so, like, on reread it’s pretty explicit that yeah Amadeus lost his Name and was non-Named for that fight

I have two separate explanations for this which both fuck me up separately but also work together and explain each other

1) he said early on that what distinguishes individuals with Roles from those without (Named from non-Named) is their willingness to inflict their will on reality, to make Creation conform to what they want / think is right
2) Catherine told him to become someone worthy of living in the better world she’s building, and it had enough of an impact on him Wekesa commented he basically got a second youth out of it

conclusion from both of the above: Amadeus held on to his faith in his own ability to tell right from wrong and fix the world for as long as he could, as said in his conversation with Ranker, but it held on by a thread

a thread consisting of the remains of the Praesi mindset in him: if you want to prove me wrong, beat me

when he did indeed get beaten, and in a way he did not anticipate at all, the thread snapped

right now Amadeus is non-Named becuase he no longer thinks he’s actually qualified to make decisions for what’s better for Creation

like, he’s not lost his ability to determine what he wants, or his will to go through with decisions: he faced off against several heroes when unNamed just out of principle to go out with a bang

but his whole THING was about making a better world, he did not hang onto his Role by his desires and selfishness and pride, he hung onto it by his belief in what was right and his drive to affect change that he believed would be for the better

and now when Cat kicked his ass into character development gear, the first thing that happened was him giving up on this certainity

he doesn’t KNOW what’s better, and he’s willing to let others decide instead

and that, I think, is the mindset Amadeus of the Green Stretch is currently in, captured or whatever

IMHO
1) it’s not going to hold. Amadeus is not the kind of person who just gives up on doing what’s right, he’s just going through a temporary crisis of confidence
2) no he’s not going to die or be irrelevant, jeez. too much build up, and Cat broke the story where he dies already. also dying would prove right his opinions from earlier and this is not a story about how he was right about those
3) his second attempt at doing what’s right is going to be As An Actual Hero and I would pay real life money to see that if I had any to give erratic

st-just:

lilietsblog:

st-just:

lilietsblog:

st-just:

You know, something I’ve never quite understood is how in any given fiction people judge self-righteous or hypocritical characters like, orders of magnitude more harshly then the straightforwardly evil. 

Like, the cool badass villain can muse about decimating a rebellious population or how it’s simply good business to murder talent that won’t join you, but if there are Heroes in an antagonistic role who are less then pristine, people seem to really viscerally hate them. 

what exactly is your definition of “less than pristine” tho, because Willycakes wanted to brainwash an entire city into killing itself on the Legions’ swords, Bard actively enabled Akua’s rise to power with all that entailed (and for that matter enabled Tyrant as well, remember the 666 sacrifices of civilians per flying tower?), and Pilgrim+Saint seem to be angling for the death of most of Procer’s population as a sacrifice for the greater good… wait, that’s also Bard, not sure if we know their reaction to those news yet -_-

either way there’s also a bit of a step between “won’t join you” and “actively at war with you” that you seem to be missing there

admittedly I don’t /hate/ these people so much as simply take them as proof that the Good/Evil division is not quite as good a metric as people in-universe seem to take it to be, so you might be talking about some far out there cases

but also you seem to have inaccuracies in your own interpretation as well

Oh sure, they’re all more or less monstrous-well, Bard and Pilgrim are basically disciples of Anime Villain Utilitarianism, and Saint (and Hanno) just reminds me of that Bujold quote about “

We would all be fools to pray for justice”. 

But look, Maesego and Warlock spent their last chapter trying a ritual powered by literal mass human sacrifice with barely a second thought. Black has clearly always been motivated more by a vendetta with the concept of fate than any real moral concern for his countrymen. Cat does, in fact, keep the soul of her nemises enslaved and occasionally force her to torture hersef on the grounds that she’s too useful to get rid of. 

Like, if I had to pick someone to run the world, the only options are really Pilgrim and Black (probably Pilgrim, if only because he seems better at this), but the only people in the main cast who even come close to fitting the colloquial definition of a good person are Hakram and Thief. 

Everyone here is a varying degree of monster, so I just never quite get how invested and downright furious people seem to get about the heroes only being somewhat better than the villains. 

But look, Maesego and Warlock spent their last chapter trying a ritual powered by literal mass human sacrifice with barely a second thought.

Definitely not arguing with this one. I’d actually bring up the “boiling two people’s blood in their veins for being rude with no forewarning” incident as the far more unsettling one of the two, as we already know Praesi culture considers human sacrifice to be no more immoral than we consider prison labor. Cat described Masego as “raised by an utterly amoral evil creature and also a devil” and she’s not wrong, for all that they were a very loving and healthy family Masego’s values are extremely fucked up. He does seem to be trying to Cat’s lately and I wish him luck, but. Yeah. You get this one.

