Aerden (aerden) wrote,

The Death-Eater and the Gentleman

Yes, for those of you who are totally not interested, this is another Paul Graves post; feel free to skip, if you like. But the character has been on my mind a lot, recently, and since I can't easily write him in a professional venue, I discuss him here, rather than in musevoices.

It's struck me for quite a while that Paul has two distinct sides to him, which one could easily split down the middle and just label 'good' and 'evil.'

I am reminded of the Star Trek episode, "The Enemy Within," in which a transporter mishap splits Captain Kirk into his good and evil selves. In the end, the 'good' side of Kirk realizes that he must accept the 'evil' side of himself because the evil side's strength and assertiveness is part of what allows Kirk to be an effect leader and starship captain.

I am thinking about it and discovering that, if Paul's evil side is also to be considered his stronger side, then his evil side will contain all of his moral fortitude. After all, it takes strength to do the right thing when you want to do the evil thing. This makes me wonder if perhaps the side of him that is capable of evil--and, dare I say, the side of him that enjoys being evil--is his weaker side?

But dramatically, a strong good side and weak evil side is just boring. Or rather, it makes the good side dull and the evil side contemptible. That's why Kirk's good side was indecisive; the author of that episode understood this. However, the 'good side also had a measure of moral strength, or perhaps it was simply that Kirk's intelligence remained the same for both of his halves. Thus, though the good half was indecisive, he was also smart enough to know he needed his agressive half, even if he didn't like it. Not only did he know this, he did something about it--remerged with the agressive side. So in a way, the good side was strong, too.

So, if I write a story in which Paul becomes split, will I just be retelling "The Enemy Within?" I don't want to, if that's all the story will be.

Assertive Quality

Passive Quality

  • Does things.
  • Loves to learn.
  • Fights to win.
  • Ruthless
  • Loves or hates deeply.
  • Self-disciplined

  • Wants to do things.
  • Loves to read.
  • Fights for exercise.
  • Horrified
  • Forgives easily, from being indifferent.
  • Lazy, unmotivated

I think I really will have to refer to them as the assertive side and the passive side, because I will only confuse myself if I refer to them as good and evil. Though I suppose I could divide it along love and hatred--which would give both sides strength, thus making both interesting, I hope.

Love Quality

Hatred Quality

  • Will sacrifice all to protect those he loves.
  • Feels a deep religious conviction and connection.
  • Is capable of caring about Voldemort's well-being.
  • Feels guilt intensely.
  • Loves the excitement and challenge of doing difficult things but restrains himself from doing anything harmful to others.
  • Is capable of witholding affection if he thinks it would be exploited.

  • Will sacrifice all to destroy those he hates.
  • Feels that religion has no place in his world--not a hatred of religion, simply a dismissal of it from his life.
  • Treats his family with a polite distance.
  • Has regrets but does not allow them to influence his judgment.
  • Loves the excitement and challenge of doing difficult things and will not hesitate if he finds cause to do these things against an enemy.
  • Is capable of not hurting people if he sees no logical reason to hurt them.

But if I do the love/hatred division, how does maturity play into the mix? Paul at age 41 is not the man he was at 23. His hatred side can't be just a seething pool; it has to show signs of maturity, somewhere. It has to have learned patience, at the very least.

Something else I would like to show is that, apart, neither of the two sides are as rich and complex as the whole is. What makes Paul so fascinating to me is the gestalt of his entire personality, working together. His wholeness is greater than the sum of his parts--as is true with anyone. Only the fully integrated self has all the depth and complexity needed to make the character I love.

Maybe doing these tables is an exercise in futility; I don't know. I'm thinking of this whole split story idea holistically, and breaking personality qualities down into quantified parts is making my brain hurt. Part of me wants to just write the story.

I've got to do something outside of Harry Potter fiction with this character. He's too larger-than-life. The Potterverse is too limiting for him. I'm keeping a lid on this character by having him be Gareth in the SPH game. That's not going to satisfy him in my head, though. I get the feeling that he wants to go somewhere with Lilith and do grand things.

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