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  1. - Top - End - #61
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    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackDragonKing View Post
    But then it's flipped; Tarquin's lawfulness is shown as driving him not just to kill people for pleasure, like any evil individual will usually do, but to throttle individuality, hope, freedom, and a number of other wonderful, "messy" things out of the universe in an effort to crush it down and make everything surviving think the way he does.

    He'll act AGAINST expedience to impose his arbitrary, cruel rules on other people because his warped Law is just that insanely important to him. Imaginary rules and formulas that cannot be fought or altered go hand-in-hand with bloodshed in the life Tarquin's carved out for himself, but I still argue that Tarquin is SUCH a bastard BECAUSE he puts those rules so far over people's lives and happiness.
    He's also arbitrarily cruel, punishing minor insults with fates worse than death, then handwaving away direct threats on his life from his family. He'll wreck people's lives for his passing happiness. He uses law to achieve order, but he also abuses law to satisfy his desires. He's a despot, not a single-minded champion of order above all else.

  2. - Top - End - #62
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    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackDragonKing View Post
    I will admit it is a bias on my part to view that if I had to pick an Evil enemy, I would probably pick a Lawful Evil one because of the chance of them having SOME restraints on the evil they're willing to do, on top of being more predictable. I'm merely pointing out that it's a common image for Lawful Evil to be just as vicious but more restrained and methodical than Neutral Evil, who will do whatever is expedient to get their way, and Chaotic Evil, which is so unpredictable it will gladly hurt ITSELF to kill you and cannot be anticipated, reasoned with, or resolved with anything but a sharp blade or a jail cell and a prayer.
    Thank you for explaining your bias. However, it is still a bias; you are attributing mitigating ('restrained') aspects to Lawfulness and amplifying aspects to Chaos when it could just as easily be the other way around (or neither). The method and restraint of a Lawful Evil character could make them more dangerous or more villainous, or it might leave them equally dangerous and villainous, but you just assume it won't be that way. Yet that is the essence of Tarquin's empire plan: he restrains his Evil only insofar as restraint allows him to accomplish greater Evil. CE might require a jail cell and a prayer, but LE might lock you in the jail cell to live on prayers forever. Your preference for one over the other is an ethical preference, not a moral one.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackDragonKing View Post
    Would you disagree that Tarquin plays with that notion? I thought he certainly did; at first he does seem like the Lawful Evil villain that does his evil getting to the top and then brutally making sure nobody else can get to his level and providing an organized contrast to Xykon's willingness to annihilate everything but himself as long as his enemy's not still standing when the dust settles. But then it's flipped; Tarquin's lawfulness is shown as driving him not just to kill people for pleasure, like any evil individual will usually do, but to throttle individuality, hope, freedom, and a number of other wonderful, "messy" things out of the universe in an effort to crush it down and make everything surviving think the way he does. A lot of writers explore how frigging dangerous absolutely unfettered villains like Xykon are, but I thought it was interesting for Tarquin to go the other way with showing how an evil but intensely organized and obsessively focused mind can be just as dangerous in its own way when many Lawful Evil villains are either Lucius Malfoy, the rule-manipulating scumbag with some unimportant standards for himself that's ultimately stepped over by more unhinged villains, or someone slapping on the Hitler parallel and calling it a day. You're welcome to disagree, of course, but this is where my thoughts on evil vis a vis tarquin have led me.
    I agree that Tarquin does a good job of showing how Evil LE can be, but I disagree that he was ever portrayed in a manner that could be 'flipped' to that. That Tarquin's Lawfulness made him differently dangerous rather than less dangerous was clear from the empire plan reveal onward; that Tarquin's tolerance for contrary expression was nil was made clear by Gannji. The mitigating factor for Tarquin was his affability, never his Lawfulness. That is what has flipped.

    Also, the next most common LE primary villain after the Hitler parallel is the Stalin parallel, so no, I don't think this 'throttling individuality, hope, freedom' shtick is underrepresented in literature.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackDragonKing View Post
    I'm not sure I can agree with this; a Tarquin who is not a horrible person certainly would not be Tarquin, but I also feel that a Tarquin who is non-lawful is similarly not Tarquin at all. And while you might be thinking that seems to line up with your point, let us say that a Lawful Neutral character who doesn't care about anything but seeing the narrative rules carried out and a Chaotic Evil character obsessed with destroying Good civilizations and skating by on superficial charisma are both introduced. I would argue LN is a Tarquinesque character minus the rampaging socipathy, while CE is just a knockoff of Xykon more than "Tarquin on a different axis".
    Well, of course; you have completed the CE character in a way that is unlike Tarquin, so naturally you conclude that he is unlike Tarquin. I'm sorry I didn't provide an extensive description myself, but I didn't think it would be that hard to get.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackDragonKing View Post
    Evil just wants to get ahead by making other people suffer, which is why when it's not lawful or chaotic, it just uses whatever means are expedient. Tarquin's not like that. He'll act AGAINST expedience to impose his arbitrary, cruel rules on other people because his warped Law is just that insanely important to him. Imaginary rules and formulas that cannot be fought or altered go hand-in-hand with bloodshed in the life Tarquin's carved out for himself, but I still argue that Tarquin is SUCH a bastard BECAUSE he puts those rules so far over people's lives and happiness. Tarquin can't be Neutral or Chaotic any more than he can be non-Evil; to speak of one half of his alignment is to speak of the other, but I still contend that Tarquin and his engine of human misery are a clear portrait of Lawful going way, way too far to produce a particularly virulent evil more than a portrait of an Evil character that happens to be Lawful in his operations.
    Of course Tarquin isn't purely a creature of expedience. That's why he's LE and not NE. However, that doesn't get you anywhere closer to the conclusion that Tarquin's Evil is just an extreme Lawfulness, unless you think Durkon was acting LE when he refused to bust Roy and Belkar out of jail.

    The rest of this paragraph is just you repeating your conclusion as if that will make your argument stronger, so I'll skip it. Do you have evidence, or just contentions?

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackDragonKing View Post
    Actually, I do believe that a Lawful Good character could never hate Chaos as much as Tarquin and remain good, which might be another point of disagreement between us. You seem to think that I'm mitigating just how evil Tarquin is because I'm so focused on how obsessed he is with laws, but that's where I see his evil.
    Please don't assume I don't know what you're talking about. I know what you're talking about. I simply disagree.

