I’m going to reveal it in a second, but I need to explain something. See, I made the mistake of taking the test immediately after I started dating The Boyfriend. I was in, shall we say, a slightly abnormal state of mind at the time.

I was on cloud nine with excitement. I was thinking things like, “Everything is awesome right now!” and, “All is well with the world,” and “I’m the happiness person on earth!”

So I took the test. And apparently, I’m a…

Hogwarts houses

Hufflepuff?

Okay, look, nothing against Hufflepuffs. Some of my favorite people are Hufflepuffs. But I’m not one of them. I may have the hard work and loyalty traits down, but I’m far too cynical, competitive, and “intolerant” to be a good Hufflepuff.

And by the way, I (for some reason) took the Ilvermorny (American Hogwarts) sorting quiz months before I took the Hogwarts test and, more importantly, months before I met The Boyfriend. I got the Horned Serpents house.

From several articles that I read, Horned Serpent seems to line up with Ravenclaw, which for me, actually makes sense. When I look at the list of traits for Ravenclaw, those are the ones that most line up with my personality.

But who knows, maybe deep down I really am an adorable little badger with a love of fairness and patience…

Hufflepuff