“A bent hnau can do more evil than a broken one.” Oyarsa of Malacandra
(hnau: a sentient being, capable of speech, thought and personhood)
Whenever I read a novel, I identify and analyze the main conflict. I apply Okham’s Razor to trace the conflict to its origin, which is usually a “bent” human being.
Bent humans create conflict out of their character flaws and dysfunctions. Bent humans are almost always emotionally immature and intellectually dishonest. They create conflict by acting out of their flawed perspective and are capable of great evil.
Consider the devastation wrought by just one bent character in popular novels such as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, The Lord of the Rings, The Hunger Games and The Game of Thrones. When I read passages describing death and destruction caused by the actions of one person, I can’t help but wonder why. Why do bent human beings inhabit so many stories? Are they necessary? If so, how much damage should they be allowed to inflict?
For me, there is a tipping point when the evil is too much and I am no longer engaged in the story – I want to change it. I think that is because in real life there are bent humans who have done or are doing great evil. It is not entertaining; it is depressing and disheartening.
But what I find even more depressing is how bent humans are dealt with in the stories. They are always killed. Death is the only option to stop the evil. But Oyarsa has an alternative. Speaking to a bent human being, he says, “If you were mine, I would try to cure you.”
That is the major change I would make in stories about bent humans – I would find a way to redeem them. If they were mine, I would try to cure them because I think there is always hope.