A great deal of examination has finally revealed the actual protagonist of my novel: the prince wins. Hurray for Kelvin!
Thanks to some research, I have also determined the princess’s role in the story and added a new vocabulary term to my repertoire. She is not only the dear narrator–the one character we always can trust and who has continually kept me from just killing the prince off, sometimes quite literally. (Alas that I wasn’t blogging yet the day that he found a plot hole and went tumbling through it like Alice into Wonderland, sending me reeling and nearly sentencing himself to death because I didn’t know how to save him.)
She is the false protagonist.
When the story begins, it looks like it will about her. The prince leaves the picture quite quickly and, as already mentioned, is not physically in scene for nearly half of the story. But, of course, it isn’t. The story at its very core is his. (Thanks again, CB Wentworth, for showing me that.)
She ends up being like Marion in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. While she doesn’t vacate the story, leaving us in the hands of another protagonist–the true protagonist–her struggles are overshadowed by the prince’s and most of her energy is poured into playing a role in his conflict. (He is the hero of the story, but she is his heroine.)
It certainly isn’t a role I intended for her to have as the story matured, but I like the complexity and uniqueness it adds. I suppose what CS Lewis said is true:
“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.”