Follow TV Tropes

Following

Alternative Character Interpretation / Fan Works

Go To


  • The final story of Calvin and Hobbes: The Series has Slender Man. Was he a Humanoid Abomination as usual, or was he Good All Along? The ending implies the latter, particularly when he waves goodbye to the heroes after taking out the villains.
  • Rei's suicide in Cellar Secrets. The story (and her diary) says that she killed herself out of guilt but one could say she killed herself because to a escape a perceived punishment, if Nui's flashback was a clue.
  • Advertisement:
  • The Child of Love: Gendo is a bigger bastard than he ever was in canon. In the original series he was a broken shell of a man made horrible things to get his wife back, cared about his son but sent him away because he was afraid of Shinji, and was real bad at manipulating and scheming. In this story he makes horrible things because he has delusions of godhood, does not care about Shinji at all, is depicted like a cunning schemer and he is willing to use babies to fight his war.
  • Child of the Storm does this with a number of characters and varying degrees of subtlety, due to the author's taste for exploring the implications of characters' powers and backgrounds.
    • Thor used to be James Potter, during his first run at the humility thing. Once he gets those memories back, he's depicted as more of a wise and temperate figure than his canon counterpart.
    • Doctor Strange is a big one, with the good Doctor being cast as the Magnificent Bastard in a setting chock-full of them, being centuries old and smoothly navigating the resultant Gambit Pile Up by means of his future knowledge and extremely effective deployment of the Butterfly Effect, playing absolutely everyone in the cast like a harp, partly thanks to his reputation for not lying. As Dumbledore comes to realise, this is not the same as being honest. He's a massively powerful practitioner of magic, with special mention being given to an incident in 1945 where he took on a demon powered Grindelwald, remarked by Loki to have been god-like in his raw power. The resultant duel almost levelled Berlin, Grindelwald was stripped of his extra powers, leaving Dumbledore to defeat him, while Strange apparently 'walked away whistling'. However, despite that, he's The Ghost up until chapter 48, very rarely actually uses much magic and is much less of a ham than his canon counterpart, with a permanent slight Grin of Audacity on his face.
    • Advertisement:
    • Sean Cassidy's past as an Interpol detective is played up and he's given a background in Army Intelligence during the Vietnam War, which is implied to have left something of a mark on him. His wife's murder by the IRA certainly did, resulting in Cassidy carrying out a terrifying Roaring Rampage of Revenge, accompanied by Fury and Coulson. The former inwardly notes that what Cassidy did still gives him nightmares sometimes. While he's still a determinedly cheerful and kindly Reasonable Authority Figure... don't piss him off. He has a taste for Revenge (a self-admitted flaw) and he can use his sonic powers to vibrate your bones to pieces. Or worse.
    • Warren Worthington III a.k.a. Archangel is not the cheerful life loving (in between bouts of Apocalypse related insanity) trust fund kid of the comics. Instead, he's an impoverished student and a bitter cynic who cut himself off from his family after his father's attempt to use Hank McCoy's mutation suppression serum (much against the latter's protests) to remove his wings, nearly killing him and resulting in his wings transforming from feathery to some strange metallic material that slices through pretty much anything like butter. This means that he's terrified of getting close to someone and slicing them to pieces with an involuntary twitch, leading to him holding everyone at arms length. This is also implied to have happened when he was no more than ten years old. No wonder he's miserable.
    • Advertisement:
    • Snape's character interpretation is very much on the side of total Jerkass rather than lonely misunderstood Woobie, with his affection towards Lily painted as his Loving a Shadow. However, Thor/James does make a point of thanking him for saving Harry's life.
    • Lucius Malfoy is reimagined as a Magnificent Bastard simply needing a metaphorical kick in the pants to once more be capable of constructing spy networks spanning Europe and the Middle East and going toe to toe with a young Nick Fury in the spy game and come out on top. And physically too, once, which was more of a draw. Fury lost an eye, Lucius lost a wand, most of his house (Fury burned it down. With napalm) and full use of one of his legs. He proceeds to construct an alliance of HYDRA (who control the Winter Soldier), some of the remaining Death Eaters and a creature called Gravemoss. He then proceeds to back stab the other ex Death Eaters by first ensuring that they give him power of attorney over their assets then using them as decoys for SHIELD to take out, before, in chapter 50, forcing Von Strucker, the head of HYDRA, to tell him how to control the Winter Soldier, then executing Von Strucker and a neat coup d'etat. However, he retains his canon habits of not liking to show himself as behind something unless he is very definitely on top and always has his eyes on an escape route.