Black has clearly always been motivated more by a vendetta with the concept of fate than any real moral concern for his countrymen.

weeee have rather different definitions of “clearly”, imho. He explains that particular grudge to Cat after she dismisses the idea that he might be a patriot on the grounds of how he’d be glad to see half the Wasteland dead (no, Cat, just the nobility, that’s… a lot less than half). Hints that “a victory for Evil” is not the whole story of what he wants have been scattered throughout the text quite densely. Of course I’d describe his motivation as less ‘real moral concern’ and more ‘deep anger and desire for justice’ but I don’t happen to see those as bad things in context?

Cat does, in fact, keep the soul of her nemises enslaved and occasionally force her to torture hersef on the grounds that she’s too useful to get rid of.

So this is the currently actively ongoing arc so I feel like we’re missing lots of pieces of the puzzle here, but here’s what I think right now
– Cat did swear that oath of making Akua suffer endlessly for the Still Water thing, and she did do that while already holding the Winter mantle, even if not quite fully surrendered to it >_>
– Akua did, er, do all that, also
– the one making Akua hurt herself was Vivi, what’s Cat doing that can be called ‘making Akua torture herself’? I might be missing some of your point here
– there’s a bit of an abstract ‘is it better to die or to live in slavery’ question here with me having a feeling that Akua comes down strongly on the ‘live please’ side? even to the limited definition of ‘live’ that she’s getting? At some point people’s own agency has to be considered when determining the morality of how they’re being treated. Akua would rather live like this than be killed, and Cat would not be in any way justified in allowing her to live in, er, less restricting conditions?

Like, if I had to pick someone to run the world, the only options are really Pilgrim and Black (probably Pilgrim, if only because he seems better at this)

Not sure if he’s actually better? Sure, he bested Black, but Black was working with the emotional handicap of Everything Kind Of Went To Shit Suddenly between Sabah and Alaya, and didn’t seem to even have a plan beyond ‘fuck shit up until someone stops him’. Like, I think one is justified in using the word “suicidal” at the point of that conversation he had with Cat, and given how much effort Bard has devoted to getting him there, I have a hard time ascribing it to his “lesser competence”. Admittedly the result of Bard’s actions was, as far as I understand, ALSO knocking him out of the more out there reaches of his Conquer Aspect influencing his thinking negatively, so it kind of went both ways competence-wise… Either way, I don’t think we’ve seen enough of Pilgrim to conclude he’s more competent than Black somehow. If nothing else, he doesn’t seem to be particularly interested in running anything…

…actually this brings to mind an early rant Black had @ Cat (IN RESPONSE TO HER ASKING HIM FOR ROMANTIC ADVICE BECAUSE THIS MAN HAS TO BE EXTRA IN EVERYTHING HE DOES EVER), talking about how sacrifice is cheap and cowardly and doesn’t substitute for hard labor needed to make real change…

Given how currently Pilgrim+Saint’s gambit appears to be specifically sacrifice for the sake of effecting change, I wonder if this is going to be the callback. Keep in mind the work is called “A Practical Guide To Evil”, and Catherine is the protagonist, so she’s more likely than not going to succeed in her goal with Accords, which means Pilgrim+Saint are going to lose out to the more modern/moderate faction. Currently within Procer this faction is represented by Cordelia, who does in fact somewhat embody the ‘hard labor’ side of the philosophical divide.

So IMHO it’s actually more likely than not that Pilgrim is not as competent as Black is at assembling systems that actually benefit their participants and ensuring they continue to work in perpetuity. We’ve seen a lot less of him than we have of Black, so we haven’t had the occasion to see his blind spots yet.

One does wonder if he’s correct – or even if he wasn’t lying – about the whole “evil overtaking Callow” aspect of Cat’s rule, considering she 1) doesn’t currently hold the villainous Name of Black Queen and 2) actively supports the House of Light as an institution?

Honestly at this point it’s all WMG. We don’t know what he actually wants and how he’s actually going to get there, what we’ve seen of his ability definitely shows that we can’t take him at face value. The default assumption has to be that he wants a better world, at least, but then Bard seemed pleasant at first too and then… uh… yeah I’m absolutely 100% not sure what the fuck HER endgame is 0.o

tl;dr I’m not trusting Tariq with running the world until I’ve seen more of him

not that I’d trust Amadeus with that either, but he was also kind of not aiming for it? Kind of the entire point of his plan was to take power away from Named and towards institutions, making something that would last beyond his life and beyond his intentions. He literally willingly surrendered large swathes of power and control to Catherine despite not really sharing her goals and being well aware that at some point their worldviews and priorities clash. He doesn’t see himself as competent enough to run the world, just the best out of a bad lot that Praes has right now. This is muddled with Aspect thinking, but even with that Amadeus was still aiming at ultimately surrendering power.