    And again, some evidence of how much he hates Chaos would be nice. Far as I can tell, he gets way more emotional about being thwarted in his narrative concepts than about Chaos in general.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackDragonKing View Post
    All three branches of the Evil Tree create places that are horrible, but Lawful Evil, particularly as Tarquin practices it, is particularly horrible to me because it is an order that can't stand freedom, creativity, the right to be spontaneous, or any of the things that make life LIFE.
    ...Food? Water? Shelter? Community? Some kind of protection from violence? Some kind of social contract? The Chaotic aspects of life are not privileged over the Lawful ones.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackDragonKing View Post
    It is inconceivable to me that a Lawful Good character could hate Chaos as much as Tarquin does because that implies someone that is OFFENDED by the expression of free will,
    *waits for example of Tarquin being offended merely by the expression of free will*

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackDragonKing View Post
    who believes the logical solution to irreconcilable differences is murder on as big a scale as it takes to resolve the disagreement,
    That comes about because Tarquin has no objection to murdering people, not because of a particular degree of hatred of Chaos. Remember, it's not extremely Lawful people who "have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient." It's Evil people. It derives from their Evil. How much plainer does this need to get?

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackDragonKing View Post
    that would gladly rip the capacity to dream and create out of the universe because it makes things messier, could POSSIBLY be a Good person. That is ludicrous to me.
    Maybe because it's also a ludicrous representation of how Tarquin operates. Look, you've wandered off into passionate ranting, which is all well and good, but can we get back to what's actually in the comic?

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackDragonKing View Post
    Paladins have a rigid worldview, but the only one in comic who thought stepping outside that worldview ought to be met with a drawn sword and a smiting fell DAMN hard. Lawful Good doesn't always agree with the way people express their freedoms, but it can exist with that chaos without trying to destroy it because it's Good and acknowledges Chaos has a place. Lawful Evil will annihilate anything that does not reflect itself when practiced in Tarquin's manner, and then sow salt so that nothing divergent can grow from what remains.
    As I recall, the Paladin in question fell damn hard because she deluded herself into thinking a lot of Good people were Evil, not because they stepped outside her worldview.

    And Lawful Good tries to destroy chaotic expressions of freedom all the time. Freedom of acquisition, for example. It is more restrained in its means because it has respect for sentient life, but that doesn't make it less Lawful than LE. Hell, the LG mirror to Tarquin's hellhole has existed in literature for centuries: Thomas More's Utopia.
    Last edited by Math_Mage; 2013-12-08 at 03:41 AM.

  3. - Top - End - #63
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    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Quote Originally Posted by DerekCale View Post
    TL;DR I guess I'm just disappointed that the character stopped being so interesting and thought provoking, and just became, frankly, boring.
    I am not with you. Not at all.

    Tarquin has not changed at all and I think he's just as interesting as he was all the time.
    I also think this is a pretty clean and well constructed development. One of the cleanest, even. Since the Order entered Tarquin's city the board was set, the pieces played and this now is the endgame.
    I feel naked. You all know my stats!

  4. - Top - End - #64
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    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaylon View Post
    You're absolutely wrong here. For example, there are plenty of cases where children had no idea that their parents had committed atrocities or had helped commit atrocities. The fact of the matter is that, yes, Virginia, people can and do do horrible things and otherwise come across as decent people to those who don't know about their actions. It's astounding that you think otherwise.
    Purple emphasis mine.

    You're arguing against something I didn't say. The "Evil Switch" i'm talking about is not the external facade, it's the internal reality of the person. I don't dispute for one second that people can come across as otherwise decent people. Yes, I concur that it is entirely realistic for people who commit horrible atrocities to seem like good people in other situations. But the key word there is, "seem." Being able to act like a good person some of the time does not make one a good person, it makes one a competent actor. Someone mentally and emotionally capable of intentional deliberate mass murder is still capable of mass murder when hugging their child. They're just not doing it that moment.

    Tarquin seemed like a decent person when we met him, that's the entire point. It would have been entirely plausible for Tarquin to have never cracked his facade, to continue acting like a calm and collected person who separated his two lives, but I have no interest in writing that. First, it's boring, and second, it sends a message that you can totally commit atrocities and it's OK, that doesn't make you a bad person as long as you pet a dog afterward. Yes, it makes you a bad person. That is the point. That is the message I am consciously conveying with my story, and if you disagree with it, that's fine, I guess. But I'm not going to take, "You conveyed the message you wanted to convey but I don't like it!" as a criticism that I need to pay attention to.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaylon View Post
    All this talk in the comic about upsetting traditional narratives, and here you are on the forums complaining about the fact that your audience loves the villain.
    I'm not complaining that they love the villain as a character, I'm complaining that they love the villain as a person. I want them to love Tarquin as a well-developed element of the fiction that serves his purpose in the story well while raising interesting points about both the way people act in the real world and the way that stories are often constructed these days, and gets off some funny jokes in the process. I don't want them to love him because it's so cool that he can do all these horrible things and still be totally emotionally untouched by it because yeah, doin' evil is awesome and totally should be portrayed as just another lifestyle choice!

    And I wasn't really complaining so much as saying I have no interest in making that easy for them. It undercuts the point I am trying to make, which is that evil isn't cool. Which is challenging the traditional narrative—at least the narrative of the last 40 years of pop culture which has told us relentlessly that the character who is more morally questionable is always cooler than the one who is more morally upright.
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  5. - Top - End - #65
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    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Many people who believe that there is no such thing as "good" or "evil" find themselves truly challenged when they confront real evil.

    I mean, if everything is relative, and as long as you're happy you're okay...
    Quote Originally Posted by Porthos View Post
    You are presuming that Ridureyu is trying to be a troll.

    I tend to think of him more as a Performance Artist, myself.

  6. - Top - End - #66
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    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Quote Originally Posted by Math_Mage View Post
    I'm extremely uncomfortable with the assertion that this is "just" animosity towards Chaos, because Tarquin's beliefs about the way things ought to work are relevant to this analysis.
    Discomforts aside, you forget how lawful people operate. There happens to be a trait that runs common to those of the Lawful alignments; and that is the eventual assertion that the character answers to a higher authority, and that therefore their actions are done out of necessity. Even Roy throws a Lawful answer on to Xykon on the Zombie Dragons back (what about the oath of vegeance, I can't let you go because of that).

    The character believes himself the big bad of a story, and that all of his actions are necessary because that is how bad people are supposed to act. In every sense his is acting "JUST" (in capitals, because he really had no other justification than this) out of animosity towards Chaos. He has a script, either you follow it or you get fired. He killed Nale for not following the script, he intends to punish Elan for not following the script, and he showed leniency towards Enor and Ganji because they acted in a way that was acceptable. And he will still claim that each action was forced upon him because of the dictates of his story. He shields himself behind his higher authority, but its not just him, look towards Malack, and Durkon, and Roy.

