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Thread: Mary Sue

  1. #1
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Xercies's Avatar
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    Mary Sue

    I've come to find this word to be very prevalent in the nerd culture now a days and I have to feel its being used way to much on nearly everything and I'm not to sure why. I totally get its a derogatory term but some people use it on things that are legitimately good and I don't understand what the point of saying it is really.

    Also if we think about it technically all authors make Mary Sue's. One of the main things a writer is taught is write what you know and obviously they know about their lives and themselves and the struggles they go through so its almost obvious that any protagonist or people that is going to populate a work its going to come from somewhere in there psyche.

    Also aren't the best book writers, the best filmakers, the best media people the auteurs the ones that have that distinct voice that says they are different from the rest and doesn't that really show that we want them to make some sort of mary sue because they are so different?

    I get it I really do, sometimes it can be bad for the writer to put in a lot of wish fulfilment or the issues they strongly believe into characters and just have the book be that fantasy. But saying that the other side of it is that they speak about something in their lives which people identify with.

    I don't know really I would just like the accusations that seemingly every main chaarcter/some side chaarcters are totally Mary Sue's to die down a little bit.

  2. #2
    Network Hub wrestledwithgod's Avatar
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    Someone insulted a character you like? :P

    I'm not sure you have the definition down. Self-insertion does not automatically make a Mary Sue, and neither does wish fulfillment. Not on their own, at least. Strictly speaking, we're talking about characters that both lack major flaws and bend the plot to their will; obviously, this doesn't make for very interesting storytelling.

    Let's try an example. Say, The Empire Strikes Back. Would it be nearly as good a film if Luke resisted the temptation to fly to Cloud City and went on to handily defeat Vader? As it actually is it's still a power fantasy, but it works because it understands human conflict is at the core of a good story.

    Of course the term is subject to abuse but this is the internet we're talking about.

  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sabrage's Avatar
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    What video game characters lack flaws? They may be chiseled Adonises, but we're by and large playing homicidal maniacs in a race to fight overpopulation.

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    A good example of an author self-inserting themselves into a comic and it NOT being a Mary Sue is David Willis with respect to Dumbing of Age (not so much Roomies). Walky and Joyce represent him at varying points of his life, and neither are Mary Sues and both are largely played as "people of questionable functionality"
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  5. #5
    Network Hub wrestledwithgod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabrage View Post
    What video game characters lack flaws? They may be chiseled Adonises, but we're by and large playing homicidal maniacs in a race to fight overpopulation.
    Human conflict. :D

  6. #6
    Lesser Hivemind Node Bobtree's Avatar
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    You seem to be missing the primary point of said criticism, that a Mary Sue is an overly idealized character without realistic flaws or shortcomings. It's not necessarily about whether they're a wishful reflection of the author, though if that's the case and the character is also a Mary Sue, then that's an inherently unflattering observation about their self-image and writing skills.

    technically all authors make Mary Sue's
    No, I think you misunderstood the term. Given your comments, I suspect it's being generally misused.

  7. #7
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    But Mary Sue characters are these ones that have very exotic name, are beautiful, skilled with everything from cooking to killing hordes of undead nazi orcs with bare hands and they're of course smart, funny, intelligent etc.

  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    I had to go look it up as the term seems to have passed me by. I had noticed it getting thrown about recently but mostly just ignored it.

    It strikes me as vaguely annoying instead of just saying overly "idealised character". But I'm getting old and memes annoy me.

  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Xercies's Avatar
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    It probably is being misused then I think which is actually a lot more aggravating. The lots of skills badass with no weakness to me is a good criticism to have.

    Someone insulted a character you like? :P


    Well it definitly came from a real life conversation where I was saying all the tv series i liked and they kept on saying this and this character was a mary sue. Well if it is that kind of criticism they were levelling at then it didn't matter they didn't have flaws since the character and the storyline still entertained me or did something interesting.

  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xercies View Post
    It probably is being misused then I think which is actually a lot more aggravating. The lots of skills badass with no weakness to me is a good criticism to have.

    [/COLOR]

    Well it definitly came from a real life conversation where I was saying all the tv series i liked and they kept on saying this and this character was a mary sue. Well if it is that kind of criticism they were levelling at then it didn't matter they didn't have flaws since the character and the storyline still entertained me or did something interesting.
    Say it with me kids:

    Tropes are not bad.

    It is perfectly possible for a character to be perfect and amazing in every way AND still be entertaining. Just like there is nothing inherently wrong with having a kid of unknown parentage who finds out they are a magic fuzz puff.
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  11. #11
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    It is perfectly possible for a character to be perfect and amazing in every way AND still be entertaining.
    FBI agent Dale Cooper.

  12. #12
    Lesser Hivemind Node Juan Carlo's Avatar
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    I think it's a useful term, actually. It did have some slight sexist connotations when it was originally coined, but I think it's since evolved to become nothing more than a blanket term for novels with protagonists, male or female, who are unrealistically talented, smart, and awesome at everything and who also have tragic pasts.

    A good many novels have degrees of Mary Sue-isms, which is fine (I think "Harry Potter" would be an example of a not quite Mary Sue, where the Mary Sue-isms are mitigated enough that it doesn't ruin the stories). But I think the term is useful for stuff that is obnoxiously Mary Sue to the point of stretching credulity---like, for example, the protagonist of "The Kingkiller Chronicles." Also, episodic, American, television procedurals have a fondness for unrealistic Mary Sue characters (i.e. brilliant people who are doctors by the age of 25, Rhodes scholars, Martial arts experts, fabulously good looking, yet with tragic pasts).

  13. #13
    Moderator Anthile's Avatar
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    Kvothe is a Mary Sue done right; Wesley Crusher is a Mary Sue done wrong.
    to wound the autumnal city.

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus coldvvvave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anthile View Post
    Kvothe is a Mary Sue done right;
    You mean absolutely unlikeable?
    Quote Originally Posted by Drake Sigar View Post
    You are an enemy of gaming.

  15. #15
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lukasz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xercies View Post
    Well it definitly came from a real life conversation where I was saying all the tv series i liked and they kept on saying this and this character was a mary sue. Well if it is that kind of criticism they were levelling at then it didn't matter they didn't have flaws since the character and the storyline still entertained me or did something interesting.
    oh? could you please give us few examples from that conversation?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by coldvvvave View Post
    You mean absolutely unlikeable?
    It's always gonna be a matter of opinion, eh? Kvothe is at the very least an example of a mary sue done deliberately and acknowledged as such, which is different to most.

  17. #17
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Xercies's Avatar
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    oh? could you please give us few examples from that conversation?
    The one I remember is Starbuck from the new BSG.

    I think "Harry Potter" would be an example of a not quite Mary Sue, where the Mary Sue-isms are mitigated enough that it doesn't ruin the stories
    Actually I would say Harry Potter is really Mary Sue and I always thought that the side characters would of been much more interesting protagonists then him.

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