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”

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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.

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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.

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*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.

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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.

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GOOD VERSUS BAD

People Who've Never Read The "Harry Potter" Books ...

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*.

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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

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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.

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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 ...

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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.

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Who are your favourite morally grey characters?

Do you like morally grey characters? Why do you like them?

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

  1. YES YES AND YES to all the points you made! I love morally grey characters, although I don’t read or come across them very often for some reason. My main reason to love them is simply because they’re realistic and messy and more human. Like, don’t tell me a character has been good or bad their whole lives I mean sure, that’s plausible but every character seems to be categorised that way and I’m so tired. I feel like we need to chant for morally grey character rep too, especially for it to not supreme y be white and male.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh… I’m so glad you enjoyed this post 😊💛🌟 I really like morally grey characters too but I haven’t read too many either really.
      Yes I love the messy side of them so much. It is realistic and human. It really brings a depth to the character that is unique and memorable.
      I know what you mean, some people have a goodie and baddie list for characters when really most aren’t that simple.
      Yes *joins you in chant* white males are the dominant ones and most talked about so more variety would be wondeful!! Thank you for commenting !! 💛

      Like

  2. I really enjoyed reading your analysis. Your points really struck a chord with me as to why exactly we relate so well to these morally gray characters and why they are able to have such powerful character arcs. (also you’re right — it would be nice to have more racial diversity in characters? That’s always exciting haha)
    Much love! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much !! I’m glad you could relate to my points as I just wrote what I felt and it was hard to explain it at times so that’s wonderful to hear 😊💛
      We do relate to these characters and I love their character arcs so much 😍
      Definiely would love to see and read more diverse morally grey characters 😊
      Thank you so much 💕💕

      Liked by 1 person

  3. (I get…very annoyed about the white and male thing, too, I want more female and/or POC antiheroes darn it!!!)
    I remember I did a trope talk on morally gray characters/antiheroes a year ago, mostly talking about how glorifying these types of characters drives me batty. And I will say, I’m fine with characters who like…kill their enemies or whatever, but at the point where they’re nasty at the personal level, especially to their girlfriends, then dude! You aren’t a cool morally gray antihero, alright? You’re just an abuser!
    But despite the pitfalls of this character type, it still is one of my favorite tropes. There really is something about a good moral dilemma that pulls me in, and (while I have no patience for abuse that’s portrayed as cool) I really relate to a character not knowing the right decision to make in a situation or making the wrong choice because of a petty flaw. I think we can all relate to morally gray characters, because we’re all flawed, and we’ve all experienced making a choice we know we shouldn’t have.
    I also think that the best antiheroes are the ones who go after those in power rather than ones who oppress those who are weak. If you show your antihero oppressing people who are weak and glorify that, that’s typically when I get close to throwing the book across the room. That’s why I couldn’t really stand The Cruel Prince (apologies if you like the book).
    I also don’t like antiheroes when they cross the line into edginess. Coolness is one thing, but edginess is another.

    As a side note, even though I love morally gray characters, I will say I’m weirded out by writing advice I’ve read that says you HAVE to make villains and heroes morally gray? It’s something you CAN do, it’s not something you have to do. Some of my favorite heroes are ones with a good moral compass, and there have been plenty of effective villains who are mostly evil. Oh well.

    Anyway, I could probably go on longer, but this comment is already getting LONG, so I just wanted to say that I love this article and I love morally gray characters!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, people are used to forgiving white males and it shows it writing. I definitely want more female and/or POC morally grey characters. I know some but I just want more.

      Ooh that sounds like a good post, I will have to find it in the next few days 😊 these characters can be glorified and I didn’t touch on it too much but I don’t always agree with that approach and it isn’t what I like about these characters every time. I know some characters are straight up cruel and abusive so it needs to be handled responsibly by both the writer and the fans.

      I agree, this trope isn’t perfect but when I find one I love and it done to how I like it, then it is amazing so everytime morally grey characters are mentioned I get excited for that reason. The moral dilemmas can be so interesting and captivating for us readers.
      Yes and you can relate on some level as I never know what I am doing or whether what I am doing is always right. Exactly, it is the flaws which make them relatable and that realness definitely pulls me towards these characters.
      Yes motivation is an important thing as it needs to be less dark then oppression but for something more human like power, money, acceptance, honour etc. Some traits or actions definitely shouldn’t be glorified in life or books !!!
      I haven’t read The Cruel Prince actually but the hype tempts me but I honestly expect to hate Cardan from what I’ve seen. 🙈

      Yes I don’t thing that is any such thing as a “have” to with writing as it is your writing and your choice. Like you said, you can or cannot. I love good heroes too, like the Clark Kent dynamic is timeless to me. And honestly I prefer books which have a mix of good, bad and morally grey as they work well together.