    This really ought to be the motto for Law....We always answer to a higher authority, even if you don't recognize it.

  7. - Top - End - #67
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    Default Re: The inevitable disappointment of the people who idealized Tarkie.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaylon View Post
    All this talk in the comic about upsetting traditional narratives, and here you are on the forums complaining about the fact that your audience loves the villain.
    The problem isn't that the audience loves the villain. The problem is that faced with a picture that unambiguously included mass murder, torture, and rape, some members of the audience loudly decided that the perpetrator of those acts was so cool that they wanted to see him get everything he wanted. If you ever thought Elan was advocating that, I'd suggest you misunderstood something somewhere.

    Another problem, though not the one I understand Rich to be talking about there, is that the audience loves the character they've made up based on the villain--but not based on all of him--and imposed on him. And when the villain acts in a way that doesn't match the picture they have of him, they shriek about it on the forum.
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    "The really unforgivable acts are committed by calm men in beautiful green silk rooms, who deal death wholesale, by the shipload, without lust, or anger, or desire, or any redeeming emotion to excuse them but cold fear of some pretended future. But the crimes they hope to prevent in the future are imaginary. The ones they commit in the present--they are real." --Aral Vorkosigan

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    This, in a nutshell.
    Yes, exactly.

  8. - Top - End - #68
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    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Quote Originally Posted by Math_Mage View Post
    Third, you're uncritically repeating the same pattern I criticized in rbetieh's post: describing Tarquin's devotion to Law in loving detail while casually reducing his Evil to the phrase "his kind of". Are we really just going to pass over the fact that Tarquin's envisioned order is a horrible place, and not just because it lacks freedom? Is it really so inconceivable that a LG character might hate chaos just as much as Tarquin, but express it differently because he actually has concern for the dignity of sentient life and has a different vision from Tarquin? Tarquin isn't Evil because he is extremely Lawful; he's just extremely Lawful Evil.

    Finally, Redcloak's brand of LE is more complex than you portray it as. But that's a tale for another time.
    Sigh, if I had read this first before responding to your last post....

    This is not, as I understood it, a thread about "Is Tarquin Evil?", but a thread about "Why is Tarquin behaving so differently than he was 100 strips ago?". I answered the second question. I don't care to answer the already answered first question. But the glove I presented in my first post fits the hand. His behavior has changed because he perceives Elan has stepped out of the box.

  9. - Top - End - #69
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    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Tarquin is a terrible person, an evil tyrant, a mass murderer. That is usually able to wear a mask of politeness and mannerism, because he likes to give this image, because it gives him a certain style.
    Which is true, he's a BEG with style and a good sense of drama.
    When he's disappointed, the mask falls apart (hence, the apparent change of behavior), but what's behind, is still the same.

    We can only be fascinated by the mask.
    Last edited by Killer Angel; 2013-12-08 at 09:11 AM.
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    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    And I wasn't really complaining so much as saying I have no interest in making that easy for them. It undercuts the point I am trying to make, which is that evil isn't cool. Which is challenging the traditional narrative—at least the narrative of the last 40 years of pop culture which has told us relentlessly that the character who is more morally questionable is always cooler than the one who is more morally upright.
    I totally loathe acting like a groupie, but...

    ... I can't help it this time.













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  11. - Top - End - #71
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    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Quote Originally Posted by rbetieh View Post
    Discomforts aside, you forget how lawful people operate. There happens to be a trait that runs common to those of the Lawful alignments; and that is the eventual assertion that the character answers to a higher authority, and that therefore their actions are done out of necessity. Even Roy throws a Lawful answer on to Xykon on the Zombie Dragons back (what about the oath of vegeance, I can't let you go because of that).

    The character believes himself the big bad of a story, and that all of his actions are necessary because that is how bad people are supposed to act. In every sense his is acting "JUST" (in capitals, because he really had no other justification than this) out of animosity towards Chaos. He has a script, either you follow it or you get fired. He killed Nale for not following the script, he intends to punish Elan for not following the script, and he showed leniency towards Enor and Ganji because they acted in a way that was acceptable. And he will still claim that each action was forced upon him because of the dictates of his story. He shields himself behind his higher authority, but its not just him, look towards Malack, and Durkon, and Roy.

    This really ought to be the motto for Law....We always answer to a higher authority, even if you don't recognize it.
    This claim is complicated by the fact that Tarquin chose and chooses to write this particular story. It's not just The Script that Elan is bucking, it's Tarquin's script. So the question is, is Tarquin threatened by Elan upsetting the narrative, or by upsetting his control of the narrative?

    Quote Originally Posted by rbetieh View Post
    Sigh, if I had read this first before responding to your last post....

    This is not, as I understood it, a thread about "Is Tarquin Evil?", but a thread about "Why is Tarquin behaving so differently than he was 100 strips ago?". I answered the second question. I don't care to answer the already answered first question. But the glove I presented in my first post fits the hand. His behavior has changed because he perceives Elan has stepped out of the box.
    Shrug. Your post was made in apparent isolation. I read it as an essentializing claim about Tarquin, though certainly not one related to the question "Is Tarquin Evil?", but rather to the question "Why is Tarquin the way he is?" Since many of the comments on this thread make the point that Tarquin isn't changed so much as revealed by the past hundred strips, this is not such a large jump.

    And to cast the above point into your metaphor, is it The Box, or Tarquin's Box?
    Last edited by Math_Mage; 2013-12-08 at 07:32 AM.

  12. - Top - End - #72
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    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    I'm not complaining that they love the villain as a character, I'm complaining that they love the villain as a person. I want them to love Tarquin as a well-developed element of the fiction that serves his purpose in the story well while raising interesting points about both the way people act in the real world and the way that stories are often constructed these days, and gets off some funny jokes in the process. I don't want them to love him because it's so cool that he can do all these horrible things and still be totally emotionally untouched by it because yeah, doin' evil is awesome and totally should be portrayed as just another lifestyle choice!

    And I wasn't really complaining so much as saying I have no interest in making that easy for them. It undercuts the point I am trying to make, which is that evil isn't cool. Which is challenging the traditional narrative—at least the narrative of the last 40 years of pop culture which has told us relentlessly that the character who is more morally questionable is always cooler than the one who is more morally upright.
    He's still amazingly cool, though. Even with his recent breakdown. Good job creating him.

    But yeah, he deserves to be punished. And I think unless he realizes he is just a sidequest villain and stops chasing the order soon, he's going to die.

  13. - Top - End - #73
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    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    The get slightly back to topic...