I happen to share the idea that individuals amassing power to decide the fates of Everyone on an ongoing basis is kind of bad and should be checked by as many checks as possible and preferably distributed among enough of them that they’d balance each other out.

Actually both Amadeus’s and Tariq’s approaches play into this. Amadeus immerses himself in ruling, but accepts checks, counterbalances, eventual succession and the idea that Malicia is better at some aspects of it than him (and throws quite a fit when it turns out that trust was undeserved…). Tariq considers himself The Decider with angels whispering in his ears about what the Greater Good is but allows other people to run themselves on a continual basis unless he needs to intervene, which is sort of a counterbalance and a concession to others’ free will?

Out of the two of them, I happen to sympathize with Amadeus’s approach more. He’s gotten both orcs and goblins out of slavery-in-all-but-name, ended the perpetual cycle of war with Callow and actually fed his homeland, and the High Lords are /this/ close to disappearing from the Praesi political landscape forever. How much change of the status quo for the better has Tariq brought, for either his homeland or the world at large? Becuase it really feels like his goal is in fact to support the status quo with minimal casualties from attempts to change it, and that’s… not very sympathetic to me, no matter how noble the intentions. I’ll take anger at Fate over that any time, thanks.

That said,

the only people in the main cast who even come close to fitting the colloquial definition of a good person are Hakram and Thief.

but what about Juniper

ok my love for the exasperated mom friend aside, I don’t think you’re wrong ❤

P.S. I was already typing the tags as I thought “wait wasn’t there another paragraph”

Everyone here is a varying degree of monster, so I just never quite get how invested and downright furious people seem to get about the heroes only being somewhat better than the villains.

Well, this is about not accepting the status quo. If the heroes aren’t good enough, then heroes need to be better. Their comparison with villains just serves to illuminate that. It doesn’t piss me off that Wekesa is a terrible person, he just is and that’s a fact, and it’s kind of cute imho that Amadeus is magnetic enough that even someone like that ended up in his orbit. It does piss me off that Saint is, because what the fuck is someone like that doing representing ‘good’ and acting as a potential role model to younger heroes / regular people looking to heroes as the examples to follow from the Gods Above? Heroes being shitty represent something being wrong with the system. not that the entire idea of ‘balance between good and evil’ and entire nations being surrendered to evil as the result doesnt basically already represent that and isnt ultimately what amadeus is pissed about

Now, translating it into personal hate for heroes as people without doing the same for villains is, in fact, an oddly sideways way of processing it, tying with purity culture on tumblr and oh look it’s discourse time

I think my response was more than a bit obtuse about the point I thought I was trying to make, so sorry about that. But so

re: Torturing Akua-you’re actually entirely right, that was Viv (well, and cat for allowing it to happen when Akua is utterly within her power). My bad. Personally, given everything we know about the stories underlying Callow, I really do think keeping your diabolist nemesis’ soul as an increasingly Winter-attuned adviser and slave bound you cloak is an incredibly irresponsible idea, but that’s a different thing. 

re: Black: I’m inclined to defer to the Tyrant’s aspect here-we know what drives Black. It’s pride. He been good for Praes, of course, but what he wants to do is win, to break the gods game and show that you don’t need names or fate or stories to make something lasting. 

“He thinks what runs him is reason, but that’s a conceit. That will sting, when the lie is stripped away. He thinks he’s above pride, you see, but that’s about all that’s left of him.“

(also, if I understood it write, the ‘kill half of Praes’ bit wasn’t because he wanted to personally execute that many people, but because the changes he wanted to make would cause/prolong civil conflict enough to do so. Basically the same as Saint and Procer, but with fewer/different zombies)

But mostly my point is that, well, I find the main heroes really thematically and philosophically interesting and honestly rather valid takes on heroism that still end up being more then a bit monstrous. 

Like, the Wandering Bard, intercessor, pragmatic monster. Nipping around the edges of events, guiding and manipulating but never directly acting, pushing history along the golden path, or as close as she can manage. The sort of person who’d smuggle plague rats into Kaffa or rouse a mob to throw two counselors out the castle window-because once all the dying and killing was over, serfdom’s back had been broken and everyone agreed religious warfare was a bad idea. After all, she’ll be around to read the history books that call it Progress. And if someone thinks they have a better way and throw things off track-well, that can’t be allowed. Like she’s said, ,she’s seen the script, and knows how things are supposed to go. 

The Saint I think you’ve got pretty wrong, honestly, or at least she agrees with you quite a lot. She thinks that the idea of Balance Between Good and Evil is utter horseshit too. She looks at Procer and sees a bunch of feuding princlings killing their people for pride and pompous priests bleeding them dry-and she’s completely right. (she’s not called regicide for nothing). So she turns to the same thoughts Black had about Praes-tear the rot out by the roots, burn the evil out until something better grows in its place. No compromise, ,no surrender, war until evil is dead. Fiat Iustia, though the world burns and the heavens fall. 

