CHARACTERS: The Power of Immortals

I have often heard it said that immortal and incredibly powerful characters have no real place in fantasy and science fiction because of what they are capable of.  It apparently makes them uninteresting.  Perhaps in the past this has been said because it hasn’t been done very well, or perhaps because an author hasn’t written the experiences and emotions of such characters adequately.  If you’re one of those people who avoids books involving supremely powerful beings, you may initially feel you’d rather avoid the kind of material I write.  I’d like to ask you to indulge me for a moment.  Stop reading if you so wish, but I urge you to continue.

Have you ever asked yourself what it might be like to be immortal? Many of you will have an understanding of the immortality of Tolkien’s elves, but they’re still capable of dying.  I have elves and other races that have this kind of life as well, but there are also beings in the world of Aeldynn who are truly immortal.  Should they become so gravely wounded that death is inevitable, pay attention and know that’s not the end.  No matter the severity of their wounds, they will always regenerate, though this does not occur instantly.  Can you fathom that kind of existence, whereby your only chance at respite is to enter a long period of sleep?

These characters had a childhood.  They were born into a physical existence for a grand purpose, and despite their spiritual supremacy and energy levels, they still experience hunger and the need for regular sleep.  They also have emotions and life experiences.  They’re not soulless golems.  If you will, imagine the toil and heartache of what they must go through.

Authors should always consider these things when writing about immortal characters.  If they don’t, they’ll end up with the boring kind of everlasting beings who lack personality and integrity, the kind people don’t want to read about.  They can be good, or evil, or neutral, but never should anyone forget to give them individual back stories that tells readers who they are,  why they exist, and for what purpose.  Beyond mundane normality, there are always greater powers at work that even the most accomplished of heroes or villains will fail to understand.  There is always potential for the powerful and the immortal to have a place in a fantasy or science fiction setting, so long as they are given as much consideration as any other major character or race.

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