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How red-aligned characters can be heroes and villains

Everything depends on whether you use your gods-given - okay, steroids-given - muscles for good or evil.
Everything depends on whether you use your gods-given - okay, steroids-given - muscles for good or evil.

Last time, I turned my attention to the good and evil black-aligned characters tend to do, and tried to prove that black's color philosophy can include good motives. Moving swiftly along the color wheel, next up is red, which honestly would prefer I dispensed with the 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.

Red is extremely emotional and has issues with authority. This can be a good or bad thing, depending on the emotion and the authority. Let's sum it up this way:

Red's good qualities: Red is the color of love. A red-aligned character often forms deep bonds with their friends, and out of that love is willing to do anything for them. Red is anti-tyrannical because it's anti-authority - it believes in freedom as an absolute right and is completely unafraid to stand up to oppression. Red is convivial and fun-loving, and easily throws the best parties. It is all about sensory experience, and "making people happy" is often a primary motive for good-aligned red. Red is innovative - the stereotype that red characters aren't smart simply isn't true. However, red may lack the attention span to follow through on its revolutionary ideas, but the fact remains that it does have a lot of good ones. Aristotle said this about what we would term a red-aligned hero:

"Anybody can become angry - that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way - that is not within everybody's power and is not easy."

Red's evil qualities: Red is by far the fastest color to anger. Any slight could set it off on a destructive rage. Red may feel remorse, afterwards, of course - red deeply feels any intense emotion - but that does little good once it's already chopped your head off. Red is prone to bloodlust, so it may pick fights even if it isn't angry, just because it has the impulse to smash something. Red is short-sighted, and will often shrug off the unintended harmful consequences of it driving towards a goal. Red is stereotypically pyromaniacal, and this stereotype is... actually pretty true. It can be hard to trust red characters because of their tendency to be mercurial and unstable. Euron Greyjoy, the mad buccaneer captain from George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series, says one of my favorite quotes by a red-aligned villain, to his priest brother:

"Godless? Why, Aeron, I am the godliest man ever to raise sail! You serve one god, Damphair, but I have served ten thousand. From Ib to Asshai, when men see my sails, they pray."

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