MC/IC are Pro/Ant

What are people’s favorite movies where the two subjective characters line up (either way) with the Protagonist and Antagonist?


It’s kind of silly, but I do love the Lego Batman movie. There’s actually an IC handoff there though–the Joker is just one of them (Robin, Alfred and Barbara are the others).


Forrest Gump, Amadeus, Death Note anime.

1 Like

I couldn’t think of any I liked! But I’ll second the Lego Batman movie. I wouldn’t say I loved it (original Lego Movie for the win!) but it was pretty cool, and definitely funny.

Oh wait, is Miranda Priestly the Antagonist in The Devil Wears Prada? I think she was, so I’ll nominate that one.


Speaking of Batman, there’s also “The Dark Knight.” Bruce Wayne is both MC and Protagonist, and the Joker is both one of the ICs and the Antagonist (the other IC is Harvey Dent).


Is there a way to filter the 365 storyforming analyses for that combination? I can’t figure out a way to do it.


no. objective character information is generally not available in these story forms.

1 Like

I don’t think Miranda is the Antagonist here–she is looking for an assistant, just like Andy wants to be an assistant. I think the characters are all complex, hence no true Antagonist, but also…

The overall story is not really about Andy, it’s about running a magazine–that would make Miranda the Protagonist, and the magazine owner a potential Antagonist since he wants to replace her (Avoid). Not 100% sure on this, it’s been a while since I’ve seen the movie.


Okay, yeah, I see what you mean. I was thinking of it with the Goal being “making it in the fashion world” and Miranda was the one kind of getting folks to Reconsider that by making things so tough, and maybe preventing people from making it when she fires them or whatever (Avoid), but that’s probably too simple of a way to look at it. (Also been a while since I saw it.)

1 Like

I don’t think that’s accurate. The Overall Story goal is definitely to fit in at Runway/fashion world (Being). The wanting an assistant thing happens in the first ten minutes, and the magazine owner is barely even in the movie – not sure he has any significant impact on the overall story perspective. There’s no overriding goal about the magazine specifically, but Andy as protagonist is striving more than anyone else to fit in to the workplace – she gets a makeover (thanks to Guardian Nigel), works to impress Miranda (much to the surprise of skeptic Emily), makes contacts to get everything done for Miranda before she asks, does extra homework, etc.

Miranda is definitely the antagonist, though not intentionally – it’s just that she demands such absolute perfection that Andy has no choice but to reconsider whether or not she can or even wants to work there. In fact, Miranda says at one point: if you can’t do what I want, “don’t even bother coming back”. She is definitely antagonist in the Dramatica sense.*

*although her boyfriend and friends are the true villains.


This would seem to suggest that Miranda “wins” in the end - as the story ends in Failure.

If taken Objective - there is a way of Being that everyone in the fashion industy understands. A culture built on expectation.

The question is - who is the one pushing (pursuing) and commenting (considering) on what is expected?

And who is the one avoiding it (avoiding) or reconsidering life in the fashion world (reconsider)?



Her boyfriend.

Oh, God. It’s kind of a nightmare question. :sweat_smile:

I still think Andy is the protagonist. Even if the goal is to “be what is expected of you” or something similar, nobody else is pursuing that like she is — she pursues a makeover, she drops personal commitments for her job, she pulls out all the stops to fulfil the unpredictable demands Miranda foists on her. As for commenting on it, she constantly comments on these demands — she vents so much that Nigel tells her to stop whining, she considers the “clackers” and the dieters to be weird and bizarre, she comments on how silly the debate on the identical belts is, etc.

Likewise, I just don’t see any other candidate for antagonist than Miranda. And I see that it’s awkward because Miranda doesn’t necessarily “win”, but she’s the only one actively (intentional or not) preventing Andy from living up to expectations because she is constantly throwing in those roadblocks — get me the unpublished Harry Potter manuscript, tell Emily you’ve taken her place on the Paris trip, etc. There’s also several sequences where she basically forces Andy (and occasionally others) to reconsider her place in this business — the ‘cerulean sweater’ scene; her pursing of the lips forces James holt to abandon his designs; she makes her staff reconsider their ideas for the spring issue (“florals? For spring? Groundbreaking.”); her ‘hire the smart fat girl’ speech, etc.

