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On Being Gray, Like the Hound

At Fanfictious, we’re big fans of Game of Thrones.  This morning Em and I were talking about it, discussing the plot and characters. I think what makes this show and the books so good, is that the characters dive so deeply into the gray zone. This was one of the many things I love about the complex characters of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and it’s something George R.R. Martin also nails with extreme precision; the ability to write elaborately complex characters.

One of my favorite characters in GoT is “the Hound” a.k.a. Sandor Clegane. He’s clearly not a good man, nor is he the worst on the show. (*coughs and points to Cersei*) Sandor has committed many atrocities—and often takes pleasure in the act—yet as the seasons press on, he appears to be developing something resembling a conscience. Maybe a sense of morality even. Is the redemption of “the Hound” part and parcel with the saving of mankind from the White Walkers? No matter what your theory is on the show and where that plot may go, what’s more important is that we see flawed people in fiction and we find parts of ourselves in their stories—their lives. Hollywood and media too often show us unattainable, unrealistic perfection; where as I prefer when they show us people struggling with the gray area.

In these stories, we see that the gray area is where most characters operate. Few are purely good or evil. Our motivations, short-comings, mistakes, and human nature itself may lead us to wander off course but life’s not always black and white. It’s how determined we are to course-correct and keep moving forward that determines our destination, not so much that we were born into something.  As a fan of fiction, figuring out your imperfect life maybe isn’t the disaster you think it is. Maybe, it’s just what life is… As fanfic writers, we know that if we don’t like the ending, we can re-write a better ending. In our own lives, if we don’t like where the plot is headed, then what’s stopping us from re-writing a better ending for our own stories as well?

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