Pilgrim’s the opposite-I think you’re pretty much right that he’s at heart a defender of the status quo, and that’s why I really don’t think he’s on board with plan ‘total war until the final resolution’ unless I’m missing some real hard proof. He smothered his own nephew to death before he let him start a war, after all. Mercy is the form of ameliorating suffering and treating system, preventing any sort of violent change, even if it might allow fixing the causes. Take him as a version of the Avatar-keeping the world in balance, smoothing out creation’s hard edges while no one else will. I’d take him as being the most reluctant recruit to the Crusade, personally, but that’s pure speculation. Still, not that his initial plan was more or less the same as the angels from book 1-redeem Cat into a proper hero, bringing Callow back where it should be and the proper balance back into place. 

…okay, so trying to force myself into a bit of clarity here, I guess my biggest point is that people just write off the heroes as evil hypocrites and don’t give them the closer look they deserve?

re: Torturing Akua-you’re actually entirely right, that was Viv (well, and cat for allowing it to happen when Akua is utterly within her power). My bad. Personally, given everything we know about the stories underlying Callow, I really do think keeping your diabolist nemesis’ soul as an increasingly Winter-attuned adviser and slave bound you cloak is an incredibly irresponsible idea, but that’s a different thing.

Yeah, irresponsible is a good way of describing it, I agree 😡

it happens to be one of my favorite arcs because I actually like Akua a lot and now that she’s not in position to mass murder people anymore I’m looking forward to what erratic does with her development

re: Black: I’m inclined to defer to the Tyrant’s aspect here-we know what drives Black. It’s pride. He been good for Praes, of course, but what he wants to do is win, to break the gods game and show that you don’t need names or fate or stories to make something lasting.

As for Tyrant, here’s the exact quote:

“He thinks he’s a person and that’s the most disgusting part,” the Tyrant smiled. “Cogs and wheels and he started out thinking it was about being right, about being fair, but it hasn’t been like that in a long time. He just wants to win, but it’s a kind of victory that means nothing at all. That poor, blind pile of cogs.”

Kairos tittered.

“He thinks what runs him is reason but that is a conceit,” the Tyrant said gleefully. “That will sting, when the lie is stripped away. He thinks he’s above pride, you see, but that’s about all that’s left of him because he thinks everyone lives by his rules, Anaxares. Even if the ends aren’t the same, he thinks the means are.”

he started out thinking it was about being right, about being fair, but it hasn’t been like that in a long time

The way I understand this, on reread, is that this refers to Amadeus’s Aspect thinking – namely, Conquer, the ‘cogs’ one, and the tunnel vision that came with it. He’s himself referred to this being a danger, and he thought he was thinking clearly when he really wasn’t, and that’s the point of this speech. Black is a lot more blinded by pride and thinking that he’s right and assuming that what his Aspect shows him is objective than he realizes.

There’s another side to Aspect thinking though – namely, Kairos’s perspective isn’t an objective one either. He despises Good and everything that comes with it, and he sees what people Wish for, which does not necessarily mean ‘everything that motivates them’. Kairos focuses on deriding Black’s blinders here, and he barely touches on his core motivation because he doesn’t care.

I mean… “he thinks he’s a person and that’s the most disgusting part”. I think we can both agree that Amadeus is in fact a person and Kairos was just talking shit  to a degree.

If anything, this is the closest we come to explicit canon confirmation that Black is, indeed, driven by justice at the core?

(Catherine has had problems with pride guiding her more than it should, too, and she and Amadeus are very similar in patterns of their thinking. She acknowledges it during her conversation with Ranker – pride is a very easy mistake to slip into, without it changing hat you are actually fighting for)

And I want to focus on the tail end of your paragraph:

He been good for Praes, of course, but what he wants to do is win, to break the gods game and show that you don’t need names or fate or stories to make something lasting.

You talk like him being good for Praes is incidental to his objective, but that’s kind of what his objective IS? “Make something lasting” IS “be good for Praes”, or he could have simply gone for leaving a city-shaped crater or whatever, the way Tyrants have been going at it historically, but he specifically despises that kind of mark and wants to build a system that actually works for people that live in it? That IS being good.

He cares about people – we have lots of little textual hints in that direction, from “I’ve come to believe, over the years, that those who are wronged should have a say in how that wrong is redressed” from the first chapter to “I have killed more people than I can remember faces of” (coupled with him actually remembering the face of that one guard who’d defended the gates of Laure during Conquest, in the negotiation with rebels pre-First Liesse) to always referring to people’s deaths as a waste. He can, as Catherine has said, “put it in a box and close the lid”, but that doesn’t change the fact that we know he does. Between that and the actual results of his actions, I think we can safely conclude that improving people’s condition was not an accidental side effect there.

