When a minor secondary character impresses a reader you know you’ve hit on a special magic that makes characters into people. Uriah Pedrad from the Divergent series is one such character.
Tris, our point of view character first meets Uriah during a joint Dauntless born and other faction initiates activity. Up to this point both groups have been tested separately despite the fact there will only be a finite number of initiates who make the cut. Four chooses both Tris and Uriah to be on his team for capture the flag against Eric’s team with all the other physical, high-powered initiates. We don’t know much about Uriah at this point, only learning he squirts a paintball into Tris’ face on the train ride home.
That’s the power of this character. Uriah sneaks up on you then pow! comes out of nowhere with a right hook. We really bond with Uriah when he invites Tris to join him and the other Dauntless-born initiates in an initiation ritual for their faction. A zip line ride from the top of the Hancock building is obviously dangerous but they are the Dauntless faction! You can’t help but be entranced by his strangled cat act along with Tris and his fellow Dauntless.
Later he shoots a muffin from the top of his friend’s head. Uriah continues to impress you as a bundle of contradictions. If Four is the epitome of a Dauntless member, fearless, controlled, and focused than Uriah is the antithesis, bold, wild, and random. Both men are Dauntless, but you witness their character by how they approach their faction’s lifestyle.
Veronica Roth’s Divergent series is not a favorite of mine. I can admire people who do the best they can with what they’ve been born to, people who try to rise above the system or ones who make the system work for them.
Adaptions are the bane of secondary characters like Uriah and the same is true for the Divergent movie. There has been much outcry about his character being axed from the first movie. I can say for good reason. Whereas the book is rather weak at showing the Divergent world to advantage (it’s capable but not wowing) the movie could have used Uriah as a foil for Four. Shown the difference between Dauntless born and Dauntless made. The movie could have made a commentary on what it is to be.
In the end its when characters read as people that stories make their magic known. When a character is axed from a story it’s as if they died. And that is such wasted potential.
This month I’m participating in a writing challenge to post everyday in April (except Sundays) called the A to Z Challenge. I’m exploring my love of characters, find the full list here. Read some of my other writing posts here. What characters do you love?