      Thank you so much for this comment, I LOVED READING IT!! Thank you so much 💛💛

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I LOVE MORALLY GRAY CHARACTERS they always make a book sososo much better. Draco, ZUKO, Nico (why are they all -o’s, lmao)(lmao ends with an o too, oop) and also Reyna (nico and reyna are rick riordan characters and I can’t wait for you to read it!!!) But all of these characters end up choosing good haha, and they are some of my favorites. We also def need more non white males!! Reyna and Zuko are people of color so that’s cool. By the way, have you met Toph yet?! LEGEND.
    I could go on and on but I’ll leave you at this haha. Loved this post!! 💛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes morally grey characters are so interesting !!!! 😍😍 they always add such an great dynamic!!!
      Haha all the o’s have it !!! 😂 Draco was great and I love Zuko 😍😍 I’m excited to meet Nico and Reyna, I can’t wait *squeals*
      I do love the redemption arc plots 😍 just so much growth and beauty!!
      Yeah, there are some who I love and some I need to meet for sure but even more diversity would be better!!
      Yessss I have !! I love Toph, she is so cool and amazing. I want to channel my inner Toph all the time, she is an icon!!!
      Haha thank you for reading and commenting !!! 💙💙

      Liked by 1 person

  5. AHHH YES. I actually wrote an essay for English on the definition of an anti-hero, which is along the same lines. And of course I used Snape as an example 😁🤣 I love morally gray characters because — like you said — they challenge the definitions of good vs evil. They really make me think, and I love that! (Oh and of course they’re damaged and in need of hugs so that’s a plus)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay!!! That essay sounds awesome, storylines about these characters are so interesting and there is so much to say about them as well!!
      Haha Snape is a great example and always so much to discuss around him!!
      I love that they challenge the good vs evil and have so much complexity!! Yesss I love characters that make me think, that is such a good point !!
      Haha yes we love to give hugs to those who need it!!! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ooh yesss this discussion talks about so many good points 👏👏 I love morally grey characters bc they are so u predictable. We don’t have to put them in a box or category bc they could literally do a complete 180 and we would except nothing less of our scheming liars 😉 I also love the morally grey characters who murder, kill, and do criminal things but also have a heart of gold?? Bad is just so much more interesting you know? Some of my fav morally grey character is Jack Sparrow, Kaz Becker, and The Bloodwitch in Susan Dennard books!! Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh… Thank you so much !!! 💛
      Yes I love that they could do anything and they usually aren’t based on a classic formula!!! Yes exactly, they can change and do anything so we love them, scheming liars and all!!! 😂
      Yes that is an interesting dynamic to read about as they do horrible things but can have really lovable traits, it makes them memorable!! Haha yes 😉
      Aww… Jack and Kaz are amazing!! I’ve yet to read the truthwitch series but I want to!!! 😊
      Thank you for reading and commenting 💛

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I love morally grey characters so freaking much! As you pointed out, their decisions aren’t always predictable and that is so refreshing, but even if you can guess what they will do or how they will act, I also enjoy (???) that their decisions make me uncomfortable at times. It’s not so much that I think it’s because I want to live my darker thoughts through them, but more that I get an entirely different perspective that makes sense and lets me relate to a completely different persona. I like when characters are able to shake me up a little bit!
    But one thing is true for sure, I always have empathy for the loner and want to take care of them. Since you were entirely right in pointing out that the morally grey characters are often (although not always) more on the loner side, this makes a lot of sense.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Morally Grey characters for the win !!!! 😍😍
      Yes it is refreshing and they can go up and down with their decisions. There is always a lot behind their motivations !!!
      I know what you mean, you can’t look away from their decisions as they are so dark and different to what you would do or the stereotypical hero so I like to watch them.
      Yeah I feel like there are two types of morally grey characters as some are relatable in their messy way (not always relating in the literal sense) but like you said, some are so opposite to you and they are so different so it naturally is interesting to see this character as you aren’t used to this behaviour in your own life making them more captivating to you in a way (I didn’t think of that but it is so true) !!

