Lumity Month- Nightmares
Amity ran as fast as she could trying to catch up with Luz who screamed in fear as she tried to regain control
Amity “LUZ! DON’T PANIC! JUST---”
Amity decided that she needed help with the current situation and sprinted toward the building
Viney heard the door of the beast coven classroom fly open, drawing her attention to see the green haired witch covered in sweat and panting, seemingly exhausted
Viney looked at her, her eyes narrowing
Viney “What did she get into now?”
Amity looked down, “I may have told her that you had a Night Mare in the beast keeping stables, and she wanted to see what it looked like...”
Viney pinched the bridge of her nose, “Okay, Just tell me she didn’t try to rid-”
Her statement was interuppted when the sound of stomping hoofs began to echo through the halls, and a large black horse like creature flew past the open door, and the familar scream following after
Luz “SORRY.....SORRY.....OUT OF THE WAY!!!!”
Viney looked at Amity, who stared at the beast keeping witch tapping her fingers together out of nervousness.
Amity :”It’s Luz... of course she wanted to try to ride it....”
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Jumbled Thoughts: High Society Characters Featuring The Blights From The Owl House
The elite. The privileged. The powerful. Those who seem untouchable and look down upon others because they think it is their right, whether this be because of birthright, reputation, wealth, or all of the above. These figures that seem so much larger than everyone else... but are still human. Still characters, just with a dimension to them that is specific to their stature and their unique perspectives from on high. There’s a lot of different ways to write high society characters and a lot of general pitfalls with these characters. Fortunately, we have a whole family of five to help us both examine different archtypes amongst these characters, pitfalls with each, and considerations that can be made based off of both what they do and, more importantly, ESPECIALLY for high society characters, what they don’t. There will be spoilers and this is your warning now.
We’ll start with the characters we know the least about from the show: Alador and Odalia Blight. They are the parents to three children and are closer to what people would consider the stereotypical high society character. The token or straw man version of them. They’re severe, they care about legacy, and are brutal about that legacy. They appear evil to most people, especially in forcing their daughter to abandon a friend they perceive as unworthy of spending time with their family so she may befriend the friends they ‘approve’ of, or are simply convenient because they are available by being children of people they work with.
This is pretty common for antagonistic high society characters as, from 99% of the population’s view, these actions are abusive, evil, and reprehensible. And... they are... to some extent. These characters, ideally, show a high level of pragmatism. They have obvious goals, obvious priorities, often to do with appearance, status, strength, etc. that go hand in hand with keeping their position of power and are often ruthless in achieving these goals. They were raised in a way to perceive weakness as humiliating and needing help as failure. This actually makes this a good archtype too as parents to a high society character seeking redemption because your plucky hero (or heroine) can teach them that friends are in fact important and that clear strength isn’t all there is. But these strereotypical characters are often too far gone to see that as anything other than repulsive.
...WHY!? This is the pitfall of these characters and making them exceedingly token. One note. Boring. If all they do is crush happiness, you lose the concept of them doing this to protect their legacy and devolve into them being cackling, mustache twirling villains which really sucks because these character’s pragmatism is their greatest strength. That weird person who is one of a kind in the world and has a special power? A bad author may immediately have these high society twats reject them. A good author may have these characters consider long term plans with them. If their unique qualities can take them somewhere, perhaps that’s a useful asset. If they can claim to have fostered, or at least befriended, this unique talent then that is an accomplishment that their family will have above all others. That will increase the prestige of their name. And that is the unique twist on these characters to keep in mind. They think on a macro scale. A scale that encompasses all levels of society and how to at all times turn things into opportunities in their favor. At least, if you want to sell the idea that there’s a reason they were able to become and stay members of high society rather than just being privileged assholes.
Speaking of, second type with the second and third best known characters: Emira and Edric as the privileged assholes! These characters make for great minor antagonists and bullies and that’s a lot of what we at least hear of these two twins. They skip class, they pull pranks, they break into places they aren’t supposed to, and they seek retribution upon those who try to ruin their fun. This even went as far as trying to ruin their little sister’s life by publishing her diary at one point. These characters are hedonistic, selfish, and entirely out for their personal enjoyment, all of which they can pursue relentlessly because they know their status gives them immunity to the consequences that society would wish to place on them.
So, the pitfall? Well, the first comes in the form of motivation. Why are they like this? It’s easy to just make them spoiled but was that the whole point to it? These characters benefit the most from their parental figures actually in general, rather than just themselves. After all, their desires override any sort of pain, anger, etc. that may lead them to the escapism. I’ll come back to these two more though when I start talking about the entire context of the family but these two are treated so drastically different from their sister, and their temperament so against what is ‘proper’ for high society that it has very interesting ramifications to the dynamics of the family, at least if you want them to be there.
But, we have one last member. A main supporting character of the show and the archtype of the next generation/redeemable high society character: Amity Blight. She has straight hair, straight As, moves straight towards her goals, and is in all ways Little Miss Perfect at the beginning of the show.
Check this out if you don’t get the reference. It’s a very good song.
