As I look at the world around me, it’s becoming more and more apparent that I am living in a poorly-written fictional dystopia. The cartoonish villains, the convoluted plots, and the lopsided world building can only be effectively dealt with by one type of hero.
Enter the Mary Sue.
Mary Sue was first introduced in a Star Trek fan fiction parody. She was a character so perfect, so beloved, and so undeserving of all of her success and love that the reader couldn’t help but hate her. A Mary Sue generally acts as an avatar for the author to insert an idealized version of themself into their favorite fictional world. Because the character is pure wish-fulfilment, they can never lose.
When I was a kid, a Mary Sue Bridgett would often go on adventures with her favorite characters on shows such as Star Trek TNG, Seaquest DSV, and Batman. Mary Sue Bridgett was an amazingly accomplished 10 year old.
-Mary Sue Bridgett was a super genius with the highest IQ ever.
-Mary Sue Bridgett could speak every language.
-Mary Sue Bridgett was familiar with the culture and history of every alien race.
-Mary Sue Bridgett was best friends with every main character and was in every scene with them, even if these scenes were far apart and took place at the same time. Mary Sue Bridgett was omnipresent.
-Mary Sue Bridgett had an eidetic memory and could do complex mathematics in her head.
-Mary Sue Bridgett could break the fourth wall to solve any problem.
-Mary Sue Bridgett, if captured, could never be broken. Capture was difficult, though, because Mary Sue Bridgett was almost impossible to restrain.
-Mary Sue Bridgett’s superpower was to have the most convenient superpower in every situation.
-Mary Sue Bridgett was from an alien world whose civilization was perfectly enlightened, peaceful, and rational. Everyone on this world wore togas and discussed philosophy around public fountains in their spare time. I named this amazing world Xenon.
I’m convinced that I’m not the only person with a Mary Sue version of themselves buried deep down. Perhaps you’ve had similar fantasies in your own youth.
Of course, Mary Sue characters rarely have to struggle to gain their amazing powers, but in the real world, people do. So to become the hero the world needs, we need to first imagine our own Mary Sue, priorities their most useful qualities, and then work hard to achieve them
I will never be a super-genius, but I can study and improve my mind. I can study languages, history, and mathematics. I can work out to build my physical strength. I can try to make my own world a little more like Xenon.
As the most important character in your story, it’s up to you to rise up and save the world. How will you become your Mary Sue?