Not Even an Anti Hero, Just an Asshole!
Here is a question for my fellow writers - have you ever created a character whom you actually didn't wholly like? Obviously, I don't mean an antagonist, you're not supposed to like the bad guy, and not an anti-hero type, either, but someone who's meant to be one of the good guys. My main WIP - the "Beyond the Dragon Sea" Trilogy - focuses on the entwined lives of five central characters, over the course of a decade. Prince Tarak is the first character we meet, and a good deal of the story is told from his perspective (the POV does change but not erratically, there's no head-bopping, and it's essential for the story to make sense). He is handsome, brave, popular with the people, he wishes to abolish slavery and wants to decrease the power of the corrupt Priesthood. So, yeah, a good guy. However, he 'dumps' the young man he apparently loves, and who certainly loves him, because he must 'choose duty over love'. But I can't help feeling that he's not that altruistic at all. I feel he is justifying the fact that he's choosing power over love. He is willing to sacrifice his relationship with the man he loves, and live a lie, deceiving the woman who loves him and for whom he only has a brotherly affection, all for the sake of remaining king. It's not even as if he's the only man for the job or the kingdom is in too fragile a state politically to go through another change of monarch. The bad guy has been defeated, the kingdom is at peace and politically stable, and there is another heir who would make a perfectly good ruler. So why does he abandon the man who saved his life, sacrificed everything for him, even relinquishing his freedom so he could live, to marry a woman he does not love so he can have 'a queen and an heir'? Tarak was originally supposed to be the central hero but toward the end of the first book, I actually end up not liking the guy and questioning his motives. So, yeah, it turns out that it's the slave boy he befriends who is the actual hero of the story, of all three stories in the trilogy. Somewhere along the line, the characters just took over, created themselves and their own destinies, and it took a path I never saw coming!