In the first novel in this series, Megan Whalen Turner gives us a whiner. The protagonist, Ged, is a huge whiner. He complains about everything, mocks everyone, and is all around a pain. We like him because we are in his head, and the other characters keep him around because he’s very, very good at what he does. He’s very self-assured. He is the most important person in the world, as far as he is concerned.
So, now that she has this very distinct character, well-crafted and personable, she has to make him grow. And she does that, largely, by screwing with him.
What’s the worst thing that can happen to someone whose body is essential to their identity? Maiming and stabbing. Who’s the worst person he could fall in love with? Someone who hates him. What’s the worst job and identity that could possibly be forced on him? Rulership. What’s the worst thing that can happen to someone who acts like he’s the gods’ chosen, blessed son? The gods start talking to him.
Damn, it’s fun. And interesting as hell.