Since my Remnant series is far from finished, I am limited in what I can reveal about Theia and the novels. Perhaps when the series is finished I will write a complete character analysis of Theia, but that won’t be for years to come (and I probably won’t be blogging by then). This analysis will be more of an extension to my post Strong Female Characters, and will serve as a demonstration for how to properly make strong female characters.
[[[SPOILER WARNING FOR THE REMNANT SERIES]]]
When I first conceived of the idea for Theia, I built her personality on what I would hope my own daughter (who was many years away from being born) would be. I made Theia to be strong, intelligent, altruistic, forgiving, and have pure intentions. The rest of her character development came later, when I charted out her back story, and of course, she’d go through changes as the series progressed.
Before the first novel, Remnant, even begins, Theia is abducted by a mob family, for reasons she doesn’t know. At the beginning of the story, those holding her captive are massacred, also for reasons she doesn’t know. After narrowly escaping, she then finds herself in a desolate city, in the middle of winter. All she has to hold on to is the hope she will find her father, but she doesn’t know where he is.
Throughout the course of Remnant, Theia is hungry, freezing, betrayed, coerced to do horrible things, and doubts the very things that keep her going. What makes this worse is that she’s not quite the best at everything she does. She didn’t pay attention when her father taught her survival skills, she didn’t take it seriously when he taught her self-defense, and she didn’t take it seriously when her father explained how dangerous the world can be. But, she tries her best to remember his teachings, and to never give up.
She fails a lot in Remnant. She never makes a stable fire to keep warm, she gets captured by another syndicate, and she allows herself to be manipulated by her captors. She is confused for the entire novel, unsure whether doing bad things can be justified if something good comes from it; unsure if she should stay strong or give up; unsure if her father is responsible for her circumstances and whether she should go back to him at all.
Point is, Theia is strong, but far from perfect. She is wrong sometimes, she fails sometimes, she has doubts, and she even feels insignificant in the grand scheme of things. This is how you write strong female characters. You make them human. Strength comes from determination, from having specific goals the character wants to achieve, and from those they love. Strength is not something that comes from thin air, and it’s never in infinite supply, and especially not for no reason. Theia learns as she goes. She fails a lot, but as people have said for many years, failure is the greatest teacher. After all, Theia has never been in a situation like this before. How the hell could she be expected be unstoppable and invincible?
More important than struggling, more important than being uncertain, and more important than failing, Theia chooses to be emotionally vulnerable when the time is right. For most of the novel, she has a tough exterior and internalizes her pain, but once she is reunited with her father, that shell breaks, and she freely displays her pain. Once she doesn’t have to be strong anymore, she allows herself to be in shambles, because … well, she is. Like I said, nobody is infinitely strong. In fact, in real life, being strong is something people usually force; it’s not something they really have at all.