(also, if I understood it write, the ‘kill half of Praes’ bit wasn’t because he wanted to personally execute that many people, but because the changes he wanted to make would cause/prolong civil conflict enough to do so. Basically the same as Saint and Procer, but with fewer/different zombies)

I think Catherine was referring to the people he’s actually be gleeful to see dead, and that’s specifically nobility…

…I can go and find the quote.

“I don’t understand you,” I half-cursed, half-admitted. “This isn’t about being a patriot. You don’t really think Praesi are better than anyone else – Hells, most of the time you act like you’d set half the people in the Wasteland on fire given a good pretext. You do these things, like the Reforms or keeping fuckers like Mazus in check, that look like they’re Good – but they’re not, not really. Tools, you call them, but tools are used to make something. What do you want, Black?”

…yeah, I think it’s about Black’s attitude towards nobility.

I really think Catherine’s dismissing possibilities far too hastily there, and that Black is automatically tailoring his explanation to that, because he’s good at talking to people and being persuasive, so he takes the arguments that wouldn’t be persuasive to her off the table without needing to devote conscious thought to it. Social masks and all that.

Also apparently Catherine associates being a patriot with thinking that your countrymen are better than other people, which is just precious insight into her at this point 0.o

But mostly my point is that, well, I find the main heroes really thematically and philosophically interesting and honestly rather valid takes on heroism that still end up being more then a bit monstrous.

Yeah tbh I love them all too. Excepting Willycakes’ band of disasters (Vivi’s been poached god bless her, Hunter’s fate is to be dragged for being a tool forever, Bumbling Conjurer barely had a single line, and Bard…. yeah), ever since all the heroes have provoked a strong IT SUCKS TO ROOT FOR BOTH SIDES OF THE CONFLICT response in me. Hanno, Irene&Alkmene (I RESOLVE MY GRIEF FOR THEM BY BLAMING THEIR DEATHS ON BARD AND I AM WILLING TO DEFEND THIS POINT), even Rafaella; the short-lived party that Cat dismantled in the opening to book 4; all the other kids in the Crusade; I love them, and LIFE IS PAIN because they keep dying ;~;

THERE ARE HOWEVER EXCEPTIONS TO THIS

Like, the Wandering Bard, intercessor, pragmatic monster. Nipping around the edges of events, guiding and manipulating but never directly acting, pushing history along the golden path, or as close as she can manage. The sort of person who’d smuggle plague rats into Kaffa or rouse a mob to throw two counselors out the castle window-because once all the dying and killing was over, serfdom’s back had been broken and everyone agreed religious warfare was a bad idea. After all, she’ll be around to read the history books that call it Progress. And if someone thinks they have a better way and throw things off track-well, that can’t be allowed. Like she’s said, ,she’s seen the script, and knows how things are supposed to go.

Fuck. Wandering. Bard

She goes and informs elves that she “had hope for them” because of how they genocided the Deoraithe, and then mocks them for the consequences the world visited upon them for this action in the same breath.

She knows perfectly well that her schemes don’t always work out, we’ve SEEN her fail utterly at Liesse. It’s still unclear how many of Black’s actions at Doom of Liesse and their consequences she’s actually intended/predicted, and I doubt it’s “all of them” because that’s not how this fucking setting works, Named aren’t predictable and complex multi-stage plans tend to fail. She’s not allowed to intervene directly so she’s just throwing shit at the wall and seeing what sticks,

and for someone with that limitations her actions sure have been radical

I blame her for the deaths of Irene and Alkmene. Hell, she explicitly sacrificed Irene as a trade for Sabah. All that just to break Black’s confidence, and that just makes him more unpredictable??? Like, she is NOT a perfect predictor of the chain of events, I feel the need to emphasize that her competence level is not ‘seeing how this goes from start to end’. She allowed Liesse to be slaughtered, enabled Tyrant and just told Dead King to ‘eat the baby’, so many deaths for… what?

We don’t even know her goddamn objective, and just…

I do not see her actions as justified, and I cannot bring myself to like her no matter how much I want to 😡

she’s a goddamn bard you better believe I want to

The Saint I think you’ve got pretty wrong, honestly, or at least she agrees with you quite a lot. She thinks that the idea of Balance Between Good and Evil is utter horseshit too. She looks at Procer and sees a bunch of feuding princlings killing their people for pride and pompous priests bleeding them dry-and she’s completely right. (she’s not called regicide for nothing). So she turns to the same thoughts Black had about Praes-tear the rot out by the roots, burn the evil out until something better grows in its place. No compromise, ,no surrender, war until evil is dead. Fiat Iustia, though the world burns and the heavens fall.

