I'm a great fan of Andre Norton, the incredible sf and fantasy author.
When I read Norton’s MERLIN'S MIRROR, I was so disappointed by the book I reread it to figure out why.
The character of Merlin has a mirror which tells him the future, and he has to make it happen. Through the whole novel, he does all kinds of active things but doesn't make the first important decision about his own life or what he wants to do. Instead, he's led along by that dang mirror.
He is as passive, in many ways, as a character who is always reacting to others rather than charting his own course, and a passive main character means a boring book.
Being active as a character is as much about choices as it is about running around doing stuff to achieve a goal, particularly someone else's goal.
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