An important step in making sure you have a rounded character instead of a Mary Sue, or so I’ve read, is making sure your little puppet is not omniscient, isn’t correct about everything and is sometimes pretty failtastic at telling important information from unimportant.
Recently, in the interest of characterisation and hopefully the occasional plot idea, I’ve been mentally listing ways in which my characters are wrong about other characters. I don’t mean factual things here, but rather those impressions that you form of people for whatever trivial reason and, thanks to confirmation bias, are hard to dislodge.
Some of them are secret for the sake of spoilers (although, for the record, even Suitov thinks Weft is gay), but here are some examples.
Suitov is wrong about:
Malfina: “It’s a pity her gameplan for her life could never involve me. I gave up asking her the question; I imagine she was bored of hearing it.”
Jaina: “She is emotionally fragile and I have to protect her. She couldn’t cope with knowing about everything in which I’m involved; I’m not sure I could rely on her understanding.”
Basaltine: “He will come to regret giving up his lifespan to match mine.”
Sebastian: “The man is a ridiculous fraud playing a game of his own devising and not caring a whit for those around him. Sounds like a lot of fun, actually.”
Himself: “I am not ‘evil’. I am not cold-hearted. I feel as deeply as others do. That nickname ‘Iceheart’ is just a silly reputation on which I capitalise. I do have principles, some of which I will not break for any reason.”
(Suitov has quite a balanced personality overall, and is intelligent and well-informed, but that doesn’t protect him from sometimes being plain wrong, sucka.)
Weft is wrong about:
Sebastian: “He can do anything! Everything he says is true. In fact, I’m not worthy to hang around with the servant of a goddess. I wouldn’t be surprised if he despises me.”
Nico: “She has an irrational grudge against my organisation. Either that or our enemies have been telling her lies. She thinks I’m weak and she probably despises me.”
Jaina: “She luuuuuurves Suitov so much that she won’t listen to anything against him. They could never be happy together. I try to warn her off and she despises me.”
Himself: “I’m worthless. Anything I try to do on my own initiative will end disastrously. Everyone I ever love will die horribly and it’s my fault. I ruin everything I touch and I deserve to be despised.”
(Classic example of an attitude problem saying more about the perpetrator’s attitude to himself.)
Basaltine is wrong about:
Sylvie: “She could be my girlfriend. It could so work! We’d be awesome!”
Ferrl: “And she could be my girlfriend too. I’m her type!”
Helmine: “She so wants me!”
(Basaltine has a definite advantage in nosing out lies and motives, but hey, even a doggy character needs silly self-deception. A good-natured and hopelessly optimistic doggy personality provides that in spades.)