View Full Version : Black and White

Nora the Rover
July 5th, 2003, 01:04 PM
As stated in Redwall.org's 'Ask Brian', BJ said that he has no "Grey" characters, or neutral characters, only black and white, (Goodies and baddies.).
Many people throughout the ROC disagree on this issue, as there are, in their opinion, grey characters.
Some examples of the grey characters would be: owls, cats, Veil, Fenno, Druwp, etc.
I've always thought that there are varying levels of good and bad, it doesn't matter the type of species the creatures are. It just seemed more typical that 'vermin' type of creatures are bad, though not all of them have to be.
I've also wondered quite a bit about the 'Veil' debate; whether he was driven to be bad, or was it just in his nature? Was his act in the end showing that he actually did have some good left in him?...and so on...
Please post your thoughts here...

July 5th, 2003, 02:23 PM
The species aren't totally black and white, but the characters themselves tend to be. So, Rystan the good rat who won Questors Bold II would be perfectly in line with typical Jacques style. Fenno and Druwp have no redeaming features and therefore cannot really be considered grey IMHO. Veil is the most obvious and clear grey character. Romsca is possibly a better example as her redemption is definate and though she is endeared to us by her opposition of Lask she is shown as being most definately vermin and evil at the start The sense of Redwall morality, as explained by Bella in "Outcast of Redwall", is an unsatisfactory, and most likely wrong, way of looking at the world but as part of escapism it's fine.
Personly, those who demand grey characters are shooting themselves in the foot: Brian will not write a grey character and stick to his guns if people are trying to make him blure the lines; he will only venture into grey if there is no pressure to do so. But that's just my view and I don't personly mind either way.
Is Veil evil? I was thinking over doing an editorial on it, balancing both sides of the arguement, but I think it's been done a few too many times before. Without looking at the book I would be cautious of claims by people that he is good, as that could be the attraction of a "grey" character biasing their judgement.;) However, looking quickly at the book, the last page before he's skewered he seems to be most definately good, if sounding a little iritable, to me. This does beg the question whether we are intended to disagree with the two key figures of authority in the book, Bella and the Abbess. This is possible, as they possibly judged wrongly in giving Bryony the responcibility of bringing up the ferret babe in the first place. But who knows?

Dannflower Reguba
July 6th, 2003, 11:21 AM
Originally posted by Nora the Rover
...whether he was driven to be bad, or was it just in his nature?

Actually, that's a lot of what my fanfic is (going to be) written about. This reminds me of a story we read in English class. I don't remember the title, but it was about ancient Greek or Roman times. There was a servant or peasant man who fell in love with the princess and visa versa. But the king found out and, instead of killing the man, put him in their traditional trial. He was placed in the arena where there were two doors. One led to a woman that he would marry, the other led to a lion where he would be ripped to shreds. The princess found out which door was which and managed to signal her love which one to choose. The story ends before he opens the door.

It seems to me that it's really impossible to tell what Veil is. We'll each have our own opinions, but there's no proof either way.

Oh, and Nora, speaking of my fanfic, I'm nearly done with book 1 and I was wondering if you'd just skim through it. Not for grammatical mistakes, but about food. I've realized that I'll never be as good as you in it, so I just did what I could, but I'd still like those to be correct, if possible.

July 6th, 2003, 05:26 PM
In my experience, the more you bug someone for something, the less likely they are to do it. BJ's created some good grey critters on his own, no good telling him to.
I think that your behavior is made by how people treat you. Some of it is inherited, no doubt. Anyone heard of "treat others how you would want to be treated", or "what goes around comes around"? Maybe Veil did cause a lot of trouble, but turning him into a scapegoat sure isnt gonna improve his charcter. I do a lot of people-watching, and I noticed that kids who are smothered with attention, or don't get enough, are pretty destructive. And get the teachers (abbeydwellers?) annoyed with them. Veil was a true grey character, too bad he was only a side character, despite having the whole book named after him...I think he was (mostly) good in the end.
Romsca was just as good. Yep, grey animals are fun to analyze.
In some places, you'll be given a book to read and have to find the "meaning" to a particular phrase or thing, even if a "meaning" can't be found or wasn't supposed to be there. Maybe if you took a major Redwall character of any kind and "analyzed" what s/he does or says, you could give the rest of us a description of what causes him/her to tick. Whether that's what BJ meant or not.
Over-analyzing things is fun:D

Nora the Rover
July 7th, 2003, 11:47 AM
I may be using some peoples' opinions on this issue as quotes for a thing I'm writing. I just need a bit of permission first...

Dann - Thanks! Just e-mail a copy of some sort!

Dannflower Reguba
July 7th, 2003, 12:07 PM
Alrighty. You can use anything I wrote, not that I wrote anything good :rolleyes:. I'll get that to you as soon as I'm done. It shouldn't take too long...*extracts some laziness from self*

Nora the Rover
July 9th, 2003, 12:03 PM
Thanks, though I doubt I would use anything anyone else wrote... I've already got my stories outlined and planned out, originality is the best thing to use for writing...

It seems, from what I've observed, that most grey characters are judged by what different readers think of them; each person has a different view on this matter. It's still rather interesting to hear different peoples' opinions, however, and learn more about this type of stuff.

July 13th, 2003, 04:50 PM
A grey character could be someone who's usually mean or indifferent, but ends up doing nice things whether he wants to or not. Or is really a better guy than he'll admit.
Maybe a good guy with a short fuse. Everyone has faults.

July 14th, 2003, 12:14 PM
Vanessa, when you said"a good guy with a short fuse" that reminded me of Mattimeo somewhat. I think it is just about impossible to have a character with no flaws; its just that some character's flaws stand out more then others.

July 14th, 2003, 12:28 PM
Any near flawless character is immediately called flat by people. It's very hard to draw the line, but in my opinion there are only a small handful of actually grey characters. I guess I would say they were grey if they move from being evil to good or the other way round, so, I think, ones such as Fenno and Blaggut don't count.