    Showing new sides of a charcter isn't equivalent to him changing.

    Besides...I think he lost a true frind in Malack, and even if he of course is evil and there is no reasoning for him, he was kind of forced to kill Nale, from his point of view. Especially when we consider the "Their death brought upon themselves" reasoning sometimes floating around. On top of that his plans unravel, he had to call in a favor he hoarded for ten years, and even then we can glean from the last page he considered himself restraint all that time.

    So, my point is: He's under a lot of pressure, and he really stands to lose something and already has lost parts of it. But he has not changed.

    It'd be ridiculous if he still maintained calm.

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    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    It would have been entirely plausible for Tarquin to have never cracked his facade, to continue acting like a calm and collected person who separated his two lives ...
    I think that's one of the big issues here: why couldn't Tarquin BE a calm and collected person whose actions in the various aspects of his life all follow from his Evil character?

    Tarquin had the potential to be the Enlightened Egoist Evil character, differing from Xykon and Belkar in that he doesn't have any particular desire to hurt others but differing from someone like Redcloak in that he is willing to commit atrocities for purely selfish reasons as opposed to fulfilling a perceived noble goal. Dropping in Tarquin's arguments about making the world orderly hurt that interpretation, and this kills it even more. At any rate, that sort of character has interests and cares for things and for people, but only for specific people. Thus, that sort of Evil character could indeed genuinely care about his children and do whatever it takes to make things work out well for them ... even if it involves hurting others or even hurting them. And if they had other interests that outweighed their interests in their children, they'd abandon the children. That's still Evil, but then the affability and the working with the heroes and working against them all follow from that.

    And that sort of character, one with motives that aren't simply "I want to hurt people", one who calculates advantage beyond the very short term thinking, IS more interesting than the typical villain. But it doesn't make them less Evil, but instead should make them an interesting villain.

    So, take Tarquin, Nale and Malack. That Tarquin saw Malack both as a good friend and as a valuable asset seems, to me, undeniable. Given that, anyone who killed Malack's children or in any way incurred his wrath would prompt Tarquin to kill them, if for no other reason than to keep the asset happy. That it also involved Tarquin helping a friend would be a bonus, and Tarquin's always been about getting the most he can from any arrangement. But when it was Nale, Tarquin cared more about Nale -- and potentially about Tarquin's own legacy -- than he did about Malack, and so he would always TRY to preserve Nale ... and if he could do it without losing Malack as a friend and asset, he wins. When Nale kills Malack, now he's really ticked off the entire group, and cost Tarquin a valuable asset. And yet, Tarquin sees enough benefit in Nale to try to patch it over. Only when Nale makes it clear that Tarquin's not going to get what he wants -- in this case, at least partly for Nale -- does Tarquin then decide that it isn't worth it and then does treat Nale as he wants to be treated. At that point, Tarquin treats him the way he'd treat anyone else who did what he did ... and kills him.

    But this follows from the EXACT same personality traits and, more importantly, the same Evilness that caused him to offer help to Elan in the beginning on his quest. For Tarquin to act "decent" is for him to act out of the same self-interested pragmatism to act "Evil". The slave example is, to me, the prime example of Tarquin's pragmatic Evil: hey, I need to recapture the escapees, I need to make an example of them, and, hey, I can do a nice tribute to my son doing it! Wonderful! To Tarquin, wrt Elan it's the same thing as taking him to the zoo, except that it also helps solidify his power and takes care of another problem he has. Which is why he's genuinely surprised that Elan is so upset by it.

    Thus, there's no facade or mask to drop, no acting going on. Tarquin's Evil pushes him to be generous and even merciful at times, but always in service to his own aims. He at least had the potential to be a villain that wasn't Stupid Evil, but was Intelligent Evil, realizing that it doesn't benefit him to simply randomly slaughter people and finding no benefit in killing or hurting people just to hurt people. But he had no problem hurting people if he benefited from it.

    A comparison might be this: Tarquin and Xykon are in a chilly room with some slaves. They want to be warmer. Xykon is likely to set the slaves on fire to warm himself up, because hurting people is fun. Tarquin will go get a cloak, because that's easier than lighting the slaves on fire. But make no mistake, if the best way to warm himself up was to light the slaves on fire, Tarquin would do it. That's what makes him Evil, and seems perfectly Evil enough for me.

    Which is challenging the traditional narrative—at least the narrative of the last 40 years of pop culture which has told us relentlessly that the character who is more morally questionable is always cooler than the one who is more morally upright.
    Morally questionable does not mean Evil. If you're talking about heroes, the very strongly morally upright can fall into Stupid Good or Lawful Stupid territory, being unwilling to do what needs to be done to stop the greater Evil, and so can come across as unrealistic and having the author have to find a contrived way for the moral way to work. And if you look at most cartoons from the 80s, they did that.

    Note that trying to pull this challenge off with villains is difficult, and that you aren't actually succeeding, because of the villains the least morally questionable villain is probably Redcloak, and even you admit in the writing that he's the least cool of Team Evil. And when it comes to heroes, pre-vampire Durkon was the most morally upright, and again even in your writing you make him the least cool. In terms of interesting characters, for the most part Durkon and Roy sat at the boring end of the scale, and are the most moral. The most interesting good character is probably O-Chul, but that's because of his Determinator status and overwhelming kindness.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daimbert View Post
    I think that's one of the big issues here: why couldn't Tarquin BE a calm and collected person whose actions in the various aspects of his life all follow from his Evil character?
    Because then there's no climax to the story?

    He IS that, 99.999999999% of his life, but you are looking at his very worst day. Drama is all about taking characters and pushing them until they break, one way or the other. If a character can't be broken, then they have no place as a main character in a story. So writing a drama involves thinking of all the ways that your characters can be broken; this is the way that I chose for Tarquin.

    I once read excellent writing advice that said, "Is this the most interesting time in your character's life? If not, why aren't you writing about that instead?" This is the most interesting time in Tarquin's life, because it's where the rubber of his self-image hits the road of reality. It's where his worldview is being challenged in a way that he can't just throw resources at it to fix it. Take away that conflict, that inherent crumbling of his previous cool, and there's nothing interesting to write about. There's just, "Oh, he was bad for a long time, but then the good guys fixed it by stabbing him." Boring.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Because then there's no climax to the story?