She thinks that the idea of Balance Between Good and Evil is utter horseshit too.

Oh, does she? She thinks that Procer isn’t Good enough currently, but Praes can keep eating itself for all she cares?

We do not have the same ideas there I think

I mean. I do look forward to liking her, if that’s what happens. My speculations on her motivations and principles are hardly grounded at this point. I enjoy liking heroes, even if it’s pure pain at times >_>

Pilgrim’s the opposite-I think you’re pretty much right that he’s at heart a defender of the status quo, and that’s why I really don’t think he’s on board with plan ‘total war until the final resolution’ unless I’m missing some real hard proof. He smothered his own nephew to death before he let him start a war, after all. Mercy is the form of ameliorating suffering and treating system, preventing any sort of violent change, even if it might allow fixing the causes. Take him as a version of the Avatar-keeping the world in balance, smoothing out creation’s hard edges while no one else will. I’d take him as being the most reluctant recruit to the Crusade, personally, but that’s pure speculation. Still, not that his initial plan was more or less the same as the angels from book 1-redeem Cat into a proper hero, bringing Callow back where it should be and the proper balance back into place.

True, we have no real intel on him either. Assuming that Cat’s opposition is a united front is probably a very stupid thing of me to do, and that’s probably going to be the focus of book 5? Either way, I don’t think of acceptance of status quo as a good thing even if it’s a Good thing, and imho that’s exactly where the two diverge 😡

…okay, so trying to force myself into a bit of clarity here, I guess my biggest point is that people just write off the heroes as evil hypocrites and don’t give them the closer look they deserve?

Yeah, that’s stupid. Easier, but stupid. Villain Protagonist / Hero Antagonist stories are always hard, and they don’t just flip the board and switch the labels, there’s always complexity there and a reason to take a second look at the opposition, even in the simplest one I’ve ever read.

So, like, agreed.

I just, like, really want to talk about Amadeus more :3

the character disposition sheet!!!

under the cut because I’m not THAT cruel

analyzed, in order: Rei Morgana, my changeling darling; Franziska von Karma, my wonderful daughter; The Black Knight from Practical Guide to Evil, my also tentatively adopted son I think

1) Rei. this was originally a tabletop gaming thing so of course I’d apply this to Rei ❤

image

She Be Like That :3

2) Franziska von Karma. whyever would I NOT

image

she is… a person of extremes… I maybe shouldn’t have made her break the scale on THREE characteristics but like. this is how what the fuck she is and that’s a fact

on second thought, the ‘silly/uptight’ scale is more like in wild fluctuation, at least when shes a kid. i like to believe she settles into the place i noted when she grows older bc thats where she looks the most comfortable

3) Amadeus of the Green Stretch, another one of the best characters in the history of anything the pale-skinned green-eyed black-haired man

image

like Rei, he only breaks the scale on one thing but oh my god what a thing it is. anyway he’s a lovely darling

and can’t pass a dish without turning it into something ominously cryptic
this sheet really needs a ‘dramatic fuck’ scale just for him

also I might have lowballed him on the giving/selfish scale??? it really depends on how you judge but like. what the fuck Amadeus. “sacrifice is no substitute for hard labor needed to change things” “I’m the most selfish man you’ll ever meet” honey no

texelations:

highlyquestionablerpgideas:

xzienne:

texelations:

Have a chart I developed for visualizing the disposition of your character! This is partly inspired by a chart I saw of Aristotle’s Golden Mean, which is a system he had for developing good character, but of course, this is more about gauging a character’s traits than bringing them into any kind of balance.

For a printable PDF version of the chart please follow this link.

@probablybadrpgideas Replace the alignment chart with this in all games. Be strict about players sticking to it.

Nothing weird to say this time, just throwing in my 2 cents that this might be more useful if the scale was 1-20 instead of 1-25. Nothing major, just lets you roll for them if you want to.

Just for you:

keyofjetwolf:

image

wittyblather replied to your post: “congrats on finishing madoka! did you have a favorite scene or like…”:

idk, I really feel like Madoka’s sacrifice at the end sends the message of ‘see how bad everything got? see how everyone suffered? now, see how hope can win *anyway*?’ which is, imo, entirely what magical girls are about. The impact of that message is made that much more profound by the levels of shit everyone went through, to me. (I know you didn’t ask for my opinion but this show is like. my foundation.)

I mean, you know, YOU DO YOU. If Madoka is your foundation, more power to you. What I think and feel have absolutely nothing to do with how you should think and feel. You don’t need my approval for a goddamn thing.

