We all have them. There is no one exempt from their trappings. They haunt us. They chase us. They inhibit us. Sometimes—SOMETIMES—they even inspire us.
Bad habits. Quirks. Temperaments. Attitudes. Flaws. Call them what you will, we all have them. And as a writer, I look to exploit them. Because let’s face it: perfect characters are, well… BORING.
Like our dear Prince Ferryl with his impulsivity and idealism. While those traits can be a good thing, they can also be a very bad thing for a man who is to inherit a kingdom. That idealism often comes back to haunt him when the world doesn’t turn as he expected. And he is often faced with the worry of what is not going on much more than what is. As a result, Ferryl can be temperamental and even irrational. And do things like, you know, leave Elizabeth behind because he’s so angry with her for just being herself. *ahem*
“I think you should to stay here, Elizabeth. I think you should get to know your mother, to find out what your life was like, your history, your family. Haravelle is your home. We both know that. And I think…” he said, tripping on his own emotion now. “I think it is best if you stay behind.”
~The Purloined Prophecy, Chapter 44
And Elizabeth. Stubborn, logical, insufferably practical Elizabeth. There must always be a reason. There must always be an answer. Even when there is not. And that need for logic drives her every thought—ad nauseum. So when the world doens’t fit in a box, when the answers don’t make sense on paper, she is left to pick up the pieces of her logical mind and figure out how to cope. And she has a tendency to push people away—the ones she loves most—on that unending quest for answers.
She knew he was right. It was a logical, practical solution. For her to get to know her mother, for her to find out who she was and how she had grown up. To search for the memories that evaded her.
But most importantly, for her to find a life away from him.
Because it could never work as long as they were together. As long as they were together, they would always want each other, always love each other, always torture each other with a dream that could never be.
And for the first time in her life, Elizabeth hated every damned logical, reasonable word out of his mouth.
~The Purloined Prophecy, Chapter 44
Ever met anyone like them?
I sure have. I think I’m both of them at times. What about you?
It’s funny how art can be so cathartic. Because as I write these characters, I begin to realize profundities about myself: that maybe it’s our imperfections that not only make us interesting, but serve a greater purpose. A divine purpose. Maybe it’s our imperfections that serve to show us a Truth we might not have found otherwise.
Isn’t that what happened to Ferryl and Elizabeth? Didn’t Ferryl’s impulsivity and idealism help him realize that he would fight—and die—for Elizabeth? And didn’t that love for her help him realize that it was perhaps a part of a bigger plan, a divine purpose for both of them?
And what about Elizabeth? She wasn’t wrong about Ferryl—he had obligations to his kingdom that could not be ignored. But none of those obligations precluded his heart. And at the end of the day, that’s what he would choose. What he would always choose. And isn’t that okay?
I think imperfections are what lead us to the truth. I think our imperfections, though not always easy or even fun, can often be the best thing for us—that ever present reminder that we’re not God. And we never had to be.
And thank God for that.