I missed a week of blogland and accidentally did not post last Friday. So, let me tell you what I saw this week.
I saw an episode of Legend of the Seeker for the first time this week. I think it was the first episode since all of the characters and the story problem were introduced. I've seen lots of sci-fi on TV before, but I can't say I've ever seen a fantasy series. It's cool. Horses, pretty dresses, halfway decent special effect (some better than others). I'd like to watch more and see where the story goes (I know, I'm behind the times. Please, no spoilers.).
I liked the intro to the characters and the story. Richard's intro showed him in action in his element. He's strong, capable, and clever enough to build a bridge by himself. This we learn before a word is spoken. It slows up the pace, but after Kahlan's flight a change in pace give viewers a chance to catch their breath. Then we learn Richard's name with the little boy's "Hi, Richard," adding humor as well. We're given a chance to see the caring side of Richard—he crosses the bridge to assure the boy it's safe—before we see his other, not quite as favorable characteristics. This is a good thing.
I have been told to introduce my protagonists at their best. Yes, they should grow throughout the story, but readers need a reason to want to follow that growth. This is accomplished by showing the protagonist at his best at the time.
With Richard, once the trouble starts we see he is reluctant, a tad whiny, and not perhaps the most respectful of young men. But, since I have seen him hard at work and looking out for a little boy, I have hope for him, so I want to keep watching.
Is Richard's introduction dishonest? I don't think so. It's just a layer of him, one that we need. When everything's hunky dory, he is fine, hardworking, and nice. When things fall apart, he's not so much, but we know that he can be. He just needs the motivation to reach for the story goal. Once he's motivated, we have a good dynamic in this one character to keep things real and interesting. What will kind, stubborn, capable, resistant, hardworking, lazy Richard do when x disaster is thrown in his face?
Good question. Don't you want to know?