A Little Game.

Now for something a little different. We're going to play a game. The name of the game is called "Character Development." Here are the rules.

I am going to name characters and you, the player, are going to describe said characters for me. There will be two groups of characters. Group A will consist of characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and group B will consist of characters from Twilight.

Now here is the most important rule. In your descriptions you are forbidden from describing the characters' physical appearances. This includes body attributes, hair styles, clothing, and the like. You also cannot describe their professions, races, or roles, so answers such as "high school student" or "vampire" are not acceptable. You must describe each character as if you are speaking to someone who has never seen Buffy or read Twilight.

Oh, just so you know, this game is blatantly ripped off from Red Letter Media" and I am using it because it seems highly relevant here.

Let us begin.

Round One: Female Protagonist

Buffy

Bella

Round Two: Male Love Interest

Angel

Edward

Round Three: Werewolf

Oz

Jacob

Round Four: Mystical Friend

Willow

Alice

Round Five: Wise Mentor

Giles

Carlisle

Round Six: Male Mortal

Xander

Mike

Round Seven: Villain

Spike

James

Round Eight: Female Mortal

Cordelia

Jessica

You may answer them all if you feel so inclined, but if that would be too boring, then simply answer whichever ones you please. Try to be as in depth and descriptive as possible. The more descriptive you can get, the stronger the character. That is the point of the game. I look forward to seeing your answers.

18 comments:

Big Bad Blog Writer said...

I haven't watched Buffy so I'll just do the Twilight characters (based on the first book, the only one I've read).

Bella: Whiny, angsty, rude when she doesn't need to be. I don't know much else about her because her hopes, dreams etc are not apparent (unusual for a teen character IMO).

Edward: Controlling, angsty. Hard to describe him otherwise since most of his character development seems to be physical description of his perfection!

Jacob: A nice kid, seems like a well balanced teenage boy who makes friends easily and has a good head on his shoulders. He respects his elders. He also comes across as helpful and maybe a little sheltered or naive (but in a good way) compared to Bella.

Alice: She can see the future. Does that count? Hah. I get the impression she is supposed to be maybe kind of flaky?

Carlisle: This one is really tough without saying he is a doctor, dad, etc. Protective?? He must have some sense of ethics since he came up with the "vegetarian vampire" idea.

Mike: A nice boy. I don't remember much about him other than I felt kinda bad for him since he was nice to Bella and she was horrible to him.

James: ??? I wouldn't know who he was at all if you didn't call him the villain.

Jessica: ??? A teenage girl.

Elina said...

Buffy: Strong, determined young woman who is not afraid of the dark or the things that lurk there. Whenever there is trouble, Buffy is the first one to rush towards it. She protects her friends, not because it's her duty but because they mean so much to her. As the series progress, she has to go through many things that would crush any weaker person. There is fragileness in her, too, but she doesn't want to show it. Her relentless nature, her love for her friends and inner strength make her a character to remember.

Willow: A warm, loving girl with ambitions and great talents. She is not, however, one bit egoistical but she always tries to help the best she can. She is funny and sometimes awkward, but has a very sweet and caring nature. As a student she is very successfull but is not smug about it, and she is always ready to help her friends to excel.

Spike: A peculiar, straightforward guy who follows his own path. He does not succumb to others but has very clear sense of his own ambitions. He is quick-witted and funny in his own, maybe a bit sadistic way. He is very protean and is only on his own side - he mostly wants to advance his own interests. Spike is a very complex personality - he is neither black or white, but something between. Most bad guys of the series can only dream of his dark allure.

The Twilight Snarker said...

Very good. Reading your two comments paints quite a picture of Twilight's characters. Big Bad Blog Writer struggles to come up with any real defining characteristics for most of Twilight's characters while Elina has no such trouble with the Buffy characters.

The fact is that Twilight's characters are 2-dimensional and lifeless. But you guys already knew that. Still, this little game helps to illustrate why.

Dino/Sparkle said...

Jessica: A teenage girl, painted to be nosy and a gossip. The first person to befriend bella, though smeyer puts in a snide note that it was probably to get some of her "popularity".

