The perfect little character- some like them, most hate them.
But, what if our dear little character was such of a Mary Sue that she wasn't a Mary Sue a all? It was an idea that struck me one day, whilst reading an article about Mary Sues.
Say, the character was such of an angel, who followed rules, and got everything perfect, one day had a choice to make between saving a friend and following the rules? Ultimately, being a Mary Sue, she chooses to follow the rules, and somehow that friend is saved in the process.
Now take the feelings of the friend- would they feel happy? Grateful? Relieved? No! The friend had just witnessed an act that clearly implies that our character doesn't seem to care for her/him much, for the character has chosen to follow a set of rules rather than save him/her. Uh oh, there's a friendship lost.
What do you think?
Being a Mary Sue, the character will just win the friend over again in some contrived Magic of Friendship way.
One should never aspire to write a Sue, ever. It's not endearing or quirky, and that situation you outlined is groan worthy in the sense that Sue didn't have to make a hard choice. She still had everything go her way, even with the easily rectified angry friend bit, because Sue can easily justify her actions to said friend and smooth over the situation.
More interesting would be if the friend died and Sue was forced to live with the consequences of her choice. Then maybe, just maybe, she'd learn how to be a real character.
In that second scenario they wouldn't be a Mary-sue then since their own flawed behaviour(I say flawed since them always following rules can sometimes be a bad thing) led to the death of their friend. Something like that is pretty much the anti-thesis of a Mary-sue. However, if they use that death as an excuse to be filled with angst the entire story then it would be questionable. Instead, the death should be used for the character to develop and grow and maybe then decide "oh, my behaviour is wrong".
Originally Posted by Dervish
Interesting premise, seeing as how it challenges a Sue's Sue-ness.
Being lawful good to an extreme just makes one a holy zealot, not a Mary Sue... :p
Mary Sue is the Goku of roleplay-always wins, always makes the best choices and their "owner" is not going to admit it.
There is nothing wrong with playing good guys or liking your characters-it only turns into annoying Mary Sue if you let your attachment to the character curve your judgment
Pretty much what has been written above. A Mary Sue would never face such a two-way option. They'd either...
1: Chose to defy the rules this one time to save their friend to show she knows when it is stupid to act only on rules and face absolutely no repercussions for having defied the rules.
2: Chosen to follow the rules because she somehow knew the friend would be saved and the friend will continue to love and treasure his relationship with the Mary Sue.
3: She somehow outwits the system and picks a third option which somehow saves the friend and restores peace to the galaxy while STILL following all the rules, no damage done.
There are probably other options but the rule is.... If the character faces such a situation described in the OP with REAL repercussions depending on her actions, then the character probably isn't a Mary Sue.