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DougTheHead
2011-11-17, 02:02 AM
I'm sure I'm not the first to point this out, but this storyline has really underlined something about the Order of the Stick that had been hinted at, but never really deeply investigated up to this point: The three human members of the Order all share a similar relationship with their parents. Roy, Hayley, and Elan all have troubled relationships with their fathers, all of whom disappoint them in some way, and have idealized relationships with their mothers, all of whom seem to form the basis for their self-image.

The fathers all seem to disappoint their children by trying to force Roy, Hayley, and Elan into their own worldview. Eugene, in addition to considering Roy a failure for becoming a fighter, mostly seems to see his son as a way to break his blood oath. Ian continues to see Hayley as a supporting character in his struggle against Tarquin. Tarquin is, strangely enough, the closest thing to a good father- he's at least willing to let Elan be a hero, and is willing to tolerate their philosophical differences- but even that boils down to him using Elan, seeing him as the final piece of a story that will immortalize Tarquin forever.

By contrast, each of the human characters' mothers are loving, supportive, and generally let their kids go off into the world to let them grow up. Roy spent most of his childhood around his mother, she seems to have given him the desire to become a fighter with her stories of his grandfather (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0113.html), and the only things she asks of him are basic mother-things: settle down, have some kids, etc. Elan's mother obviously gave him his alignment, and based on the few times we've seen her, she seems to have given him his cheerful spirit and unique singing style (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0050.html), and the fact that Elan calls her his "mommy" suggests that he tends to idealize her the way a child would (and it's not just his intelligence or silliness that makes him do it- he doesn't address anyone else in such infantile terms). Hayley's mother is perhaps the most extreme example of a saintly mother- she died when Hayley was a little girl, so Hayley never had any adolescent conflict with her mother. Like Elan, she still sees her mother from the perspective of her childhood, and she's obviously taken her mother's dying words to heart (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0772.html)- Hayley's character arc throughout the webcomic is basically her learning to become a better person than the circumstances in which she was raised would dictate.

There are other hints that this is a near-constant tendency in the OOTS-verse: Redcloak says "This one's for you, Mom" (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0422.html) right before attacking Azure City, the former Bandit Leader blames himself for his daughter (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0159.html) becoming a terrible person, and the relationship between Eugene and Horace doesn't seem to have been particularly happy either. (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0601.html) That last comic even lampshades the trope a little bit: "I have nothing to say to my father." "Neither do I, yet you keep showing up."

What I'm wondering is, does anybody else think there's any greater significance to this? Is Burlew using a well-known trope, or does this pattern have some greater meaning? Are there any instances of it I missed? Also, why are all the mothers depicted as young while the fathers are usually shown as old men? Is it another way of showing that the main characters all have a child's view of their mothers and an adult view of their fathers?

Cizak
2011-11-17, 04:58 AM
Regarding Redcloak,

SoD
We've enver actually seen RC's dad. The "This is for you, mom" is there because RC's mom was murdered by paladins a few feet in front of RC. So when he finally can attack Azure City, that revenge is specifically for his mom.

Bulldog Psion
2011-11-17, 06:06 AM
It does seem to be a near-constant, yes. Even if the mothers aren't entirely saintly, the fathers are 100% jackass 100% of the time.

Which is kind of odd, I agree. I don't know what significance it has, though.

ThePhantasm
2011-11-17, 06:52 AM
The same was pretty much true of LOST. Not all the mothers were saintly, but there were lots of daddy issues. It is popular in a lot of fiction.

Flame of Anor
2011-11-17, 06:52 AM
Do note that Roy's grandfather is (was) a nice guy. And Hinjo's uncle was a pretty chill dude.

hamishspence
2011-11-17, 08:49 AM
That said, his long period of "senility" followed by the big reveal that he was faking it all the time- might qualify Shojo as a "disappointing father figure" for Hinjo (while not Hinjo's father, some of the strips (bonus strips included) do seem to present a father-son dynamic.)

Shhalahr Windrider
2011-11-17, 09:25 AM
Is Burlew using a well-known trope, or does this pattern have some greater meaning?
Yeah, it’s called Steven Spielberg. :smalltongue:


That said, his long period of "senility" followed by the big reveal that he was faking it all the time- might qualify Shojo as a "disappointing father figure" for Hinjo (while not Hinjo's father, some of the strips (bonus strips included) do seem to present a father-son dynamic.)
Yeah, I don’t recall if it was ever addressed in-comic, but it would appear that at some point Hinjo’s parents left the picture, and Shojo took over in raising Hinjo for them. I would assume that was before he started the whole senile act.

Kish
2011-11-17, 09:37 AM
Do note that Roy's grandfather is (was) a nice guy.

I certainly wouldn't want to bet anything I wasn't prepared to lose on Horace being a better father to his son, Eugene than Eugene was to Roy--as Doug already addressed, and you just ignored.

And Hinjo's uncle was a pretty chill dude.
...Really? His lack of respect for his nephew was staggering.

MesiDoomstalker
2011-11-17, 09:45 AM
What I'm wondering is, does anybody else think there's any greater significance to this? Is Burlew using a well-known trope, or does this pattern have some greater meaning? Are there any instances of it I missed? Also, why are all the mothers depicted as young while the fathers are usually shown as old men? Is it another way of showing that the main characters all have a child's view of their mothers and an adult view of their fathers?

Ah, serious literary analysis. This will be an interesting thread to say the least.

One reasoning could be akin to Freud and his Oedipus Complex. What it basically means is that sons compete with their fathers for their mothers love. Obviously this doesn't apply to Haley directly (since she's a girl) but it applies to Roy, Elan (if somewhat latly manifested), Eugene and possibly Redcloak.

There could be a bit of the author manifesting himself, either conciously or subconciously, into his work. I am not saying Rich has daddy issues, but it is possible and that may be the case.

Unfortunatly, since the strip is not over, any literary analysis we do now is incomplete due to insufficient data. But, in general, if the parents of the character aren't going to be perfect, its usually the dad that fails at parenting and the mother who is idealized.

As for women depicted as young and fathers depicted as old, this is two fold. We have only seen the mothers through flash-backs from when they were young or in a celestial plane where they can choose their form. And what women wouldn't want to look like their 19 year old selves? Inversly, the men are shown alive and in the present and thus subject to turmoils of old age. This last one does not apply to Eugene as he's kinda dead. But as Roy's mom points out, they appear as they view themselves. If Eugene views himself as a crotchy old man, well theres a pretty good chance he's a crotchy old man.

Just my $0.02 for now.

jidasfire
2011-11-17, 11:44 AM
Yeah, this is pretty common in fiction, and certainly in OOTS as well, but at least here it's more complicated than just bad dad/good mom. Eugene is probably the most prevalent example, but even he has his moments, mostly those seen in Start of Darkness, where he puts his family over his vengeance on Xykon, though he would never admit it. As for Ian, he actually seems like a good man and a loving father, with a few serious blind spots based on his rampant paranoia. Oddly enough, Tarquin is very loving and supporting of Elan, despite being an absolutely ruthless dictator.

As for the rest of the Order, whose parents we haven't seen, I imagine Durkon's family being fairly normal and stable as dwarves go. He seems to hold his paternal figures in high regard. And Belkar, well, we certainly can't say, as he gives very little in the way of background (and there's no way to know if what he's actually given is true), but I suspect that Belkar comes from a perfectly loving and happy family, in which he was the psychotic, murdering black sheep. And V? Well, we know V's parents were rangers, and they occasionally took him/her camping, much to his/her chagrin, so it's likely that they didn't quite get Vaarsuvius. Anyway, that's all speculation, but it seems to fit with what we know.

Shhalahr Windrider
2011-11-17, 12:11 PM
Yeah, this is pretty common in fiction, and certainly in OOTS as well, but at least here it's more complicated than just bad dad/good mom.
I think a distinction should be made between a disappointing dad and a bad dad.

A disappointing dad is a dad that has a number of good qualities—things that give him the potential to be a really excellent father. However, that potential is never realized, and he lets his flaws overshadow his strengths. It is disappointing because a child can have so much hope only to be let down time and time again. That is what disappointment is: the failure to fulfill one’s hope.

A bad dad is just a terrible father all around. There is nothing to be disappointed in, because there is no hope to lose.

Mind you that I would suggest the line between these categories can move. After all, one can only be disappointed so many time before one refuses to replace all that lost hope.

Psyren
2011-11-17, 02:26 PM
...Really? His lack of respect for his nephew was staggering.

It's justified though. He knew (rightfully, as it turned out) that Hinjo was a paladin first and his nephew second.

Not to mention, he can't have had much faith in his nurturing skills after how Miko turned out.

Dr.Epic
2011-11-17, 02:51 PM
There are other hints that this is a near-constant tendency in the OOTS-verse: Redcloak says "This one's for you, Mom" (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0422.html) right before attacking Azure City

That just means he...

a) Loved his mother which is a pretty common thing for people to do

b) Was getting revenge for the slaughter of his people


relationship between Eugene and Horace doesn't seem to have been particularly happy either. (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0601.html) That last comic even lampshades the trope a little bit: "I have nothing to say to my father." "Neither do I, yet you keep showing up."

Or Eugene is just a jerk as we've seen demonstrated and he never cared for his father making it difficult for his father to relate to him.

HandofShadows
2011-11-17, 03:46 PM
Or Eugene is just a jerk as we've seen demonstrated and he never cared for his father making it difficult for his father to relate to him.

I would say this is right on the money. Take a look at his "dead" form. Old and mean. It seem he was that way on the inside even when he was young.

Squark
2011-11-17, 04:03 PM
We've never seen what Horace and Eugene's relationship was actually like, so we don't know if Horace was merely unable to connect with Eugene at all, or if he was little better than Eugene.

As for Durkon... All I can recall is he has mentioned his mother was still alive when he left, but his father got no such mention. Could be wrong about that, though.

Shhalahr Windrider
2011-11-17, 04:05 PM
I would like to suggest that what we know of Horace and Eugene’s relationship has come almost entirely from Horace. So the picture may be a tad biased.

Snails
2011-11-17, 04:07 PM
Both "bad dads/good moms" and "good dads/bad moms" are not exactly rare in fiction, even if the former is more common (probably because insulting motherhood is taboo).

As OotS seems somewhat close to a classic male coming of age story in terms of genre, the problems with fathers taking center stage is the more obvious choice.

Haley is, in fact, learning to love and be loved by the, stereotypically speaking, least macho regular character in OotS. Dare we say that Elan is often downright effeminate?

Math_Mage
2011-11-17, 04:10 PM
Subjective interpretation supporting the OP:
Durkon's apparently paternalistic order threw him out;
V makes a pretty terrible 'father', his spouse makes a great 'mother', and the closest thing he has to a father figure is Aarindarius...
and Belkar is Belkar, so can't delve into that too deeply.

Holy_Knight
2011-11-17, 04:56 PM
Interesting topic. As additional points to some of what's already been said, some of the other characters mentioned also fall into this pattern in certain ways. For instance:

Belkar: The only relatives he's mentioned by name are "Mama Bitterleaf" (seemingly referenced with affection or admiration) and "Aunt Judy", both females.

Hinjo: Shojo is his maternal uncle, as is implied by his saying "I'm just glad that mother didn't live to see this" when he discovers Shojo's deception. This doesn't necessarily mean there was anything bad about his father, but he is connected to his world and station primarily through his mother.

Vaarsuvius: Vaarsuvius himself is a disappointing father to his children, in contrast to Inkyrius who is more idealized in terms of relationship to their children. And even if you think V is female, V still represents the more traditionally masculine parental role in terms of being absent from the home and pursuing a career, while Inkyrius embodies the traditionally feminine role of staying home and taking care of the kids. So the two of them can be seen as an example of this, too.

Gift Jeraff
2011-11-17, 05:10 PM
We also know a bit about V's parents. They were rangers (OtOoPC), and V seems to dislike the ranger-ish activities they did such as camping (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0643.html).

And what about the Nale-Tarquin relationship? That's far a bigger indicator of what kind of father Tarquin is than his relationship with Elan (who is basically a total stranger to Tarquin).
Hinjo: Shojo is his maternal uncle, as is implied by his saying "I'm just glad that mother didn't live to see this" when he discovers Shojo's deception.Not just implied, Shojo calls her his sister (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0406.html) right after that.

veti
2011-11-17, 05:27 PM
How would you rate Samantha's dad? I'm thinking "well-meaning failure".

And for all that biological fathers are 'disappointing', proxy fathers are even worse. Consider:

(As previously mentioned), Durkon's order threw him out
Kubota's betrayal of Therkla
Shojo's treatment of Miko and Hinjo - even though Shojo was a pretty cool dude as we saw him, his treatment of his all-but-adopted-children was very shabby

squidbreath
2011-11-18, 02:09 AM
BUT Yik-Yik was a GOOD father (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0351.html) despite his alignment!

thereaper
2011-11-18, 03:13 AM
Sometimes, a door is just a door.

Psyren
2011-11-18, 09:53 AM
*insert baseless speculation on the Giant's relationship with his own forebears*

Palthera
2011-11-18, 10:19 AM
How would you rate Samantha's dad? I'm thinking "well-meaning failure".

And for all that biological fathers are 'disappointing', proxy fathers are even worse. Consider:

(As previously mentioned), Durkon's order threw him out
Kubota's betrayal of Therkla
Shojo's treatment of Miko and Hinjo - even though Shojo was a pretty cool dude as we saw him, his treatment of his all-but-adopted-children was very shabby


I don't think Durkon's order counts as a proxy father. The High Priest of Thor only gets rid of him for what he thinks to be a very good reason. Besides, if I don't consider a job to be a proxy father, even if said job is a religious calling.

Kubota was a right royal thingummywhatsit, Therkla was a minion, just one he happened to be training. She was fond of him, but I don't think he ever had any real affection for her.

And I think you're being unfair to Shojo really, both his "adopted children" are well and truly adults. They're supposed to be taking care of themselves and since he himself had a very different philosophy on the world than they did I'm not surprised he felt it reasonable to deceive them. It's a "one adult to another" thing, not a "parent lying to children" thing. I've found that once you get to a certain age, any reasonable adult treats you as a fellow adult, even if you're a couple of generations below them.

