Portrait of Dorian Gray. Cute, I know. Photo from inthegoldroom.com

I would really like to discuss the idea of characters that are dabblers, hiding in the grey area between good and evil.  I think this type of character would be pretty self-seeking, focused mostly in personal gain or even just enjoyment.  He/she would almost have to retain no sense of loyalty, since their motivations may lead them to do something which halts the advance of the hero.  As a result, either that character would have to have to be completely amoral (i.e. not knowing the difference between good and evil) or they would live a life of complete regret and irrevocable guilt.  And yet they would need to have some sort of reward in order for this lifestyle to persist.  We have also heard of characters with the opposite effect, who seem to be mainly evil but feel remorse, or a loved one shows them the error of their ways.

So are characters of this sort possible?  The closest I’ve ever come to finding such a character is in Ted Dekker’s lesser known young adult series, the Lost Books.  In the last two novels, the reader is introduced to Shaeda, a very powerful and mysterious creature whose intentions are uncertain and her loyalties questionable.  While she does help the hero, Johnis, in some few regards, she also has him act against his character and will.  While this may seem like an evil character, yet she wants to ensure that power is not given to the Horde, a group of disgusting, diseased people and the main source of conflict within the series.  So while Shaeda does want to take power from the Horde, she also works to take people’s minds captive in order to fulfill that goal.  Is she entirely evil?  Debatable.  Is she entirely good?  I think not.  Is she at once intriguing and yet annoying?  Indubitably.  Do I want to write one?  You betcha.  Am I currently working on one? …Definitely possible.