Selene Charbon - Personality and Background

Image by Alexa from Pixabay

Mean Selene

Hearth High wouldn’t be an archetypical fictitious school without at least one mean, blonde, rich girl who makes our lead character’s life difficult. Given that The Mythic Series is a story about stories I had to include one of this classic character type and that’s how the world got Selene Charbon.

Down She Goes

In Book One, Selene is head of the cruel clique, peppering Amber with racist taunts and mocking Lucy’s dead mother. In Book Two, she’s dragged around the world, learning some lessons along the way. But in Book Three, after suffering a variety of setbacks, including being possessed and causing a number of deaths through her arrogance, Selene turns up looking chipped and worn. We learn she’s not been in boarding school, as Lucy believed, but institutionalised, now heavily medicated, haunted by guilt. She’s still bitter, but it’s evident she’s now the victim, not the victimiser. 

I liked showing her slow progression, from alpha to delta and it’s always fun to knock bullies down a peg, or several pegs. Selene is cruel, judgemental, angry, but also a wee bit sad. That’s true of most bullies I’ve encountered in my life and I definitely drew upon real world when creating Selene. 

She’s also racist and subjects Amber to racist taunts and racially based harassment. Looking back, it’s likely the racist attacks in Book One that soured me on Selene as a candidate for the core quartet (and meant Big Bear took the spot I’d reserved for her), even though I wrote Selene that way. Much like Amber, once Selene started hurling those racist insults around, it defined her in my mind and, like Amber, I’m still not ready to forgive her for those.

She’s a Rich Girl

Selene comes from money. It’s never overtly stated but in Book One Lucy and Amber are pursued by a giant animated warrior statue and run through Selene’s house which is described as “grand”. In Book Two Selene mentions holidaying overseas with her parents. The Charbons aren’t short on money which contrasts markedly to Lucy whose father struggles to provide for them both.

I did wonder whether making Selene cruel AND blonde AND rich was too much. But then I realised just how many of these types of characters exist in fiction. In fact, how many of these types exist in the real world. Thanks reality TV for throwing legions of them at us. So even though Selene is a stereotype, she’s equally just a type.

I haven’t gone deep into Selene’s background but I imagine she had a difficult childhood, despite all her privilege. All her anger has to have originated somewhere and for some reason. Hopefully she’s learning as the series continues. Of all the characters, she is the one most obviously on an arc of redemption. But that arc won’t be short, or easy.

Bonus Round

When Selene turns up at Amber’s window in Book Three she offers Lucy a puff and Lucy declines, prompting Selene to sneer “I thought you were the original bad girl, Knight”. I’m virulently anti-smoking and I often see smoking used as lazy shorthand to show a character is hardcore. That’s my personal in-joke. Lucy has saved worlds. She liberated children trapped in an underground slave mine. She hosted a piece of The Dark. No number of cigarettes could make her any more badass.

Bonus Bonus Round

I’ve twice killed off Selene only to undo that death in a later draft. And Big Bear thinks he’s the immortal one…