    • Jean-Paul Beaubier is altered from a supremely arrogant Straight Gay Quebecois Jerk with a Heart of Gold to a French Camp Gay Chivalrous Pervert Gay Best Friend who uses a lot of Gratuitous French. However, it is quickly revealed that the Camp Gay and Gay Best Friend parts are almost entirely a façade to hide a ruthless Combat Pragmatist who is extremely protective of his (somewhat insane) sister and capable of pulling an almost absent minded Sherlock Scan on someone he barely knows, a façade put in place to ensure that people underestimate him. As Harry, no stranger to scary people himself, notes, when the façade drops, what's beneath is actually pretty frightening. Though he really is a terrible flirt and among Harry's friend group, he tends to default to Only Sane Man status.
    • Carol Danvers, meanwhile, is just as feisty and combative as her canon counterpart, as well as being smart, athletic and beautiful, captain of her school's soccer team. However, the athleticism (to near Charles Atlas Superpower levels) just led to her being tested for steroids after she bruised the pride of her schools' football team, her physique, which developed early (she's described as having the body of a hot co-ed at 14), led to sexual harassment from the age of 12, this being exactly as horrific as it sounds, which just makes the fact that her dad's a Stay in the Kitchen type worse. As a result, you've got a defensive, spiky Broken Ace with about two actual friends, one of whom, a certain Lex Luthor, she has to act as a Morality Chain for since he's her self-appointed Knight Templar Big Brother.
    • Lex himself is still quite young more like in early Smallville, improved by the influence of an actual friend or two who can be open with him and is willing to act as a Morality Chain, as of chapter 39 is dating Sue Storm.
    • Harry himself develops from the uncertain, quiet and repressed kid to a more confident, assertive and powerful young man who is much more open with his feelings. As a result of this and the numerous injustices he has been the victim of/seen others undergo, he's considered to be one or two bad days away from turning into the next Magneto. He comes pretty close in chapter 74, albeit only after being repeatedly pushed too far. He's also a self-admitted Blood Knight, noting that he enjoys the life or death scraps he gets into, with a proclivity for Revenge and a fondness for playing Bully Hunter (deconstructing the trope in the process) which, with his developing abilities, makes him much more dangerous to cross than in canon.
  • Christian Humber Reloaded, having a Designated Hero main character fighting against many characters who qualify as Designated Villains, naturally invites this.
  • Haunted Mansion and the Hatbox Ghost totally reimagine the Hatbox Ghost to make him a grumpier but also funnier character than he is originally supposed to be.
    • Is Christian "Vashblade" Humber an extremely ruthless and sociopathic Anti-Hero at the dark end of Type V or a Villain Protagonist with very few redeeming qualities.
    • Another interpretation is that he's a deconstruction (intentional or otherwise) of fictional action heroes, showing what happens when someone receives virtually no formal education, always solves his problems with violence and is powerful enough that few people are even remotely a threat to him. He will kill the villains, but will also kill innocent people, and no one can protect them from him.
    • Kekanu could also be interpreted as a cunning good guy trying to stop "Vashblade", he's the only one who is able to beat the protagonist in a fight (Granted, he had help but this is fighting against someone who could punch suns) with a bit of forward-planning. Sadly, he was not to last, making way for the Corrupted-self to appear more often.
    • Is the Corrupted Self evil-er twin who murders with even greater impunity, or diabolic mastermind urging on Humber's base urges?
    • The webcomic suggests that when the kids "tackled" Vash after he killed Soku again near the end of Part I, they did so out of hatred since he unintentionally gave suggestions that he was a pedophile.
    • Did Soku make the difficult decision to turn in her friend because she realized she was unable to get him to stop his violent lifestyle, or was she merely opportunistic and motivated by the money?
  • Cultstuck: Who are the cultists, really? Are they good- if desperate- people who protect the innocent and worship Karkat because their belief in him gives them enough hope to continue living? (Alternia is a dystopic Crapsack World, and several cultists are traumatized in some way.) Or are they selfish, overbearing fanatics trying to force a child into an idealized role he cannot possibly live up to, at the expense of his freedom? (Karkat's narration implies that the only reason they let him live outside the Dark Hive was that the Big Elder ordered them to, and he detests the thought of having to go back there.) Canon generally shows them as a mix of both depending on the person, and- while he's severely injured and suffering from a concussion- Karkat, the fic's main narrator, concedes that he's been unfair to them.