Shhalahr Windrider
2011-11-18, 11:20 AM
I don't think Durkon's order counts as a proxy father. The High Priest of Thor only gets rid of him for what he thinks to be a very good reason. Besides, if I don't consider a job to be a proxy father, even if said job is a religious calling.
The great thing about father figures is that it doesn’t matter what anyone other than the person seeking said figure thinks about their attempted proxy. In other words, if Durkon thought of certain clergy members as appropriate father figures, then that is what they were.

The one problem with that, is sometimes the father figure doesn’t quite realize what the father-seeker thinks of him or her. As such, that makes it so much easier to disappoint the father-seeker.


Kubota was a right royal thingummywhatsit, Therkla was a minion, just one he happened to be training. She was fond of him, but I don't think he ever had any real affection for her.
As above, it doesn’t matter whether or not Kubota reciprocated as long as Therkla may have considered him a father figure.

You know, it is kinda like how not showing any fatherly affection doesn’t make someone stop being a father. It just makes them a bad or disappointing father.


I've found that once you get to a certain age, any reasonable adult treats you as a fellow adult, even if you're a couple of generations below them.
Treating one like an adult and treating one like a son or daughter are not mutually exclusive.

Concept
2011-11-18, 11:55 AM
Adventurers don't have stable, normal family situations. I'm just glad they're not all orphans of destroyed villages. Having troubled pasts to interact with adds a lot to the story.

But the fact that they're all male seems a little unbalanced, but might be a statement about the society. All the important relations are male; the mothers get a happy flashback and are dismissed as irrelevant to the story. But, as you already pointed out, the non-humans don't have the overwhelming father-issues tendency.

Nerd-o-rama
2011-11-18, 11:59 AM
Even putting Oedipus Rex aside, overcoming or surpassing one's father is an extremely common part of the heroic fantasy archetype - part of the Hero's Journey, if an unofficial one (although Haley vs. Ian might be the first time I've seen it applied to a heroine). OotS is very intentionally following the conventions of heroic fantasy, so it's not really a surprise that the more traditional Hero characters have this kind of parental conflict.

As for the idealization of the mothers, what I find more interesting than that is that characters' mothers or mother figures have only been seen in flashbacks or the afterlife. Another part of the Hero's Journey (and adulthood, really) is being separated from a mother's love and protection, so that's not too surprising.

Actually, when I put it that way, both the disappointing fathers and idealized but not-present mothers are due to the fact that heroic fantasy is fundamentally about the Hero(es) becoming functional adults, independent of their parents. Parents in a story like this are either in conflict with their children somehow, or not present somehow. Why this distinction is evenly divided between male and female parents for Roy, Elan, and Haley, I'm not sure though.

Perhaps it's simply a conscious or subconscious commentary on the part of the author about how society discourages men from being good parents, but rather encourages them to pursue their own goals or provide for their family while remaining distant, while actual emotional and physical affection is (in terms of social expectations) reserved for mothers. Or perhaps I'm projecting a pet peeve of mine onto the story.

Snails
2011-11-18, 12:29 PM
Perhaps it's simply a conscious or subconscious commentary on the part of the author about how society discourages men from being good parents, but rather encourages them to pursue their own goals or provide for their family while remaining distant, while actual emotional and physical affection is (in terms of social expectations) reserved for mothers. Or perhaps I'm projecting a pet peeve of mine onto the story.

Looking at the same kind of problem from multiple points of view does not need to be intended as a theme which comments on society itself, it could simply be that the author has decided this topic is a worthy of exploration.

"Worthy" only means "interesting". Reading too much in is very easy.

Ancalagon
2011-11-18, 12:29 PM
It's the same in Babylon 5. Lots of father-conflicts, no mother was really dealt with. Curious thing.

Shhalahr Windrider
2011-11-18, 12:50 PM
Or perhaps I'm projecting a pet peeve of mine onto the story.
Nah. It’s just turning out that Order of the Stick has a higher degree of Applicability (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Applicability) than we first thought.

MesiDoomstalker
2011-11-18, 12:54 PM
I'd like to chime in here and say that since this is a literary analysis of a unfinished story, nothing presented here will be absolutley factual or correct for that matter. Barring Word of Giant of explicit explanation in-comic, it is all speculation as is all literary analysis.

rbetieh
2011-11-18, 01:51 PM
Well, Nale-Tarquin is the story about a Smart father that admonishes his son about the dangers of impatience, and gets rebuked. The results are reminiscant of Daedalus and Incarus as well.

I assume that in his own way, Tarquin will try to teach Elan that sometimes being too trusting can have serious negative consequences. I can't imagine how yet, but T seems like the type that recognizes peoples flaws and either exploits them or tries to correct them. And the ring of regen gift would have been great for Elan.

As for Roy / Eugene, I think this (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0496.html) is the real issue between them. Roy blames himself for not getting his father to listen to him, everything he has done up until his fall at Azure City was honestly about getting his fathers attention to make up for not being able to save his little brother. Now Roy has finally gotten over it, and realized he has the power to change things on his own, which is vexing eugene, because a parent tends to see their child as a child well after they are an adult.

Psyren
2011-11-18, 01:54 PM
Kubota was a right royal thingummywhatsit, Therkla was a minion, just one he happened to be training. She was fond of him, but I don't think he ever had any real affection for her.

Kubota and Therkla most definitely had a father/daughter dynamic going. He may not have cared about her much beyond being his personal Tyke Bomb, but he still took pains to mentor her on villain etiquette etc.

H Birchgrove
2011-11-18, 02:53 PM
And I think you're being unfair to Shojo really, both his "adopted children" are well and truly adults. They're supposed to be taking care of themselves and since he himself had a very different philosophy on the world than they did I'm not surprised he felt it reasonable to deceive them. It's a "one adult to another" thing, not a "parent lying to children" thing. I've found that once you get to a certain age, any reasonable adult treats you as a fellow adult, even if you're a couple of generations below them.

Miko was a kid when he took her under his proverbial wings.

The Giant
2011-11-18, 03:23 PM
Actual literary analysis is so rare around here that I feel compelled to respond to this.


Parents in a story like this are either in conflict with their children somehow, or not present somehow.

This is probably the most accurate statement regarding my intent. The only reason for the parents of any of the characters to participate in the story at all is to create internal conflict for the main character. So if the parent is going to appear in more than a handful of panels, there needs to be some sort of unresolved issue with their offspring. Otherwise, I would do what I did with the nonhuman parents, which is simply not bring it up. (I also avoided using the nonhumans that way because I didn't want to delve too deeply into differences in maturity and/or child rearing between species.)

The reason it's only one parent per child is twofold. One, having both parents be in conflict triples the amount of time I need to spend dealing with it, because you need to examine the father-child, mother-child, and father-mother relationships instead of just one parent-child relationship. This is further compounded for every sibling that appears in the story. Family issues already take up a fair amount of space, so anything I could do to streamline them is a good idea. And two, the main characters ultimately turned out OK. Thus, they needed to have at least one stable loving parent in order to not be total basketcases. (Haley, whose stable parent died early, is also the most screwed-up, psychologically.) Therefore, the first parent who was given definition in the story became the one that would be more prominent, and thus the one that caused conflict. Which leads us to...


Why this distinction is evenly divided between male and female parents for Roy, Elan, and Haley, I'm not sure though.

I wish I could claim that this was some sort of statement about men and fathering and such, but the fact is it just sort of happened that way. The roles of the three human characters' parents were decided within the first 50 strips, long before I had even conceived any of the plots that are happening now (or even the main Gate plot). Haley told us that her father was a thief back in #8 in what was a throwaway joke; Roy's dad showed up just seven strips later. I have no idea why I used fathers for both, but it didn't matter at the time. There was no plot, no inner turmoil, just a bunch of D&D characters out to fight a lich.

Then Elan finds out his dad is an evil warlord in #50, but even then, it was intended simply to explain the differences between Nale and Elan. I suppose I could have made Elan's father the happy-go-lucky waiter and his mother the warlord, but that didn't feel right. Not so much because of Elan, but because of Nale. Nale has the sort of damaged ego that would force him to try to surpass his father at all costs, which of course would fail and thus lead to his presence in the dungeon. If Nale had been raise by an evil mother, I think he would have been more of a "corrupt prince" sort of character rather than an angry rebel looking for a magic doodad to go back and seize power. In this case, plot dictated characterization.

I didn't get the idea that Tarquin would ever appear on camera until much later, when we saw Haley's ransom note in #131. At that point, it needed to be Haley's father that was imprisoned simply because if it were anyone else in her family, her thief father would be the one trying to save them instead. In fact, that was the case for all three sets of parents: if both were active and present, then it would have been their spouse dealing with their issues rather than the child. Since it's the child's story, the spouse must be absent or otherwise incapable of acting.

All other examples are apophenia. Redcloak's parents are irrelevant to the story; his father could have been a saint for all we know, but he wasn't killed by the Sapphire Guard. Kubota and Therkla had a teacher/student relationship; she was raised by her loving parents. Shojo did not raise Hinjo from childhood, so the relationship was never truly parental. I guess a case could be made for Miko, but I see that as more of a "bad child" situation than a bad father one. Miko was Miko long before Shojo started lying to her; his ruse started only a few years ago (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0289.html) but Miko was 28 when he said that.

So, I'm afraid that any connection is simply an emergent property of the fact that I started the comic without any sort of plan for where it would go. That doesn't mean that you can't analyze it if you want though, if you're a "Death of the Author" sort of critic. Just please don't speculate on my family life in the process.

Peelee
2011-11-18, 03:52 PM
Actual literary analysis is so rare around here that I feel compelled to respond to this.


That was a really interesting read. Thanks!

Holy_Knight
2011-11-18, 04:11 PM
I guess a case could be made for Miko, but I see that as more of a "bad child" situation than a bad father one. Miko was Miko long before Shojo started lying to her; his ruse started only a few years ago (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0289.html) but Miko was 28 when he said that.

Hey Giant, thanks for the detailed and interesting response. I was wondering about this part of what you said. When Miko confronts (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0406.html) Shojo just before she kills him, her words make it sound like it was Shojo's influence that largely shaped her into the person that she was. That is, he took her away from everything she knew at a young age, and told her it was necessary because of how important she'd be in serving the will of the gods. From her perspective, it looks like she attributes much of her identity to Shojo even (long) before he actually started lying to her. Do you see it more that Shojo tried to raise her in a certain way but Miko's personality kept her from turning out the way he had hoped, or do you view Shojo as being partially responsible for some of her less desirable traits?

The Giant
2011-11-18, 04:38 PM
Do you see it more that Shojo tried to raise her in a certain way but Miko's personality kept her from turning out the way he had hoped, or do you view Shojo as being partially responsible for some of her less desirable traits?

Both, but more the former. If anything, I attribute most of her positive traits to the way she was raised by Shojo and her subsequent membership in the Sapphire Guard. Which is not to say that he did a perfect job, but he recognized that she needed discipline in order to function, and gave her life meaning and purpose that it wouldn't have otherwise had. I've always felt that someone who had come to him with less underlying issues (whether due to her inherent personality or the trauma of losing her parents and getting sent to a monastery) could have been raised the same way and not turned out to be like Miko. Likewise, if Miko had never met Shojo, she probably would have left the monastery as an angry unstable loner with no purpose. Shojo's guidance was the tape that was held her together for so long, which is why she went to pieces when it was ripped off.

Themrys
2011-11-18, 04:41 PM
One doesn't have to have daddy issues to write about disappointing fathers and so on and so forth...fact is, if enough other authors have problems with their fathers and write about that, one tends to unconsciously copy that.

And I think that could be what happened here - one just doesn't even think of the option of a disappointing mother, because one rarely ever reads about it.


Also; I still don't think Ian is so bad. He is neither Evil nor has he ever belittled Haley.
In my opinion, he's not a bad father. He's a crazy person, yes, and that has influenced Haley, but a really bad parent would have caused her trust issues by actually betraying her. Which Ian, for all we know, never did.

(Okay, one could say that Tarquin isn't a bad father, just a bad person, but...I don't know...he's just so evil! Also...either he or his wife were too neglectful to keep Nale from hitting Elan on the head in time.:smalltongue:)

rbetieh
2011-11-18, 05:07 PM
Both, but more the former. If anything, I attribute most of her positive traits to the way she was raised by Shojo and her subsequent membership in the Sapphire Guard. Which is not to say that he did a perfect job, but he recognized that she needed discipline in order to function, and gave her life meaning and purpose that it wouldn't have otherwise had. I've always felt that someone who had come to him with less underlying issues (whether due to her inherent personality or the trauma of losing her parents and getting sent to a monastery) could have been raised the same way and not turned out to be like Miko. Likewise, if Miko had never met Shojo, she probably would have left the monastery as an angry unstable loner with no purpose. Shojo's guidance was the tape that was held her together for so long, which is why she went to pieces when it was ripped off.

This is some neat stuff Giant. It seems to imply that the Monks view of Good and Shojos view of Good were not enough (or quiete possibly contradictory in some senses) to give poor Miko an understanding of right/wrong. Which explains her reliance on detect Evil to know who to fight/kill, something the other pallys in the web comic (no books yet) have yet to rely on. No wonder the lead sheet wielding halfling had such an affect, it made her lose confidence in her only method of telling right from wrong. My mind is now going on a trip, thank you.

Bulldog Psion
2011-11-18, 07:33 PM
This is some neat stuff Giant. It seems to imply that the Monks view of Good and Shojos view of Good were not enough (or quiete possibly contradictory in some senses) to give poor Miko an understanding of right/wrong. Which explains her reliance on detect Evil to know who to fight/kill, something the other pallys in the web comic (no books yet) have yet to rely on. No wonder the lead sheet wielding halfling had such an affect, it made her lose confidence in her only method of telling right from wrong. My mind is now going on a trip, thank you.

At what point prior to her fall did Miko do anything wrong? :smallconfused: I certainly don't count trying to kill Belkar as anything but a good act, regardless of how it was presented in the comic, and I can't accept V's opposition to the same as anything but wrong. The little skunk had just murdered a guard in cold blood and, IMO, deserved execution. V's intervention was pretty much an evil act, even though it was presented in such a way that we were supposed to feel good that the elf prevented Belkar's well-merited demise.

