Is it possible that the MC changes when it's "too late"?

I’m wondering about some examples:

  • Frodo changes for the worse at the Climax, when he claims the Ring as his own, however the OS becomes a Success story anyway
  • Scarlett O’Hara is Steadfast in the 99% of the story, however it seems to me that she changes in the very end when it’s too late, and her change has no effect on the OS. (Or maybe I misinterpret it, and she doesn’t change, just realizes her faults…I am not sure about this.)
  • Another similar case is Vicomte de Valmont in the Dangerous Liaisons. However he is very close to change, he stays Steadfast at the Climax . After-the-fact he regrets his choice, but .he can’t remake it, so the story ends as a Tragedy.

So my question is: Is it theoretically possible that the MC (or the IC) stays Steadfast at the Climax, and changes after the OS ending is unchangeable?

(Pardon my grammar. :blush:)

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I… think the answer is yes. Because recall that the ability to reach the Goal as Success is to use the Solution instead of the Problem, and the Main Character’s ability to reach a Good End is to permanently adopt the Solution vice their original problem. But throughout the story, the MC/IC drift back and forth between their respective Problems and Solutions. Thus, it’s entirely possible for the MC to inhabit the Solution just long enough to reach the Goal, only to fall back into the Problem at the last minute, or vice versa. (Also, the Protagonist is the one in charge of completing the Goal, whereas the Main Character is in charge of their own Throughline. The Main Character plays a crucial part in resolving the Overall Throughline, but they’re not the trigger-puller unless they are also the Protagonist.)

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Yes. In “E.T.: the Extra-terrestrial,” the MC Elliot undergoes his Changed Resolve after the OS has ended in Success. It is only after E.T. gains his freedom that Elliot lets go of his fear of separation that he has been preoccupied with over the course of the story.


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The “too late” here seems to suggest a Failure ending.

The answer is yes, and at one point I had an example, but I have forgotten it.

At any rate, it is the Unique Ability of the MC that affects the outcome in the OS, not whether or not the MC changes (though it usually feels like the Change is the cause).


This gave me an “aha” moment in my own story. Thanks! :slight_smile:


Scarlett O’Hara after he walks out the door with those famous words? She will have to finally change, after thinking about it tomorrow.