  • Terra in The End of Ends is interpreted as having faked her amnesia to live a school life.
  • iFight Crime With Victorious: Neville Papperman goes from being a snobby rich kid to a snobby rich kid with an evil power and an obsession with destroying the symbol of his greatest failure, instead of just harming Carly, Sam, and Freddie's reputations.
  • My Brave Pony: Starfleet Magic:
  • In the Death Note AU Those Who Stand for Nothing Fall for Anything Light claims that his calling himself "God" is just a sex kink and he doesn't really have a God complex.
  • Total Drama Island, by Gilbert and Sullivan invokes an alternate interpretation of Cody, due to the themes and character types that appear in the operettas, and corresponding limitations on the subject matter available in the verses. Because Cody's verses relate mainly to his unsuccessful suit for Gwen's affections, with frequent gender flipping that gives him verses originally sung by pining maidens, the cumulative effect is to depict him as a much more tragic and pitiable figure than the one that Total Drama portrays.
  • What Should Have Happened In Avatar: The Last Airbender has to be the KING of this. During its run, and ESPECIALLY on its final chapter, it manages to throw practically everything you thought you knew about Avatar out of the window with sounding proof. If the fanfic is to be believed, the Air Monks were actually utter morons who deserved to die, Toph is completely incompetent, Appa is not a loyal pet but a cowardly slacker and deserves to be turned into bison steaks, King Bumi is an insane idiot, Firelord Ozai is actually a good man and a good father who fought to save the world from the technological stagnation it suffered, Azula is a cold but actually good-hearted girl, Iroh IS the true villain, the spirits of the world are parasites, the spirit of the avatar is opresing the people, and the Fire Nation were actually the good guys all along...among many more!
  • We have this with an implied to be Secretly Dying Ryuuko and her illness in Raindrops. Did she really grasp the severity of her illness and just didn't want to upset her sister but went to live with her anyhow or did she know she was dying and, due to denial and her stubborn nature, refused believe it until the end?
  • In Second Story Window, this comes along with "Rashomon"-Style, Perspective Flip, and some bit of Mind Screw. Is Ragyou a mentally ill and unintentionally abusive woman who was prone to lashing out her children or is Satsuki the mentally ill one who perceived her mother as such?
    • Or, as a recent review on the story asks, are both Ragyo and Satsuki mentally ill and unaware that they are?
    • Likewise, we get Rei's suicide and her motives, did she commit suicide out of fear or did she have other reasons?
  • The fic Pyrrha's Inner Thoughts depicts Pyrrha as a bloodthirsty killer who acts sweet and innocent to amuse herself. The author admits this interpretation isn't canon, but has fun with it anyway.
  • The fic Green Ice interprets Bertie Wooster as a victim of severe post-traumatic stress disorder that has rendered him all but incapable of looking after himself, and in massive denial about the events of the War ever having occurred. The rest of his friends and family are correspondingly engaged in a kindly conspiracy to prevent him from being reminded of it, due to his severe PTSD episodes whenever a reminder is unavoidable.
  • In Boys Do Tankary, Ami is presented as being quite upset with Vincent's group of boys for taking her position as instructor and later getting her demoted when she tries to kick them out for fraternizing with the girls, and later turns out to be working for the main antagonist. The question remains of whether and how Ami's anger over losing her position and turn to villainy are related. One possibility is that she did a Face–Heel Turn after the humiliation she suffered, and another is that she was Evil All Along and was upset with Vincent because serving as Oarai's instructor was her job for the villains, and his taking over prevented her from doing that.
  • In First Try Series, specifically Team Tetsuonote , some reviewers do this with Tetsuo, primarily how he goes about teaching Sakura and Sasuke. Is he a teacher who gives them the lessons they should have learned in the academy, or is his teaching style overly harsh to the point of being counterproductive, if not intentionally cruel? When Sakura almost goes AWOL, thereby ending her ninja career and ruining her life, is it mostly her fault for her lack of discipline (and her mother's for spoiling her), or does Tetsuo share a fair portion of the blamenote  for forcing her to go on a two-month camping trip that he knew she wasn't prepared for? Does Tetsuo care about Sakura and Sasuke, or does he see them as a means to an end to help Naruto become a Chunin, to the point where it's detrimental to the two of them individually and the team as a whole? (The fact that he once saw Naruto in a similar way can be seen as proof that he doesn't see anything wrong with seeing his subordinates this way, and/or that he can warm up to them)
  • Boys und Sensha-do!
