Many times in fantasy we romanticize the thief as the suave, fast-talking, cut-purse, but in a real psychological sense there is a very fine, gray line between the cut-purse and the cut-throat. They are quite often the same person. Within the archetype of the thief lies one of the few instances where I wish writers were grittier–more realistic with the character’s motivations.
I’ve heard the argument more than once that the fantasy worlds where sexual assault goes unpunished are just grittier than our own. It is war-time. People are living under constant threat. This is how it was in Earth’s dark history, too. While I do not argue with any of that, I would like to argue with the character development of these sexual predators. I’m not here to say we need to stop having sexual assault in fantasy. If it fits the story, write it, my brother! What I am saying is that we need to be mindful to how we treat our characters, specifically our sexual offenders in fantasy. We need to be mindful that we are being realistic, and setting the right character progressions for a person who is a sexual offender in fiction. What I’m calling into criticism is how I’ve seen some authors develop character arcs involving these characters.
The art of writing, in the end, is the art of communication. It is a sort of magic where I take ideas in my head and try to put it into other people’s heads. Sometimes we succeed at spinning these spells better than other times, but in the end that is what it is. Your released written word will be interpreted by others in countless ways–most of which won’t meet the original dream in your head.