The So-Called Bastards
I thought of a man the other day who'd been described to me at different points as a weasel and a shameless opportunist. "Don't trust him" was the underlying message.
And yet in every single encounter that I'd had with him - and I had many - he was thoroughly honorable and kind.
I've met some others like that. Just as you'll meet people who don't live up to their reputations as wizards or saints, these folks fall short of their expected role of villain.
I can imagine the reaction of those who reported their sins. "Ah, but that's only an act. Just you wait. Some day you'll see the real person." It may be that these reputedly terrible people once did behave poorly, but after a while I've begun to wonder more about their denouncers than about them.