villains versus antagonists

Came across this link on Facebook, where the Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin shared some tips for writing a successful fantasy series. What struck me the most was this:

We’re all grey and I think we all have the capacity in us to do heroic things and very selfish things. I think understanding that is how you create characters that really have some depth to them.

I have a character in Neverland who is the nicest, sweetest boy you can imagine.

This is who I have in mind when I write that character:

(You are not surprised, of course.)

But in the end, he serves as the antagonist to the protagonist’s journey in realising what or who is really important to her. Or at least, I intend for him to. (Yes, I’m being deliberately vague because I don’t like to reveal too much as I’m writing.) It’s the whole good intentions, bad decisions deal. Sometimes, what we think is the right thing comes through as the worst thing ever, and people start to doubt your true intentions.

Maybe it’s the same with antagonists. Maybe they started out as allies and friends but ended up thwarting the protagonist in her quest and is thus seen as an villains. Which is why I don’t use the term villain, but antagonist. Villains may be straight out unpleasant fellows that bring to mind someone like this:

Or this:

But antagonists are just people who get in the protagonist’s way because they each have conflicting agendas and quests.

Antagonists can look like any other person – they can be well-adjusted people who try to help everyone around them, but are considered “bad” only because the story is about the protagonist and the reader naturally roots for the latter.

Antagonists can come in the form of this:

(Yes, I’m still very much hung up on this character, though I’m not as devastated as I was before. Can we have an Heirs 2 just so we can see Young Do have his happy ending?)

Anyway, I just hope that comes through in my story. Now, enough rambling. Off to write!

(Quick update: 7,200 at last count. This word count is creeping up too slowly. But I shall, to quote a friend, keep on keeping on.)

((Wow, that’s a lot of parantheses in one short post.))

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How a k-drama broke my heart

OMG you guys, I’m having so much feeeeels right now because of last night’s episode of Heirs.

It’s the second last episode, episode 19, and the final episode will air tonight. I realise I seem to always blog about a show on the second last episode. Maybe because that’s when everything builds up to the climax and the pathos really comes through?

Anyway, you probably won’t get what I’m about to ramble on about if you haven’t watched the show, but I just need to get this out of my system. It’s how I process all these feels. (I had to lock myself in my room for the rest of the day to process The Return of the King the first time I watched it.)

Yes, I’m aware this was from Fellowship of the Ring and not Return of the King, but my point still stands

So that last scene of Heirs. That. Last. Scene. Holy crap, it was amazing.

 photo myemotions_zpsa9e9d43a.gif

No words exchanged between Male Lead (Kim Tan) and Second Male Lead (Choi Young Do). But all the emotions were there. Everything seemed to have built up to that scene. Neither of them said a single word, but the audience – me, at least – heard every unspoken word loud and clear: these two boys, however much they may hate each other, need each other and are much more alike than they would like to think. They were friends before all the shit went down, and deep down they miss being friends. It’s themselves they blame, and now that they’re faced with their individual domestic problems (the figurative and literal fall of their once-powerful fathers is all I’m giving away), they’re equally helpless and lost.

You boys break my heart.

But I think Young Do has it worse. He doesn’t have his mom, he doesn’t have a lady love, he doesn’t have friends, and now that some legal shit has hit the fan he doesn’t even have his dad, with whom he shares a love-hate relationship. At least Kim Tan has Eun Sang, and his loving mom, even though his brother claims to hate him.

I might have started out loathing Young Do and swooning over Prince Charming Kim Tan

Sweet, caring Kim Tan
Who is also easy on the eyes *wink*

But now I just want to give Mistaken Rebel Young Do a hug.

Here’s my heart for you, Young Do!

And apparently, I’m not alone.  The girls over at Drama Fever, who review each week’s episodes with oodles of humour and insight, stole the words right from my mouth

Damn you, you amazing scriptwriter Kim Eun Sook, for creating a character I loved to hate but eventually hate to love!

I have NEVER felt this way about a drama character before, much less one who started out as an antagonist. Yes, Young Do started out as an asshole who kept getting between Female Lead (Eun Sang) and Kim Tan, and he bullied the weak and poor in the school (it’s a school for rich kids from elite families – think Gossip Girl). He frightened Eun Sang and kept threatening to give away her and Kim Tan’s secrets (no spoilers here), blackmailing them.

Back when he was evil incarnate
Who is in love with Eun Sang
And can’t get enough of her

young do 3

But now, all I see is a broken, wounded guy who’s struggling to maintain that tough-guy facade. His mom left him and his dad, his father despises him unless he wins at everything, his first crush (Eun Sang) rejected him and got together with the person who used to be his friend but now isn’t, he has no real friends because he terrorised everyone in school, and he just keeps spiralling into lonerhood.

Note the hairstyle change – bangs always make you look sweeter and less of a douchebag
Awww, poor Young Do, forever alone!

Gotta love these broken bad boys – they make such good material for writing.

Plus, the bromance in this show!

They might have come to blows one too many times…
kim tan and young do
But we all know they still love and care for each other!
The boys behind the scenes – awwww!

And the friendship between the mute housekeeper (Eun Sang’s mother) and secret mistress who’s incarcerated by her asshole husband, aka Kim Tan’s father!

Ajumma love!

And the cute romance between Kim Tan and Eun Sang!

I think it’s safe to say that Kim Eun Sook, scriptwriter extraordinaire, has done it again. She made Secret Garden (2011) magical and romantic and whimsical and funny and bittersweet. And now, with Heirs, she has outdone herself.

I now have this song (which was played during that final scene in last night’s episode) on replay:

“Why are these feelings coming to me” indeed.

Ugh. This is so perfect. I wish I could write a script like this and bring all these emotions to my audience. Kim Eun Sook, why are you so brilliant?!?!?!