[We did this in hearts_andminds and I thought it was really interesting, so I thought I'd share here. :-D]List the top five ideas/concepts/etc you keep in mind while writing the character that you believe are essential to accurately depicting them.
1. Her ability governs how she sees and interacts with people and the world. She doesn't act on faith or trust--Samuel nailed that. She doesn't take people on faith--she reads them to discern how to react to them. Without her ability she is pretty much lost and retreats into herself, wary and frightened.
2. In her comfort zone, among her family, Lydia is the serene and calming influence to the frenetic energy Samuel brings. She really is the yin to his yang. But out of her comfort zone, the underlying fragility induced by her upbringing comes out and the cracks begin to show.
3. Her family and her loved ones mean a hell of a lot to her. But her own physical safety possibly means more. Like a lot of abuse victims, she craves at least the illusion of security more than anything, even the possibility of love and freedom. She needs to feel safe. So, yeah. She sold Edgar out to not piss off Samuel, and she lied about Amanda to not piss off Samuel, and she told Samuel she'd cover up Joseph's death so the family could go on being a safe place. You don't rock the boat and piss off the person who has control, even when he's threatening to punish your bff, or blaming his murderous deeds on him.
4. She doesn't believe she deserves to be loved. It's one reason that offered the choice between two guys, she's more likely to choose the one that's bad for her, or will treat her not as well. It's why Edgar tends to lose out. She's bought into the idea that she's really only good for sex--if someone happens to fall in love with her through that, she can be coaxed into it, but if love comes first, they're screwed, uh figuratively. Probably not literally. Ask Edgar.
5. She's a classic damsel in distress/tragedienne archetype. Even later in canon she turned to Claire--a teenager--to save her rather than do it herself. Oh, she got snarky a bit with Samuel and talked back, sure. In one scene. She didn't do anything about it but taunt him a little. Granted, that's some progress for her, but not near enough. She's pretty much always looking to be rescued. Or to seduce someone into rescuing her/doing her dirty work for her (i.e. getting Sylar to get rid of Samuel) Note:
The one exception I've seen to this in RP was in the vampire 'verse when she was the one to stand up and get rid of Samuel and rescue everyone. But, honestly...she didn't have much choice. Her options were down to be alone forever and let everyone she loved die, or do something about it. She still can't quite believe she did what she did. But I was super-proud of her. She did still pretty much yield to John as soon as he was able to take over, though. And is about ready to let Peter start making the decisions again in the aftermath, just so she doesn't have to. But still! She managed it for a bit?