It’s tough because I also don’t feel that Miranda ‘wins’ at the end. However, that could be because the IC Miranda throughline changes and they overlap, which complicates things. And I agree that they’re all complex characters which also makes things harder.

I’m open to hearing an argument for Miranda as protagonist, but I’m not convinced yet.

I was on your side, @jhay until I thought about the First Driver. I think it has to be Miranda’s decision to hire Andy. (Even if you widen it out to include Miranda deciding to hire a new assistant or Andy deciding to take the job, it’s still the same event.)

So what kind of inequity does that create, a bumbling unfashionable is hired as assistant to Miranda Priestly?

It seems like it’s an inequity to which the Protagonist’s response would be “get this bumbler to fit in, to BE like the rest of us”. (initiative - changing people’s behaviour)

And the Antagonist’s response is “just DO the job for long enough to get a good reference”. (reticence - treat it as a job like any other).

EDIT: I think when the Antagonist role gets a little weak – which it must at times because the Goal involves changing the Antagonist’s behaviour – that’s when the boyfriend steps in to fill / strengthen it.


Okay, that’s a good argument, @mlucas. That makes more sense to me. I didn’t even think about dissecting that first driver!

So, for clarity (this might be off-topic, so feel free to branch this off into another topic – don’t want to derail this thread), the first driver kind of creates the goal at the same time as it creates that inequity, right? I never thought about it like that, but that makes a lot of sense.


It depends on how you are thinking of the word Goal.

In The Sting, there is the Story Goal of _Being. Initially fail at this, since the key to grifting is “even after you have their money, they can’t know you did it”—but they get caught and people die because of it.

But then there is the thing we’d more commonly call the Goal, which is to con Lonnergan out of a lot of money. That can’t even be foreseen until the murder.

Both of these get resolved simultaneously at the end, but one is the intellectual goal and one is the thing the audience wants to see.


The Failure so far as I remember it is that Andy fails to keep the job for the year, which would guarantee her any writing job in NY that she wanted. (Andy, here, fails to meet Miranda’s expectations of her.)

Looking at it through this lens, Miranda would be the Consider character, but Andy would be the Pursuit character.

The boyfriend is the only person in the movie not swept up in fashion. Even her friends grab at the swag she gets (the purse, the weird phone). Actually, her dad isn’t a fan of what she’s doing either. They both ask her to look at herself and Reconsider.

I’m a little less clear on where Avoid would come from. Maybe the boyfriend breaking up with her? Maybe the boss trying to fire Miranda?

At any rate, [quote=“jhay, post:10, topic:2578”]
In fact, Miranda says at one point: if you can’t do what I want, “don’t even bother coming back”. She is definitely antagonist in the Dramatica sense.*

I would say that this has nothing to do with fashion and everything to do with their Relationship. She’s being tested and passes, which is why Miranda then trusts her.

1 Like

I was thinking of it more in terms of the Story Goal of Being, I’m mostly just curious if that first driver creates both at once. I imagine it would, since the entire storyform is a representation of that inequity, but I’m not so familiar with this particular aspect of the theory.


There are a bunch of Narrative First articles discussing this. The most comprehensive is, I think, this one:


Again, it does depend just a bit. Sometimes, the world is bent into a shape with a lot of potential energy and the initial driver sets it loose. So, for instance, in Mulan, the appearance of the Huns absolutely creates the Story Goal. In The Sting, the idea of Playing a Role is something they are doing prior to the beginning of the film and doesn’t really get solidified until a bit later in the film. BUT, even then, the seeds can definitely be traced to the initial driver.

I think the best path forward here is to trust your instincts. Does your choice feel right? Then it probably is.

Then again, I’ve met people who did not know the beginning of the movie had to set up the end of the movie, so sometimes it does take a nudge to get people to see it.