It's sad that one can tell more about a minor character than the main one.

The Tempted Critic said...

(I've only seen the first three seasons of Buffy, but I'll try my best. Also, I'm not proofreading, so there might a few typos.)

Round One: Female Protagonist

Buffy: The title character of the show, and is a very sarcastic girl. Commonly known for her use of funny puns, she doesn't take her responsibities seriously. She's also a very sensitive girl, and sometimes she flat out gives up on her goals. Cheered on by her friends, she always manages to find her inner strength to beat back the Evil that threatens the world.

Bella: A complainer who never sees the glass half full. Tends to talk in what she deems "eloquent language" due to the fact that she's supposedly good at English -- and more then half the time uses the words in the wrong context.

Round Two: Male Love Interest

Angel: At first he was simply a mysterious man who infuriated Buffy. In the end, he was less mysterious, but still infuriating. Split between his love for Buffy, and his horrible deeds as Angelus, he is tortured beyond human comprihension. While every now and then he cracks a joke, or makes a witty pun, but in the end he knows he will never be able to return Buffy's love, which he regrets.

Edward: Possibly the most selfish character in this story. Even though he knows it's wrong to love Bella, he keeps her close (read: stalking). He is cruel, and tends to break speeding law not because he's a daredevil -- it's because he has absolutely no restraint. Somehow he manages to restrain himself from noming Bella, though.

Round Three: Werewolf

Oz: Quirky, for lack of better words. He's not "linear" as Willow puts it. Even though he's the smartest (or second smartest) person in the school, he decided to stay in his band because he's that cool, and he purposely failed senior year to stay with his girlfriend. A naturally cool fellow, he tends to go with the flow.

Jacob: He's friendly, and his sincerity makes him one of the few people Bella DOESN'T hate for being her friend. He's more then willing to help out his friends, and likes poking fun at Bella. 'Cause he's that great of a guy, Bella's actually cool with it.

Round Four: Mystical Friend

Willow: <3 <3 <3 The sweetest girl of the bunch! Far more sensitive then Buffy, she cares about everyone. She has ambitions in life, and is an unrivaled computer whiz kid. Even though she isn't the best warrior, she figures out ways to help Buffy all on her own. Although (almost) calm when researching murders, monsters, and city plans, she cutely becomes a nervous wreck around the subject of boys (even she's normally the one who brings it up).

Alice: Mad. Out of touch from the norm (although she probably does this on purpose), she tends to makes hint at future events without actually telling anyone what said event is. Very graceful.

(To be continued in the nect post)

The Tempted Critic said...

(continued)

Round Five: Wise Mentor

Giles: Quite the grumpy old Englishman. He hates computers due to being old fashioned, and he is always critiquing on how unconventual Buffy's battle tactics are. Deep down he cares for Buffy like a daughter, and is always worried about her welfare. One of his greatest fears that she'll be killed in battle because he didn't prepare enough. That doesn't stop him from gettimg amgry with her every now and then, though. In his younger years he wanted to destroy the world.

Carlisle: ...I got nothing.

Round Six: Male Mortal

Xander: Quite possibly better at punning then Buffy! He tends to rush in matters if he's angry, and wants to fight for what is right. Tends to fall in love with people easily, even if sincerely.

Mike: Nothing more to say then "a guy with a crush." Don't think that counts, though...

Round Seven: Villain

Spike: FUCKING. BADASS. He's quite an awesome villian who has no qualms about kill foe or friend. His love for Drusilla overrides his bloody badassery -- he'll do anything to be with her. ANYTHING.

James: Likes stalking his prey. No matter where in the world they goes, he WILL find them.

Round Eight: Female Mortal

Cordelia: She's a total bitch. Everything she does is centered around maintaining popularity; although (as she relates to Buffy) she knows the popular crowd doesn't really care about her--a fact that makes her feel alone in the world. Also a sensitive girl, but she has the attitude of steel to fall on if someone hurts her feelings. Tends be a total idiot, though.

Jessica: Bella thinks she's a bitch, but that doesn't mean she nessicarily is one. She's fairly a bland character, although sometimes her priority list doesn't include Bella.

Elina said...

