The Morally Grey Discussion | Why do I love them??

Hey everyone!! 

If you step into the book community, there are a few phrases you are bound to hear.

(1) just one more chapter, I promise
(2) this book is overhyped
(3) insta-love is my worst nightmare
(4) oh my goodness he is so mean to her, I hope they get married
(5) morally grey characters *non-stop talking*

So, guess what one I am talking about today?!?!

MORALLY GREY CHARACTERS. *ding ding* “….and a stuffed toy for the winner”

In the book community, there is a trend culture for the morally ambitious characters.

They are very popular.

So, who are they??? (can we have a definition please?!?!)

Morally Grey Characters: The 100% Oxford Dictionary Approved Definition.

They’re a bitch but cute with it. Probably white and male.
No, that’s no good.
 
They’re horrible but good looking in leather so we forget about all the murder and emotional abuse. Probably white and male.
No, that’s still not what I mean.
 
A character whose morals are ambiguous. It can be hard to determine whether they are good or bad. Their behaviour will often fit into either category. Their actions can’t always be justified as they are very questionable characters. Probably white and male.
Better.
I’m really not sour that they are mostly white males. I couldn’t care less. I am completely fine with this.

To me, morally grey characters can be the villain, the side character or in some cases the heroes. I think a lot of us have a different idea what we want from these characters and they can vary depending on genres as norms and situations change but I am talking about them in a very general sense today.

As I’ve mentioned these characters are very popular. People are obsessed….And so am I. For good reason.

*cough cough*
*presenter’s voice*

Why do we obsess about them??

*end of presenter’s voice*

I’m glad you asked… (the gifs aren’t examples)

THE UNPREDICABILITY 

I have always been a fan of the ‘Clark Kent’ dynamic. But let’s be real, they are made to be admired and they can be predictable. So, when they have to choose between saving a person’s life or anything else, they can play all the dramatic music they want but when they decide to save the person it isn’t like “everyone tweets about the plot twist and the crazy decision. People don’t scream at their neighbours and Queen Elizabeth doesn’t resign”. Nope, none of this happens because everyone is the audience knew it was going to happen.Now, I know unpredictability is not everything, but I love these characters who choices are really complicated, who can surprise you in their action. They can make you go like this….

Surprise GIFs | POPSUGAR Celebrity

They don’t stick to a formula. Their decisions aren’t made to make the readers love them but because it is just the decisions they would make. And we readers can’t look away from them.

THE COMPLEX CHARACTERS FAN CLUB

Morally grey characters are always complex, when well written of course. As the name suggests they aren’t black or white. They work in shades of grey.

Draco Malfoy GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

They are naturally interesting, well-rounded, realistic characters so, of course, they attract people. Their flaws and strengths are delved into and this intricate care of writing will always pull people towards them.

GOOD VERSUS BAD

Harry Potter Fire GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

People having been loving ‘good vs bad’ for forever and morally grey characters are essentially this fight but as an internal struggle. It is a fight people can watch and pick a side. It is full of battles and intrigue as you wait until the end. It is full of ups and downs so people can’t look away. The same rules apply for these characters, people can’t look away whilst they are around. And, dare I say, people will relate to these internal struggles. *gasp* Reveals all book lovers are morally grey characters *gasp again*.

WE LONG TO LOVE THE LONELY

This could just be me but characters who are lonely or have no-one understanding them do reach out and make me want to say ‘no it’s okay, I’ll be here for you’ and I kind of think this is a common thing for many readers. I mean look, who doesn’t want to give Harry a hug here?!?!?!

Superhero-Therapy.com

And, well morally grey characters can often be on their own with limited people helping or sympathising with them. I think when we see an absence of love, we naturally try our best to fill it and the love takes over

A PLACE TO EXPLORE THE DARKEST SIDES OF YOURSELF

Angry GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Only in fiction can the dark deeds have little consequences so could it be a release, an imaginary situation for people?!?! They watch characters argue between good and bad and make the poor choices. Maybe readers have imagined doing this and through reading they can let go of some of  the’darkness’* and actually become healthier for it. It can also show them the consequences and teach them why this is a bad choice so they can become better in themselves. (Unless it is their villain origin story, of course)

*it might be too extreme to call in ‘darkness’ for some people, but you get my point.

THE COMFORT OF REDEMPTION AND RECOGNITION OF THE POWER OF SECOND CHANCES OR TO HIGHLIGHT THE DANGERS OF THE WRONG DECISIONS.

Wow that was waaaaaayyyy too long but basically these characters can be used to show the errors and the positivity of recognising them. To act as an example of what roads to avoid and they can actually act as a powerful moral compass for the rights and wrongs. The hero choosing to do the right thing is inspiring but the character who has chosen wrong before and is now choosing right might call to some people more. They can represent the hope you want for yourself or for other people in your life. 

"For the Greater Good": In Defense of Albus Dumbledore ...

Are morally grey characters a good or bad ‘trend’?

I’m just going to be really vague and use my opinion as fact here (do you mean what you have been doing this entire post? Obviously.) ….YES. They are wonderful when they are well written. They are, in fact, ….

J.K. Rowling Uses One Word to Silencio All The 'Harry ...

BECAUSE… 

As this Tumblr account (lyricstomb) said ‘Fiction is a place to explore dark topics* and the dangerous, unlikable side to humanity BUT immoral acts shouldn’t be glorified or normalised in fiction.’

*note: my definition of ‘darkness’ for this entire post is probably quite light ironically but use your judgement for what I mean in this context. 

