The Flawed Charm of the Chaotic Good

Mar 6, 2021


People just love a good hero. The good tend to gravitate toward a specific trend in how they choose to go about the hero thing. I play a lot of Dungeons and Dragons and therefore often break characters down by lawful and chaotic. Do they have a set of laws that govern their actions or simply feel that the end is all that really matters and not how they get there? 

“…rules were meant to be broken…”

Most heroes I come across are what I’d consider Lawful Good. This category holds your typical Superman, Aragorn, and the like. They live by an almost shatterproof code that forever binds their actions to the fate of the moment. We don’t always know what will happen to the hero but do almost always know what they will do about it. 

Enter the Chaotic Good, and all confidence in the moment is lost. One of my favorite examples of Chaotic Good would be the Doctor. You know she’ll do the right thing… eventually. I think these characters bring shades of grey to a black and white landscape, and in doing so, bring a level of charm we don’t see in the lawful.

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They remind us that the rules were made to be broken if you can get there in time to fix the fallout. In a way, I believe these characters are more dangerous than their lawful counterparts because there are no set rules. Moral ambiguity can justify almost any action as we recently learned in WandaVision. Wanda is another Chaotic Good character that is so flawed that one would almost call her neutral yet at the core of it all, she gave up everything so many times to save the world whether through her own making or not.

“…often tie their actions inexorably to time.”

These characters often tie their actions inexorably to time. “I’ll make a rash decision now because there’s still time to fix it.” They chase decision after decision until the eventual outcome is somewhat close to what they originally planned with only a few casualties along the way. In the case of the Doctor, she has bounded around for centuries flouting every rule she’s ever had or been given fixing what once went wrong. We know the life count overall comes out to be positive, but I can’t help but consider the trolley problem. What is the cost of the sacrificed? 

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And yet they smile, and we swoon; because let’s face it, we are all flawed. We all do the best we can with the knowledge and time that is given to us. With great power comes great responsibility, but what about small powers? What about everyday powers to survive and fight for the ideals that hold us firm to who we are? So, here’s to the chaotic good that remind us that we don’t need to be perfect to tackle the day. Just try your best and hope there’s time to fix anything you couldn’t fix the first time around.


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