      Yes the loner always pulls at my heartstrings. Yes it isn’t always the case with morally grey characters that they are alone but it can occur at times so I think it can make a difference. 😊
      Thank you for reading and commenting Kat!!! 💛

      Liked by 1 person

    1. THANK YOU SO MUCH !!! 💛 I’m so glad you enjoyed this post !! Ahh.. that makes me so happy, I know I couldn’t have touched on every point but I’m glad you could connect to it 😊💕
      Yes same, there are so interesting and I love getting to know them!! (Kaz is iconic) !!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. “They’re horrible but good looking in leather so we forget about all the murder and emotional abuse. Probably white and male.” HAH I snorted out loud. It’s sad but true.

    I feel like I’m slightly less obsessed with morally grey characters than a lot of readers, but I still enjoy them when they’re well done. I love it when motivations are complicated because there’s no right answer in their situation, so they have to make tough decisions that might not be 100% moral. And I do appreciate when it’s clear that they’re not making decisions in order to be liked, either by the reader or by other characters, but because they have to. Gotta love that complexity!! And a good redemption arc is ALWAYS great to read!

    It does frustrate me when people are less forgiving of morally grey characters who aren’t white and male, which can sometimes cause me to be less forgiving of those white male morally grey characters in return lol (a major reason I don’t like Kylo Ren from Star Wars or Snape from Harry Potter). I think a “good” (as in well written) morally grey character does explore some of the not-so-nice parts of humanity, as you said, allowing us to be more forgiving about those parts of ourselves. I like it less when we’re expected to excuse things like murder and emotional abuse, though. Gotta draw the line somewhere!

    Wonderful post, Sophie – this really made me think! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. haha I’m glad that made you laugh!! But it is also sad that this happens as it isn’t why I like this character type at all.

      Haha it is cool that we all have different things we love in books. But I do agree that I only enjoy this character when it is well done and to my liking. (like Damien from The Bright Sessions is one of my faves and Zuko from Avatar (even though I haven’t finished this series yet)) This post was definitely written in a rose-tinted view as I was thinking of them and I didn’t touch too much on the problems with this trope.
      Complicated motivations are definitely one of the best aspects as there is so much to unpack here and I love watching it happen. Yes I think these characters can be interesting to watch what they will do ! The complexity is great and I love redemptions arcs too!! One of the greatest!!

      There is a thing where white, males are more easily forgiven and I do hate that. I remember in an interview with Penn Badgley from You said ‘it is about how far you are willing to go to forgive an evil, white male?’ and I thought that was really good as it highlighted that he appearance and race played an important part in how he was received by audiences. (I’m not a big fan of Kylo Ren either and I found Snape interesting but I don’t like him, like I acknowledge he was brave but that didn’t cancel out the cruelty or anything thing else). I think there are two type of morally grey characters; ones who are interesting to watch but I don’t like as people and the others who grow and develop into someone I like. This isn’t a strict rule but I like both, just in very different ways. I definitely don’t agree that murder and abuse should be forgiven or forgotten especially by the characters who it was done to. Definitely have to drawn the line and they have to be handled responsibly by both writers and fans.

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting, I loved reading it ❤ I'm glad this post could make you think !! 🙂

