It's always bugged me how some people hear the word 'immortality' when talking about a character and freak out. Yes, I understand that immortality can be used to make those annoying uber-awesome characters that can never be out done, but I'm not talking about that. I'm just talking about immortality by itself. The kind of character mentioned above cannot be solely attributed to a never-ending lifespan.
Immortality is just having a life that doesn't end, it has nothing to do with, or little to do with, a character's skills or personality. But still, people automatically assume that because they can live forever then they MUST be uber-smart and uber-skilled. Right? Wrong. It can happen, yes, but that is not always the case. Having an immortal character myself (well, she is presumed to be immortal since she hasn't found anything that can kill her... yet), I face this silly discussion a lot. No, that's being too nice. It's rarely ever an actual discussion and more of a 'point and yell stupid and ignorant things' kind of situation.
My 'immortal' character is not a know-it-all, she has a memory just like any other person. The saying 'I've forgotten more than you'll ever know' really applies here. She doesn't go out of her way to try and learn everything, and what she does learn only sticks around in her mind so long as she uses the information/skill. There are plenty of times where she runs into a situation and has to improvise because she doesn't quite remember what to do. An example would be her trying to pick a lock on a door... she lives in a jungle-like village that doesn't have door locks. Sure, she could probably figure it out if given enough time, but who knows how long that could take as in that moment she would almost be like a novice again. She spends more time re-learning things through the years than she does learning new things.
This applies to her skills as well. Granted, once you do something like a fighting style long enough, your muscles remember the moves even if your brain doesn't. That's not to say my character is some fighting machine who knows every fighting style ever, but she can protect herself extremely well. Drop her into a martial arts competition and she'd be able to beat pretty much everyone (the really good fighters would give her a run for her money though), however she would get disqualified almost immediately because she wouldn't follow the rules of any one style (she fights to protect herself, she doesn't care about how). Drop her into a fight that involves modern weapons, such as guns and rocket launches, and she would probably run away. She could potentially disarm the bad guys if she got the chance, but she is in no way impervious to bullets (she may not die, but that doesn't mean they just bounce off her like Superman; in fact, they affect her pretty much just the same as they would a normal person, only difference is she would heal from it... eventually).
Personality and lifestyle wise, immortality is a curse to her. And, I don't mean in the 'Queen of the Damned' I'm so lonely kind of way either. She leads a very fulfilling life (to her) that is full of loving people, but she is incapable of being with her son and that's why she feels it's a curse. The way immorality affects her body when she gets hurt also plays a huge roll on her feelings that it's a curse (it's in NO way '5 minutes and you're perfectly healed'!). She doesn't have tons of money or a big house or lots of cool 'toys' (she lives in what many might call poverty), she just wants to help the people around her make a life for themselves and figure out a way to get her son back. Simple, no flash. I know some might call that a "crappy life" next to their 'first-world problems', but that's the kind of person she is. She would be the same way if she was with her son. Immorality is a disease to her; a cancer that, instead of eating away at her, keeps putting bits back. Instead of robbing her of years, it's giving her too many, and it has driven her off the deep end quite a few times.
My point is, immortality is just another trait that can be done well or poorly. People really need to stop assuming things and give each character their fair chance. I know immorality is one of those traits that is very often done poorly (I refuse to say wrong because there is no right or wrong way when it comes to writing; and no, you can't convince me otherwise!), but that doesn't mean people should just start calling every immortal character a bad character simply because they are immortal. We, as reviewers, need to get back into the habit of actually reviewing the whole character and not just picking at the outer edges and calling it a day. Come on people, grow some balls and put in the work or step the fuck back for someone who will.
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