You know there's something wrong when a tv-series manages to create deeper characters and relationships than a series of books that consists of over 1000 pages.

TheUnbeholden said...

Edward: Hes brooding and mysterious. Bold (perhaps because of his looks), dignified and sometimes witty. Old fashioned, and well mannered, especially when it comes to asking a parent for permission to date their daughter. However he can seem oppressive at times towards Bella. Even though he has killed evil men in the past, he seeked to change his ways, which suggest he has a conscience, regardless he still murdered people and so has to live with this fact. He was turned without his permission and thus feels he was cheated out of his life. Hes dangerous most particularly for Bella because she has blood that is specially tailored for Edward (though he doesn't want to hurt her and thus gorges himself on animal blood to prevent any accidents), and this combined with the fact that he can't read her mind entices him.
He can't help but try to get to know her with only using his words and observations. He thinks of it as a challenge which suggests hes just looking for something to distract himself with. He starts to stalk her which suggests that hes curious about her, and he tries to get to know her better even though she resists at first. He tries to make Bella less childish, so perhaps he thinks of himself as a teacher, a center point for Bella to grow as person. He tries to make Bella feel as though its ok to give in to your emotions, like Edward is doing.

Bella: She is emo, and believes herself to be mature for her age even though she ends up doing irresponsible things. She says shes smart even though she uses words out of context, in other words shes a typical egotistical teenager. She can be hypocritical, and she is fake sometimes, like pretending to be nice to Mike. She lies to her friends just to get out of another lie, so shes definitely a coward. Though she shows bravery in confronting Edward, perhaps its more naivety then bravery. Sometimes you have to be a little happy about the fact that Edward can't read her mind, because otherwise he wouldn't have even gave her the time of day. Bella is overwhelmed with Edwards beauty and can think of nothing more then that, and so she comes off as superficial. This becomes an infatuation quickly after she spends only a little bit of time with him, she finds it difficult to express her emotions, but as the story progresses she grows as a women. Amongst their struggles with the voltori, and the war, she starts to feel genuine love for him or (perhaps it was love at first sight?), and for all her faults we end up realizing perhaps we all have our own, but it doesn't really matter as long as you find love.

TheUnbeholden said...

Jacob: He comes off as the overly nice, muscle head. But hes actually turns out to be a smart guy, and genuinely nice which is a rare thing. He loves his machines, and it takes some resourcefulness to do some good with them. Hes responsible when it comes to being a driver, (having his P plates) but hes also does something a bit rebellious when it comes to Bella, (not telling his dad about the bike they are making, or bella' dad, even when he goes to teach her how to ride it) mainly because he would like to spend time with her. He is like a sunshine, he radiates good feelings to people around because of his naturally happy nature. He never takes anything to seriously, but this starts to change as soon as the group of boys that where once his friends have started their own "gang", it makes him angry with suggests he hates it when someone betrays his loyalty. He starts to like Bella probably for her quiet nature, so the demure women can be an attraction. He is willing to wait for Bella for aslong it takes, even though she sees him as just a good friend, best friend even. But as things turn out it would have been better to have ended up with Jocab, its better to marry a best friend then it is to marry for love, because love doesn't last forever like friendship does.

Alice: She has a very vibrant presence, and her laugh can bring a smile to even strangers. She is very optimistic, she often ignores other people's advice and does things her own way, (which usually results in the outcome being better than predicted) which suggests she is strong minded. Because of her visions, can she get very emotional, and frightened. Though because she has found her love of her life, Jasper, after receiving a vision of him she uses him as a base for keeping calm and happy (and thus relies much on him). She remembers nothing of her human life and woke up alone as a vampire while staying at the asylum. She was kept in an asylum because she had premonitions, which intensified into her "special ability" which suggests that she had a hard life because of being different. While at the asylum she was always kept in a dark cell, which is another reason why she remembered so little, loneliness and isolation is no secret to her. Edward first states his attraction towards Bella, Alice is interested. she had a vision about her and Bella becoming friends and knew there it would one day happen, which means she is very attuned to fate and wants whats best for her friends, and so she is very supportive of the relationship between Edward and Bella.

