I love movies and TV shows that give us strong characters who have warrior backstories. Shows like Game of Thrones and movies like TheHobbit often have these kinds of characters in spades. It seems like the fantasy genre in general has them.
But with so many characters like this, and so much to say about who they are and where they come from, the exposition can be quite burdensome. Even more so when you are developing these characters and working toward their arcs, you want a creative way to show who they are and what they become.
Enter combat, which is a great way to show how a warrior archetype, or any other character for that matter, is arcing into someone interesting. Action is a great way to disguise exposition and show someone evolving.
Let's look at how.
Check out this video from Blind Boy, and we'll talk after the jump.
How to Develop Characters with Action
In the video, we see the movie Troy depicted. I think that's a forgotten studio movie, one with scope and scale that they won't make anymore. Now we get CGI epics, but that one focused on practical effects and characterization.
The seminal fight between Hector and Achilles is really about the culmination of their arcs into who they would become. Achilles is a man fueled by vengeance, and Hector is fueled by honor. We get this exposition in the battle. Both of them embody the trait that will ultimately get them killed.
Of course, it takes us ages to build up that stuff in the story. So let's dig into Troy and see how we got here.
When we first meet Achilles, we hear of his legend from other people. It's told like a whisper. We see him get out of a bed full of women and put on his armor, and we're intrigued. As he makes his way onto the battlefield to fight a formidable foe, we see him underestimated by the other side. They might have heard of Achilles, but they think him being late was cowardly. When he emerges and kills their champion with a single blow, they finally decide to learn his name and his legend.
This is a fairly economical way to introduce a character and show us who they are in this world. On the flip side, you have Hector, who instead of standing out on his own, is juxtaposed against his brother Paris. Paris is shown as flighty and romantic. Hector is much more steadfast, someone who is controlled by family and the burden of carrying people less worthy than he might be.
We see him not in battle, but in action, willing to put his neck on the line for his brother. We immediately understand that this sense of loyalty is his actual weakness. It makes him strong in name but in life, weakens his position to stay alive during a war.
When they fight, we get the culmination of all of this character work.
What are some other examples you can think of where action becomes part of who the characters are as people? I think Mission: Impossible uses the series to do that rather effectively.
What about you? Let me know in the comments.
Source: Blind Boy