- For the list, please see List of Mary Sues and Gary Stus.
A Mary Sue (female variant) or Gary Stu (male variant) is the considered adversary of a Society Agent.
The creation of Mary-Sues and Gary-Stus can happen in many ways, but a lot of authors agree that their own Sues and Stus were brought about when they were just beginning their journeys as writers. Starting out in any aspect of life means making mistakes and learning from them. Mary-Sues are often the mistakes that authors make and have learnt from. It is safe to say that a character who is perfect in every way loses its appeal after a while, so the lifespan of the majority of these Sues and Stus does not generally last long. Depending on the fandom, a Sue or Stu may have a longer lifespan than another, but that does not mean that they may not have the power to corrupt the fandom, if they break free of their author’s grasp.
It is important to remember that in the world of fanfiction, a Sue/Stu does not necessarily mean a bad story. However Sues/Stus can become dangerous if left to their own devices and not kept in check by their governing author. As such, when these characters gain enough power to the point that their author does not have the ability to contain them any longer, the Society steps in. Often this is at the point when the very fabric of reality within that fandom becomes in danger of manipulation to the extent that it is unrecognizable.
In the same way, the presence of a Sue/Stu does not mean a bad author. Everyone can get carried away with their own brilliance, and it is safe to say every writer has done at least once in their lives. We are not here to punish the authors for making mistakes, but to stop the Sues from destroy the worlds that we love so much. Many of the Agents of the Society are guilty of creating Sues/Stus themselves at some point in their writing careers, and to condemn one would be to condemn everyone who has ever made a mistake. We are all human at the end of the day.
There is no set mould for a Mary-Sue, as it can change depending on various aspects of the fandom. However many agree that the following traits often occur.
- Unbelievable and Uncommon Beauty or Charm - this may manifest itself in the form of unusual hair/eye colour, unusual birthmarks/tattoos or a figure that the average character would commit murder to have.
- Inexplicable Attractiveness - this is often a side effect of the aforementioned beauty, in that every character - regardless of personality traits, romantic availability or sexual orientation - will instantly fall for (or at least be friendly to) the Mary-Sue. Anyone who does not do this will be portrayed as a hate figure or villain.
- Tragic Backstory - often used to help facilitate the incredible attractiveness. A horribly tragic past will help the other characters sympathise and bond with the Sue, while at the same time portraying the Sue's survival strength and willingness to continue on. This is not to say that every character with a dark past is a Sue; however, most authors conveniently forget that in reality - if a person has lived through something as tragic as losing your entire family or being raped - the last thing you want to do is talk about it to every random person who comes by.
- Ability to master any power or ability in the fandom, despite how rare it is or difficult it is to master.
- Ability to complete tasks that the canon characters are unable to do, such as defeat the evil overlord or melt the heart of the coldest anti-hero in the fandom.
When a report of a Sue/Stu arrives (either by the author responsible for their creation informing the Society, or a detection of Sueish activity warping a certain fandom) the Society dispatches Agents to bring the Sue/Stu in. Agents may operate solo, or in teams, depending on how dangerous the Sue/Stu is considered to be, and are dispatched by means of Self Insertation into the fandom. As there can sometimes be a very strong link with Self-Inserts and Mary-Sues, all Agents' powers are monitored closely whilst inside the fandom, and any temptation to abuse their powers is not tolerated.
The standard action is:
- To enter the fandom,
- Copyright whichever character needs to be copyrighted if needs be,
- Confront and hopefully Prohibit the Sue to bring them back to the Library and
- Imprison them in the Basement.
Some Sues who have displayed a certain level of remorse and/or willingness to change may be allowed to go through the Parole process and end up Permanently Prohibited and released.
The Society at one point used a 1-8 scale to rank Sues (which Sues dated before April 2010 still use) while this has recently changed to 1-10.
It is important to remember that after a Sue is removed from a realm, all effects of their presence will vanish, ergo any damage or effects left in capture will too. Therefore any agent who may wish to act on their fan urges with certain canon characters may do so once the Sue/Stu is necessarily subdued, although several agents have been known to slip up in the past... In the event that the damage is too widescale, the Society itself must clean up the fandom themselves, resetting the plotlines and wiping the memories of the canon characters afterwards.
As to the Sues themselves, it is easy to berate and deride them for who they are, and one must be careful to not let this hatred affect those who do not deserve this ire. The Basement is currently undergoing a reform when it was discovered that the prisoners were not being fed enough.