Carlisle: His is the epitome of what vampires should be, or at least strive for. His dedication to controlling his vampire urges took every bit of willpower he could conjure up, but as time passed he began to gain measure of control, his interest in medicine meant being around blood alot of the time, but also served as a good way to grow accustomed to it. His strong humanity comes from his dedication to serving humanity and using his vampiric ability for mankind rather than for himself, unlike human blood drinking vampires. This selflessness is not only perfect trait for him to gain his humanity, but also his pleasure from helping man is what keeps him going. He is never short of wisdom, and his teachings is what allowed him to make his own family (technically he can't have children but he can make other vampires), and a vampire family is a rare thing. He believes that even though vampires are not related by blood, they are the closest thing to a family, related by the same desire to hold on to humanity, to drink the animal blood as an alternative.

TheUnbeholden said...

Mike: He takes an immediate romantic feelings for Bella. He continues to seek her attention even after Bella and Edward Cullen are together. Bella imagines him with a wagging tail, since he followed her around a lot which makes Mike seem pathetic/ or can have the readers sympathy. At Bella's urging, Mike goes out with Jessica, but their relationship does not last. Edward and Mike are always at odds because they both seek Bella's attention and once at Mike was at odds with Jacob on their movie date. Later Mike seemed to have gotten over sulking and has finally accepted that they can only ever be friends. Bella tries to rekindle their friendship after four months of 'being a zombie' after the Cullens leave Forks. Mike becomes her friend again, although not with the same enthusiasm and also never forgets his fondness of Bella. After a movie outing with Bella and Jacob, Mike seems to have given up on Bella, and tells her that, "girls are cruel", though I think that perhaps its just Bella's superficial nature means that because she doesn't have a initial physical attraction to Mike she never gives him the a chance.

James: He loves the thrill of a the hunt, to chase down his prey from a mile away. Hes the best tracker, and knows it. Hes cunning as he formulates a plan to get Bella and proved to easy. Though Edwards speed proved that James couldn't sense him fast enough when hes preoccupied with Bella. James is seen as rather malevolent as he tortures Bella before biting. If another vampire got to his prey before he does, he would kill that vampire for ruining his fun, the best example being Alice's creator. Though Edward also proved to be at equally as strong as James, and so he bit Bella hoping to make her into a vampire to spite Edward. He has a low view of man kind. He sees them as sport, as animals rather then as unique individuals, he has a girlfriend who is a vampire and she felt strongly devoted to him. James must have seen something in her, that his mortal victims did not have.

Jessica: Bella's first good friend in Forks. She tends to be more interested in Bella's popularity than Bella's actual character, and is sometimes jealous of Mike's liking for Bella. Bella says Jessica is nosy, but considering the circumstances behind the few instances she wanted to know about what happened to Bella, or where she had been, I think they where perfectly justified and not nosy. Jessica was described by Edward as 'not having very original thoughts' and Jessica says during lunch how nobody is apparently good enough for Edward, which also suggests shes jealous of him.

The Twilight Snarker said...

I don't have a lot of time ATM, but I must say I found the descriptions of the Twilight characters interesting. It says quite a bit about you.

I notice that in the cause of making the descriptions longer (perhaps in response to my "long answer = stronger characters" line) you pad out your answers by describing events that happened rather than character traits. While that makes for an impressive looking wall of text, many of the descriptions can be condensed down to a couple of lines without losing any actual character description. All that would be lost is a lot of grasped straws.

I've also noticed that you've taken into account at least some of the points raised in this blog but, rather than count them as negatives, you write around them, soften the meaning of the negative traits, or outright make excuses for them.

This is especially apparent in your description of Bella, where you spent most of the time describing negative qualities then excused it all by saying that it doesn't matter as long as you "find love." While I find your idealism refreshing, if a bit naive, this says volumes about your view of the characters. In short, that you want to love them and that you idealize them to a certain extent.

I get the impression sometimes that you're not defending the book itself, the writing, or even the author, but rather you're defending the characters you've come to put on a pedestal. At the very least I've noticed that your responses tend to come from an emotional standpoint rather than a logical one. Thoughts?

TheUnbeholden said...