The Giant
2011-11-18, 08:00 PM
Please don't turn this into a "Was Miko and/or Vaarsuvius morally justified?" discussion. There's a reason we lock those on sight, and this thread is actually interesting.

jidasfire
2011-11-18, 08:21 PM
Well, since the Giant is answering questions on the subject, I have one.

We know Elan spared Nale in their first encounter because he believed he was only the good twin because he'd been raised by his mother and Nale was only evil because he was raised by Tarquin. But is he right? After all, little Nale was born with a goatee, and he was prone to bonking little Elan on the head. If their positions had been reversed, would Nale be good and Elan evil, would they be their current alignments, or would they both perhaps have ended up True Neutral?

The Giant
2011-11-18, 08:28 PM
We know Elan spared Nale in their first encounter because he believed he was only the good twin because he'd been raised by his mother and Nale was only evil because he was raised by Tarquin. But is he right? After all, little Nale was born with a goatee, and he was prone to bonking little Elan on the head. If their positions had been reversed, would Nale be good and Elan evil, would they be their current alignments, or would they both perhaps have ended up True Neutral?

I can't answer that one without giving away events that have yet to be revealed. Sorry.

EDIT: However, I will say that you're misinterpreting events if you think Elan spared Nale only because "he believed he was only the good twin because he'd been raised by his mother and Nale was only evil because he was raised by Tarquin." Elan didn't believe that; he had no reason to think his father was Evil at all until he met him, and thus no reason to think that Nale's alignment was not his own doing. Elan spared Nale because Elan is Good, and to Elan, Good spares people rather than killing them when they have the option. Note that he also spared Kubota in the same way, though he was a bit angrier about it.

Mutant Sheep
2011-11-18, 08:43 PM
Assuming that one parent might be exaggerating their positive qualities when talking about their parenting is a good thing to do, but Horace seemed fair when talking about Eugene's "I hate you dad" qualities. But having been on the third level of the mountain, a rant about how his son was an ungrateful whelp was probably unlikely. :smalltongue: I didn't see the Horace/Eugene relationship as anything terrible, just a father and a son not getting along. In a magical world that would happen alot, especially since saying magic is better than hitting things with a stick is something I can see any child with a good wis and/or int score doing (and Eugene obviously didn't say it very nicely), though it's not like Horace would have not wanted another fighter-son to do what he did and follow in his footsteps. Tarquin and Nale... I don't see him being a bad father, except for the evil alignment and love of drama potentially... screwing some things up.


Giant, thank you for making an awesome story, and for making a place where we can all come together and have a civil discussion about it. :smallsmile:

Scarlet Knight
2011-11-18, 09:31 PM
This is very interesting. I thought that Belkar's reference to "Mama Bitterleaf's recipe for steaming entrails" was a reference to having a killer mom. Now, I realize that it probably was a throw away joke. I also understand that even throw away jokes may reappear when they serve a unexpected purpose down the line.

rbetieh
2011-11-18, 10:11 PM
Please don't turn this into a "Was Miko and/or Vaarsuvius morally justified?" discussion. There's a reason we lock those on sight, and this thread is actually interesting.

Oh sorry, I certainly didnt want to lead anyone down that path. It was more that your explanaiton of the Miko/Shojo relationship made me realize that Mikos fall was a moment of real tragedy, in the old greek tradition. Her story could have been so different.

I am amazed at the level of depth these characters take, they seem like stick figures at first, and then they slowly morph into real human beings, at least most of them do.

AutomatedTeller
2011-11-18, 10:18 PM
Personally, I can't see how Tarquin is anything but an awful father.

1) He abandoned one kid and his wife, taking the other kid (I can't imagine mom was all that happy about losing one of her twins)
2) He raises his kid in such a way that he's a sociopath who tries to kill his brother multiple times
3) When he finally meets the son he never made any attempt to meet, he tries to honor him in a way guaranteed to turn his son against him, by burning 23 people.
4) Instead of just telling Elan the information he wants to know, he forces him to wait.

Basically, Tarquin is interested only in himself. Any niceties are merely a by product.

NerfTW
2011-11-18, 11:27 PM
1) He abandoned one kid and his wife, taking the other kid (I can't imagine mom was all that happy about losing one of her twins)

Divorce is abandonment now? We are shown a court hearing, no indication is ever made that he abandoned her. Quite the opposite, the split appeared to be mutual, and the twins separated as part of custody. There might be more to it, as per the Giant's statement earlier in the thread, but at this point there's no evidence of abandonment and kidnapping.



3) When he finally meets the son he never made any attempt to meet, he tries to honor him in a way guaranteed to turn his son against him, by burning 23 people.

That wasn't on purpose, he really was trying to impress his son.



4) Instead of just telling Elan the information he wants to know, he forces him to wait.

So that he can see the son he hasn't seen since he was a baby. Keep in mind that they haven't told him the severity of the mission yet. He has no idea the planet is at stake.

jidasfire
2011-11-19, 01:10 AM
I can't answer that one without giving away events that have yet to be revealed. Sorry.

EDIT: However, I will say that you're misinterpreting events if you think Elan spared Nale only because "he believed he was only the good twin because he'd been raised by his mother and Nale was only evil because he was raised by Tarquin." Elan didn't believe that; he had no reason to think his father was Evil at all until he met him, and thus no reason to think that Nale's alignment was not his own doing. Elan spared Nale because Elan is Good, and to Elan, Good spares people rather than killing them when they have the option. Note that he also spared Kubota in the same way, though he was a bit angrier about it.

I know Elan is on the far end of the good spectrum and generally spares people based on that. But I recall that he had to wrestle with himself over it, and that was one of the arguments his angel used to convince him of it (well that and that it would make his mother cry). I saw it as Elan believing that if there's good in him, there must be some in his brother as well. I guess I just wondered if that train of logic bore out, but knowing that it or something like it may be answered in the future is nonetheless interesting.

Flame of Anor
2011-11-19, 04:56 AM
Will we see Elan's & Nale's mother "on-screen" at some point?


Also, I agree with NerfTW's last post.


Oh! And another thing! Giant, when you showed the "T" banner in #50, panel 8, had you already decided that it stood for Tarquin? I know various of us on the forum were sure it was going to be Tyrinar.

Themrys
2011-11-19, 06:17 AM
Personally, I can't see how Tarquin is anything but an awful father.

1) He abandoned one kid and his wife, taking the other kid (I can't imagine mom was all that happy about losing one of her twins)
2) He raises his kid in such a way that he's a sociopath who tries to kill his brother multiple times
3) When he finally meets the son he never made any attempt to meet, he tries to honor him in a way guaranteed to turn his son against him, by burning 23 people.
4) Instead of just telling Elan the information he wants to know, he forces him to wait.

Basically, Tarquin is interested only in himself. Any niceties are merely a by product.

I agree with you that he is interested only in himself, but I do think that's more complicated. He seems to genuinely like Elan and want to spend time with him...because he's still a human being and feels better if he has some social relationships. Nothing altruistic about that, sure. After all, being nice to Elan makes him feel better. But that kind of behaviour is normal for every human being.

As for the "abandoning his child" part...it could well be that Elan only has the little bit of intelligence he has left because Tarquin took Nale away from him. ;)
And a divorce is not considered "bad parenting" anymore. Constantly fighting parents aren't that much better.



I just realized that there is at least one father who is not disappointing in OotS...if Inkyrius is male. And should Vaarsuvius be female, there also is a mother who is not at all saintly. :smalltongue:
And don't most users here agree that Inkyrius has a rather male body form?
Counting V as "disappointing father" here is not fair, since, officially, we don't know.
(Ok...one could still argue that "father" is a gender role and a father who stays at home and raises the children takes on the mother role, but still...)

AutomatedTeller
2011-11-19, 07:39 AM
Divorce is abandonment now? We are shown a court hearing, no indication is ever made that he abandoned her. Quite the opposite, the split appeared to be mutual, and the twins separated as part of custody. There might be more to it, as per the Giant's statement earlier in the thread, but at this point there's no evidence of abandonment and kidnapping.



That wasn't on purpose, he really was trying to impress his son.



So that he can see the son he hasn't seen since he was a baby. Keep in mind that they haven't told him the severity of the mission yet. He has no idea the planet is at stake.

Nale said: "He told me he abandoned my goody-two shoes mother in some backwards village." That's what I based by abandonment statement on.

My point about his actions with Elan are that they are selfish, based entirely on what he thinks is right, not based on what Elan thinks is right.

Howler Dagger
2011-11-19, 10:29 AM
I believe that it was Elan's Mom who wanted to keep Nale+ELan away from tarquin. He was the one who went to courts to get Nale. So Taquin didnt abandon him at all. (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0751.html)

Goosefarble
2011-11-19, 11:17 AM
(and it's not just his intelligence or silliness that makes him do it- he doesn't address anyone else in such infantile terms).

"Mean meanie-head".

But no, I jest. I see your point, and it's a good one. I'd never really thought of it like that before. I don't think it has a particular significance; just the characters developed that way on their own, and it wouldn't make sense for it to be any other way. Think, if Ian wasn't so obsessed with making Mia proud, and not trusting anyone else, he wouldn't be in prison, and we'd a) never meet him and b) probably never meet Haley. If Tarquin wasn't an evil dictator, Nale wouldn't exist (or he would, and would be a nice guy), and this entire story arc would not have happened. It's just... how things are, I guess.

Peelee
2011-11-19, 11:41 AM
My point about his actions with Elan are that they are selfish, based entirely on what he thinks is right, not based on what Elan thinks is right.

It seems to me that you're inadvertently arguing against yourself here. If Tarquin's fatherly affections and actions towards Elan are based on what he thinks is right, that necessitates that he IS trying to be a good father, in his evil, twisted way. In fact, before Elan realized the means Tarquin was using to accomplish these things (such as the slaves set on fire to spell the message to him), Elan was very taken in by it, which shows that even HE thinks Tarquin would be a good father, if not for his evil way of going about things. Yes, things diverge quite a bit after that, but from the moment Tarquin and Elan met, everything Tarquin did was for Elan. That it also had other benefits were a boon he would be a fool to ignore, but the main impetus for his actions (the parade, the gladiator fights, the fiery message of love) were all for Elan. His overall plan may be selfish, yes, because he either dies as a legend or lives as a king, but he put everything off for his son the second he came into Tarquin's life again. That screams that he wants to be a good father, and has made every attempt he could think of. That those attempts were ultimately horrible things has no bearing on that he did try to be a good father, even if those efforts were doomed to failure.

AutomatedTeller
2011-11-19, 12:36 PM
It seems to me that you're inadvertently arguing against yourself here. If Tarquin's fatherly affections and actions towards Elan are based on what he thinks is right, that necessitates that he IS trying to be a good father, in his evil, twisted way. In fact, before Elan realized the means Tarquin was using to accomplish these things (such as the slaves set on fire to spell the message to him), Elan was very taken in by it, which shows that even HE thinks Tarquin would be a good father, if not for his evil way of going about things. Yes, things diverge quite a bit after that, but from the moment Tarquin and Elan met, everything Tarquin did was for Elan. That it also had other benefits were a boon he would be a fool to ignore, but the main impetus for his actions (the parade, the gladiator fights, the fiery message of love) were all for Elan. His overall plan may be selfish, yes, because he either dies as a legend or lives as a king, but he put everything off for his son the second he came into Tarquin's life again. That screams that he wants to be a good father, and has made every attempt he could think of. That those attempts were ultimately horrible things has no bearing on that he did try to be a good father, even if those efforts were doomed to failure.

All true. And I think he did make an effort.

But I don't think that trying to be a good father is the same as being a good father. And he wasn't trying to be a good father when Elan was little - he was a completely absent father.

I think it's perfectly reasonable to say that Ian and Eugene were better father's than Tarquin was to Elan.

I'd say that none of them would win father of the year.

rbetieh
2011-11-19, 12:51 PM
Tarquin didnt know anything about Elan when they met. He probably planned the entire 3 days on day 1. The next time the order visits EoB, Tarquin will probably plan for a day of High Theatre and a dance party instead of gladiatorial combat and a parade.

Peelee
2011-11-19, 01:36 PM
All true. And I think he did make an effort.

But I don't think that trying to be a good father is the same as being a good father. And he wasn't trying to be a good father when Elan was little - he was a completely absent father.

I think it's perfectly reasonable to say that Ian and Eugene were better father's than Tarquin was to Elan.

I'd say that none of them would win father of the year.

Oh yeah, I'd never call him a good father. Intentions and reality are wholly separated. I just don't think he was being as selfish as you seem to believe. He did do an awful lot just for Elan. No matter how crappy of a father it makes him, staking slaves and lighting them on fire while still alive to form a message of love for your son is still a helluva thing to accomplish, ridiculous evilness aside.

And as has been pointed out before, when Elan was little, the parents had divorced. So far as we know, Tarquin fought for custody for both, only got one, and was forbidden visitation rights to Elan. That's just one possibility. It's not something I'd even have thought of before, but as hard as he is trying (and failing), I'm not ready to just write him off as having abandoned Elan without a thought way back when.

dps
2011-11-19, 06:15 PM
Assuming that one parent might be exaggerating their positive qualities when talking about their parenting is a good thing to do, but Horace seemed fair when talking about Eugene's "I hate you dad" qualities. But having been on the third level of the mountain, a rant about how his son was an ungrateful whelp was probably unlikely. :smalltongue: I didn't see the Horace/Eugene relationship as anything terrible, just a father and a son not getting along. In a magical world that would happen alot, especially since saying magic is better than hitting things with a stick is something I can see any child with a good wis and/or int score doing (and Eugene obviously didn't say it very nicely), though it's not like Horace would have not wanted another fighter-son to do what he did and follow in his footsteps.

Horace does say about Eugene, "I'm still surprised that he liked girls" or something to that effect (I'm not looking up the specific comic, but I think it was while he was taking Roy fishing). That strongly implies that not only is he disappointed that Eugene didn't follow in his footsteps and become a fighter, but that he also views Eugene's study of magic as effeminate.

rbetieh
2011-11-19, 06:32 PM
Horace does say about Eugene, "I'm still surprised that he liked girls" or something to that effect (I'm not looking up the specific comic, but I think it was while he was taking Roy fishing). That strongly implies that not only is he disappointed that Eugene didn't follow in his footsteps and become a fighter, but that he also views Eugene's study of magic as effeminate.