    • Shiho, according to the author, had to disown Miho because she couldn't continue to oppose having boys in sensha-do while her own daughter had them on her team, and believes that doing so will allow Miho to live her own way. Is Shiho making a harsh but necessary decision, but also taking Miho's best interests into account? Or is Shiho simply rationalizing a cruel decision made for the sake of expediency (note that her elder daughter had also wanted Miho to live her own way, and to do so, chose to be Shiho's heiress). Furthermore, is the cause Shiho's fighting for and the reason behind her actions- keeping boys out of sensha-do- even a good reason, much less one worth disowning your daughter over?
    • Akio, an Original Character who will eventually become Miho's boyfriend, also has this apply to him. He despises Shiho for the way she treats Miho and dislikes Maho for, in his eyes, not doing enough for Miho. He's also the only person besides Maho who openly protests Shiho's disowning Miho to her face, and the author says that he also provides Miho a level of support that her canonical friends can't give by standing up to Shiho. Is he someone Miho needs to become a stronger and more confident person, or is he simply an ignorant hothead who needlessly antagonizes Maho (who, as Miho's sister, is one of the people dearest to her) and butts into the Nishizumi family's private business without understanding what he's getting intonote ?
  • Code Geass Colorless Memories Considering which series the fic's are based on, a number of character's actions and motivations are subject to speculation and viewed differently depending on your opinion and feelings.
    • Did Suzaku have a point when he accused Kallen in Chapter Seventeen of not really caring about Rai, is taking advantage of someone with no memories and just using him for her own purposes and to please Zero? Or is he being a Hypocrite when he himself wanted Rai to join the Brtiannian Army and help him with his goals? Or do Both Sides Have a Point in regards to their views, to Rai and their own actions?
    • In Chapter Eight, was Zero really thinking of shooting Rai when he remained silent to his offer? Or was it simply a intimidation tactic to coerce Rai into joining, guessing that Kallen would come to Rai's aid and plead for Rai to join.
    • Backstage 4 did OSI Special Agent Harald Thompson tell Kaguya about the Sumeragi Legacy due to thinking that her guards would shoot him if he didn't give up some useful information? Or did he lead her on knowing that she would search the Sumeragi temple for clues and be a Unwitting Pawn for whoever it is he is actually working for?
    • Even Rai himself is subject to this, did he really join the Black Knights in Chapter Nine because he wants to truly fight for Japan? Or is he simply using them for the simple purpose of regaining his memories and that he could care less about what they want to achieve? His answers to E.E in Chapter Seventeen raises the Ambiguity further.
    • Is his attitude to Zero's and other officers praises sign of Rai being a Humble Hero? Or does it point to Rai secretly being arrogantly proud and seeing such remarks as beneath him and a sign of him holding back so not to stand out? Even if he does not process it in that way.
    • Carrying on, is Rai's lack of confidence in his skill down to him being Amnesiac, a Fish out of Water and that he is a shy person overall? Or does he have some Ambiguous Disorder that makes it hard for him to process his feelings and thoughts externally and in places internally. Or is he Obfuscating Stupidity without realising it in order to lower everyone's guard around him so he isn't at risk.
    • Chapter Eighteen also raises the very likihood that Rai is suffering from PTSD from the death of his family and it's only now in the fic that he has started his recovery.
    • How much of Rai's POV is reliable? Considering his amnesia, talking in halting, short, and uncomplicated sentences, passive personality early on, lack of POV's from other characters. Is Rai POV's a clear view of the people, events and relationships evolving in the fic? Or is he an Unreliable Narrator and is secretly got an Agenda with E.E that has yet to be revealed.
    • Chapter Eighteen raises the ambiguity even further with Rai, was he telling the truth about his attack on Bismarck? Or is he lying about it to excuse his failure and brash actions? Did Rai really come to Japan just for a sword? Or did he have a Secret Agenda that hasn't been revealed to us yet?
    • Chapter Seventeen was E.E really just testing Rai with her questions and putting on an act. Or did she have another motive and agenda in mind. Some of her responses to the questions posed mires her more in Ambiguity in regards to Rai.
      • Also did she really not know about C.C taking Rai's memories as part of their deal? Or is she lying to Rai to keep him from finding out the truth of her involvement in his amnesia?