"you pad out your answers by describing events that happened rather than character traits"

Well I want to explain how I came to the character trait... gimme a break, I don't have much to work with here.

"soften the meaning of the negative traits, or outright make excuses for them. "

Maybe its my optimistic view of things, I wouldn't call it excuses but merely an opinion.

"where you spent most of the time describing negative qualities then excused it all by saying that it doesn't matter as long as you "find love." While I find your idealism refreshing, if a bit naive, this says volumes about your view of the characters."

Well I meant that in a true love story fashion, in that personality traits aside, love is what matters in the end really. Life can be filled with trials and tribulations but if you have love then it just seems like nothing else really matters, or at least that's what I thought the book was trying to convey...

"that you want to love them and that you idealize them to a certain extent."

Edward most definitely (perhaps I want to be in his shoes), and Bella on the other hand fits the role as the typical teenager, but I love the fact that she loves Edward so.... unwaveringly, even though there isn't really a logical reason why she should. Its this sort of naive obsession mingled with lust (its called a crush I believe) that I find irresistible, I'm always drawn to girls who are like this to me so it does speak loudly about me. Though as a teenage male twilight reader, I'm not a good example of the typical twilight reader.

"I get the impression sometimes that you're not defending the book itself, the writing, or even the author, but rather you're defending the characters you've come to put on a pedestal. At the very least I've noticed that your responses tend to come from an emotional standpoint rather than a logical one."

Yes it stems from emotion your right. I haven't read many vampire novels, but having read 'interview with the vampire' I know comparing anything to it would be unfair. I do think that Twilight is missing alot of potential, and I admit I was disappointed. Regardless twilight what little it does, it has some strong points. It brings out the teenage feelings of alienation and sexual tension, the mundane details of Edward seem interesting when they are written in a dramatic way, and it brings out the idea of Bella's teenage infatuation/lust nicely. I haven't read Breaking Dawn yet (I've heard some bad very things about it, especially about the giving birth part, and how Bella gets everything... none of the characters die, she sacrifices nothing, and gets a fairly tale ending) so basically Stephenie Meyer screwed up, considering with what little she did right with the series, she ended up disappointing most of her own fanbase. Regardless I will give me opinion of it once I read it, and I'm very interested to see how the movie will turn out.

The Tempted Critic said...

"Well I want to explain how I came to the character trait... gimme a break, I don't have much to work with here."

I agree. Be it Buffyverse or Twilight, examples of character traits have to go into the descriptions. Sometimes, giving an example of the character is better then stating the trait! In other words, show and don't tell.

The Twilight Snarker said...

"I agree. Be it Buffyverse or Twilight, examples of character traits have to go into the descriptions. Sometimes, giving an example of the character is better then stating the trait! In other words, show and don't tell."

As I stated in my reply, the problem is not the inclusion of events but rather that some of them seem superfluous, as in there just for the sake of making the descriptions longer and more impressive-looking. There is a difference explaining and padding.

The Twilight Snarker said...

"gimme a break, I don't have much to work with here."

I find this statement very appropriate.

"Life can be filled with trials and tribulations but if you have love then it just seems like nothing else really matters, or at least that's what I thought the book was trying to convey..."

You are I are of a different opinion about what the book conveys. Yes, I do think that the book sends a message of love being what matters; it's the kind of love that it's talking about that I have an issue with. IMO it does not preach love so much as dependence. I mentioned this in Chapter 7. While I'm not usually one to quote myself, for the sake of making it easier for you to spot the section I'm mentioning I'll quote the first paragraph.

"Bella is overly-dependent and needs counseling. Maybe it's pent-up daddy issues from the divorce that causes her to seek personal validation in the arms of potentially dangerous men. Bella seems to have a narrow but intense cone of dependent behavior, in which she not only needs another person to validate her, but she needs to feel needed."

The problem is that Meyer confuses dependence for love. I may write a more in depth view of this in the near future, but I do not see healthy love here. I see someone who could benefit from therapy.

If you are looking for love, I suggest you look somewhere other than Twilight.