You have to give a little leeway, sons tend to think they are smarter than their fathers at some point in their lives, and fathers will probably always think that their sons lack of experience really prevents him from being a "real" adult. Its normal for generations to not 'get' each others. Grandparents get grandchildren better because they understand that the grandchild was raised by "my idiot son". This happens a lot, which is why its relatable.

DougTheHead
2011-11-20, 05:53 AM
So, I'm afraid that any connection is simply an emergent property of the fact that I started the comic without any sort of plan for where it would go. That doesn't mean that you can't analyze it if you want though, if you're a "Death of the Author" sort of critic.

Well, if you're referring to professional literary criticism (conducted by Ph.Ds and so forth), then about 99% of literary criticism has been "death of the author" since about 1930. This doesn't mean that an author's opinion on his own work isn't significant, it's more just an acknowledgement that reading and writing a work are two completely different experiences. That said, it's interesting to hear the process by which you created the relationships, and really shows why the plotting is always so strong and efficient in OOTS. So thanks for posting.

As far as my own opinion goes, I think that most things critics point out are "emergent properties" of the author winging it, but that doesn't make them any less interesting to think about. A modern author saying "I made it up as I went along" seems to usually be saying the same thing as a modern artist who says "I just draw things the way I see them"- in both cases they seem to be de-emphasizing the amount of meaning they deliberately put into their work, and are much more interested in the audience's immediate reaction than any philosophical underpinnings. But anyone who reads any text closely is probably going to draw some interesting connections whether or not the author intended them.

Getting back to the comic, one other thing I noticed about the human characters and their fathers is how the fathers all have some unfinished business that they need their kids to take care of. It is, as Burlew said, a natural way to work the parents into the larger story arc, as "secondary character needs you to finish what they started" is one of the basic elements of any rpg story. But the way that each father conceived of something (killing a sorcerer, overthrowing a tyrant, creating the greatest Joseph Campbell story of all time) that they were unable to finish themselves, and so called on the people they had helped create to finish the job for them- this seems to have another parallel, with the gods and the snarl. The gods created the world to hold the snarl, but they couldn't keep it in, so their creations needed to finish the job for them. The whole setup of the overarching campaign calls into question the gods' ability to effectively rule their own creation. The world in the snarl strongly suggests that we don't have the full story yet, but I'd be surprised if the gods come out any better in the overarching storyline than the fathers do in the smaller subplots.

Also, I wanted to clarify my original post, which should read, "Is Burlew JUST using a well-known trope?" Thank you to everyone who pointed it out, but I am aware of the large number of stories that involve a father-son or father-daughter conflict. For that matter, there's a lot of stories that involve conflict with the mother, too- Hamlet's a good example.

And really, the most interesting thing I found about Burlew's original post is that he can't see Nale rebelling against his mother in the same way he rebels against his father. He has a point- despite never having much in the way of a mother figure, Nale's healthiest relationship is with Sabine, and it seems like he doesn't consider it a challenge to his authority when she makes her own decisions, the way he did when Elan didn't want to join him. He might be able to deal with having a powerful mother more than he could deal with being under Tarquin's thumb. But it does to a certain degree explain why the gender distribution works out this way- when Burlew needs a child to rebel against his parent, he feels more comfortable making the parent a father. I'm not trying to imply any sort of relationship to his own family history- that would be lazy and unsatisfying analysis at best- but it does show how patterns can spontaneously emerge from a work even when the author isn't too interested in those patterns, and how procrastinating graduate students can have some fun coming up with ideas explaining how those patterns add something to the work as a whole :smallwink:

rbetieh
2011-11-20, 08:54 AM
- this seems to have another parallel, with the gods and the snarl. The gods created the world to hold the snarl, but they couldn't keep it in, so their creations needed to finish the job for them. The whole setup of the overarching campaign calls into question the gods' ability to effectively rule their own creation. The world in the snarl strongly suggests that we don't have the full story yet, but I'd be surprised if the gods come out any better in the overarching storyline than the fathers do in the smaller subplots.



Maybe, but possibly not in the way you think. The Snarl is nothing more than the by-product of a series of errors in continuity. He was created because the divergent Gods were changing things on the fly (there are multiple versions of trolls, elves, goblins, etc.) The fix was to set each concept in stone so that continuity could be maintained. The problem is they created a bunch of critters with the ability to reason and free will, and in their own way, each is their own Author as well. Goblins weren't meant to have their own nation, orcs seem rather fun-loving and not bent on conquests, its possible humans werent supposed to be siring half-breeds with the other races, perhaps Elves were supposed to be evil, but somehow ended up choosing good, etc. The point is, its very possible that the very Gods creations are unraveling the creation. And you can blame the gods for this, since they don't seem to do a very good job of communicating their intentions. But that is very different from Eugene and Tarquin, (not so much Ian, nobody knows what his intentions really are) those two are pretty good at telling you exactly what they want.

Sunken Valley
2011-11-20, 10:49 AM
I can't answer that one without giving away events that have yet to be revealed. Sorry.

What the??? Wait does that mean that there will be some sort of time travel or "wonderful life" paradox showing what would have happened if they had been with the other parent. Will the archfiends warp reality to do it? Does this mean that Nale and Elan aren't twins? Or that Tarquin isn't really Tarquin?

Because all except the last one sound really really stupid. And I can't even say "Rich would never do something like that" anymore.

What could possibly have persuaded The Giant to say such a thing (potentially giving away a twist)? He normally hates doing those (Belkar's death being a prime example).

PS: Troubled family lifes has become an increasingly strong theme in the comic. Although Rich has said he doesn't have "issues" it is really odd that it's so intense.

Jaros
2011-11-20, 11:10 AM
What the??? Wait does that mean that there will be some sort of time travel or "wonderful life" paradox showing what would have happened if they had been with the other parent. Will the archfiends warp reality to do it? Does this mean that Nale and Elan aren't twins? Or that Tarquin isn't really Tarquin?

Because all except the last one sound really really stupid. And I can't even say "Rich would never do something like that" anymore.

What could possibly have persuaded The Giant to say such a thing (potentially giving away a twist)? He normally hates doing those (Belkar's death being a prime example).

I take it more that those are the kinds of questions addressed by the comic whenever the two interact: to what extent are they similar and to what extent are they different? Does the comic lean more towards Rousseau (children will become like their parents regardless of whether they know them, disclaimer: HEAVILY paraphrased there) or Locke ("memory is identity" - you are an accumulation of your past experiences).

Since these are themes central to the conflict between Elan and Nale, a simple answer at this point wouldn't, I think, do.

Nerd-o-rama
2011-11-20, 05:10 PM
*thorough and enlightening response to my off-the-cuff analysis*

Wow, thanks! This was an interesting read, including the parts that can be summed up as "it's just a coincidence".

Also looking back through other strips linked in this thread, I see what you mean about more family members taking up more space in the comic, for example Roy's little arc in Heaven which consisted in large part of establishing relationships with and between three new relatives. You also, I noticed, kept Eugene carefully separated, since he's the one who had conflicts with everyone else involved that would have taken up months of comics to explore in detail.

And then here, we see how bringing in Elan's father requires exploring Tarquin's conflict/relationship with Nale as well as Tarquin's conflict/relationship with Elan (perhaps the former is pushed to the background for now, maybe, but I'm confident we'll see more later). I guess the mark of a good storyteller is making these connections and developing them, but I definitely see how it would get out of hand if everyone in the party had a family the size of Roy's. Then you'd be George R. R. Martin, I guess, but with a slightly better update schedule.

Flame of Anor
2011-11-20, 05:15 PM
What the??? Wait does that mean that there will be some sort of time travel or "wonderful life" paradox showing what would have happened if they had been with the other parent. Will the archfiends warp reality to do it? Does this mean that Nale and Elan aren't twins? Or that Tarquin isn't really Tarquin?

Because all except the last one sound really really stupid. And I can't even say "Rich would never do something like that" anymore.

What could possibly have persuaded The Giant to say such a thing (potentially giving away a twist)? He normally hates doing those (Belkar's death being a prime example).

Dude, chill. He probably just means that we will later learn more about the circumstances of Elan's and Nale's parents' marriage and divorce.

Kish
2011-11-20, 05:20 PM
Then you'd be George R. R. Martin, I guess, but with a slightly better update schedule.
And just a touch less, uh, let's go for the family-friendly ending to this sentence, GRIMDARK.

Gift Jeraff
2011-11-20, 05:27 PM
What the??? Wait does that mean that there will be some sort of time travel or "wonderful life" paradox showing what would have happened if they had been with the other parent. Will the archfiends warp reality to do it? Does this mean that Nale and Elan aren't twins? Or that Tarquin isn't really Tarquin?I would guess he means a flashback, possibly narrated by a third-party. (Elan's mother? The IFCC? One of Tarquin's allies?) Something told by Sabine or the archfiends certainly seems possible--Qarr asks why they even bother with this guy, and they explain it's because he has serious Eeeeevil potential (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0062.html) and made a conscious decision to be Evil at a young age (and then we get a scene like the opening of SoD), or they explain that his upbringing gave him his Evil potential.

Or Crazy Idea: The world-within-the-world is an alternate timeline where Elan and Nale are swapped. :smallamused:

EDIT: Or what Flames of Anor said. Or maybe something to do with Nale's sorcerous blood. I can think of plenty of things outside of time travel/alternate realities/It's a Wonderful Life/etc.

dps
2011-11-20, 06:14 PM
You have to give a little leeway, sons tend to think they are smarter than their fathers at some point in their lives, and fathers will probably always think that their sons lack of experience really prevents him from being a "real" adult. Its normal for generations to not 'get' each others. Grandparents get grandchildren better because they understand that the grandchild was raised by "my idiot son". This happens a lot, which is why its relatable.

Yeah, but I don't think it's normal for fathers to be surprised that their son likes girls.

Shhalahr Windrider
2011-11-20, 06:14 PM
I'm not trying to imply any sort of relationship to his own family history- that would be lazy and unsatisfying analysis at best- but it does show how patterns can spontaneously emerge from a work even when the author isn't too interested in those patterns, and how procrastinating graduate students can have some fun coming up with ideas explaining how those patterns add something to the work as a whole :smallwink:
Ultimately, I think it just comes down to typical gender roles in fiction. More often than not, the father is stern and authoritarian and requires some rebelling against, whereas the mother is generally more nurturing. So unless given reason to do otherwise, it tends to be what one expects when one is reading or writing a story.

DougTheHead
2011-11-20, 11:27 PM
Yeah, but I don't think it's normal for fathers to be surprised that their son likes girls.

Of course, there's nothing in Horace's comment that suggests he'd disapprove of Eugene being gay- just that he was surprised that Eugene wasn't gay. There's some fairly reductive gender roles going on in that statement, but nothing worse than you'd regularly see in the real world.

Flame of Anor
2011-11-21, 03:02 AM
Ultimately, I think it just comes down to typical gender roles in fiction.

In real life, too.


Of course, there's nothing in Horace's comment that suggests he'd disapprove of Eugene being gay- just that he was surprised that Eugene wasn't gay.

My impression was not that Horace implied he thought Eugene would be gay, more that he thought Eugene would pay no attention to human relationships. IIRC, he said he was surprised Eugene was "still interested in girls", and I doubt he would expect him to become gay.

Whiffet
2011-11-21, 05:26 PM
My impression was not that Horace implied he thought Eugene would be gay, more that he thought Eugene would pay no attention to human relationships. IIRC, he said he was surprised Eugene was "still interested in girls", and I doubt he would expect him to become gay.

No, he said "I'm still surprised that he liked girls." The still modifies surprised.

Reprimand
2011-11-21, 05:31 PM
Maybe it bears personal significance to Rich? (Just a shot in the dark, don't ban me! xD)

Porthos
2011-11-21, 11:02 PM
I'm pretty sure Horace was simply following the unfortunate (and needless to say very very incorrect) stereotype of Not Being Interested in Manly Things (refusing to fish with Dad, being a bookworm, not being interested in sports, et etc) = Not Being Interested in Girls.

Nothing more than that. :smallsmile:

Shhalahr Windrider
2011-11-21, 11:19 PM
I'm pretty sure Horace was simply following the unfortunate (and needless to say very very incorrect) stereotype of Not Being Interested in Manly Things (refusing to fish with Dad, being a bookworm, not being interested in sports, et etc) = Not Being Interested in Girls.

Nothing more than that. :smallsmile:
This.

Horace is simply a believer in traditional gender roles and hetero-normativeness.

Flame of Anor
2011-11-22, 02:27 AM
I'm pretty sure Horace was simply following the unfortunate (and needless to say very very incorrect) stereotype of Not Being Interested in Manly Things (refusing to fish with Dad, being a bookworm, not being interested in sports, et etc) = Not Being Interested in Girls.

Nothing more than that. :smallsmile:

True, though it is also fair to say that being more of a bookworm type often goes with a more introverted personality--one which, while it by no means must be less interested in girls, might well appear so.



Oh, and in regards to Tarquin's supposed abandonment: read #751. (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0751.html)

the_tick_rules
2011-11-22, 12:34 PM
Or maybe Giantitp doesn't want hatemail from feminist groups? Look at 95% of the man-wife sitcoms in america today, the wife is the glue that hold the family together and the man is a total waste of life. It's just the acceptable dynamic.

Shhalahr Windrider
2011-11-22, 12:48 PM
Oh, and in regards to Tarquin's supposed abandonment: read #751. (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0751.html)
And we are supposed to trust Tarquin on this?

Kish
2011-11-22, 12:56 PM
And we are supposed to trust Tarquin on this?
I believe him that Elan's mother demanded a divorce, fought as hard as she could for custody of both children, and burned the letter he left for Elan.

As for why she did those things, well, I'm pretty sure Elan realized a long time ago (...around the "flaming slave letters strip," to be exact...) that it wasn't her being "petty."

rbetieh
2011-11-22, 01:06 PM
And we are supposed to trust Tarquin on this?

