Thoughtful Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Reading Is Fun Again. This week:
What is your favorite POV style?
First person? Second person? Third person?
Never. Ever. Second. Person.
(9:41:58 PM) Isa: oh i wanted to ask you
(9:42:02 PM) Isa: if you had any opinions
(9:42:07 PM) Isa: on tomorrow’s thursday post
(9:42:39 PM) Ren: I HATE 2ND PERSON POV
(9:42:40 PM) Ren: the end
(9:42:58 PM) Isa: good excellent
(9:43:01 PM) Isa: i will incorporate this
In other words: Second person was spawned by the devil and should be eradicated from the literary world. I haven’t actually read any books in second person, but I’ve read plenty of fanfic because I am a curious and masochistic young humanoid being. Maybe somebody can pull it off perfectly, but it’s not for me or Ren at all. I know that when I read stuff written in second person, I just spend the entire time contradicting the author, my brain going “yeah but I’m not tied to a chair and I’m not wearing a skirt, you got it all wrong, loser.”
Out of the remaining two, I definitely prefer third person because it often gives me some much needed distance to the characters. First person can make it or break it. Like, I (and Ren as well) enjoyed Keeping the Castle and that one was written in first person, but then I dread to imagine what Harry Potter would be like if it were written in first person. (I’d probably want to shoot myself.) And I couldn’t get through Hunger Games, for instance, because Katniss’ POV just ticked me off. (Now everyone else probably wants to shoot me.)
Sure, first person can provide a lot of insight into a character’s thoughts, but with the ongoing trends in fiction, there’s only so many times I can read about a girl who thinks she’s not pretty, a girl who pines hopelessly over a dude (with success at the end, probably), a girl who manages to be more emo than the kids with the razorblades standing in front of the Central Station in Hamburg. And besides, first person often entices authors to switch POVs, like in… Breaking Dawn, Allegiant, or Mind Games… Shoot me now. Please. Take pity on me.
Third person can have its problems and faults as well, for sure, and it invites people to use alternating POVs as well, like in Lirael or Boneshaker, but it also allows me, as a reader, to find out more about the universe. Third person’s not quite as limited as first person is. Of course I still only get to see Hogwarts from Harry’s POV (you have disappointed me, JKR), but there’s a lot of stuff that I wouldn’t get if it were in first person. First person relies heavily on thoughts and feelings and inner monologue (to the point of ignoring the plot… looking at you, Mind Games…). Third person on the other hand? We get to actually see the world that the character is in because the narrator often mentions things that I am sure little Harry James Potter would never consciously notice, considering that he’s blind as a bat and has the brain capacity of a goldfish and the academic speed of a slug. If it weren’t for Hermione the boy would’ve flunked his OWLs, lbr.