      Like

    1. Thank you so much and you have no idea how happy it makes me that you liked the way I wrote it !! ❤ Aw.. yeah not all books have morally grey characters and some books don't have them the way I like them but I'm always interested when I know a book has morally grey characters, haha!!
      Thank youuuuu !!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Wonderful discussion, Sophie!! I love the subtle shade about how morally grey characters are almost always white and male 😂 This might be a little bit of an unpopular opinion, but I don’t care much for morally grey characters. Don’t get me wrong, I love a lot of characters who fit this archetype, but I don’t actively seek out morally grey characters in books. As long as a character is interesting and well-developed, I’ll love them, whether they’re morally grey, black, or white!
    That being said, I think it’s very questionable that people only stan a morally grey character if they are white and male. I saw a tweet once that went along the lines of “A morally grey character is a character who does bad things, but is attractive,” and I can’t begin to describe how true that is!! I think it’s a little flawed that many of fan favorite morally grey characters are white, male, and attractive. (not trying to call out anybody here, i’m guilty of stanning these white, attractive, and morally grey men too 😂)
    However, if a female character is morally grey, she’s more likely to be labeled “annoying” by readers, but if she were male, people would probably faun over her 24/7. I think this is because men are naturally expected by society to be rule breakers. men are praised if they show some kind of violent or rebellious quality, because that’s “manly”. However, women are expected to be shy and compliant. I think that when we come across a woman who rebels against societal norms, our inner prejudice stops us from stanning her like we would a male character. In that sense, morally grey men aren’t very groundbreaking because men are groomed to be at least a little bad from an early age, but when a woman is morally grey, she truly challenges us to question our idea of morality and inner prejudices. So I hope that the community grows more accepting of morally grey female characters like they are of male characters ❤
    (lol i hope this whole comment made sense. sorry if it didn't)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank youuu Caitlin!! ❤ Haha yeah, I didn't really go into the problems with the character and how there are handled but I did have to mention that they were usually, mostly white and male.
      Ohh.. it is nice to hear that not everyone likes the same thing though, I was definitely going on the stereotype that everyone loves them!! Haha, whenever I see a book has morally grey characters they probably go higher on my TBR even though I've read many I don't like but just the chance that they might be one I love gets me excited, haha!!
      Yeah interesting, complex, well-developed characters aren't exclusive to morally grey so any character that is described as such does get me excited. Plus I love it where there is a mix of characters like the good hero and the morally grey characters (the right type of morally grey) together in one of my favourite dynamics!!
      Yeah there is a double standard where appearance plays an all too big part in how we will forgive a character, like the actor from You said, 'it is about how far we are willing to forgive an evil, white man.' which I think you can see it how these characters are received so I do think it is an important point which needs to be recognised and I probably have fell into this group at times as well!!
      You are so right with how males and females are received like if a male is broody, he is complicated and attractive but when a female does is she is 'just a bitch' so noooo, that is not what we want. You are so right, men are told from a young age that this type of behaviour is expected of them, to be reckless and rebellious. To be the strong, bold type with no emotions whilst girls are taught to behave and act calm, orderly and respectful of everyone including the people who walk over you. A study showed that gender stereotypes start to be believed at 6 (I'm sure this has nothing to do with schools *pained smile*). So I completely agree that this is reflected in writing and how morally grey characters are received !! I hope the community grows as well and I've noticed in my writing I always have morally grey females and soft boys, it going to be predictable but I'm not mad anymore. haha!!
      Yes this comment did make sense and I loved reading it so THANK YOU!! ❤

      Liked by 3 people

  10. I love this post so much!! (when you finally got the definition down?? 👌🏽😂.) I agree with all these points, especially the last one! The biggest reason why I love morally grey characters is because they’re realistic. Like you said, it’s nice to read about a righteous Clark Kent character when the real world is 💩, but we all know how his story ends 😕. There’s usually a lot more room for morally grey characters to grow, and as someone who prefers character-driven stories, I LOVE that evolution 🥺. Queen Levana from The Lunar Chronicles series is one of my favorite morally grey characters (I thought she was infinitely more interesting than Cinder haha 😅).
    Awesome discussion, Sophie 😄!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Belle!! ❤ Haha I know, got to get the perfect definition!! Yay, I'm glad you could agree with just some of the reasons why I think morally grey characters are so popular! Yesss, the realistic side is really important as their flaws are so rich and so well explored and you really get to see the messy side of these characters so it really brings them to life.
      Yes I love heroes who decide the right thing and always value being kind, they are amazing and inspiring but getting to see a morally grey character's journey is so interesting and full of so much growth and change at times. I love character driven stories as well so *high five* and morally grey character's plots are usually led by their character. It is a beautiful evolution!!
      Queen Levana is really interesting, I really enjoyed her in Fairest. So good!!
      Thank you so much!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  11. YASSSSSSSS TO THIS POST SOPHIE!!!! Omg love it so much. I always love sort of morally dubious type characters. Or characters that just don’t give a damn what the reader thinks about them. Just characters that own all facets of their personality. The good, the bad, and the in between lol! One of the most ethically shady characters that I love is Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights. He’s just soooooo dodgy lol 😂 Awesome post :))))))

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah… thank you so much !!! ❤ I'm sooo happy you loved it so much!! Yes the morally ambiguous characters are so interesting and when they don't 'care' about what the reader would think of them it leaves so much room for exploration with these characters where they can literally do anything. And you get to see every side of them!! It is PERFECTION!!!
      Ohh.. I've never read Wuthering Heights but now I'm going to have to and I have been meaning to read some classics for ages!
      Thank you so much!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I LOVE THIS POST SO MUCH AND I HAVE A LOT TO COMMENT ON FOR MAKING UP MY LACK OF DECENT COMMENTS LATELY AND BECAUSE I LOVE THIS POST OKAY LETS GO!
    .
    Why can’t we have more POC female antiheroes? If anything, girls are sassy and cruel (not all of them I swear) but there is so much potential for them to be amazing antiheroes? and it would cross over multiple tropes at once which would work too? Please?
    .
    If you haven’t noticed by now, I am absolutely obsessed with morally gray characters!
    .
    Moral difficulties are so amazing to witness in books (but not IRL, it’s scary!) and I love it when there are morally gray characters who have something to fight for rather than someone to fight against? IDK but when they are fighting someone instead of a goal they seem closer to “hey, I’m a prick” rather than “I’m a morally gray babey who is in need of aggressive love with a five foot pole”.
    .
    I think there do seem to be a few blurred lines around morally gray characters and eDgY cHaRaCtErS who are not written well at all. Cough, Hardin in After. He seemed like a “oh I’m morally gray character because of my tRaUmAtIc PaSt” character, but he was, as I said above, an “hey, I’m a prick” character. (sorry for my After hate!)

