How NOT to write a good person who made a big mistake or acts as the antagonist in a story

Time for Bernadette to make a point about writing while ranting about movies *cracks knuckles* (if you want more of this, visit here, here, and here)

How NOT to write a good person who made a big mistake or acts as the antagonist in a story

First off, Frozen/Frozen II. Elsa and Anna’s parents. (They have names but I don’t feel like digging to find out what they are.)

So here’s the story we all know. Everything was happy-go-lucky until Elsa accidentally hit Anna with her ice powers.

For some unknown reason, Rock Troll Grandpa (grandpavi I think???) decides to remove Anna’s memories of Elsa having powers. Their parents (we’ll just say King and Queen), actually, the King instigates ALL of this and the Queen is entirely passive (GAH), go to the extreme and decide:

Let’s lock all the windows and doors.
Make Elsa wears gloves
Not let her leave the palace
Not let her see Anna
Or anyone see her
Not prepare her AT ALL to be queen

If this were NOT a Disney movie, I think we might label this as “child abuse”, all because Elsa made ONE mistake (which, was actually Anna’s fault).

And this is where things get weird. You would think that Elsa and Anna after the first movie, wouldn’t feel so warm and fuzzy about their parents. Like, wow, they really didn’t prepare us for life, separated us, lied to us. They made Elsa afraid of herself and didn’t teach Anna “stranger danger”.

BUT, throughout all of Frozen II they’re just like, “I love our parents! I miss them! Mom and dad are great!” Like WHAT?????? It’s not to say that they wouldn’t have fond feelings for them or good memories, but there should be a big, “Our parents were kinda jerks and ruined our lives.”

There’s nothing wrong with Anna and Elsa having fond feelings for their parents. That’s normal. But their parents’ actions had HUGE consequences, and there was never any responsibility put on them.

(I’m not even going to go into the whole weird contradicting story line of the Queen being from the Enchanted Forest yet being scared of Elsa’s magic and just sorta letting her husband take the lead???)

On to AntMan

Here I get to rant about my “favorite” character, Hank Pym. (I mean like my least favorite Marvel character right next to Thanos.)

So there’s two main reasons Hope was mad at her father for all those years:

1: She knew he lied about her mother’s death.
2: He kinda abandoned her after her mother’s death.

Now, it’s understandable that Hank never told Hope about how her mother died (though, she didn’t die), because at the time Hope was a child and it was a top secret mission and her mother went sub atomic to stop a missile and that might be much for an 8 year old . We also know Hank left her because he was trying to bring her mother back from the quantum realm.

But–Hank has zero redeeming qualities, he doesn’t seem to quite understand how much he hurt Hope, and everything is over…really fast. Like Oh! Relationship is fixed!

Compare it to this: In Iron Man II, remember this scene? And Tony Stark’s father issues?

Beautiful, right? We’re crying. But you’ll notice that this doesn’t fix Tony Stark’s father problems. As we can see in Captain America: Civil War, and Spiderman: Homecoming

And of course, Avengers: Endgame when he goes back in time and really reconciles with him.

It. Takes. Time. And it’s ok, in fact, GOOD to show that.

As for good examples of this, my first thoughts are Homer Hickam’s dad in October Sky, and the pastor in Footloose. In neiher are the character’s mistakes undermined, but the characters also have redeeming qualities, and have knowledge of what hurt they may have caused. Don’t gloss over things and feel like you have to tie everything with a bow.

You know what movie does it REALLY well? How to Train Your Dragon.

Stoick really comes around. He is likable, understandable, and his apology is sincere. Him and Hiccup legitimately make up and come to an understanding.

And since we mentioned How to Train Your Dragon, here’s a Toothless gif.

Ok that’s enough ranting for today.

3 responses to “How NOT to write a good person who made a big mistake or acts as the antagonist in a story”

  1. Thank you for putting the Frozen inconsistencies into words!!!!!!! And Hank Pym really is so unlikable. Hope and his relationship never seemed to have any weight to it. It just fell flat. And thank you, Toothless!


  2. Yeah, there is definitely a wonderful middle ground between letting a character off the hook for all of their actions and punishing a character for actions after they’ve more than enough made up for it. Both are so annoying 😑

    And yes, the way Frozen handled the parents always bugged me, too. At least they were minor enough characters where the discrepancy didn’t get TOO bad, though

    Liked by 1 person


      Liked by 1 person

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