Spoiler alerts for The Wraith's Bargain. But it's been out almost a year. Why haven't you read it yet??
One of the things that interests me about characters who gain or have power is how they use (and abuse) it. Why are some characters corrupted by power, while others are unaffected? Why do some embrace it and use it without it impacting their morals?
The answer, I feel, is the same as real people: it lies deep within each of them.
If you dig down deep to the roots of who a person is, you can begin to understand what drives them, what they’re afraid of, and what they desire most.
Let’s use three of my characters as examples.
Dana is the protagonist from my book The Wraith’s Bargain. At the beginning of the book, she is a victim. She’s powerless. When she joins the Order and begins to learn magic, she daydreams of using her powers for good… but rarely actually does so. She uses the magic to improve her own life but even by the end she’s still acting mostly in her own interest.
She does show some sense of responsibility when it comes to the demon king’s offer, but struggles with it more than, say, Annie or Will would. That’s because Dana is a morally gray character who, like many teenagers, cares more about herself than the big picture. Future books will see her expanding her understanding of and relationship with power and responsibility toward others.
Will is a member of the Order that Dana joins in The Wraith’s Bargain, and one of the protagonists of my upcoming book Order of the Hunt. He’s the only psychic in their sect and acts as second-in-command. He’s been gifted with an incredibly strong power, and in TWB he seems to be a pretty strict guy. But he wasn’t always that way.
In OH we see how Will comes to terms with his new powers as well as the evolution of his skills and morals around them. One thing is for certain: Will is a formidable ally or foe, and I would hate to be on his bad side.
It’s no secret now that Jeremy is ultimately corrupted by his power. In The Wraith’s Bargain, we see his fate.. but what about his beginning? As I wrote Order of the Hunt I intended to focus on each character’s origin story… and I did. But during edits I realized that while the story is about each of them, there’s a strong focus on Jeremy. And considering the events of TWB, I think that’s appropriate.
We get to see from when he first discovered his powers, through training for the Order, and finally into being inducted in as the leader of an official sect. He has unique struggles that the other characters don’t have, and more responsibility as well. In short, he has more room to grow, and more chances to mess up.
Another thing that Jeremy has that most of the others don’t have is conviction. He is certain that he knows what his destiny is–and he’ll do anything to achieve it. Anything.
The love of power
They say it’s the love of money that’s the root of all evil, and not money itself. So, greediness. I’d like to say the same goes for power. When someone has power, and they become fully invested in getting more, there’s a high chance for corruption. Little things like morals fall to the wayside as they compromise more and more in their quest for power.
So… what do you think? Am I on to something here, or do you have other ideas about power? Drop them in the comments below!