    Ahhhhh I love this post, Sophie!!
    -Emma xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah… thank you so much Emma!! And your comments are always sweet and I appreciate them so much, even if it just a word to say you liked it. Honestly thank you!! BUT I AM SO GLAD TO HEAR YOU LOVE THIS POST, IT MEANS THE WORLD!!

      I know females would make amazing antiheroes and I would love to see more!! They can be so good but they are less common and if they are some, they tend to get hated on for the same qualities that men can often be praised for!! But yess I want to see more and I want to love them, also if it is multiple cool tropes at once, what is not to love?!?!

      Hhaha I’m obsessed with morally grey characters too!!

      Yeah in books it is safe, but in real life it would be a different case!! Yes I agree having something they want makes them really interesting and it really makes their motivations work outside of the ‘evil’ and ‘good’ as they are seeking something usually for themselves!! Yes you are so right this “I’m a morally gray babey who is in need of aggressive love with a five foot pole” is the one of the best types of morally grey characters !!

      Yes morally grey characters can be handled badly and not very written. They act like one detail can make you ignore all the bad traits like no, that isn’t what it is about and you can’t ignore the serious things they did!! Yes, so true!!

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting, I loved reading it!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I love, love, LOVE morally grey characters for all the reasons you mentioned, and especially because they generally feel more complex (and more realistic) than simply good or bad characters. There’s just so much to explore in the case of a morally grey character both in- and outside the text. (I hope that makes sense? I mean that we can make up our own theories and form our own conclusions in some cases, while heroes and villains just… are, there’s no space for analysis.)

    Even though I was disappointed in the series as the story progressed, I think Jude from The Cruel Prince is a well-written morally grey character. I also love the Six of Crows gang, of course. Oh, and Evelyn Hugo! She is a great example.

    Also, I definitely agree!! White males are allowed to be morally grey all.the.time. while characters of color and women are rarely allowed. *sighs*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, morally grey characters for the win!! I mean sometimes that aren’t handled perfectly but when they are *chef’s kiss*, I’m obsessed!!
      Yeah there is more to them as they don’t fit on either side of good or bad so it does feel realistic and so complex. I completely agree that writers can do a lot with these characters and so can fans are there is usually so much to unpack!! Whereas the heroes and villains are pre-written in a sense so I totally understand. I think it is why morally grey characters are such a fan favourite!!

      Yes I really want to meet Jude as I feel like she would be my favourite from what I’m heard. And yeesssss the six of crows gang is one of the best!! I love them!! And I thought of Evelyn Hugo as well, she is perfect for this and some of the things she said were YES!

      Yeah white males are allowed to showcase grey behaviour all the time and even get praised for it whereas POC or women will get hated for it so there does need to be some growth here!! Although I do know of morally grey characters that aren’t white male and they are great so I’m glad you can find it somewhere, I just want more as generally white males have more room to do questionable behaviour!!

      Thank you for reading and commenting!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  14. YES! I love morally grey characters so much, particularly for their unpredictability (and bonus points for unreliable narrators)! I think one of the reasons I gravitate to them so much though is because it mirrors real life; people as a whole aren’t wholly good or bad and things aren’t so black and white. It is that struggle and where they might give in their morality that makes things interesting. What drives them? What is important? How do we as humans choose between what is right and “wrong”? How and when are “wrong” acts considered justified?

