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Novadestin's avatar

Immortality Does Not Equal Mary Sue

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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Rabit2015's avatar

In some cases they do. Can't be killed off - Mary Sue, Has no 'kryptonite' - Mary Sue

DaBair's avatar
If an OC comes from a race that is immortal in canon, it would make sense for them to be immortal.
Rokuro-Dono's avatar
As a joke I have a chareter that has qualities of a Mary Sue, but there life is shit. XD
Due to bieng so powerful, they have to pay the price for those power's trapped in a place where those power's don't go beserk.
They are not loved by everyone, since most don't even know that they even exist.
Is immoral but has the most miserable time ever, losing people they love. Even if they were to learn every skill in the entire planet. Having no challenge would drive them crazy.
Sleepstar's avatar
Three of my Original Characters are immortal, but it makes sense in their case as they aren't human. The only way they can die is if someone uses metals such as iron, gold or silver on them. 
Swaggie--Vortex's avatar
You tell 'em! I'm tired of my DA pals (who are Mr. Men and Little Miss fans) saying shit about my sona...
BigClaudia's avatar
My OC can respawn
Novadestin's avatar
haha awesome 👍🏻
cat11144's avatar
I got called a cunt just because my OC is immortal, but if you look at my Crash Bandicoot Fanfic you can clearly see she is able to be killed!  I HATE OC BASHING! 

Sorry but what I'm trying to say is that yes my character is immortal, but at least she has flaws and she is able to be killed by spiritual means, aka like Alucard absorbing Schrödinger's blood making him have the ability to not recognizing himself.
Novadestin's avatar
"Killed by spiritual means" ...never come across that before, sounds interesting. Anyways, don't let oc bashers bother you; I once got told a character was (read in snotty voice) "probably Mary Sue" just because her profile was "too long"... yeah, they didn't even both to read it and just went off cause it was more than a couple pages long. Some people are just pretentious idiots looking for any means to place themselves above someone else and we should pity them instead of letting them get under our skin ✌
HatedLove6's avatar
Because the profile was too long?  :rofl:  Then all of my OCs are, and are going to be, Sues too.  Probably even Super Sues.  My blank template alone is a little over a page, and as it stands, the two OC profiles that have been updated are both six pages.  The only reason it isn't "complete" is because I want to add short descriptors to each of the personality traits to put it into context, and so I don't have to keep referencing back on my (in general) writing notes to know what it means instead of just referencing from the character sheet.  Once that's done, they'll both probably be seven pages long. 

Of course, number of pages don't really matter if you don't know the size, font, and line spacing.  So far, one OC is 3,417 words (21,297 characters) long, and the other is 3,678 words (22,188 characters) long.
cat11144's avatar
Thanks ^^  I never knew they were trying to get under my skin
K-a-n-i's avatar
I made one of my OC immortal, but only because she was made to see the human race to the end. She's to be a simple historian. But when her loved ones die, she'll never see them again. When you're both an alpha and omega, there is no end. You cannot have a happy ending because there is no ending.
Novadestin's avatar
Well, that depends on if the human race in your story has an end or not. I mean, there is no guarantee that we, as a species, will go on forever. So, if she is only alive as long as humans are and all humans die then she will have an end eventually... and she wouldn't technically be immortal then would she? Yeah, I know that's super nitpicking lol I'm just philosophizing out loud, ignore me haha ^_^
K-a-n-i's avatar
It's quite alright.
tultsi93's avatar
Thor and Loki are Mary Sues then! :D
Jazzy-Vertix's avatar
It's so annoying to see every character being immortal. Especially when it is a recolor. ugh...
MarDeAdstra's avatar
Hidan from Naruto is inmortal, however he has lots defects and a balanced personality: he is an incredible rude person, has terrible relationship with most of the Akatsuki members and actually is the weakest member of Akatsuki. 
NictheWerecatqueen's avatar
Thank you! I decided to post pics of my ocs on this fourm and mini-game site. At first I got a crap ton of "these are ugly" but lately i've geen getting a crap ton of "these are Mary-sues and god-modders" JUST because they are immortal. So almost all of my girl characters were called Mary-sues. :(. Like I said on my fourm, who let the trolls out?
Novadestin's avatar
lol every single female character will be called Mary Sue at one point or another. It's important to only listen to constructive criticism, not the noise ^^
Lulumewtrainer's avatar
If people are whining that an immortal character is a Mary-Sue, then by that logic, the ENTIRE CAST OF Baccano and Touhou would be Mary Sues XD
Cesilfei's avatar
This is very true, just because someone's immortal doesn't make them broken, it's whatever's added on.

Like say someone makes an immortal character and says they devoted all those years they've existed to learning every fighting style known to man, learning how to use any weapon known efficiently...Realistically speaking they may be capable of doing something like that if they've been around for quite a long time, but even then it would suck all the fun out of making an immortal, let alone a character, because then they feel...Bland, like they aren't really a character, more like a weapon made by the reader to kill their own creativity...

For example, I once made an immortal who devoted...Well...No time to basically anything besides being buried alive...However because she has True Immortality and Regenerative abilities she is essentially unkillable, does this help in combat? Hell no! Like any other person if she feels a certain amount of pain she'll black out for days depending on the severity, sure her body will recover from any damage but that doesn't mean it hurts any less, her body also shuts down from cold, lack of nutrition, lack of hydration...Basically an Immortal with the weakness of a human. Even then she's not even that combat savvy, she doesn't go out of her way to learn much, she's actual pretty average looking, and is more interested in the progression of art than learning anything she doesn't have to.

Sorry for talking about my own character in this, but I thought it was a good way for me to show that I agree.
Novadestin's avatar
By all means, discuss away! Seeing how other people handle the same traits is always fun because everyone has their own spin on things :) And, I agree that a character with only one single purpose, such as learning every fighting skill imaginable, would be very duel and actually pretty useless outside of a fight - like a bad-ass while fighting, but a neanderthal when it comes to things like communication, survival skills, common sense, etc :P
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