    • In Chapter Twelve, was Kaguya Obfuscating Stupidity when Rai entered the room she was in and figured out who he was when he talked to Zero? As she mentions she has seen his face before somewhere. Or did she simply think he was a Black Knight solider that had got lost?
    • Chapter Eighteen takes this Up to Eleven with Rai's Mother from the lines she has of what she says about her husband and so far unknown reasons for marrying Rai's father. Along with what exactly she was up to along with E.E.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic story Asylum, Twilight Sparkle wakes up in the titular asylum where she is told that her whole life from becoming Celestia's personal student onward, was just a dream/side-effect of her treatment. But, she is also told by Celestia's voice that the asylum universe is just a trick to hide a threat to the entire world. Which world is real and whether Twilight is truly insane, are both left up to the audience to decide.
  • In Dragon Age: Inquisition fanfic Walking in Circles, when Fitz reveals his latest method of escaping to Solas, does he genuinely think that Solas has a chance of escaping and just doesn't know that the later doesn't have the knowledge about the phylacteries? Or does he try to use Solas to seek new ways of freeing himself?
    • When Solas keep Evelyn, who at the time is a Tranquil, with him for two years, is it purely for her protection or also for his own benefits since with his resource, he could have sent her somewhere safe instead of taking her with him everywhere? Does he want to have her by his side because he still loves her and can't bear to be apart, or does he intended to punish himself by always seeing his mistake right in front his eyes?
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines has this with several characters in its main story and sidestories:
    • In the Clemont Gaiden, is Belmondo really the Well-Intentioned Extremist he claims to be? Or does he have some ulterior motive? And if he does, what is it?
    • Was Twenty Gyarados Bill a Death Seeker? Since he began his rampage to get back at everyone who wronged him, lacked any plan of what to do after the destruction, and died with no regrets, one has to wonder if wanting to commit Suicide by Cop was a contributing factor in his attack.
    • What's the real reason behind Misty's older sisters hatred for her? Do they just fall into plain Fantastic Racism out of fear like most everyone else, or are they actually jealous because their younger sister has something that sets her apart and makes her "special" compared to them?
    • While it's undeniable that Ash's Charmander's pride and desire to regain what he lost motivates him to train, whether that's the only factor is unclear. As his Gaiden sidestory reveals, he was unable to defend himself or his original trainer from the hyper-aggressive Spearow and Fearow flock - with horrible results. Maybe he also wants to make sure that he's strong enough to prevent something so terrible from happening again.
    • Reset! Iris can be argued as being similar, though a version of herself whose wild child aspects are played up more and her tsundere aspects are greatly reduced, if not absent entirely as Divergent Character Evolution from Misty.
    • Similarly, Reset! Sapphire is a version of her who focuses more on her 'assistant researcher' side than her 'wild child' in depiction. This was also likely done to keep her from being a second version of Iris.
  • In A Night In The Sculpture Garden, Molly Hooper is certainly justified in her anger at Irene Adler but her decision to condemn Irene to a lifetime as a statue is debatable (though she argues that Irene did it to herself).
    • Also, is Irene nothing more than a Manipulative Bitch or is she just a deeply flawed human being who simply wants to find happiness with Sherlock?
  • The Sanic meme presents Sonic and company as highly distorted but familiar sounding versions of themselves.
  • The Ugandan Knuckles meme presents Knuckles as a tribe of Knuckles repeating Who Killed Captain Alex? quotes and often haunting VRChat.
  • Whatever Happened to Elfstar? is a Perspective Flip continuation of the Chick Tracts "Dark Dungeons" story, where Reality Ensues.
  • Of both Ranma and Suika in Ranma ½ and Touhou crossover Carried Off. The latter is noted in canon for being unwilling to kidnap humans, whereas in Carried Off she has no issues with doing so.
  • Watching Angel's past while in Heaven in Finis Vitae Sed Non Amoris, Buffy muses that she can understand how Angel might see nothing commendable in his attitude as Liam, but looking at memories of Liam's life, Buffy muses that, where Angel might think of himself as a drunken vagabond who never applied himself to anything, she recognises that Liam had a boundless capacity for love that he retains as Angel, but was simply too disillusioned by the gap between his dreams and the expectations everyone else had of him to really try to explore his potential.
  • In Total Drama fanfic Total Drama: Cody's Redemption: Gwen continued hatred to Cody despite Cody doing nothing to warrant has cause fans to theories she also got back in time, and remembers how he acted in seasons after the first. This has been debunked, as its been revealed that her reason is actually very petty.

Top