BUT SINCE YOU MENTIONED IT. I didn’t get that at the end. I got the LIP SERVICE of that, I mean they sure used the word “hope” a lot. But the threat didn’t vanish, the need for magical girls wasn’t erased, it just altered. There were SO MANY things Madokusa could’ve wished for. The incubators to have never come to earth, like I said in a previous post. For them to have emotions, so they could understand the evil they were doing and maybe find another solution to the entropy problem. FOR A SACRIFICE-AND-BATTLE-FREE SELF-RENEWING ENERGY SOURCE TO AVOID THE PROBLEM IN THE FIRST PLACE.

I don’t buy that Madokusa wouldn’t have been smart enough to figure this out when she seemed to have PERFECT comprehension of her solution which is so fucking complicated as to be laughable. There were perfectly good potential solutions that the story would’ve chosen. Instead, the series demands Yet One More Sacrifice: For Madokusa to fight always forever for all time and yet never have existed.

Which can’t even mean anything in and of itself because Madokusa barely existed to begin. She’s not even compelling as Intensealot’s focus, because it’s functionally “She was nice to me on my first day of school.” Even her power wasn’t because of her. Madokusa more than anyone was a prop in what is sold as her story, and for me that completely guts any possible emotional resonance in her being this figure of all hope. None of it comes from HER, it comes because the story says so, in the same way it said she had to sacrifice herself in the end.

AND I FRANKLY QUESTION THAT EVEN THAT WORKED

The little epilogue at the end is only a glimpse, but it’s a pretty fucking grim glimpse. We go from Intensealot shown with a group of teammates (Fang and Boom Boom still fighting the good fight) and sweeping into battle in the center of the city on wings of light

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to her wandering alone through desolation and sweeping into battle on jagged wings of darkness and despair easily recognized as the domain of the witches.

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And the very final shot? That despair consuming everything.

We hear Madokusa’s voice and that brings intensealot some kind of peace, but given that it’s Intensealot we’re talking about, I don’t find that particularly comforting.

Obviously there’s no hard answers (in the episode, anyway) about what any of this means. It’s open to whatever interpretation you want to take from it. But for me, the juxtaposition of these two scenes is deliberate. If you end the story where stories normally end, I can get that essence of hope. But if you press on, you get the “real” end, where really nothing has changed at all.

It’s still Homura, alone in a fight that’s impossible to win, with only the ghost of Madoka urging her ever onward.

All this pain, all this suffering, all this sacrifice, and really all anyone accomplished was a change of scenery.

BUT I STRESS AGAIN: It’s very open to interpretation. Even if it weren’t, it doesn’t matter. The give and take relationship we have with our stories is ultimately very personal. I’m correct for me, but that doesn’t mean I have to be correct for you.

YOU ARE SO VERY RIGHT.

I do feel like Madoka has accomplished /something/ – if you assume that the worst part of being a magical girl is then having all good you ever did balanced out by doing evil later, it has changed now, and maybe it’s no longer a balance of hope&despair, and hope is winning now.

BUT YOUR POINT ABOUT PREVENTING THE WHOLE THING VERY MUCH STANDS. It wouldn’t serve the message the same way, sure, but it just means the conjunction of plot&message doesn’t work out. IF YOU FIND THAT A PROBLEM FOR YOUR CHARACTERS CAN BE SOLVED IN A MUCH EASIER WAY THAN IS NEEDED FOR YOUR IDEA, YOU MESS WITH THE CIRCUMSTANCES UNTIL YOU HAVE A BETTER IDEA OR A BETTER PROBLEM, NOT JUST SAY “AH FUCK IT NO-ONE WOULD NOTICE”. wtf @ madoka writers

I think the entire time I watched it I waited for Madoka to do emotionally satisfying and investment-worthy protagonist things, but… she just never did. SHE HAD SOLD HER SOUL FOR A KITTEN. Madoka was never anything, and even Homura’s crush was never anything explained.

Sure, Homura was great, but she didn’t even get it treated explicitly enough for all viewers to get the message without reading into it as deeply as you did (YOU CALLED ALL THE PLOT TWISTS BEFORE THEY HAPPENED GOOD JOB HOLY FUCK)

tl;dr i agree with this post and everything it stands for

congrats on finishing madoka! did you have a favorite scene or like style thing you noticed or anything like that? and are you likely to delve into the extra lore around the show or the sequel movie at any point?

keyofjetwolf:

Thank you! I FEEL VERY ACCOMPLISHED

Favourite scene or style thing. Hmm. I sometimes liked the abrupt cut-aways they would do during conversations or monologues. In some cases, I found what they chose to focus on interesting. I particularly enjoyed it during the church scene between Fang and Home Run, for example.

I generally found the witches scenes to be unique, at the very least. They had a definite texture and otherworldliness, which was certainly the mood they were intending to evoke. And I thought where it all went to mostly black and whites with creepy camera angles when Home Run had her violent break on the witch was overall very effective. Her giggling certainly didn’t hurt that.

