Writing

How to write a sociopathic character like Coriolanus Snow (Hunger games)

Sociopathic character

Before explaining how to write a sociopathic character, it is necessary to understand what is meant by this non-medical adjective.
A high-functioning sociopath is a person with (ASPD) antisocial personality disorder. Remember that this post is for creative purposes only, cannot be used for diagnostic purposes and may contain errors.

In this article we will talk about a character from a book series, a villain. But this does not mean that people with this condition are villains and it does not mean that they always have to be portrayed this way in your stories. They are normal people worthy of being respected as such.

That said, let’s get to the point.

* This post may contain affiliate links which means I may receive a commission from purchases made through links, there will be no extra cost for you. Learn more on my private policy page. *

Is Coriolanus Snow a sociopath?

Since the release of the new Hunger Games movie, you can’t enter any app without seeing Tom Blythe’s blond hair appear in front of you.

A very good actor who managed to bring to life a character so hated and feared by fans of the dystopian series. Hunger games: The ballad of songbirds and snakes was a hit in all cinemas, an entertaining film but also capable of making us reflect on the kind of society we live in.

I could spend hours talking about it but that is not why you are here so let’s get to the point.

The new Hunger Games prompted people to read the book, which came out years ago, just to learn more about Coriolanus Snow and Lucy Gray Baird.

I myself, after ignoring the series for years, decided to give it a chance. And I couldn’t be more pleased with it. The genius of Suzanne Collins, lies precisely in the construction of the characters. Not only did she manage to create a fascinating new world, but she also created one of the most well-written sociopathic characters I have ever read.

The movie is well done but unfortunately cannot really show who Snow is and what led him to be the cruel dictator we have always known. Reading the book, on the other hand, you have his whole inner narrative available and it is from there that you really see his inner psychology.

In this article I will show you how to write a sociopathic character like Coriolanus Snow (not a psychopathic character, they are different things mind you). If you are interested in reading the complete Hunger games series, I really recommend it, if you are not, I recommend reading just this book. You will understand much better everything I explain in this article.

To buy the Book:

This article contains LIGHT SPOILERS about the Hunger games series, especially the prequel:The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins.

The most important traits of a sociopathic character

1. Right and wrong do not exist

A sociopathic character does not follow what would be right or wrong for others, in fact, these two options are not really considered.

As seen in the Hunger Games, for Coryo Snow, it is not the morality of a situation that matters but only the consequences it will have on him. His actions are only meant to benefit him, and so are the people around him.

If they find themselves doing something that would be wrong for others, the only remorse he may have is in fear of the consequences. While you are writing a sociopathic character in your book, you must remember this every time you make them make a decision.

2. Constant lying

A sociopathic character lies very easily without much trouble. In fact, before speaking, Coriolanus always thinks about what to say to turn the situation to his advantage.

He analyses his words well and uses lies and manipulation to attract the affection of those around him and take advantage of them in times of need.

3. No sensitivity for those around him

If you are creating a sociopathic character you must remember that this condition greatly affects every single interaction he has with the people around him.

We have already realised that this condition leads you to be driven towards self-preservation, whatever the cost. This causes all worries to reflect on oneself and therefore one hardly cares about what others are going through.

Snow, in his book, learns in an abstract way that Tigris, his cousin, has probably had to sell herself to support both her and their family.

Coriolanus does not even like to think about this possibility, but not because he thinks of his cousin’s pain, but because for him such a thing would ‘sully’ the good name of the Snows.

4. Using one’s charm to gain favours

Coriolanus Snow knows how to charm the people of Capitol. This is explained and shown to us from the very first chapters.

Snow uses charm, manipulation and the important name of his family to make friends with everyone.

He always tries to maintain a peaceful relationship with those around him so that he always has someone who could put up with him if and when he needs to.

This is clearly shown by his relationship with Sejanus, who innocently believes him to be his best and only friend. In “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes”, it is clearly seen how Snow’s rise to power was only possible because of his ability to show himself as innocent and peaceful.

