A “Mary Sue” is perfect. Handsome or beautiful, smart, successful, morally flawless, etc. They drive me crazy. And they’re no fun to read about. I mean, reading about a perfect character is almost as bad as having your perfect friend tell you how hard it was to choose between Yale and Harvard. Barf!
Here are three Mary Sue characters I wish had been more flawed. (Or “Gary Stu” for the guys, if you prefer.)
- Jack Ryan. Especially from Patriot Games. Look, Tom Clancy is the godfather of technothrillers. His books, generally, hold up well. And I loved Hunt for Red October. But, seriously, Jack Ryan is too perfect. From his humility about his good looks, his scholar/professor brains that match his former military-and-general-badassery, he’s the ultimate Mary Sue.
- Rey. Like the Rey from Star Wars. She’s attractive, a natural pilot, and so smart she picks up The Force in lightning speed. But the real problem with the character is she has no flaws. I guess that works if you’re trying to sell dolls and Halloween costumes to children. So, mission accomplished, I suppose.
- James Bond. Whether he’s seducing the ladies, charming dignitaries, escaping majestically, or cutting down baddies, Bond is insufferable. He’s too perfect. Sometimes I read those Ian Fleming spy novels and I want someone to kick bond in the balls.