    He IS that, 99.999999999% of his life, but you are looking at his very worst day. Drama is all about taking characters and pushing them until they break, one way or the other. If a character can't be broken, then they have no place as a main character in a story. So writing a drama involves thinking of all the ways that your characters can be broken; this is the way that I chose for Tarquin.
    The issue I have is that from your previous posts you hinted that the way Tarquin is now is the way he's always been, that this is the REAL Tarquin, and we're just seeing it now, that he's dropped his facade and is showing us who he really is. Now, here you say that you've broken Tarquin. Fair enough. But when someone talks about breaking someone, the implication is that they aren't acting the way they would normally, or how they really are, but in an "altered" personality. When everything is crumbling around you, you tend to lash out ... but few think that in those cases you were always a person who lashed out blindly as opposed to someone who simply lost control of themselves and isn't acting how they would act normally or in a way that reflects who they really are.

    So if Tarquin has just lost control here, fine. I personally think that it's dragging on too long to be interesting, but that's a personal opinion. But then the comments about Tarquin being Evil don't seem to fit that well; Tarquin's evil would or could be the sort of Evil I talk about, and this indicates nothing other than the climax to the story.

    And, in fact, Tarquin losing control, in my opinion, works better if we think that he DOES genuinely care about his children rather than not, as it provides the really big catalyst for his breakdown, having to sacrifice things he really does care about and seeing things he cares about sacrificed for his narrative. At that point, he ends up having to go all in only because it's the only thing that will make the sacrifices worthwhile, the flip side of Redcloak who is doing it not for himself, but for his people, while Tarquin does it for himself solely.

    I once read excellent writing advice that said, "Is this the most interesting time in your character's life? If not, why aren't you writing about that instead?" This is the most interesting time in Tarquin's life, because it's where the rubber of his self-image hits the road of reality. It's where his worldview is being challenged in a way that he can't just throw resources at it to fix it. Take away that conflict, that inherent crumbling of his previous cool, and there's nothing interesting to write about. There's just, "Oh, he was bad for a long time, but then the good guys fixed it by stabbing him." Boring.
    But based on your words and Tarquin's goals, shouldn't it BE the case that this is the least interesting time, and the end is really that despite his pretensions, Tarquin really was just someone who was bad for a long time that the good guys fixed by stabbing him? You DID earlier talk about subverting that idea of his importance, and after building that up in Tarquin's mind having him, at the end, be nothing more than the side villain seems to be the ideal way to do that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaylon View Post
    All this talk in the comic about upsetting traditional narratives, and here you are on the forums complaining about the fact that your audience loves the villain.
    Well the audience loving the villain is still a cliche in of itself

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    It seems people really don't understand Tarquin or the nature of Lawful Evil.

    Lawful Evil, like Chaotic Evil and Lawful / Chaotic good, is like a see-saw- you can be more Lawful than Evil, or more Evil than Lawful. And it seems that people on this board think that Tarquin is the former when he is in fact the latter.

    The former tend to believe in imposing order by any means necessary, or that order takes paramount importance even over their evil natures. Tarquin is not like that. Tarquin is Lawful because he thinks it keeps him disciplined; he seeks to impose order mainly because it will serve him; how it benefits anybody else is of secondary importance, if that. He runs an orderly and efficient evil empire- or three- because he knows that will benefit him. And he wants to impose narrative order on Elan because the narrative in question could be called The Rise and Fall of Tarquin the Glorious.

    In short, Tarquin does not serve Order; he makes Order serve him. Redcloak is somewhere in-between, since he is technically subordinate to his Lawful Evil dark god and serving his ends (we can't say which one the Dark One is) but he probably leans towards Tarquin as well- he thinks Lawful means serve his Evil agenda.

    And on that note, Lawful Evil characters are absolutely not the "nicest" Evil characters. Many of the most vile, despicable and ruthless Evil villains are Lawful Evil. And just because they are Lawful Evil doesn't mean that they are "above" certain Evil behaviours like rape or whatever- Lawful Evil is about consistency, discipline and / or the imposition of Order; if you want to go out and mutilate an 8 year-old for your own squicky sexual gratification that's entirely up to you, unless the lawful code you follow says otherwise, which it may not. Lawful Evil is, ironically, often relative and subjective.

    Tarquin is every bit as vile and depraved as Xykon is; he is just more sophisticated and thinks more long-term, and he just likes to cultivate a nicer image for his own purposes and ego. Both are driven primarily by a desire to enjoy themselves by committing acts of evil- its just that Xykon is impulsive and reckless and prefers to do that via blowing **** up or slaughtering random people, while Tarquin likes political scheming, crushing enemies in war, spectator blood sports and efficiently running an evil empire. Both even would like the hero (Roy / Elan, respectively) to go away and gain a few levels before having an epic showdown with them, because that sounds like fun.
    Last edited by masamune1; 2013-12-08 at 08:26 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daimbert View Post
    The issue I have is that from your previous posts you hinted that the way Tarquin is now is the way he's always been, that this is the REAL Tarquin, and we're just seeing it now, that he's dropped his facade and is showing us who he really is. Now, here you say that you've broken Tarquin. Fair enough. But when someone talks about breaking someone, the implication is that they aren't acting the way they would normally, or how they really are, but in an "altered" personality. When everything is crumbling around you, you tend to lash out ... but few think that in those cases you were always a person who lashed out blindly as opposed to someone who simply lost control of themselves and isn't acting how they would act normally or in a way that reflects who they really are.
    Well, if few people think that, then count me as among those few. You reveal who you really are under stress—stress doesn't magically turn you into someone else unrelated to who you usually are. The fact that you may not have ever known that this is who you were doesn't change anything.

    I don't think Tarquin sat around thinking, "Ha ha! I am fooling them into thinking I love my family! I am so clever!" I think he thought that he really loved his family, right up until the point where loving his family conflicted with him being in total control. And then both he and the readers got to see which one of the two really mattered to him.

    In other words, when I use the word "facade," I am not referring to a conscious artifice on Tarquin's part. I am referring to the idea that the true core of his being is hidden—possibly even from himself—until the crucible of the story burns it out of him. This is why it was in conflict with comments on this thread about people in real life who segregate their evil actions from the love of family—because in real life, there's no guarantee that such a crucible moment will ever occur.
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    Quote Originally Posted by masamune1 View Post
    It seems people really don't understand Tarquin or the nature of Lawful Evil.

    Lawful Evil, like Chaotic Evil and Lawful / Chaotic good, is like a see-saw- you can be more Lawful than Evil, or more Evil than Lawful. And it seems that people on this board think that Tarquin is the former when he is in fact the latter.

    The former tend to believe in imposing order by any means necessary, or that order takes paramount importance even over their evil natures. Tarquin is not like that. Tarquin is Lawful because he thinks it keeps him disciplined; he seeks to impose order mainly because it will serve him; how it benefits anybody else is of secondary importance, if that. He runs an orderly and efficient evil empire- or three- because he knows that will benefit him. And he wants to impose narrative order on Elan because the narrative in question could be called The Rise and Fall of Tarquin the Glorious.