This version of him shown to those who were most comfortable with it, and the cruder version shown only to those he knows will appreciate it.

5. Their own opinion is always the right one

A well-written sociopathic character must never put someone else’s opinion above their own. What they think is the absolute truth for them and those who disagree simply need more time or intelligence to understand.

Coriolanus Snow is very annoyed by those who have different opinions from his about the society he lives in. He firmly believes that people in the districts are on a par with animals and need to be controlled in order to live socially.

So he spends his entire life searching for evidence for this belief, every single different opinion counts for nothing against that ‘truth’ of his.

6. Difficulties with emotions

The Hunger Games books are full of songs written and invented by Suzanne Collins. In addition to allowing the creation of extraordinary songs such as “The Ballad of Lucy Gray Baird”, she also gave us the opportunity to see Snow’s reaction to an emotional moment such as hearing a song for the first time.

Coriolanus reacts in a very particular way to Lucy Gray’s voice and her songs, While the people around him get emotional, cry or get carried away, he thinks about them.

Unable to understand them emotionally, he tries to examine the lyrics but this often leads him to the wrong conclusions.

7. Don’t be afraid to take risks

Sociopathic characters are very impulsive and this can lead them to leave many clues when they do something wrong.

Coryo Snow has no fear of taking any risks to achieve victory, the only thing that scares him is the consequences. The fear of being found out and the impulsiveness is especially seen in the scene with the snakes, I won’t say more for too many spoilers but those who have seen or read it will understand.

8. They only love people who suit them

Ciolanus Snow’s relationship with Lucy Gray has fascinated everyone, and there have been many debates about their relationship. The question that is often asked is: did Snow really love Lucy Gray? This question has an easy answer if you also believe that Snow is the perfect image of a sociopathic person.

Those with ASPD would never choose others over themselves, as I have said before, so if a person becomes a threat to their future, they get rid of them very quickly.

You can see that in the fourth book of the Hunger Games, in the few words that Tigris has with Katniss. She was fired, by her own cousin, when she stopped serving him. Coryo has no greater love for another than he has for himself.

9. No remorse

If a sociopathic character is not discovered, and thus receives consequences, he will never feel remorse for something he has done. Snow will always be convinced that he did the right thing, with Sejanus, with Lucy Gray, with Tigris.

He will never question his past choices because he will always seek, in his daily life, proof that he did the right thing. He will spend his time justifying himself and thinking that he had no other choice.

10. Disdain for personality traits they dislike

A sociopathic character sometimes errs on the side of vanity, but is logical enough to understand that he has negative sides as well. And the latter will always remain unacceptable to them.

Suzanne Collins shows this very well, especially at the end of the Hunger Games prequel. If you are writing a sociopathic character, be very careful when deciding on his flaws, because it is these that will make him fail.

I could not resist writing this article at such a crucial time for this story and this character.

The Hunger Games and Coriolanus Snow have grown in popularity this month and are on everyone’s lips.

Unfortunately, Tom Blythe’s charm has gone to some people’s heads and prevented them from really understanding the character he portrayed, but I won’t go into that here. Snow is what he is and if you read the books you can see that very well.

The film did its best, but if you really want to get to know this fascinating character, you have to immerse yourself in the words of Suzanne Collins.

Remember not to use this article for medical purposes, it is for creative writing only.
I highly recommend reading the series if you want to try your hand at writing such a character for your novel.

Writing a sociopathic character will be much easier if you have a clear example to go by. If you enjoyed this article, follow the blog on Pinterest so you don’t miss out on any writing tips.
Happy writing and remember, have fun writing your book!

If you liked this article, you may also find the following articles helpful:

Writing a book chapter your readers will absolutely love

How to write useful vivid descriptions in your book (and what not to do)

How To Write More interesting scenes that capture the reader (5 things you are doing wrong)

How to write a book in 30 days: The Fool-Proof System

You may also like...