Why i hate Ava and why everyone hates her

I found this Reddit post written by ironangel2k3 and he perfectly described my hatred to Ava.

A couple of terms I’ll be using here.

The Scrappy

The Woobie

Creator’s Pet

The long and short of it is that Ava is scrappy, when the writers want her to be a woobie, and might even be a Creator’s Pet, though that last one is harder to judge just yet, though she meets a lot of the criteria.

When you write a character, the audience starts immediately making subconscious judgments about whether that character is adding anything to the story, or if they are taking away from the story. A character who adds something to the story doesn’t mean they are a good guy, what it means is they are an element of it that is contributing to the audience’s enjoyment of the story. A good way to test if your character is adding to the story is to remove them completely and rewrite any major plot points that hinge on their existence. Does the story get less interesting? If yes, leave the character in. If no, remove them. Complexity is not to be confused with depth.

Ultimately, removing Ava does only positive things for the story. Her personality is grating and she contributes nothing. These are similar arguments I had against Tiny Tina in Borderlands 2, but she ends up being an interesting character later on, and especially in Assault on Dragon Keep. In that DLC all of my dislike for the character was washed away. We can only hope Ava gets something similar.

Beyond her personality, she gets a fan favorite killed. When you introduce a new character into a story and have them be the reason an old one the audience likes dies, you have to understand you are immediately directing all the anger and sadness onto that character. Whether or not you think she’s actually responsible is up to the audience, but the thing is, no matter what, Ava made the situation worse and contributed nothing. If she hadn’t disobeyed Maya, Maya might not have even been there. Maya only stayed behind to scold Ava for disobeying her (Correct advice which Ava casually blows off, contributing to our scorn for her when Maya is ultimately proven right moments later).

I’ve seen people comparing her decision to Lilith disobeying Roland, but there are some big differences. First off, Lilith didn’t trust Angel, who had been working for Jack the whole time so, justified. Killing Angel was the top priority for killing Jack. She believed they needed all hands on deck, justified. Lilith was not directly responsible for Roland’s death. Jack would have killed him no matter what; Lilith being there just made herself easier for Jack to capture. Finally, without Lilith, they would not have been able to kill Angel in the first place, which would have resulted in total mission failure. In the end, regardless of what happened, Lilith ultimately made the right call as a result; This really WAS Roland just being too cautious and jeopardizing the mission as a result.

Ava is there because she’s a disobedient brat sating her own curiosity. She does not help you in the fight. She does not play an important role. She did not need to be there, and Maya actually IS making the right call by telling her to stay behind. Maya dies because Maya is unable to flee because she wants to save Ava who will not back down despite being hopelessly outmatched. Ava makes bad call after bad call after bad call and all of her poor decision makings culminates in Maya’s death.

Ultimately, it WAS all Maya’s fault, however. Maya could have left the kid in the gutter and nothing would have changed for the worse- Which comes right back around to the character not adding anything to the story.

And that’s really the problem from an audience standpoint. Lilith can make mistakes because we’ve seen her execute good judgment and do good things too. We can accept mistakes from a character who generally makes good calls because mistakes happen. When you have a character who has not done anything positive and literally everything they do is a mistake, you end up with a character the audience hates because they’re a total fuckup endangering everyone around them constantly. Pair this with an insufferable, angsty, aggressive personality and you end up with Scrappy-Doo, a character universally reviled for being a combination of incompetent, impotent, and stupid, resulting in him being a constant danger to others by forcing others to try to save him from threats he himself is provoking but wholly unable to deal with himself.

The worst part of all of this however is not that she’s scrappy doo. Claptrap is kind of a less-egregious scrappy doo; He’s incompetent, loud, and stupid as well, but the audience reaction to him usually ranges somewhere between tolerance and love, and for a lot of people, he’s actually a woobie, condemned by his programming to be an irritant even though he just wants to help and thus life ■■■■■ all over him.

No, the real issue is that despite bad decision after bad decision, Scrappy gets handed the keys to the Crimson Raiders and no one stops to think that maybe this teenage girl who has already shown a penchant for terrible decision making and selfishness should not be the one in charge, and maybe literally anyone else would do a better job. Not only is she the scrappy, but she also gets rewarded for it. That’s why people hate the character. She got a fan favorite killed then blamed another fan favorite who not only had nothing to do with it, but didn’t like Maya’s idea of going in alone in the first place- And then got rewarded for it, and was never reprimanded for her poor decision making.

Maybe in a DLC we’ll see some real development from her, Tiny Tina style. I’m worried that at this point, however, she might be a Creator’s Pet.

Except from The Scrappy:

“On the other hand, if the writers take a shine to The Scrappy and add some elements of Mary Sue, or otherwise put more focus on them over more popular/liked characters, this will add gasoline to the flames—they’ve just turned The Scrappy into the dreaded Creator’s Pet.”

I would say they have put a LOT more focus on this character than more popular ones, and one could argue that being given leadership of the Crimson Raiders in spite of her failures, as well as ignoring said failures narratively, is dangerously close to Mary Sue creep.

Finally, there are people who do like Ava, and The Scrappy accounts for this as well:

“This is an Audience Reaction, more based on the fandom than the character itself. The visceral response to The Scrappy can baffle other fans who don’t take the character as seriously, or even sympathize with him or her.”

You’re free to disagree. I am just explaining as an author why people hate Ava.

3 Likes

21 posts were merged into an existing topic: I dislike the way Ava was written and she’s the worst character in the franchise