Forgotten Baby: Things that Bother me in Books

So, a couple weeks ago, I was reading a book. A fantasy. Not an epic fantasy, not urban fantasy, more sword and sorcery.

There was a guy; he used magic to sort of nudge a girl to like him. She does, they got together, and in due time, she gets pregnant.

The guy, the hero? He panics and wants out. A normal enough reaction in a boy, I suppose. He is all: I never promised her I would marry her.

So, okay, he didn’t. She thought otherwise, but he never said the words. In this community, the action is sort of a promise, but he never got that.

So than he gets into the trouble for questionable use of magic and gets thrown out of his community and into some other community.

The girl’s pregnancy is the catalyst for a bunch of actions, for the story taking off. She and her baby are never mentioned again. He falls in love with someone else, spends a lot to send letters to her, and never thinks about the unborn child he left behind. He never gives the child another thought.

Okay, yes, so it’s probably a little awkward to ask the girl you’re presently in love about the ex-girlfriend who you left pregnant. Still.

I am still a little bothered by how easily he can forget he left a child behind. I mean, he’s the hero of the book and all. He does a lot of good things, goes through a lot, he grows up. But this one thing? I can’t get over it. I finished the whole book weeks ago and it still bothers me.

I kept waiting for him to think about it. He never does. Not even when the girl he loves gets pregnant, too. It’s like the whole thing never happened.

What about the unborn child he left behind? What about the girl he got pregnant? It was a plot point and nothing more. It doesn’t have to be more – he’s that kind of guy, clearly.

But it bothers me. It really does. Do things like that bother you?



17 thoughts on “Forgotten Baby: Things that Bother me in Books

  1. That sounds like a strange book with not much purpose to it. That would definitely bother me. I don’t like when authors just cut characters out of the story without an explanation of their whereabouts ever again. It’s a bit inconsistent.

  2. I hate when something happens and it’s never visited again. It’s like a complete subplot gone missing.

    And you would think if he grew up he would mature enough to show concern for the child/ex. Even if he’s “that type of guy,” though, wouldn’t there at least be some kind of thought/memory towards your first child while on your way to a second? If only to think it had happened before?

    I completely understand you being bothered by reading it – I’m getting annoyed just thinking about it, ha ha!

  3. Yes, that would really bother me, too. He doesn’t sound like much of a hero to me if he doesn’t even think about past responsibilities. And yes, he did the deed, so yes, he is responsible. Like Kittens and Books said, it makes me annoyed just to think about it.

  4. Now consider further down the line the possibility of unknowing incest. Such is the case of one old b&w movie where the aunt spends the last half of the movie trying to dissuade her sister’s kid from dating somebody that the MC knows shares the same father. For the life of me I can’t recall the name of the film…

  5. Something like that would really bother me because it’s lazy writing – you can’t introduce a plot catalyst and then never tie up that particular loose end. Unless the book is going to be part of a series and that action is going to come back and haunt him. It also shows a distinct lack of moral fibre in him, especially if he’s supposed to be a hero, and I don’t think I’d be able to root for him after something like that.

  6. That sort of thing would bother me too. It’s lazy writing and reflects badly on the character that’s supposed to be the good guy.
    It’s like in YA books where the teenagers parents are completely forgotten about, like they’re still living at home with their parents but they’re too busy having adventures/an epic romance that their parents have no part in their life. It’s especially jarring and annoying when it’s a contemporary YA novel where there’s no excuse for the parents to be completely absent – if it’s a fantasy and the parents are dead/fighting the good fight elsewhere it’s a bit more understandable.

  7. Sonia, that really bothers me, too. I wouldn’t be able to see a character as a “good guy” if he didn’t take responsibility for his child. Period. That would ruin the whole book for me.

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