    In short, Tarquin does not serve Order; he makes Order serve him. Redcloak is somewhere in-between, since he is technically subordinate to his Lawful Evil dark god and serving his ends (we can't say which one the Dark One is) but he probably leans towards Tarquin as well- he thinks Lawful means serve his Evil agenda.
    It should be noted that his latest spiel about 'bringing narrative structure to the world if no one else will' tilts the scales back towards Evil For Lawful's Sake somewhat. It's not that Law will benefit the world, but it is what he claims is necessary.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daimbert View Post
    The issue I have is that from your previous posts you hinted that the way Tarquin is now is the way he's always been, that this is the REAL Tarquin, and we're just seeing it now, that he's dropped his facade and is showing us who he really is.
    If I may interject: There never was a facade. Tarquin always has been what he has been showing. A self-centered control freak. What happens if you deny a control freak the control? He freaks out. To me, there's nothing that changed in Tarquin or how he is portrayed, just the situation around changed and the very same Tarquin behaves as it makes sense for such a character.

    Now, here you say that you've broken Tarquin. Fair enough. But when someone talks about breaking someone, the implication is that they aren't acting the way they would normally, or how they really are, but in an "altered" personality.
    I disagree. If you "break" a character it means you have forced him to be out of his own comfort zone and confront him with a situation he cannot deal with. That "cannot deal with" is when the character behaves in ways that are not within his normal mode of operation and they "break down". But that does not mean that what happens now is totally outside of what the character normally would be.
    In a way "breaking" a character in a narrative (or in RL, but we do not do that to our fellow humans) is you take away all his means and things he does and thinks to life a normal life and confront him with a situation where he has to behave based on his most basic instincts. "Breaking" a character in a narrative is actually not letting do him something that is unnatural but reducing him to only what he feels, to pure instinct. No thought, no ratio, a broken character will follow his very primal instinct. Breaking down and sobbing, violence, whatever. In Tarquin's case it's rage and violence.


    So if Tarquin has just lost control here, fine. I personally think that it's dragging on too long to be interesting, but that's a personal opinion. But then the comments about Tarquin being Evil don't seem to fit that well; Tarquin's evil would or could be the sort of Evil I talk about, and this indicates nothing other than the climax to the story.
    I did not fully get what you are aiming at, but I think Tarquin's character and how he breaks in this situation is both to 100% consistent with his character shown so far and also very dramatic.


    And, in fact, Tarquin losing control, in my opinion, [...]
    There's an easy solution for that: Write your own story. Yet I doubt what you outlined would be better than what I am reading here, currently.
    We can argue about how something an author does does not work from our point of view, how this or that does not work with this character or you or how you cannot follow what's being shown. That is all fine.
    But at the point where you make suggestions what would be better, you really enter the realm where you are better of writing it yourself. I mean, what is Rich supposed to say now?
    "Well, yes, that is your proposal, but... I write the story I like"? What are we going to discuss about?
    Yes, outlining why something does not work for your is similar but I feel that if we can discuss why we think this or that works well we should also be able to talk about why this and that does not work well (for each of us), but then doing the next step and go into alternative strands of narration I think we're either in the realm of fanfiction or pointlessness. Especially as we're still in the midlle of the scene.

    But based on your words and Tarquin's goals, shouldn't it BE the case that this is the least interesting time, and the end is really that despite his pretensions, Tarquin really was just someone who was bad for a long time that the good guys fixed by stabbing him?
    I think this is Tarquin's most interesting time because it is the "10 minutes of suck" that he was talking about earlier to Elan. It is the time where he has to realise his sons deny him (each in their own way, but in the end surprisingly similar), that he might not be able to solve all issues and overcome all obstacles, that this might actually be the time he loses for good, and that all his plans about legacy and even ruling are not going to come to fruitation.
    I bet that whatever we saw of Tarquin reaching his limits was only the very beginning. He's about to crash much, much harder once he sees Laurin's and his own HPs going down.
    Last edited by Copperdragon; 2013-12-08 at 08:27 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Math_Mage View Post
    It should be noted that his latest spiel about 'bringing narrative structure to the world if no one else will' tilts the scales back towards Evil For Lawful's Sake somewhat. It's not that Law will benefit the world, but it is what he claims is necessary.
    I think that says more about Tarquin being a delusional narcissist. If its running contrary to his grand master plan, its just WRONG.

    Either way, on average he is definitely more Evil than Lawful. If he likes to imagine that its the opposite its only because his Evil goals -Elan aside, and even that is running mostly okay- are running smoothly and have been for the last couple of decades.

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    Quote Originally Posted by masamune1 View Post
    I think that says more about Tarquin being a delusional narcissist. If its running contrary to his grand master plan, its just WRONG.
    I would agree with this. He's not trying to impose a certain narrative structure on the world for the sake of narrative structure, but because he likes the place he set up for himself in said structure - the affable, competent villain whom audiences love, the schemer with ultimate power, someone who gets to decide whether you live or die, and so on. There's no way he'd be willing to accept a lesser role.

    If the narrative goes haywire, there's no telling where he'll end up. He wants to be Darth Vader, but if he lets Elan succeed, he'll end up as Dark Helmet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Well, if few people think that, then count me as among those few. You reveal who you really are under stress—stress doesn't magically turn you into someone else unrelated to who you usually are. The fact that you may not have ever known that this is who you were doesn't change anything.
    There's a difference between being under stress, and being broken. It may seem like semantic wrangling, but it isn't. I would say that Tarquin was under stress at the pit where he killed Nale, and he acted in precisely the same way he did otherwise. Yes, he demonstrated that he cared more about his own narrative fulfillment than Nale, but I've never argued against that. My whole point is that Tarquin cares more about his own interests than anything else.

    If you take someone and, say, kill their family, and they express hatred for the murderers and the strong desire to have them be killed horribly, does that mean that they're people who want people to be killed horribly? No, they're broken people, acting against who they really are under such INCREDIBLE stress that they are overwhelmed by anger and emotion. That's not who they really are, that's who they are under the influence of such strong emotions. It's the reason why such people, when the emotion passes, feel strongly guilty for those feelings and those actions and words ... because those words, at the end of the day, AREN'T them.