Well with morally grey characters you can emphasise both sides of this statement which I believe whole heartedly is true. You can explore dark topics freely and responsibly. Morally grey characters naturally get this balance instead of being all good or all bad. They look at both and give the responsible message to the audience which I do think it really important and needs to be remembered more.Morally grey characters shouldn’t be glorified but recognised for what they are and depending on their growth, you need to decide how much you should actually admire them. I like characters whose behaviour I don’t agree with all the time but I know not to romanticise who they are, I find them interesting and believe there can be more to them but they aren’t a role model or perfect by far. I don’t want to paint them out to be more than they are, I just find them interesting often because of their journey and their flaws.  

AND

They are realistic. There is something very human about them as we deal with topics around what is good and what is easy. Their flaws are a big part of them and watching them battle with it is something I think we all do whether on a small or large scale. They are complex just like real people. They are questioning just like real people. They make wrong decisions just like real people.


Who are your favourite morally grey characters? Do you like morally grey characters? Why do you like them?


61 thoughts on “The Morally Grey Discussion | Why do I love them??

  1. This was such an amazing post to read and I’m so happy I came across it!
    When they are well written I think morally grey characters can be amazing! I think for me it’s all about the internal struggle and how unpredictable they are. It’s also about the battle they give to you as a reader when you read their thoughts or actions and seems like the morally grey is also you!
    While sometimes the predictable good or bad guys are what I need, definitely morally grey add spice to stories!
    Thank you for such a fun and amazing post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww… Thank you so much, that means a lot !! 💛
      Yes they definitely have to be well written as some can be really weak. But when they are, I really love their characters so much !! I love the internal struggles so much and it is always so messy and complicated so everything about that journey I love !! You can’t predict their choices as well which I love too !!
      Yes they definitely give you something to think about whether to route for them or consider why they do the things they do. They certainly make you a participate in the writing.
      Yes I love the combination of good, bad and morally grey characters !! They all have something different to add !!
      You’re so welcome !! I’m glad you enjoyed it and thank you for reading and commenting !! 💛

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am totally late to this party, but I still 100% loved what you said because it’s entirely true!!! And you’re right…they are predominantly white and male. Sigh.

    All these points are spectacular and are exactly everything about why I love morally grey characters and anti-heroes. They’re the people who made a mistake and have rectified it (or maybe not) and become better in a way. Like for instance, I think you’re watching Avatar, so Zuko is a perfect example!! Watching his struggle throughout the series was so heartbreaking, and heartwarming and I loved how it ended. I really really did. He’s like a perfect example of an antihero and I loved him. Okay, enough with the love 😂

    Kaz from Six of Crows is also a perfect example. He’s truly an anti-hero, because he’s not necessarily good, even at the end. But he’s so complex, he has so many layers, that you understand, and you support him anyway. And what you said about wanting to be there for them because no one else is, YESS, I feel that on another level. That’s exactly why I love antiheroes because I want to be there for them, and love them, and tell them it’s alright. UGHH the feels 😭

    But yes, all your points are on point, and I wholeheartedly agree! It’s ironic because I was thinking about writing a post on what makes a good anti-hero/morally grey character, and then I came across this lol. Amazing post ❤✨

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha the party is still going in my mind 😂😂 Thank you so much !!! 💛 I’m so glad you enjoyed this post, it means the world !! 💕 they are often but I’m glad to see some changes and have a lot of hope for the future !!

      Yay I’m glad the points were clear and you agree with them as I was worried when I posted it as they are lots of individual reasons too!!
      Yes learning from mistakes is something that appeals to a lot of people and it can be a really rewarding journey to watch. I just watched Avatar and Zuko really is a perfect example !! He definitely pulls on your heartstrings and it is a well developed journey full of ups and downs !! Haha I understand the love, I’ve been on Pinterest looking at Avatar stuff ever since I finished it 😂😂

      Kaz is a great anti-hero as he isn’t good but they are a lot of layers to explore from his reasons to what decisions he continues to make thoughtout the series. He is really well written so you can connect to him in some way.
      Yesss lonely characters always reach out to me and I just want to be there for them. That bond definitely makes me have a strong connection to those characters !! Yep all the feels 😭

      Thank you sooo much again !! Ahhh.. I would love to read your post as is there ever enough talk about morally grey characters?? No, the limit does not exist 😂😂
      Thank you so much for reading and commenting !! It made my day !! 💛

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love these sort of characters!! Especially the way that they can constantly keep you guessing. You never know what to expect from them and they always take you by surprise. Sometimes in good ways, sometimes in bad ones. Like you’ve said they’re such interesting characters to learn about and tend to feel more realistic for it. Plus they just tend to be addictive to read about 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay I’m glad you love them as well !! They are wonderul and so interesting !! 😍 yesss they do keep you guessing as they have a mix of motives and often have an inner struggle so they do feel unpredictable !! Yes it can be good or bad and often you are really routing for them so you can really invest in their journey!!
      Definitely they are often complex which makes them feel as real as they do !!
      They are so addictive !! 😂 you have to read that next chapter to see what they do !! 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We’ll have to find some to gush about together 😍😍 Yeah definitely, especially if you can’t see what’s going on in their head – it can be so hard to figure out what they’re going to do and why. It’s fascinating to get to see things from their POV too though. I’m not sure which is better? Yeah but then at times you kind of feel bad for routing for them too 😂
        Exactly!! They make books additionally readable.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. yesss !! ❤
          I know it does add an interesting element !! I'm not sure which is better either as I would like to see in their head but not being able to make them more mysterious and interesting so its a tough call hah !!
          Yeah you do at times, it is a complex feeling haha !!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yew exactly. How do you decide what’s best? The element of surprise and ‘what on earth will they do next’ along with the mysteriousness of why. Or the chance to see how their mind works and get that insight into what makes them tick. I want both!!

            Liked by 1 person

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