Would you rather trust the Lawful person or the Chaotic person? T seems more like the "leave parts out to get you to believe what you want to believe" type, not the outright liar. He probably sent a letter, and it never got to Elan, maybe he didnt use Wizard certified mail.

There is an old Spanish saying: "Piensa el Ladron, que todos son de su condicion", loosly translated "The thief thinks everyone is a thief". This is the problem as I see it with people, like Ian, believing Tarquin is a liar. He hasn't outright lied to anyone, including Amun-Zora.

A more interesting note on Tarquins fatherly qualities: He teaches Nale that being a bard would be a waste of his talents, but gives Nale the freedom to experiment in unfavorable multiclassing, what do we make of that?

Kish
2011-11-22, 01:42 PM
He hasn't outright lied to anyone, including Amun-Zora.
Yes, he has. First and foremost, the "make sure all the parts of my lies are true" game he usually plays with himself has no moral significance; in every meaningful way, he lied to Amun-Zora and told her he was sending troops to help her. But even "despite his near-constant lies, he always plays that game" would not be true; he produced a barrage of lies-in-every-sense here (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0776.html).

AutomatedTeller
2011-11-22, 02:04 PM
The idea that Tarquin doesn't lie because he's lawful creates a contradiction with Nale (who is lawful) and who said that Tarquin said that he abandoned his mother.

So, one of these things is false:

Nale lied about Tarquin telling him that he abandoned his mother
Tarquin lied to Nale about that
Tarquin lied to Elan about him leaving Elan behind.

Both of those guys are lawful evil.

What Tarquin said to Elan was pretty self-serving - I don't think i believe any of it.

rbetieh
2011-11-22, 03:04 PM
The idea that Tarquin doesn't lie because he's lawful creates a contradiction with Nale (who is lawful) and who said that Tarquin said that he abandoned his mother.

So, one of these things is false:

Nale lied about Tarquin telling him that he abandoned his mother
Tarquin lied to Nale about that
Tarquin lied to Elan about him leaving Elan behind.

Both of those guys are lawful evil.

What Tarquin said to Elan was pretty self-serving - I don't think i believe any of it.

Tarquin lets people believe what they want to believe. Most likely, Nale came up with his own conclusion of what happened without asking (that fits with Nales personality, after all) and thus neither is lying per se.

KillItWithFire
2011-11-22, 03:11 PM
I'm pretty sure Horace was simply following the unfortunate (and needless to say very very incorrect) stereotype of Not Being Interested in Manly Things (refusing to fish with Dad, being a bookworm, not being interested in sports, et etc) = Not Being Interested in Girls.

Nothing more than that. :smallsmile:

Either that or it's a comment along the lines of "they grow up so fast." At least that's how I read it. Other times I've heard that line it was in the context of "last year you thought all girls had cooties" sort of thing.

Flame of Anor
2011-11-22, 03:18 PM
Tarquin lets people believe what they want to believe. Most likely, Nale came up with his own conclusion of what happened without asking (that fits with Nales personality, after all) and thus neither is lying per se.

That seems right to me.

Anarion
2011-11-22, 03:43 PM
Yes, he has. First and foremost, the "make sure all the parts of my lies are true" game he usually plays with himself has no moral significance; in every meaningful way, he lied to Amun-Zora and told her he was sending troops to help her. But even "despite his near-constant lies, he always plays that game" would not be true; he produced a barrage of lies-in-every-sense here (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0776.html).

What blatant lies does Tarquin say in that comic you linked? There may be some hyperbole or formality (saying "I'm humbled" is more of a formal turn of phrase than a true statement about himself), but no direct lies as far as I can tell.
The closest one is "serve our blessed empress for as long as she draws fiery breath." But even there, the term "fiery" leaves him an out, since he could potentially betray her quickly and have her killed while she's asleep or surprised and therefore no literal fire would be involved. And he does serve her, so long as she remains useful to him.

AutomatedTeller
2011-11-22, 03:45 PM
That seems right to me.

Clearly, I'm never going to agree with you on that :)

As I see Tarquin, he's completely self-serving. You basically cannot trust anything he says.

Flame of Anor
2011-11-22, 03:52 PM
As I see Tarquin, he's completely self-serving. You basically cannot trust anything he says.

Yes on one, no on two. He is a self-serving villain, yes, but he has his own code of honor. It can involve manipulation, exaggeration, and lots of deceit by implication, but I maintain he rarely if ever tells an outright lie.

Shhalahr Windrider
2011-11-22, 03:58 PM
Would you rather trust the Lawful person or the Chaotic person?
I should have thought it was abundantly clear by now that Lawful does not equate with honest, nor does Chaotic equate with dishonest.

Kish
2011-11-22, 04:19 PM
What blatant lies does Tarquin say in that comic you linked? There may be some hyperbole or formality[...]he does serve her
You know, when you're reaching that far to find ways blatant lies (pretty much everything he says there) aren't lies? You should maybe not try quite so hard.

jidasfire
2011-11-22, 04:40 PM
I would clarify the issue by saying that Tarquin does not lie at all, but he deceives almost constantly. The problem is, from Tarquin's point of view, it's not relevant that his truths serve the same function as most people's lies, as he doesn't really have any sense of right or wrong, or any concern for how his actions affect individuals, but he has a very strong code of ethics that he is loath to break. I don't know if that constitutes a code of honor so much as part of his adherence to order and procedure.

And while I did earlier say that Tarquin seems to be a loving father to Elan, it's hard to say how different that would be if he had raised him. Tarquin seems to respect the fact that Elan is a protagonist, but he doesn't really understand why Elan might object to his murdering of innocent people. Since Elan does everything he's supposed to do in the "right" way (that of a hero), Tarquin probably would have approved of him, and most of the conflict would have come from Elan's side. This is not to say that Tarquin's behavior is okay, but he probably would have spoiled Elan and scorned Nale more than he did. Just a theory.

DougTheHead
2011-11-22, 04:52 PM
A more interesting note on Tarquins fatherly qualities: He teaches Nale that being a bard would be a waste of his talents, but gives Nale the freedom to experiment in unfavorable multiclassing, what do we make of that?

Good point! Probably it suggests that Tarquin wasn't a very attentive father- he may have given Nale occasional advice on leveling, but largely left him to his own devices. It would fit with Nale's personality too, as most of Nale's actions so far speak to having major daddy issues- he craves respect and constantly needs to gratify his own ego, which could be evidence that he never got much respect from his father. Hell, this whole plot could be Nale's attempt to finally get some parental respect, albeit in a twisted, sure-to-fail way.

rbetieh
2011-11-22, 04:53 PM
What blatant lies does Tarquin say in that comic you linked? There may be some hyperbole or formality (saying "I'm humbled" is more of a formal turn of phrase than a true statement about himself), but no direct lies as far as I can tell.
The closest one is "serve our blessed empress for as long as she draws fiery breath." But even there, the term "fiery" leaves him an out, since he could potentially betray her quickly and have her killed while she's asleep or surprised and therefore no literal fire would be involved. And he does serve her, so long as she remains useful to him.

Tarquin serves the empress very well. He serves her breakfast, lunch, dinner, midnight snacks, cows, chickens, dissidents, possible ex-wives (according to others)..... :smallbiggrin:

Reprimand
2011-11-22, 06:15 PM
Horace does say about Eugene, "I'm still surprised that he liked girls" or something to that effect (I'm not looking up the specific comic, but I think it was while he was taking Roy fishing). That strongly implies that not only is he disappointed that Eugene didn't follow in his footsteps and become a fighter, but that he also views Eugene's study of magic as effeminate.

This could have just as easily meant that he died when eugene was very young when he still thought girls were "Icky," all guys have the phase I think.

rbetieh
2011-11-22, 06:51 PM
Good point! Probably it suggests that Tarquin wasn't a very attentive father- he may have given Nale occasional advice on leveling, but largely left him to his own devices. It would fit with Nale's personality too, as most of Nale's actions so far speak to having major daddy issues- he craves respect and constantly needs to gratify his own ego, which could be evidence that he never got much respect from his father. Hell, this whole plot could be Nale's attempt to finally get some parental respect, albeit in a twisted, sure-to-fail way.

Hit and run helicopter dad? I like it.

The great comparison here is Elans Mom right? She lets him pick an underpowered class and then tells him that the key to a rich and fulfilling life is cross-class skills. Be able to do a little bit of everything, even if you cant do it that well, even if it makes you basically useless. Better to be helpfull than usefull?

dps
2011-11-22, 08:37 PM
In real life, too.



My impression was not that Horace implied he thought Eugene would be gay, more that he thought Eugene would pay no attention to human relationships.

Either way, it does suggest (though not prove) that Horace was as disapproving of Eugene's career choice as Eugene was of Roy's.

And I will note that while Eugene disapproved of Roy's choice, he did pay to send Roy to Fighter School.

Anarion
2011-11-22, 08:59 PM
You know, when you're reaching that far to find ways blatant lies (pretty much everything he says there) aren't lies? You should maybe not try quite so hard.

I'm trying hard because I think that Tarquin tries hard. The point is that he plays by a certain set of (extremely twisted) rules and sticks to them. Of course he intends to deceive, but he does it using Aes Sedai truths as opposed to blatant lies. I do not think, for example, that he would ever say something equivalent to "the sky is purple and has polka dots" (unless he wasn't referring to the atmosphere).


I would clarify the issue by saying that Tarquin does not lie at all, but he deceives almost constantly. The problem is, from Tarquin's point of view, it's not relevant that his truths serve the same function as most people's lies, as he doesn't really have any sense of right or wrong, or any concern for how his actions affect individuals, but he has a very strong code of ethics that he is loath to break. I don't know if that constitutes a code of honor so much as part of his adherence to order and procedure.

And while I did earlier say that Tarquin seems to be a loving father to Elan, it's hard to say how different that would be if he had raised him. Tarquin seems to respect the fact that Elan is a protagonist, but he doesn't really understand why Elan might object to his murdering of innocent people. Since Elan does everything he's supposed to do in the "right" way (that of a hero), Tarquin probably would have approved of him, and most of the conflict would have come from Elan's side. This is not to say that Tarquin's behavior is okay, but he probably would have spoiled Elan and scorned Nale more than he did. Just a theory.

This. I pretty much agree with everything here. There's a chance that Tarquin getting to Elan at an early enough age would have caused Elan to never become good at all, but if we assume that Elan has some core personality of heroism, this would be exactly right.


Either way, it does suggest (though not prove) that Horace was as disapproving of Eugene's career choice as Eugene was of Roy's.

And I will note that while Eugene disapproved of Roy's choice, he did pay to send Roy to Fighter School.

I guess this shows Eugene being reasonable as opposed to disowning Roy or at least forcing him to pay his own way through fighter college. I would hazard a guess, however, that Eugene only paid after a great dealing of cajoling and/or threatening from Sarah Greenhilt.

AutomatedTeller
2011-11-22, 10:41 PM
I guess this shows Eugene being reasonable as opposed to disowning Roy or at least forcing him to pay his own way through fighter college. I would hazard a guess, however, that Eugene only paid after a great dealing of cajoling and/or threatening from Sarah Greenhilt.

Eugene IS Lawful Good (as is Horace), so I think it's not all that big a stretch to think he would do the right thing, even if he complains about it.

veti
2011-11-22, 11:14 PM
I would clarify the issue by saying that Tarquin does not lie at all, but he deceives almost constantly.

Obviously there is no universal agreement about the meaning of the word 'lie'. Like a canny politician, Tarquin seems to work on the assumption that his every word is being captured and may be used against him in future. Like them, he makes strenuous efforts to deceive his audience, while also making sure he can defend each statement if necessary.

Here's a thought: it doesn't really matter whether he's "lying" or not. The undisputed fact is, you'll never know exactly how he was misleading you until the truth unfolds before your eyes. So even if you have confidence that what he's saying is 100% true, it's still not safe to rely on it for informational purposes.


And while I did earlier say that Tarquin seems to be a loving father to Elan, it's hard to say how different that would be if he had raised him. Tarquin seems to respect the fact that Elan is a protagonist, but he doesn't really understand why Elan might object to his murdering of innocent people. Since Elan does everything he's supposed to do in the "right" way (that of a hero), Tarquin probably would have approved of him, and most of the conflict would have come from Elan's side. This is not to say that Tarquin's behavior is okay, but he probably would have spoiled Elan and scorned Nale more than he did. Just a theory.

I agree with that speculation, but I want to quibble with the word "loving". I think Tarquin is a textbook narcissist, completely incapable of love. His interest in Elan is as an heir to him, as the person who's destined to conclude his (Tarquin's) epic story - and being a bard, also presumably going to tell future generations all about it and thereby cement his immortality. In other words, his interest is entirely self-centred.

So he doesn't so much "respect the fact that Elan is a protagonist" as demand it - his son could be no less, he needs someone of that stature to complete his story. I'm guessing that one of the reasons he was so disappointed in Nale was the latter's lack of interest in the "protagonist" role for himself.

rbetieh
2011-11-23, 12:41 AM
His interest in Elan is as an heir to him, as the person who's destined to conclude his (Tarquin's) epic story - and being a bard, also presumably going to tell future generations all about it and thereby cement his immortality. In other words, his interest is entirely self-centred.


I speculate that by now, Tarquin has figured out the Elan is going to make a very bad heir. He knows his son is none too bright, overly trusting, and cant make a good speech to save his life. I get the impression that Tarquin pulled Roy out of the gladiator pits to run the plan after he is gone. Makes more sense, Roy has already demonstrated that he sticks to his guns, doesn't give up, keeps his word, and is intelligent. His only disparaiging comment to Roy thus far was about trying to save the crowd from Thog (lack of ruthlessness, a quality that can be used against Roy) but thus far I would figure that Tarquin should see in Roy someone that can manage the business effectively, and in a way that would please Elan, since Elan is likely to kill the next Evil Dictator that replaces Tarquin too....

Nightmarenny
2011-11-23, 05:24 AM
You misunderstand. Its been made clear Tarquin doesn't expect to die of natural causes. He expects his son to return years later and (probably) kill him.

I doubt Tarquins problem with Nale is not being the one to kill him in the future though. Its probably more being the worst dark Prince ever and even worse at betrayal than starscream.