"Its this sort of naive obsession mingled with lust (its called a crush I believe) that I find irresistible"

While a high school crush can seem like a magical thing, those seldom work out in the long term. A true loving relationship requires more than raging hormones. The period in which people feel romantic love results in elevated levels of dopamine and norepinephrine and low levels of serotonin. This is the physical high that the person feels. Judgment is impaired, emotions run high, and this can easily lead to the delusion of whoever you're with being "the one," that perfect someone.

Then the hormones taper off and the "magic" fades away. True love is not the physical high of first love, it's what happens after the high is gone. If you're in a loving relationship you'll have reasons for being together that don't depend on the rush. You'll be joined on a level that goes beyond the physical or the hormonal.

The problem I have with Twilight, as well as many other stories of romantic love, is that it pretends that the crush is all there is and that it lasts forever, or should last forever. It's a seductive message, but it's a lie. We've been lied to. The Hollywood scene of people riding off into the sunset to be madly, passionately in love forever and ever does not exist. Love has its highs, but also it's lows. It's give and take.

True love is someone who sees you for the idiot that you are and stays with you regardless.

As for the rest of your post, I came here to make a quick update to the blog that I think you might find interesting. It's a series of videos examining Twilight and why people like it so much. It touches on the things you've stated, so you may wan to give it a view.

By the way, I'd love to see how Breaking Dawn turns out in movie form. With all the crazy stuff in that book I want to see how much of it makes it into the movie and how the scenes are handled.

The Tempted Critic said...

Let's deconstruct one of Unbeholden's padded entries and how much can actually pass for padding.

"James: He loves the thrill of a the hunt, to chase down his prey from a mile away. Hes the best tracker, and knows it."

So far, so good.

"Hes cunning as he formulates a plan to get Bella and proved to easy."

Padding +1. Could have simply stopped at "He's cunning."

"Though Edwards speed proved that James couldn't sense him fast enough when hes preoccupied with Bella."

Padding +1 Could have gone on to explain how James isn't as awesome as he thinks he is, but didn't. Therefore, it becomes padding.

"James is seen as rather malevolent as he tortures Bella before biting. If another vampire got to his prey before he does, he would kill that vampire for ruining his fun, the best example being Alice's creator."

Eh, I'm going to say not padding. These examples illustrate James as a sadistic bastard rather then pad the explaination.

"Though Edward also proved to be at equally as strong as James, and so he bit Bella hoping to make her into a vampire to spite Edward."

Padding +1. While a good example of the character, it adds nothing to the text or give us a new view to the character.

"He has a low view of man kind. He sees them as sport, as animals rather then as unique individuals,"

Not padding.

"he has a girlfriend who is a vampire and she felt strongly devoted to him. James must have seen something in her, that his mortal victims did not have."

Padding +1 While this example could have gone on to show us the tender side of James, it did not, therefore doing nothing for the character bio.

A good third of the description is padded, but either way--it's lengthy. Not only that, but most of the "padding" are examples that Undeholden didn't go into depth on--they could have been legit examples.

TheUnbeholden said...

" "padding" are examples that Undeholden didn't go into depth on--they could have been legit examples. "

Sorry about that I really should have spent more time on James.

TheUnbeholden said...

"IMO you go on about how Bella is a special snowflake, but I didn't get that from the book.
I think the ONLY thing that made Bella special is the fact that Edward can't read her thoughts, and I also thought that its the ONLY reason why hes with her. "

This is something I wrote earlier. I didn't get the idea that Bella is a special snowflake, a Mary Sue.... but in Breaking Dawn I think thats where it becomes very true and painfully obvious. Shes regarded extra special vampire... she somehow can overcome her desire for blood like no other vampire Edward has ever seen.. so she doesn't have to kill anyone... and she gets a incredible power, a shield that she can put up that supposedly comes from strong desire to protect Edward. This happens when the Volturi come... with the Volturi who are notorious for not giving second chances, simply walk away and give up. Basically Stephenie Meyer avoids all conflict.
Combine that with none of the characters dieing, that pretty disgusting giving birth scene (which IMO should not have been part of the book at all... I've always thought vampire couldn't have children.) and a fairy tale ending, I see why even her own fanbase is divided on it.

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