@Greg, @jassnip, @mlucas, thank you so much. I was totally off base and your questions pushed me to the place I need to be.
I had read this book in my early days of Dramatica and was still clinging to the assumptions I had made then. They still make so much sense! (if you look at the book wrong, haha).
For edification purposes, here were my errors:
• I flopped the Antagonist into the the Protagonist role. This character is actively pursuing what he wants. He has someone else that he's gunning for who is also screwing up the balance. But from an Objective POV, he is the one undoing the balance and is clearly the Antagonist. The other character isn't responsible for any of the undoing, and I'm sure soon I'll be able to place him in the chart. [He's probably being _Controlled_ and under a _misperception_.] Long story short, I was suckered by the storytelling.
• I didn't think the MC was the true Protagonist. By assigning the gift to the MC as his burden, I saw his Universe get screwed up... but the entire Universe was actually screwed up. The MC is a bit player in the machinations of the government... I couldn't see him as big enough to be the Protagonist. But that was the entire point of the gift: if made him HUGE.
- I failed to recognize which of two mostly-simultaneous incidents was the Driver, This was largely because the author only lightly ties the first Driver to the chaos that follows. But carefully unravelling the plot shows that it is actually the first domino.
• This was interesting too:
A totally logical set of questions and answers, and Jassnip's totally reasonable treatment of my answer like it was blah is right on. But this was kind of everything. I just didn't see what to do with it at the time.
We should have gone with because it would have forced to the better question we needed.
Yes, having power doesn't move the balance. But.... having power has a positive reward -- or at least, it is perceived that way, so people are drawn towards getting it. This leads to OS Issue>Attraction. This creates so many problems and I think is responsible for the feeling of manipulation that is so prevalent.
Anyway... that's so so much. Very helpful. I couldn't have done it without your help!