    In Tarquin's case, the evidence of his being out of control to that point is that there are numerous scenarios where he could get what he wants without engaging in this sort of wholesale slaughter, and putting himself at risk, and taking on all of this effort. Normally, he'd take them in a heartbeat, because that is who he is at the heart of himself: someone who will take the most pragmatic way to get what he wants, whether it involves atrocities or not. I don't diminish his Evil here: he's still evil and completely selfish and self-interested. He's just normally strong and disciplined enough to take the smart route instead of the stupid route. Here, he's consistently tossing away good resources and more than he needs to to get what he wants.

    I don't think Tarquin sat around thinking, "Ha ha! I am fooling them into thinking I love my family! I am so clever!" I think he thought that he really loved his family, right up until the point where loving his family conflicted with him being in total control. And then both he and the readers got to see which one of the two really mattered to him.
    But that's the disagreement here: I think he really DID and DOES love his family. I agree that he cares about control or legacy or whatever it is MORE, because at the end of the day he cares about himself more than anyone else. That's still Evil. Then the question is about how he normally goes about getting what he wants, and that's through calculation and control ... which he isn't doing here. Thus, at this point he's simply lost it.

    In other words, when I use the word "facade," I am not referring to a conscious artifice on Tarquin's part. I am referring to the idea that the true core of his being is hidden—possibly even from himself—until the crucible of the story burns it out of him. This is why it was in conflict with comments on this thread about people in real life who segregate their evil actions from the love of family—because in real life, there's no guarantee that such a crucible moment will ever occur.
    I'm not sure how much we're disagreeing at this point. I agree that his priorities were revealed by this, especially related to what it took for him to lose it, but I don't think this out of control and plainly irrational Tarquin is who Tarquin really is.

    Quote Originally Posted by masamune1
    Tarquin is every bit as vile and depraved as Xykon is; he is just more sophisticated and thinks more long-term, and he just likes to cultivate a nicer image for his own purposes and ego. Both are driven primarily by a desire to enjoy themselves by committing acts of evil- its just that Xykon is impulsive and reckless and prefers to do that via blowing **** up or slaughtering random people, while Tarquin likes political scheming, crushing enemies in war, spectator blood sports and efficiently running an evil empire.
    Totally agreed with you up to this point. I don't think Tarquin enjoys being Evil, but I think he enjoys the perks he gets from employing Evil actions when necessary to get those perks, perks that he wouldn't get if he didn't. If Tarquin fancied a woman and could get her by simple seduction, he'd take it. He wouldn't feel the need to do anything bad to achieve that. But if he can't ... well, killing a husband or some torture will work, too. Now, he'll likely end up in the latter situation more often because it'll be more meaningful if it's a challenge, but Tarquin does not do Evil to be Evil, but he does Evil to get what he wants. Note that I agree that this makes him as vile and depraved as Xykon, just in a different and at least slightly more subtle way.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Because then there's no climax to the story?

    He IS that, 99.999999999% of his life, but you are looking at his very worst day. ...This is the most interesting time in Tarquin's life, because it's where the rubber of his self-image hits the road of reality. It's where his worldview is being challenged in a way that he can't just throw resources at it to fix it.
    Yes, except that 'throwing resources at it' was never supposed to be Tarquin's principle resort. (He says so himself- the massed troops are largely there for show.) Tarquin is supposed to have built up his empire on the basis of (A) his ability to maintain personal loyalties and (B) adeptly manipulate long-term outcomes to his favour, despite being (C) a major net negative for the continent as a whole.

    But his observed behaviour does little or nothing to support this characterisation. Tarquin manifestly fails to anticipate the long-term outcomes of his attempts at manipulation and winds up screwing over the people closest to him (notably Malack & Elan, but one could argue others) in the process.

    Pitting two of your sons against eachother in an elaborate battle-cage scenario for an objective you don't even want is not a good example of tactical genius, let alone quality time. The expectable outcome here is not 'they will love me and I will win big' but 'one or more of my sons or lieutenants will be dead, and/or hate my guts.'

    If this is supposed to be any indication of Tarquin's general modus operandi, then he would never have acquired an Empire in the first place. He would have no social capital and no viable grand strategy. So yes, a number of fans are being driven to the conclusion that Tarquin has either gone rapidly nuts, or that you have bungled his recent characterisation. Or, heck, both.


    Secondly, saying that he IS calm and collected 99% of the time is not solving the storytelling problem: people are going to draw conclusions on the basis of available evidence. If most of Tarquin's appearances in the strip show him being petty, erratic and short-sighted, a fair chunk of people are going to assume that's who he is.

    It also undermines your claim that 'being evil pervades everything you do'- if we're supposed to discount recent events as being a 1% statistical aberration, why should we attach so much thematic weight to how he treats his family during this interval? You cannot ask us to simultaneously accept and discount the same set of evidence.

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    That Tarquin is really bad at predicting how people will react to his decisions is not exactly news. Propositioning Amun-Zora, burning a bunch of people alive as a gesture of affection to Elan...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Copperdragon View Post
    I disagree. If you "break" a character it means you have forced him to be out of his own comfort zone and confront him with a situation he cannot deal with. That "cannot deal with" is when the character behaves in ways that are not within his normal mode of operation and they "break down". But that does not mean that what happens now is totally outside of what the character normally would be.
    In a way "breaking" a character in a narrative (or in RL, but we do not do that to our fellow humans) is you take away all his means and things he does and thinks to life a normal life and confront him with a situation where he has to behave based on his most basic instincts. "Breaking" a character in a narrative is actually not letting do him something that is unnatural but reducing him to only what he feels, to pure instinct. No thought, no ratio, a broken character will follow his very primal instinct. Breaking down and sobbing, violence, whatever. In Tarquin's case it's rage and violence.
    Yes, this. "Breaking" a character does not mean brainwashing them into being someone else, it means knocking down all the walls that the character has put up to hide from themselves. It's breaking through to see the truth. It's removing all the easy paths so that they have to pick one of the hard ones, and then seeing which of the hard ones they pick.

