By Christine Thackeray
So, my twenty-three year old son convinced me that I had to read the wheel of time series. I have to admit I've been intrigued ever since Brandon Sanderson was contracted to finish the epic fantasy saga, and I at last gave in. At the expense of my laundry room and kitchen I've spent the last four days reading constantly. The story has been engaging and Jordan's vocabulary is thrilling, but I've had a few character issues that make me leary.
"The Eye of the World" begins with three rural boys driven from their homes on a great adventure. Each of the boys has unique interests and personalities. All three are led by a mysterious woman and her champion guardian. The story clips along until they split up and return together. For a time, when they reconnect in smaller groups, some of their motivations seem forced in order to continue the conflict. You'd think these childhood friends would be ecstatic to see each other, but they have petty issues, blown out of proportion. The resolve is clever, but my question continues- how important is it to have characters be true to their personality types? More than once I've been plotting a story and knew what I wanted my character to do but couldn't make it work realistically. With Robert Jordan he just does it and throws in enough magic dreams and Trolloc attacks that you totally forget you were frustrated with motivations.
When a character is not genuine, I get frustrated with the project and often stop reading. Like the horror movies where the babysitter hears a sound upstairs and goes into the attic to be killed. Yeah, right. Call 911, dummy. On the other hand, if the conflict isn't stepping up, like Heather said, I also lose interest. In the end, I suppose it is a matter of weighing cost and benefit. You can stretch a character to the bounds of believability if it's exciting enough, right??? As authors what do you think? As readers does it even bother you?