In the previous article, I detailed the ways in which red-aligned characters can do both good and evil. Emotions do funny things, after all. Now to finish off the series, let's look at the last color on the wheel - green. For the benefit of those who just started reading now, here's my introduction:
A Magic character's color alignment doesn't imply a moral judgment on them. Every color of Magic has more or less equal capacity for good and evil - the difference is in what values each of their outlooks emphasize, and what virtues and flaws they each have. Now, since just about every trait can be assigned to one or more colors (that's the point of Magic's color philosophies, after all), saying a color does evil in certain ways and good in others is a gross generalization.
Green, oddly enough, can be as amoral as its enemies blue and black. That's not because it's dispassionate or self-centered, but simply because morality doesn't really apply to non-reasoning animals. After all, who would begrudge a predator its prey? Still, that doesn't mean green characters have to be non-sapient or totally driven by instinct, and plenty of intelligent and rational characters are green-aligned. Here's what might motivate them in either direction:
Green's good qualities: Green cares about nature, so if you're a part of the natural world (and since you are a living being, you are), green by extension cares about you. Green is not meddlesome - it has something of a noninterference policy - but if something disturbs the balance you can be sure green will be there to try and right it. Green is physically vigorous, and wants to heal others and stop diseases. Green can be playful, and tries to cultivate a serene mood. Green believes in destiny, and if it thinks you're fated for greatness it will do much to help you achieve it. Green opposes cruelty of any kind; though green is perfectly willing to use violence and to kill it will try to punish anyone who derives pleasure from hurting others. Bran Stark from George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" is a green hero, and says this, demonstrating the essential sensitivity of green:
"Old stories are like old friends. You have to visit them from time to time."
Green's evil qualities: Green is a technophobe. It can be Ludditic in the extreme; if you have some fancy artifact that happens to be the only thing keeping you alive, too bad, green wants to destroy it. And it will justify the deed to itself by saying that you were unnaturally extending your lifespan, or that you were destined to die in that way anyhow. Green can be vicious, in an unthinking way; if green is hungry it will kill to eat. Green can have a hard time caring about individuals - it sees the too-big picture, and it can't recognize the trees in its own Forest, a consequence of basing your morality around the connections between all things rather than individual things. Green is a bit moss-backed in its traditionalism and disapproves of people who strive too hard, seeing them as going against their ordained fates. Robert E. Howard wrote in "King Kull" this quote which encapsulates the typical motive of green villains:
“The more I see of what you call civilization, the more highly I think of what you call savagery!”