Like, I bet he'd have been proud of Nale if he had competently stabbed him in the throat.

the_tick_rules
2011-11-23, 01:33 PM
I sure wouldn't trust him for much.

BecauseICan
2011-11-23, 05:10 PM
Obviously there is no universal agreement about the meaning of the word 'lie'. Like a canny politician, Tarquin seems to work on the assumption that his every word is being captured and may be used against him in future. Like them, he makes strenuous efforts to deceive his audience, while also making sure he can defend each statement if necessary.

Here's a thought: it doesn't really matter whether he's "lying" or not. The undisputed fact is, you'll never know exactly how he was misleading you until the truth unfolds before your eyes. So even if you have confidence that what he's saying is 100% true, it's still not safe to rely on it for informational purposes.



I agree with that speculation, but I want to quibble with the word "loving". I think Tarquin is a textbook narcissist, completely incapable of love. His interest in Elan is as an heir to him, as the person who's destined to conclude his (Tarquin's) epic story - and being a bard, also presumably going to tell future generations all about it and thereby cement his immortality. In other words, his interest is entirely self-centred.

So he doesn't so much "respect the fact that Elan is a protagonist" as demand it - his son could be no less, he needs someone of that stature to complete his story. I'm guessing that one of the reasons he was so disappointed in Nale was the latter's lack of interest in the "protagonist" role for himself.

I actually think Tarquin is more complicated that this. The Giant loves breaking stereotypes (e.g. Lawful Good paladin opposing a mostly good party). It's human nature to try to dehumanize people who do bad things and deny any virtues they may actually have, especially love for family. It's very natural; "Oh, he isn't really human if he was able to do that." Unfortunately, in the real world, it's really easy to see that human nature is, by nature, both good and evil, and that evil can come of things that are, on the surface, good. Some of the nastiest people around do things in order to keep their family on top of the social heap. It's generally not good for the people around them, and in places where we have redirected that instinct into more cooperative competition, society as a whole is better off, but that's still their motivation.

rbetieh
2011-11-23, 05:21 PM
I sure wouldn't trust him for much.

I am pretty sure that if you can get him to sign a contract and you remain 100% within the bounds of the agreement at all times, you will have no trouble with Tarquin. So for the Order, the only ones that can safely play ball are Roy and Durkon.

veti
2011-11-23, 11:04 PM
I actually think Tarquin is more complicated that this. The Giant loves breaking stereotypes (e.g. Lawful Good paladin opposing a mostly good party). It's human nature to try to dehumanize people who do bad things and deny any virtues they may actually have, especially love for family. It's very natural; "Oh, he isn't really human if he was able to do that." Unfortunately, in the real world, it's really easy to see that human nature is, by nature, both good and evil, and that evil can come of things that are, on the surface, good. Some of the nastiest people around do things in order to keep their family on top of the social heap. It's generally not good for the people around them, and in places where we have redirected that instinct into more cooperative competition, society as a whole is better off, but that's still their motivation.

But "a villain who helps his family at the expense of everyone else" is hardly "breaking stereotypes". Isn't that a stereotype in itself? (Ah yes, here you go (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/EvenEvilHasLovedOnes).)

I don't think Tarquin's feelings for Elan are particularly deep-rooted, nor would I buy the description "love" for them. (After all, Tarquin was quick enough to turn against Nale when provoked. The reason he hasn't acted against Elan is - exactly as he says it is (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0762.html) - because he has no reason to. Give him a reason, and he'd betray Elan in a heartbeat.)

I agree that Tarquin is human, which is why I'm inclined to see his evil in terms of a human personality flaw (http://psychcentral.com/disorders/sx36.htm). Let's try applying the test to Tarquin:

Has a grandiose sense of self-importance - check (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0814.html).
Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love - yep (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0763.html).
Believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people - I'd say so (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0760.html).
Requires excessive admiration - OK, this one's debatable (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0776.html)
Has a very strong sense of entitlement - check (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0783.html).
Is exploitative of others - well duh, that's the basis of his entire plan.
Lacks empathy - definitely (see 783 (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0783.html) again).
Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her - OK, not really.
Regularly shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes - absolutely.


You need to show at least five of these traits to be considered pathologically narcissistic, and Tarquin (by my count) passes that count by an unhealty margin.

rbetieh
2011-11-24, 12:13 AM
Has a grandiose sense of self-importance - check (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0814.html).
Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love - yep (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0763.html).
Believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people - I'd say so (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0760.html).
Requires excessive admiration - OK, this one's debatable (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0776.html)
Has a very strong sense of entitlement - check (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0783.html).
Is exploitative of others - well duh, that's the basis of his entire plan.
Lacks empathy - definitely (see 783 (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0783.html) again).
Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her - OK, not really.
Regularly shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes - absolutely.



Your count is wrong. Tarquin doesnt upsell himself, in fact he Downsells himself (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0776.html). So there goes 1. Your example on 2 is also not correct, his preocupation is in 760 (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0760.html) and his goal is to create a world where people do not need to fight. The fact that he is willing to throw big parties for the people (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0741.html) and go talk to and hire two criminals (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0753.html) shows he doesnt disassociate with "the lessers". And is exploitative of others well, depends on the others, because certainly not his friends, who he is SHARING POWER WITH (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0759.html).

Oh and on a note of Tarquin and friendships/relationships: reread Malaks words in Panel 3 (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0723.html) Malack expects Tarquin to try to weasel NALE (doesnt know its Elan yet) out of his punishment. Closest friend Malak thinks Tarquin doesnt have the stomach to go through with killing his own son. Think about that for a second.

You have misdiagnosed Tarquin. He is Evil, but not above granting the world peace and stability so long as he gets to be top dog. Similar personality to The Brain from 'Pinky and the Brain', not Snowball (from the same show).

Heck, Ian Starshine exhibits more of these traits than Tarquin does, of course he hasnt had nearly enough appearances yet, so its best to hold out any definitive judgement.

veti
2011-11-24, 03:49 AM
Your count is wrong.

Since you and I appear to be reading two entirely different stories, there doesn't seem much point in arguing about it. You have your opinion and I have mine, then we're both happy. Deal?

Kish
2011-11-24, 05:58 AM
Your count is wrong. Tarquin doesnt upsell himself, in fact he Downsells himself (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0776.html).

That's called "blatantly lying." You know, that thing you claimed Tarquin doesn't do? His massive ego is evident.

Your example on 2 is also not correct, his preocupation is in 760 (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0760.html) and his goal is to create a world where people do not need to fight.

You're kidding? He's created an empire of ridiculous evil and repression for the purpose of living like a king for as long as he can. In one panel, he offered an excuse about no one having any reason to fight each other once they've moved past the entire concept of morality.


[...]he doesnt disassociate with "the lessers".

Okay, at that point I think veti had the right idea here.

AutomatedTeller
2011-11-24, 11:34 AM
Psychologists don't all agree.

But, even if those two examples are wrong and the count is 6 instead of 8... that still qualifies for the disorder.

We seem to have gone off the point of the discussion - Tarquin is lawful evil, yes. He would prefer an orderly world where everyone is under his domination, as opposed to a disorderly world with everyone under his domination.

Do we have strong chaotic evil antagonists? Xykon strikes me as more neutral evil than chaotic.

rbetieh
2011-11-24, 01:13 PM
Since you and I appear to be reading two entirely different stories, there doesn't seem much point in arguing about it. You have your opinion and I have mine, then we're both happy. Deal?

Not different stories, just one reads the Codex through the concave lens, and the other through the convex lens, it happens. But if your wish is that we stop responding to each other directly, I can respect that wish. No need to flame out a thread that now could be getting analysis for Penelope/Orrin.


He's created an empire of ridiculous evil and repression for the purpose of living like a king for as long as he can. In one panel, he offered an excuse about no one having any reason to fight each other once they've moved past the entire concept of morality

Thats where we differ. Leave your own moral code at the door, and look at the plan objectively. 3 Large empires run by 6 friends working together almost assures that there will be no more war in the continent. You dont like how they run their empires? Fine. You think the plan can't assure peace? Show me how this plan will fail to bring peace. Peace and Freedom are not the same thing.

And like I said, there is no difference in Evilness between "granting peace while living like a king" and "robbing from 'the rich' and giving back less than '40%' to 'the poor'" one is a giant Peace Tax, the other a giant Equality Tax. Same thing, still repressive you have just changed who gets repressed and for what reason. Paladins these fathers are not.

Hey, for a change of pace, anyone want to bring Julio Scoundrel into the equation? He did act as a father figure for Elan, and seriously changed Elans outlook and worldview.

hamishspence
2011-11-24, 01:42 PM
And like I said, there is no difference in Evilness between "granting peace while living like a king" and "robbing from 'the rich' and giving back less than '40%' to 'the poor'" one is a giant Peace Tax, the other a giant Equality Tax. Same thing, still repressive you have just changed who gets repressed and for what reason.

There's a lot more to Tarquin's activities than simply "granting peace" though.

Conversely "robbing the rich" might not qualify as an evil act at all- if it''s restricted solely to "the rich who have gained wealth via evil means"- in the context of D&D.

Kish
2011-11-24, 01:50 PM
Thats where we differ. Leave your own moral code at the door, and look at the plan objectively.

Well, of course Tarquin isn't doing anything wrong if you only look at what he's doing after resolving not to see anything wrong.


And like I said, there is no difference in Evilness between "granting peace while living like a king" and "robbing from 'the rich' and giving back less than '40%' to 'the poor'"

That statement may, or may not, be true. What it is, is completely irrelevant to the Order of the Stick comic. "This one thing Tarquin says is not worse than the one thing Haley says" does not make Tarquin less disgusting.

Pick up your sense of morality from the door where you left it, and look at what Tarquin does, what life in the Empire of Blood is like.

He says he's doing something different than what he manifestly is doing? I'll let you in on a little secret: Tarquin lies constantly.

rbetieh
2011-11-24, 04:54 PM
Well, of course Tarquin isn't doing anything wrong if you only look at what he's doing after resolving not to see anything wrong.

That statement may, or may not, be true. What it is, is completely irrelevant to the Order of the Stick comic. "This one thing Tarquin says is not worse than the one thing Haley says" does not make Tarquin less disgusting.

Pick up your sense of morality from the door where you left it, and look at what Tarquin does, what life in the Empire of Blood is like.

He says he's doing something different than what he manifestly is doing? I'll let you in on a little secret: Tarquin lies constantly.
Reread the plan. Most of these folks actually end up in the empire os sweat, which by the looks of it is the least repressive of the three, since most people choose the eos voluntarily. It's a all 1 empire, after all.

Oh and ian starshines plan, which he taught to haley starshine IS apropriate in this forum/thread.

zimmerwald1915
2011-11-24, 06:59 PM
Reread the plan. Most of these folks actually end up in the empire os sweat, which by the looks of it is the least repressive of the three, since most people choose the eos voluntarily. It's a all 1 empire, after all.
Based on what evidence do you consider the EoS the least repressive of the three Empires? We've been shown, through the lens of Tarquin's narration, precisely one room in the EoS. That room is populated by a ruling caste just as decadent, in its own way, as the Empress of Blood, plus Tarquin's cohorts. It is not unreasonable to assume that these cohorts dictate policy in the EoS just as surely as he and Malack dictate policy in the EoB, or Miron and his colleague do in the EoT. Even if that assumption is not granted right off, we do know that this formation of Tarquin's party is not stable, that they change the pairings every few years. In that time, Tarquin would have noticed any wavering among his cohorts when he got to work with them.

"Most people" on the Western Continent have very little say in what happens to them. What Tarquin described wasn't a series of nice clean referenda whereby the people of the Western Continent decide who rules over them. What he described was power politics, a series of maneuvers by leaders that in at least three cases - the EoB, EoT, and EoS - the people had no role in choosing, and over whom the people have no influence when it comes to policy-making. His scheme is based on manipulation, deception, strict definition of options when it comes to making choices, and strict limitation on the number of people who can choose anything.

Dr.Epic
2011-11-24, 08:32 PM
You know, can we really call Elan's father disappointing? Disappointment implies one had positive expectations that were not met. Not once in the run of the comic were we meant to believe his dad was in any way a good guy. I say he met expectations.:smallwink:

Kish
2011-11-24, 08:39 PM
Looking at the OP, it's clear that Doug is talking about fathers being disappointing to their children, not to readers.

Dr.Epic
2011-11-24, 08:46 PM
Looking at the OP, it's clear that Doug is talking about fathers being disappointing to their children, not to readers.

But was Tarquin ever a disappointment to Elan? He was told at a young age by his mother his father was ruthless.

Flame of Anor
2011-11-24, 09:56 PM
Do we have strong chaotic evil antagonists? Xykon strikes me as more neutral evil than chaotic.

His overall effect is more neutral because he has Redcloak keeping him on the rails. Xykon himself is Chaotic as the Abyss.

Kish
2011-11-24, 10:23 PM
But was Tarquin ever a disappointment to Elan?
Oh gee, I don't know (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0760.html). :smallsigh:

rbetieh
2011-11-25, 12:02 AM
Based on what evidence do you consider the EoS the least repressive of the three Empires?


Simple, the plan has 5 parts EoT Antagonizes, EoB Conquers, EoT Opresses, EoS Liberates, Nation becomes a protectorate of EoS. Note, the nation joins EoS for its own protection is just that, the liberated people prop up a quick government with the help of EoS of course and then they choose to side with their liberators. Its pretty obvious that the EoS have to have a much les brutal regime for the plan to work, otherwise people would try to leave EoS or refuse to join EoS which ruins the plan. Logic dictates that EoS has to play the "good guy" here, not the "less evil guy".

Lvl45DM!
2011-11-25, 02:28 AM
Yeah but the order doesnt always go Tears attacks, Blood attacks, Sweat liberates. They mix it up.
Also it doesnt really matter if they are all equally brutal since the conquered nations will THINK that its better cos they chose it. Sweat will be as brutal as the people running it want

Ellye
2011-11-25, 02:18 PM
While there is clearly a severe shock of alignment between Tarquin and Elan, I believe Tarquin is actually a pretty decent parent.
He seems to sincerely care about Elan and to be honestly proud of him being a hero. He knows that Elan will eventually be the one to end his story, and he's fine and happy with that, since it will be make a great tale. His relationship with Nale, on the other hand, apparently degraded much more, it seems.