    I guess if one thought that everyone walks around being 100% the person they seem to be on the surface, then that wouldn't make sense, but it's been my experience that most humans construct elaborate series of lies, delusions, and justifications for their actions that they trot out to convince themselves and others that they are in the right. "Breaking" a character is about getting past those and finding out what really matters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daimbert View Post
    If you take someone and, say, kill their family, and they express hatred for the murderers and the strong desire to have them be killed horribly, does that mean that they're people who want people to be killed horribly? No, they're broken people, acting against who they really are under such INCREDIBLE stress that they are overwhelmed by anger and emotion. That's not who they really are, that's who they are under the influence of such strong emotions. It's the reason why such people, when the emotion passes, feel strongly guilty for those feelings and those actions and words ... because those words, at the end of the day, AREN'T them.
    And I am saying that I fundamentally disagree with this premise. It is them, and if they feel guilty that's because they don't want it to be who they are. And that's fine, that's normal and maybe people in that situation will do their best to change if they don't like what stress has revealed, or maybe they'll decide that they're fine with who they are. But deciding it's some sort of Other that takes possession of your body because stress happened is really weird. It strikes me as exactly the sort of self-justification I was talking about above, the kind that good writing breaks through. Tarquin would certainly say that he isn't really a violent control freak who is willing to sacrifice his family to feed his ego, it was just the stress making him that way. And I would say, "Bull****."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Copperdragon View Post
    If I may interject: There never was a facade. Tarquin always has been what he has been showing. A self-centered control freak. What happens if you deny a control freak the control? He freaks out. To me, there's nothing that changed in Tarquin or how he is portrayed, just the situation around changed and the very same Tarquin behaves as it makes sense for such a character.
    Yes, for someone who wants control of everything -- including themselves -- if you take that away from them they'll try to get back in control. But note that Tarquin definitely always wants to be in control of himself as well, and right now he isn't even managing that. This isn't who Tarquin really is, this is Tarquin who is frustrated to the point where he isn't acting as himself, like the person who normally plans everything out to the letter and thinks about it five times before doing anything grabbing something and yanking it out out of frustration. They don't stop being the planning type just because in a fit of anger they don't plan and act rashly. Or, to put it better, just because someone in a fit of anger acts rashly doesn't mean that they are a rash person; that's one of the exceptions that proves the rule, in that it is so out of character for them that it can only be the result of the anger.

    I disagree. If you "break" a character it means you have forced him to be out of his own comfort zone and confront him with a situation he cannot deal with. That "cannot deal with" is when the character behaves in ways that are not within his normal mode of operation and they "break down". But that does not mean that what happens now is totally outside of what the character normally would be. In a way "breaking" a character in a narrative (or in RL, but we do not do that to our fellow humans) is you take away all his means and things he does and thinks to life a normal life and confront him with a situation where he has to behave based on his most basic instincts. "Breaking" a character in a narrative is actually not letting do him something that is unnatural but reducing him to only what he feels, to pure instinct. No thought, no ratio, a broken character will follow his very primal instinct. Breaking down and sobbing, violence, whatever. In Tarquin's case it's rage and violence.
    But who is to say that what they "feel" in that case reflects anything about them at all, rather than about simply pure instincts? Who the person really is is what their first instinct is in a situation: do they stop to think, appeal to their feelings, take action, whatever. What they do when you push them so far that they are no longer capable of acting against their base instincts is not them, and is just a sign that they've lost control and, in my view, aren't really being themselves.


    There's an easy solution for that: Write your own story. Yet I doubt what you outlined would be better than what I am reading here, currently.
    Please never use this as any kind of reply to anyone; I am not, in fact, doing anything here but taking what's been shown in the comic and said by the author. After all, are you going to deny that Tarquin has lost control of himself here? If he has, my comment is that his really caring about Nale, Malack and everything else in some way works to demonstrate why he's lost control, even of himself here when he clearly cares about being in control of himself: it's the flip side, as I said, of Redcloak, and the idea that after sacrificing Malack, Nale, many of his troops (that he might need to keep control of the Empire), his favour, and giving Laurin a favour after all of that it had better work out!. Or else it wasn't worth it. And that's why he and Redcloak both can't just cut their losses.

    So it's a commentary on the elements of the story, perfectly reasonable, and an expression of an opinion. The Giant can indeed say "That might have worked, but that wasn't what I was after" and what we get is my reading more into the story than he had put in, and an acceptance that you could indeed have an Evil character who cared about his family that would have produced a narrative that could have worked, which builds our understanding of stories. Are we not allowed to discuss stories and how they work, or say what we would like better?

    Yes, outlining why something does not work for your is similar but I feel that if we can discuss why we think this or that works well we should also be able to talk about why this and that does not work well (for each of us), but then doing the next step and go into alternative strands of narration I think we're either in the realm of fanfiction or pointlessness. Especially as we're still in the midlle of the scene.
    Sorry, but serious analysis of literature definitely means saying what might have worked better, and in fact if someone identifies a problem and says how they think it would have worked better that, to me, is a sign of actual good analysis. It's easy to say "This didn't seem to work", but much harder to say how it could have worked better. In this case, everything I said could still be in there, but even if it wasn't saying that if it had gone that way we would have had a nice parallel to another main character AND provided a different and interesting take on villainy is perfectly acceptable. So it's only if you don't want actual analysis done that you can say that such comments are out of place, in my opinion.

    But also note that all of this is ... my opinion. As I said. I'm not -- I hope -- making it out to be some narrative law. It's my opinion, I have reasons for it, we can talk about the reasons, and go on from there.
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    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Quote Originally Posted by Daimbert View Post

    Totally agreed with you up to this point. I don't think Tarquin enjoys being Evil, but I think he enjoys the perks he gets from employing Evil actions when necessary to get those perks, perks that he wouldn't get if he didn't. If Tarquin fancied a woman and could get her by simple seduction, he'd take it. He wouldn't feel the need to do anything bad to achieve that. But if he can't ... well, killing a husband or some torture will work, too. Now, he'll likely end up in the latter situation more often because it'll be more meaningful if it's a challenge, but Tarquin does not do Evil to be Evil, but he does Evil to get what he wants. Note that I agree that this makes him as vile and depraved as Xykon, just in a different and at least slightly more subtle way.
    Nah, I think he clearly enjoys being evil. He is well aware that he is the villain in a fantasy story and is not only okay with that, he absolutely enjoys it. He also enjoys taking brutal, bloody revenge on people who have crossed him, watching people fight to the death for the amusement of himself and the crowd, and he intentionally set out to create an evil empire where he could indulge in his evil impulses at whim, with the intent of leaving it to a Nazi death cult upon his death. He enjoys manipulation and betrayal as well.

    He does evil to get what he wants, but what he wants is itself evil and to be evil. He might not torture a woman if he can seduce her, but that's just the exception that proves the rule and isn't far from Xykon's lack of desire to deflower virgins- a matter of taste and preference.

  30. - Top - End - #90
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    Default Re: The rapid change in Tarquin

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Tarquin would certainly say that he isn't really a violent control freak who is willing to sacrifice his family to feed his ego, it was just the stress making him that way. And I would say, "Bull****."
    Fine, well and good. But the problem is that this kind of Tarquin would not be capable of seizing power in the ways that you have described him doing. He's not a good manipulator, he's not a good strategist, and he's not good at forming strong loyalties. What assets, exactly, could he call upon in order to conquer a continent in the first place?

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