    don’t mind me… I am just going to c/p my comment into a draft post for an eventual discussion on this, because you have my juices flowing!!! Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay morally grey characters are so interesting and I can’t help getting excited when I hear a book has one.
      Their unpredictability is so fun and intriguing. ooh.. unreliable narrators, yesss!! I need to read more of them!
      Yes definitely morally grey characters reflect the good and bad in everyone (not always directly but like you said people aren’t usually wholly good or bad). Most things are rarely black and white so these characters are perfect in books and really have a realism about them!! Yes it can be interesting to see what they decide based on their circumstance and then as a reader you can decide if you think it is good or bad, and begin to explore why they did this. It brings up important questions that we usually want answers to for our own life making them really captivating and realistic to read about.
      Haha!! I love that because I would love to read your discussion and I kind of love that you go so into!! Thank you so much for reading and commenting!! ❤

      Like

  15. You hit the nail on the head with this post. I adore morally grey characters with every fibre of my being for all of the reasons you mentioned. I love their unpredictability and the ways they keep you on your toes, but more than that I love how relatable they are in the sense that they struggle. They struggle with their moral compass, the internal struggle also adds such an additional layer of depth to the character without having to justify the nature of their actions. It’s human and it’s messy. I feel like Kaz Brekker is the perfect example of a morally grey character. Some of his actions are deplorable, but we also come to understand why he commits such acts without romanticising or applauding them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay I’m glad you could agree with this post!! Morally grey characters are so interesting and I love them!!
      You never know what they are going to do next which I love and it is great to see why they choose their choices as well!!
      They really do struggle and go back and forth so it is definitely relatable to read about!! They do have a lot of depth and have so much you can explore with these characters like why they do this and what they struggle with. Getting to experience them doing this makes you build a bit of an emotional attachment as well!!
      Yeah, they are free of judgement in a way like you said as they aren’t expected to be the good hero which opens up their character to more possibilities!!
      Kaz Brekker is a great example– he walks that line of morally grey but likeable and not romanticised which is really important!!
      Thank you for reading and commenting!!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. okay i seriously loved the points you made here. i definitely thing the bookworld has an unbeaten obsession over morally grey characters (not that i can fault that hehe)

    i really love how complex the morally grey characters are, they’re usually more developed and go through a greater arc (or they have a tragic backstory, which i am,,,,,a sucker for) ans ugh YES we long to love the lonely. that’s such a great way to describe it haha

    the relatable or realistic flaws of a character are what make me personally love them and care for them more. i really like books that have enough depth to explore that without exempting the morally grey character for their sometimes terrible behaviour

    this was such a great, deep post. i really loved reading it and you explained the points so well!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, that means a lot!! The book community does love these character and I’m not the exception!! haha!!

      They are really complex and it is really focused on for their character due to the nature of their choices so I love the detail!! I love character arcs so much!!!! Tragic backstory can bring so much emotion and I’ve never ready for it!!
      Yes I always reach out for the lonely!!!!

      Definitely, when they are realistically flawed it can make the character seem so real and I immediately connect to them as well!! I agree, I love exploring these characters but I don’t like it when bad behaviour is brushed off as it is important for it to be handled responsibly!!

      Thank youuuu so much!! That means so much, I could talk about these character forever!! I’m so glad you enjoyed reading it!! ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I think there’s nothing more interesting than those characters where you can’t tell if they’re good or bad. Especially if they’re not a main character so you don’t really get to see their motivations or the reasons behind their decisions, it can really keep you guessing about what they’re going to do next.

    I loved the intro where you’re trying to describe morally grey characters, so many people glorify characters that are really just horrible purely because they have some attractive qualities. And sadly they are mainly white males – I want more morally grey female characters!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I definitely find them so interesting as well!! I love it when you are never 100% sure if they are good or bad and I look for an answer in everything!! Yes so true about when they aren’t a main character as a lot of their character is hidden so I’m so intrigued whilst reading about them!!

      Haha thank you, it was a light hearted way of highlighting the problems with how these characters can be received as they can be really glorified which isn’t why I like them at all. It definitely is, I’m glad they are a few morally grey female but when they are there, I often find they deserve more or aren’t as well received!! So I want more for them and just more female characters that are morally grey as well!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m reading a really good book for morally grey characters at the moment – The Ask and the Answer (from the Chaos Walking trilogy). Basically all of the side characters’ motivations are so hard to guess at and I can never tell whether to trust them or not. It’s really keeping me reading!

        I totally agree that the female characters usually aren’t as well received by audiences – I think it’s mostly an unconcious bias which is kind of sad because they definitely deserve more credit!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oohhh I want to read that series as well!! 😍 I’m so glad to hear that the side characters are morally grey and it keeps you guessing !!

          I do think it can be due to ingrained behaviour in society but I know they are loved by some as well so I’m glad to see these changes !! 😊

          Liked by 1 person

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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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