Nonetheless, the alignment issues are enough to classify this as a troubled relationship.

Also, the Ancient Black Dragon is an example of a good moon.

Oh, wait a second! This theory totally and absolutely irrefutably proves that V is a male, since he has a troubled relationship with his children! ... Okay, forget that.

Lvl45DM!
2011-11-26, 01:35 AM
Yeah Tarquin is a competent dad at least, who could make his son happy...if not for the alignment differences. Its like having a racist dad or a dad who goes for a different political party than you. Causes fights but doesnt stop them being able to raise you

rbetieh
2011-11-26, 02:29 AM
Yeah but the order doesnt always go Tears attacks, Blood attacks, Sweat liberates. They mix it up.
Also it doesnt really matter if they are all equally brutal since the conquered nations will THINK that its better cos they chose it. Sweat will be as brutal as the people running it want

No, what they mix up is who's in charge of which empire. The formula doesnt work unless there is a "lessor of 3 evils" available to pick from. So right now that is EoS and when one of the 3 empires gets overthrown it will change. Its probably a way to keep all 3 empires growing evenly, but if the "good" empire was simply too repressive, resistance movements would arise; and, as Tarquin says, that doesnt happen because his plan has contingencies for it. Mainly, a "not nearly as bad as the other two" choice has to exist at all times, and if that choice is changing at all, it means that the overall "good/evil" axis of the 3 empires is also in flux, most probably trending up. Note for instance, that for all of its oppression, the EoB allows its workers to unionize and go to strike. That is something most dictators don't allow, but for some reason Tarquin and Malack seem fine with.

Jaros
2011-11-26, 10:41 AM
No, what they mix up is who's in charge of which empire. The formula doesnt work unless there is a "lessor of 3 evils" available to pick from. So right now that is EoS and when one of the 3 empires gets overthrown it will change. Its probably a way to keep all 3 empires growing evenly, but if the "good" empire was simply too repressive, resistance movements would arise; and, as Tarquin says, that doesnt happen because his plan has contingencies for it. Mainly, a "not nearly as bad as the other two" choice has to exist at all times, and if that choice is changing at all, it means that the overall "good/evil" axis of the 3 empires is also in flux, most probably trending up. Note for instance, that for all of its oppression, the EoB allows its workers to unionize and go to strike. That is something most dictators don't allow, but for some reason Tarquin and Malack seem fine with.

It only has to be the better option FROM the specific nation's point of view. If the order of antagonising, conquering and 'liberating' is mixed up, then a different nation will see a different Empire as the good guys. Add in the heavy use of propaganda and any one can be seen to be the lesser of three evils (or even as good) from the subjects' point of view.

Kish
2011-11-26, 10:51 AM
Note for instance, that for all of its oppression, the EoB allows its workers to unionize and go to strike.
You...don't see the irony in claiming "it allows its slave-drivers to unionize and go on strikes, refusing to whip their slaves until they get concessions explicitly for the slave-drivers, not the slaves" as an example of something good about the Empire of Blood?

There is not enough facepalm in the world.

Dr.Epic
2011-11-26, 03:33 PM
Oh gee, I don't know (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0760.html). :smallsigh:

I don't know. That could be the look of joy for some people.

Flame of Anor
2011-11-26, 04:02 PM
The formula doesnt work unless there is a "lessor of 3 evils"

"Hi, I have three evils available for lease."

rbetieh
2011-11-27, 12:41 AM
You...don't see the irony in claiming "it allows its slave-drivers to unionize and go on strikes, refusing to whip their slaves until they get concessions explicitly for the slave-drivers, not the slaves" as an example of something good about the Empire of Blood?

There is not enough facepalm in the world.

Don't hurt yourself :smallcool:

Yes you have identified how the audience is supposed to react to the scene, now since we are trying to have an analysis here, how about you (specifically) dig deeper. A simple assignment for you if you please: list everyone in the scence (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0717.html), whether or not they find it ironic, and your best guess as to why....

I will start you off, you have the Audience already, Elan is knocked out, and anything out of V is suspect since she is str drained. Ok, analyze away.

Lvl45DM!
2011-11-27, 02:59 AM
No, what they mix up is who's in charge of which empire. The formula doesnt work unless there is a "lessor of 3 evils" available to pick from. So right now that is EoS and when one of the 3 empires gets overthrown it will change. Its probably a way to keep all 3 empires growing evenly, but if the "good" empire was simply too repressive, resistance movements would arise; and, as Tarquin says, that doesnt happen because his plan has contingencies for it. Mainly, a "not nearly as bad as the other two" choice has to exist at all times, and if that choice is changing at all, it means that the overall "good/evil" axis of the 3 empires is also in flux, most probably trending up. Note for instance, that for all of its oppression, the EoB allows its workers to unionize and go to strike. That is something most dictators don't allow, but for some reason Tarquin and Malack seem fine with.

No no if one empire keeps gaining power then everyone else will attack them, maybe even the elves. They have to stay about even. Plus if you've got a bunch of evil party members you don't wanna piss them off by favouring one group over the other two

DougTheHead
2011-11-28, 03:37 AM
But was Tarquin ever a disappointment to Elan? He was told at a young age by his mother his father was ruthless.

I suppose the current storyline details Elan's disappointment with his father. They start out as great friends, and then Elan learns the truth and is horrified. He doesn't seem to put much stock in his mother's version of events, which makes sense- as a child of divorce, I can say that you learn pretty quickly to take anything Mom says about Dad (or vice-versa) with a grain of salt.

rbetieh
2011-12-01, 10:55 PM
I suppose the current storyline details Elan's disappointment with his father. They start out as great friends, and then Elan learns the truth and is horrified. He doesn't seem to put much stock in his mother's version of events, which makes sense- as a child of divorce, I can say that you learn pretty quickly to take anything Mom says about Dad (or vice-versa) with a grain of salt.

Well, this last comic seems to show that Evil Dad is at least trying to be Helpful Evil Dad. Elan is kind of easy to impress, he acted the same way around Hinjo at the festival as he did around Tarquin on their day together. Ive often wondered if Elans philosophy is basically "Fun is....FUN!".

MelTorefas
2011-12-03, 11:01 PM
Just want to chime in and say how awesome it was to see The Giant's posts in this thread. I was really loving the literary discussion the first couple pages had going on. :)

Forikroder
2011-12-03, 11:34 PM
i wonder if this sort of patter (not only in this comic) is caused by the womans right movement where its become taboo to really take too many shots at women but men are now free game

think about how many shows you know with a dumb worthless often fat dad who messes everything up and the smart sexy wife who has to get him out of trouble all the time?

i think the pendulum has swung too far if the world was truly equal then we wouldnt be so sensitive about attacking women like we can attack men since we always ahve taht fear if we go jsut a tad too far we can get hit really hard

The Troubadour
2011-12-03, 11:34 PM
This probably has been mentioned already, but perhaps you could read it as a sort of Oedipal struggle for the characters to get out of their fathers' shadows and establish their own identities?

That said, I'm inclined to believe this was mostly just coincidence - the Giant wanted to tell some stories, and it just so happened they coincided on some details.

Edit: D'oh! I have got to start reading the entire thread before posting. Sorry, folks.

Dr.Epic
2011-12-03, 11:39 PM
Can we really call Roy's mom saintly considering..well...the Oracle said it best (10th panel) (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0571.html)

rbetieh
2011-12-04, 12:25 AM
I just remembered this comic (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0068.html) It seems Elans conscience always suspected T was evil, I dont think T ever tried to convince Elan otherwise, so maybe Elans own disapointment is tied to the fact that his father likes to have Evil Fun instead of Fun fun?

Nightmarenny
2011-12-04, 05:14 AM
Can we really call Roy's mom saintly considering..well...the Oracle said it best (10th panel) (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0571.html)

Just because certain belief systems in the real world believe indiscriminate sex is immoral is no reason to assume that this worlds Gods do also.

In fact her making it in to the Lawful Good afterlife and never being in any way reprimanded implies the opposite.

Do I even need to mention that Thor and Aphrodite are good gods?

Kish
2011-12-04, 06:51 AM
Can we really call Roy's mom saintly considering..well...the Oracle said it best (10th panel) (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0571.html)
If you consider Roy's mother to have done something immoral, I'd suggest you quit hiding behind the kobold and say it yourself.

DougTheHead
2011-12-09, 01:44 AM
Can we really call Roy's mom saintly considering..well...the Oracle said it best (10th panel) (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0571.html)
In Roy's eyes she's certainly saintly, which is what makes the afterlife comics so funny- he's horrified by his dear old mother's athletic sex life. But her making into that afterlife at all is sufficient proof of her virtue (in the modern sense, not the 18th-century sense).

rbetieh
2011-12-09, 02:24 PM
In Roy's eyes she's certainly saintly, which is what makes the afterlife comics so funny- he's horrified by his dear old mother's athletic sex life. But her making into that afterlife at all is sufficient proof of her virtue (in the modern sense, not the 18th-century sense).

I thought Celestia was a reward. Once you are in, you can do what you want. She was Saintly in life, right?

Kish
2011-12-09, 02:32 PM
She was apparently fond of casual sex when she was alive, that being how she met Eugene. There's no indication she ever did anything wrong.

lindorm
2011-12-10, 11:03 AM
In Roy's eyes she's certainly saintly, which is what makes the afterlife comics so funny- he's horrified by his dear old mother's athletic sex life. But her making into that afterlife at all is sufficient proof of her virtue (in the modern sense, not the 18th-century sense).
Who isn't horrified by their parents sex life?

Anyway, she doesn't need to be virtuous in the "modern" sense, she just need to be it in the LG sense. Even being a LG goodie-two-shoes, casual sex wouldn't adversely affect her alignment unless it was unlawfull (breaking a wow of chastity or marriage) or evil (forcing herself on someone).

H Birchgrove
2011-12-10, 11:38 AM
Can we really call Roy's mom saintly considering..well...the Oracle said it best (10th panel) (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0571.html)

The Oracle is a [four-letter explicitive of your choice], and it's not a coincidence his clients keep killing him.

Ancalagon
2011-12-10, 11:46 AM
casual sex wouldn't adversely affect her alignment unless it was unlawfull (breaking a wow of chastity or marriage)

Even that might not break her Lawfullness. It's a dent, but if she's othervise very dedicated to lawful concepts, it might be even that would not necessarily turn out as show-stopper for her entering celestia.
Note she is neither Paladin nor cleric, so the rules are less strict for her. Note she only needs to be "mostly lawful" to be "let in".

The evil thing mentioned would probably interfere more with the "good" part, not the lawful part.

Jaros
2011-12-10, 12:16 PM
I just remembered this comic (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0068.html) It seems Elans conscience always suspected T was evil, I dont think T ever tried to convince Elan otherwise, so maybe Elans own disapointment is tied to the fact that his father likes to have Evil Fun instead of Fun fun?

I think this might be a case of it being easier to think someone's bad when they're not there or you don't know them. You ever been really annoyed at a friend for stuff they've been doing, or not, lately, but when you see them you just kind of forget about it because you're glad to see them? The joy of meeting his father might have just made him forget his previous conception of him as 'evil'.

Holy_Knight
2011-12-11, 03:38 AM
I think this might be a case of it being easier to think someone's bad when they're not there or you don't know them. You ever been really annoyed at a friend for stuff they've been doing, or not, lately, but when you see them you just kind of forget about it because you're glad to see them? The joy of meeting his father might have just made him forget his previous conception of him as 'evil'.
Also remember that his idea of his father was "mean fighting guy", rather than evil per se. He could have thought that Nale turned out evil under his father's parenting without necessarily thinking that his father was evil too. Perhaps more importantly, when he finally met his father and Tarquin acted friendly and in some ways similar to him, the description he had didn't match what he was seeing (at first) so he probably subconsciously questioned what he'd always thought.

rbetieh
2011-12-13, 01:55 PM
A bit more fuel for the analysis fire. Anyone want to look into this one (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0681.html)? I love how Haleys prediction of Elan being accepted by Ian turned out to be totally wrong....

zegram 33
2011-12-13, 02:20 PM
Slightly off topic, but: does everyone think that eugene is a "bad" character?
i only ask because after reading SoD i have a much better opinion of him and he seems a lot more likeable.
I wonder if it will turn out to be the same for the others later on as well?

TreesOfDeath
2011-12-13, 04:22 PM
To the best of my knowledge, Redcloak had a happy family. At least has no issues based on a bad mum or dad.

Right Eye seemed like a decent father, even if oldest his son gave him lip (and he was in that rebellious phase of his life)/


You want to find an unfortunate pattern? Watch the Teen Titans cartoon :p

Lvl45DM!
2011-12-13, 06:03 PM
Slightly off topic, but: does everyone think that eugene is a "bad" character?
i only ask because after reading SoD i have a much better opinion of him and he seems a lot more likeable.
I wonder if it will turn out to be the same for the others later on as well?

Bad character or bad person?
He's a decent character but seems a pretty scummy guy

t209
2011-12-18, 09:52 AM
Bad character or bad person?
He's a decent character but seems a pretty scummy guy

He kinda hated Roy for picking Fighter class.

rbetieh
2011-12-18, 11:37 AM
He kinda hated Roy for picking Fighter class.

Well, I think any father that knew his son could be a lawyer/politician but his son picked cop instead might be inclined to resent the decision. The boy had a mind and he wasted it, other people (Thog/Elan/Belkar) aren't that lucky....

dancrilis
2011-12-20, 04:21 PM
He kinda hated Roy for picking Fighter class.

I would not say hate, he did after all pay for it.

Ultimately Eugene is a good guy, a Lawful Good guy in fact.

He is merely the kind of Lawful Good that puts the needs of the many above the needs of the few and is powerless to do anything right now.

When Roy was dead we saw some of that mentality from him also, now imagine that over years without access to mountain, for example if Xykon had incinerated Roy with the Meteor Swarm, he might be bitter also after a while.