She is inherently a good person, but instead holds the weight of her name on her shoulders. She knows what a Blight is supposed to look like, act like, and what they’re supposed to aim for as the best of the best. She knows what that takes, she knows how hard she needs to work, and she does everything right. Which also means that when things go wrong, she snaps like a twig because she is so ready to explode from all of the doubts in her mind about whether or not she can do this.
And all of this is pretty stock for the high society character you want to have the flavor of this trait, but also to make likable. This actually isn’t even a dig at the show. They’re simply the most obviously relatable traits that can make a viewer like a character so far removed from their reality. They want them to be free of the pressure. Allowed to be the person they are/want to be rather than the one that they obviously are being made to be.
Aaaand *drops you in a hole* DO YOU SEE THE PROBLEM!? This is one that’s probably the easiest to overlook as a problem but it’s entirely a matter of whether or not you get rid of the flavor of who they used to be in redemption. This is admittedly a problem with any character who is redeemed but it should never feel like this character, who used to be so focused on one goal because of their heritage, has given up on those goals or simply wears fancier clothes than everyone else because their parents have money. You started from this deep base of pressure that was likely enforced for years and that’s not something that simply vanishes from a pretty pair of brown eyes. Of course, depending on the amount of time you can spend on this or the tone you’re going for, abandoning some of these elements is also fine. After all, Amity is a part of the main supporting cast, but still not the main character and maybe in half of the episodes in the first season, if not less, and for most of those she likely gets less than five minutes of screentime. There’s only so much character development you can do with that so if you want to expedite some of the uglier parts of a character like her’s arc to get them where they can properly be working with the good guys, that’s entirely fine.
In other words, this is your reminder that not all things that may appear as problems are all of the time. It all depends on execution and what is important to your story. After all, if you need token characters for a one time excursion into high society, the first archtype makes for great main foes for your heroes to face, the second work well as either nuisances or unlikely assistants, and the last one can quickly be made into a fast ally to take with you, especially if you make it that they want to be more like the second archtype and so want out from under the pressure they’re under. If that’s something that needs to happen within 20k words or three episodes, etc. then GO FOR IT. Do not feel bad if you have to make them less than the deepest characters because if they always had to be, these archtypes wouldn’t exist as they do.
Last section: What these archtypes say in tandem. Or, in other words, what’s not being said? Let’s review real quick. This will feature the heaviest spoilers, especially for Amity, so there’s your warning. Also, I have my own conclusions and suggestions on where to take the questions I plan to present but that’s not the point of this blog. It’s to get you to start considering these characters and archtypes from different angles than simply ‘High Society = Bad.’ If you want to see me talk more about those conclusions and my reasoning though, let me know.
Odalia and Alador Blight are severe enough to tell their daughter that she cannot be friends with someone who is too weak to associate with Blights. They also fairly obviously are a large part of where Amity’s pressure comes from since that scene is one of the few where we see an outside influence on Amity’s perception of these things.
Emira and Edric are bullies to their sister, jokesters, lazy, blatantly break the rules, and in general are characters who at best know how to behave as members of high society but in general do not act like high society members. That is a stark contrast to how severe their parents treat something like simply a weak friend, isn’t it? Especially since these two are the OLDER siblings, by a few years even from what we can tell. What happened there? Why are they given this level of freedom? How are they able to so freely ignore the pressure when it’s obvious that Amity has been given reasons to think that failing to measure up will lead to some level of consequences?
Amity by the end of the first season has become friends again with the friend that she was told to tell to never associate with, hangs out with a complete weirdo human who can barely cast magic, and has gone from constantly being serious and severe to being amicable and flustered much of the time. There are still elements of her severity admittedly, but they’re targeted more at the things she once thought were all important like her old friends. HOW!? I talked about how it’s acceptable to skip the uglier parts of a redemption arc, and I don’t have any real issue with how they did it, but if you want to expand on a character like this, you need to answer where the pressure goes to let them make such a drastic change in personality when originally they seemed to be crushed under the weight of their responsibilities. A smile doesn’t get rid of years of worry and a distant dream of success, especially if your parents are pushing you harder and harder to be like them. To be pragmatic. To do everything you can to succeed, no matter who you hurt. To find retribution for even simply perceived slights, let alone actual wrongs done to you.
And you may notice that a lot of these questions swing back to Alador and Odalia. As the last generation of High Society members, it was their responsibility to make sure these lessons would stick. What do their children’s behavior say about their behavior? Are they simply absentee now? Did they relax? Do they not know?
In other words: What are their relationships? What is their CHARACTER? Most people may not actually understand that level of society as we have to sit on the ground instead of from gilded thrones, but we cannot remember that these are still people with motivations, flaws, and goals and reasons for how they behave. If you do that, all you have is a fancy chess piece that fits in its place but will never be more interesting than a predictable game of chess between two masters.
Thank you, I hope I’ve given you something to think about, let me know what other topics, concepts, etc. you may want me to talk about, follow for whatever I may have next, and have a wonderful rest of your day.
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