I would see Eugene as a good father but one that never saw eye to eye with his now adult son, and as such with Roy as the protagonist Eugene looks bad, we would really need to see how he acts with Eric, Julia and Sara to get a better picture of him, and some flashbacks to when he was alive.

Ultimately Start of Darkness covered the above for me mostly, with some back up in comic from Sara when she spoke about him.

Kish
2011-12-20, 05:11 PM
I would see Eugene as a good father but one that never saw eye to eye with his now adult son,
He was enraged to discover his son was getting into Heaven instead of being stuck outside of it, like him. And you see him as a good father?

Is there anything he could do that would convince you he's a bad father?

dancrilis
2011-12-21, 06:47 PM
He was enraged to discover his son was getting into Heaven instead of being stuck outside of it, like him. And you see him as a good father?

I don't think he was angry that Roy got in but that Roy got in when he didn't, which he saw as unfair.

To be honest he has a point, Roy died fighting Xykon in honour of the blood oath, sure.
However there are two possibilities with Eugene:
1: He got in to heaven before his final death despite his actions/inactions and that it was only at the end when he was rejected, as such having the Deva state 'It is not a problem for us' would be grating.
2: He never got in regardless of whether he was pursuing the oath or not, as such it would be grating to see Roy get in due to the a different Deva on a different day reviewing the case.

Further Eugene does not care about getting into heaven, not really, had V destroyed Xykon Eugene would have been denied heaven for eternity, and for the looks of things he would not have minded.

He is the only person in heaven that actually seems to really care about the continual existence of the universe, and the only non-mortal full stop that is not trying to take over the universe or sitting on his hands.

This marks him as a good man.



Is there anything he could do that would convince you he's a bad father?
He could do something that indicates he is a bad father.

So far he has funded Roy through college with no expectation of reward, or even recognition, he has shown up and offered Roy advise that may have saved the party, he has breached the laws of heaven to assist Roy again.

Spoiler from SOD:
And he has done all this not to destroy Xykon, as he clearly thinks Julia has a better shot at that then Roy.

Kish
2011-12-21, 06:55 PM
[...]
However there are two possibilities with Eugene:
1: He got in to heaven before his final death despite his actions/inactions and that it was only at the end when he was rejected, as such having the Deva state 'It is not a problem for us' would be grating.
2: He never got in regardless of whether he was pursuing the oath or not, as such it would be grating to see Roy get in due to the a different Deva on a different day reviewing the case.

3. He never died before he met Xyklon the Consequential when he was a mere level 9 wizard and abandoned the Blood Oath, and thus never got in.

I mean, not that I actually think that's a possibility; I'm pretty sure it's a certainty. But really, I'm not sure why I'm bothering. The fact that he screams WHAT?! and looks utterly enraged on learning his son will get into heaven should put the kibosh on any suggestion that he isn't a dreadful father whatever his justifications for it.


Further Eugene does not care about getting into heaven, not really, had V destroyed Xykon Eugene would have been denied heaven for eternity,

That's a huge assumption you're making, mated to another huge assumption that Eugene is making the same assumption.


He could do something that indicates he is a bad father.

Glib. And I think we're done here.

zegram 33
2011-12-21, 09:40 PM
i disagree
In SOD he's a very good father, because he refuses to kill Xykon because if he failed it would endanger his family

the fact that he pts his family above vengance marks him as a good man in my opinion.

yes, when you see him in the comic he's old and jaded and crotchety, but lets face it, many old people ARE

dancrilis
2011-12-24, 10:37 AM
He never died before he met Xyklon the Consequential when he was a mere level 9 wizard and abandoned the Blood Oath, and thus never got in.
But then it would likely have been explained by the celestial conducting the review that it would be a requirement for him prior to his final death.


But really, I'm not sure why I'm bothering.
That is not something I can answer for you, you may wish to examine your thoughts and motivations.


The fact that he screams WHAT?! and looks utterly enraged on learning his son will get into heaven should put the kibosh on any suggestion that he isn't a dreadful father whatever his justifications for it.

That implies that he was focused on his son getting in and not focusing on the perceived unfairness of the situation, which he might have been but I would not be how I read the strip.


That's a huge assumption you're making, mated to another huge assumption that Eugene is making the same assumption.

Not really if anyone could complete the bloodoath then Eugene would not have to focus on members of his immediate family to complete it, the oath would not need to pass to Julia, Eugene could focus on any of the competing powers for Xykon's destruction.



Glib
Thanks you however I feel you may by confused my answer was not truly and artfully persuasive in speech, had I asked you the question 'Is there anything he could do that would convince you he's a good father? ', you have the choice of listing out all the potential items that could (taking into account that you may miss some), denying that anything could (regardless of what may transpire in the series, either in the future or in the backstory), or say something that is the equivalent of 'He could do something that indicates he is a good father'.
I answered in the most honest manner possible, however I would not have considered it overly artful.



And I think we're done here.
Very well, perhaps of you find the answer to your query on your motivations we can continue.



In SOD he's a very good father
Agreed.

Juggling Goth
2012-01-01, 02:49 AM
Redcloak's parents are irrelevant to the story; his father could have been a saint for all we know, but he wasn't killed by the Sapphire Guard.

Darn, I assumed he was, and that was why Redcloak's uncle was there instead. Although I guess that still allows for him having been killed by adventurers. In my brain, goblins have extended family groups to make up for the young males mostly getting killed early.

Lvl45DM!
2012-01-02, 07:03 PM
I've seen the SoD argument pop up a bit about Eugene. "He's good cos he let go of vengeance to save his family."
His family including:
his wife Sara - who he has now abandoned without remorse
his son Roy - who he sent on his quest rather than trying to finish it himself putting Roy in the very danger he tried to avoid earlier. Note that he sent Roy on the quest to kill Xykon, AFAIK, before anyone knew about the world ending potential of the gates. He sent Roy to kill Xykon for the simple selfish reason of him getting into heaven.
his daughter Julia -who he plans on sending after Xykon ASAP
and his son Eric - who he got killed somehow

The only person who's life he didn't/isn't planning on ruining was his wife and thats only cos they've managed to avoid each other in the afterlife. The attempt to save his family has almost completely been invalidated. And is the opposite of "needs of the many, needs of the few" mentality that could also justify his actions.

Kish
2012-01-02, 08:50 PM
his son Roy - who he sent on his quest rather than trying to finish it himself putting Roy in the very danger he tried to avoid earlier. Note that he sent Roy on the quest to kill Xykon, AFAIK, before anyone knew about the world ending potential of the gates. He sent Roy to kill Xykon for the simple selfish reason of him getting into heaven.
There's also that bonus strip in NCFTPB where he tells Shojo blithely that he doesn't expect Roy to succeed, but he might gather information to help Julia before his inevitable death.

Psyren
2013-08-26, 09:07 AM
EDIT: Whoops, wrong thread. Please disregard.

The Oni
2013-08-26, 03:16 PM
Theory: The universe follows D&D rules, which means:

A.) PCs will be prone to adventuring, abandoning parental responsibilities

B.) There are more male D&D players than female D&D players, so it stands to reason there should be more male PCs than female PCs. (No intentional sexism here, just reflecting real-world dynamics.)

C.) All PCs to some degree make lousy parents.

D.) Male PCs adventure for longer than Female PCs (on average).
Corollary: Vaarsuvius is probably the "dad" in whatever ambiguously-termed relationship V. and Inkyrius have.

Therefore D&D dads will have a tendency to suck.

MtlGuy
2013-08-26, 03:59 PM
Let's start with Eugene. We didn't really got to see how Eugene interacted with Roy's sister Julia. Perhaps they had a better relationship because they were both Wizards? Should he be condemned for having the same strained relationship with his warrior son that he did with his warrior father? Roy's mom doesn't appear or behave in a saintly manner, she's kicking back in the afterlife and enjoying herself. Nothing wrong with that, but I wouldn't cannonize her just for comparing favourably to Eugene being Eugene.

There's some material in the print exclusive titles that implies that Eugene has a better relationship with Julia, as he believes her to be capable of fulfilling the blood oath rather than Roy. Eugene's headstone lists him as a 'master mage, devoted husband and passable father.'

Tarquin, you have him dead to rights. Especially after what he just did in #913, and how he played it in #914.

Ian Starshine, given the family circumstances I'd cut him some slack. He taught Haley to survive, if not to live. By all accounts its a dangerous and unpredictable world, let alone that city Haley was growing up in. Haley's mom would of course be idealized, having died.

Belkar believes spending time with family is a form of torture, so make of that what you will.

Kish
2013-08-26, 04:02 PM
ed relationship with his warrior son that he did with his warrior father. Roy's mom doesn't appear or behave in a saintly manner, she's kicking back in the afterlife and enjoying herself. Nothing wrong with that, but I wouldn't cannonize her just for comparing favourably to Eugene being Eugene.
That sounds like it hinges on a concept of "saintly" as involving "ascetic." Sara is--like Roy's girlfriend Celia, actually--morally unimpeachable; she even tells Roy not to be so hard on Eugene.

Dracon1us
2014-01-15, 01:58 PM
Slightly off topic, but: does everyone think that eugene is a "bad" character?
i only ask because after reading SoD i have a much better opinion of him and he seems a lot more likeable.
I wonder if it will turn out to be the same for the others later on as well?

good guy, but bad father.
not all lawful good people are alike.
he's very human, he's flawed. But he fathered a Hero.

Shale
2014-01-15, 02:23 PM
That sounds like it hinges on a concept of "saintly" as involving "ascetic." Sara is--like Roy's girlfriend Celia, actually--morally unimpeachable; she even tells Roy not to be so hard on Eugene.

I wouldn't call Celia "morally unimpeachable." She's pacifistic to the point where she's willing to put innocent people in mortal danger rather than engage in self-defense. "My code of conduct is more important than your well-being" is the kind of thing that gets the Lawful Neutral afterlife looking in your direction (metaphorically, I know she doesn't get an afterlife). Sara (and Mama Elan, and Mrs. Starshine), though, yeah.

Amphiox
2014-01-15, 04:10 PM
I wouldn't call Celia "morally unimpeachable." She's pacifistic to the point where she's willing to put innocent people in mortal danger rather than engage in self-defense.

I must point out that this pattern of behavior is not ONLY compatible with an ethical failing (though it could be). It could just as easily be produced by extreme inexperience and naivete, where a character simply lacks the life experience to properly contextualize the meaning of "mortal danger to others" in the heat of highly emotional moments. ie, like a teenager, they fail to take into account the welfare of others not because they are callous, but simply because they don't realize or recognize in the situation at hand that the welfare of others was actually at stake.

Celia has this in spades. She doesn't really understand the meaning of "mortal danger" on an emotional level, only an intellectual one. In a highly charged emotional moment, she'll have a tendency to forget the intellectual considerations in favor of emotional ones. The instinctive emotional aversion to committing violence herself completely overrides the intellectual understanding that doing so puts others in danger, and she doesn't have an emotional conception of other people being in danger to use instead.

If we end up seeing her again, her experiences with Haley (and if Roy is around to guide her) could easily mean that this aspect of her behavior has changed. She may well have already undergone character growth over this issue. It's just that we don't see it, since it happens while Celia is "off-narrative".

zimmerwald1915
2014-01-15, 04:15 PM
I wouldn't call Celia "morally unimpeachable." She's pacifistic to the point where she's willing to put innocent people in mortal danger rather than engage in self-defense. "My code of conduct is more important than your well-being" is the kind of thing that gets the Lawful Neutral afterlife looking in your direction (metaphorically, I know she doesn't get an afterlife). Sara (and Mama Elan, and Mrs. Starshine), though, yeah.
Yeah, funny that, how the more story a character has devoted to them (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=14902942&postcount=1), the less morally unimpeachable they start seeming.

Amphiox
2014-01-15, 04:22 PM
Yeah, funny that, how the more story a character has devoted to them (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=14902942&postcount=1), the less morally unimpeachable they start seeming.

This brings up the interesting factor of confounding variables inherent in the OP. We might look at it as a father/mother divide, but it is also an in-focus/out-of-focus character divide.

Saintly characters are pretty boring. They generally serve, if present at all, as symbols of something. You put them on a pedestal, and you leave them there. If have a character whose characterization you actually want to explore in narrative, then that character has got to have flaws, or quickly develop them. A perfect character can only have negative character growth.

The numbers are small enough that the father/mother divide could be pure random chance. The same way that sometimes you can get 5 consecutive heads when you flip a coin 5 times.

It is also possible that since the Giant is a man, and since writers write what they know, a male author may find it easier to write a nuanced father figure than a mother figure, and if at the time he was making these characters he had not really conceptualized a larger plot yet, they might all end up fathers just from this predilection.

BaronOfHell
2014-01-15, 04:24 PM
I wouldn't call Celia "morally unimpeachable." She's pacifistic to the point where she's willing to put innocent people in mortal danger rather than engage in self-defense. "My code of conduct is more important than your well-being" is the kind of thing that gets the Lawful Neutral afterlife looking in your direction (metaphorically, I know she doesn't get an afterlife). Sara (and Mama Elan, and Mrs. Starshine), though, yeah.

The problem is, if I understood Celia correct, to her everyone is "innocent" in the sense that they shouldn't to be killed. From that perspective it makes sense to me, that she can't chose either party.

Edit: There's also rather important stuff such as no afterlife for her (meaning she was the one in the most danger).

Amphiox
2014-01-15, 04:28 PM
good guy, but bad father.

One doesn't even have to go so far as "bad" father. "Imperfect" father will do.

The parent-child relationship is such that every mistake the parent makes will have some impact on the child. But just because he or she makes those mistakes doesn't mean on the whole that he or she was a "bad" parent.

Consider the man that Roy turned out to be. It would not be realistic to think that ALL his good traits are solely the result of his mother, and Eugene had nothing at all to do with that, particularly since Sara died somewhat early, and at least SOME of Roy's formative years were spent with only Eugene parenting for him.

Or Haley. Her mother died when she was a child. Even though she's the most messed up of the Order, she still turned out to be a pretty good character. Ian deserves at least some of the credit for that.

The only major parental figure who's clearly and indisputably more bad than good really is Tarquin.

The Giant
2014-01-15, 05:07 PM
Please do not post to threads where the last post is more than six weeks old.