I am pretty much zero percent likely to dive into any extra lore around the show. All said and done, I really didn’t enjoy it very much. I’m still trying to gather my feelings about it to put into words, but it felt … needlessly cruel, to me. It felt punishing, in a way that I’m not convinced was in good faith.

And before anyone tries to tell me that it’s ~DARK~ and I must not like ~DARK~ (which happened last GIFTENING) you give me precious little credit. I LOVE the dark. I think some of the ideas in Madoka are amazing, and I would dearly love to see them explored in a meaningful way. But my feelings last year about the attitudes of the creators, particularly toward their characters, bore out for me until the end. They never gave me evidence that they cared about their own characters, and the attitude the narrative had toward magical girls didn’t really do much to bolster my feelings on that. They were a dime a dozen, disposable tools to be used up and tossed aside. Their wants were foolish, their hopes destroyed them, and their grasp for even a tiny bit of power was utterly and severely punished. I HAVEN’T CHECKED YET BUT I’M PRETTY SURE MEN CREATED THIS SERIES

It was instead almost wholly invested in its own ideas, which in a macro sense, I think are deeply interesting. The ideas of what heroism and sacrifice mean, altruism and reward, debt and gratitude. I think, too, the idea of how these wishes backfire is marvelous. I LOVE the entire concept of Intensealot, trying again and again and again to right a wrong, and how that changes her. The witches are a brilliant idea! I think a hard line between hope and despair and what it means to surrender to either is fascinating.

But I guess here’s my thing. I never got a sense at any point in Madoka that these were ideas being explored out of love for magical girls as a concept or a genre. It wasn’t someone saying “Man, this is fantastic, but I’d love to see what happens if we darken it up and raise the stakes.” I WOULD BE THERE FOR THAT SO FAST I WOULD HAPPILY PUSH YOU ALL OVER A CLIFF TO BE FIRST IN LINE.

What we got, though, felt like “Man, magical girls, right? So stupid. There’s no way they could withstand real darkness. Let’s break them.” There’s an undercurrent of anger to it, like how dare these other shows exist in the manner they choose. And I feel the real testament to that is that it took the magical girls out of the whole bloody series. They were sketches and ideas, not girls.

Home Run’s entire character revolved around a boy she has like twenty lines with. EVEN IN THE END SHE DOESN’T GET A CHANCE FOR ANYTHING ELSE BECAUSE OF THE FUCKING BOY.

And Madokusa, the title and central figure, is so lacking in personality, they literally just make her a vague concept because that’s all she was ever designed to be. Fang and Intensealot fare better, but really only just.

The spirit I feel behind it just overshadows everything else for me. It feels cruel and punishing, and I’m not really here for it. I’m glad I watched it, and I think some of its themes and ideas were tremendous. I just really wish I’d gotten to see them somewhere else.

I GUESS I DIDN’T NEED TO TAKE TIME TO THINK ON HOW I FELT ABOUT IT AFTER ALL DID I

Anyway, I’m sure this is going to be an unpopular set of opinions. I’ve been hearing about this show in glowing terms since coming back to start my rewatch project. I know it’s super popular, and I even get why in a lot of ways. That taken as a whole I didn’t enjoy it is a reflection of only me, not you.

I enjoy the MariChat because it feels like those two identities are closest to who they actually are. Like, Ladybug and Adrien seem like ideal versions of the characters, and i want clumsy, brave (cellphone-stealing) Marinette to fall in love with an overeager, punny catboy, and vice versa. I like it when their core personalities mesh up, and the people they are can be the person that gets fallen in love with. (Plus Mari not taking Chats shit is hilarious)

skaylanphear:

Mmm, I dunno. One of the things I most ardently disagree with is that one version of the characters is somehow more the real character than the other. As far as Chat goes, I wrote an analysis of him here, so you can read that if you want. 

(And now, I’m sorry, but you’re going to be victim of my Mari analysis, so I apologize in advance, haha). 

Mari, though, I don’t really view as being that different from Ladybug. I think one of the biggest differences people tend to notice is that she’s seemingly more take-charge and confident as Ladybug, but she’s like that as Mari too, when she’s allowed to be. 

One of the things about Mari that’s really interesting is that we’re seeing a powerful woman working the system in a patriarchal society. When Mari is Ladybug, she has a mask that gives her power. When she wants something, she gets it. When she gives an order, it’s followed. The fact that she’s a woman is bypassed because she possesses power. Mari doesn’t have power, and so she has to manipulate her surroundings to get what she wants, which is being a woman in our society 101. This isn’t a bad thing–it’s a necessary thing. If a woman wants something, she can’t usually be direct about it. If she is, she’s viewed as a bitch, as a know-it-all, etc. And so women who want to succeed in in our society have to become skilled at manipulating their situations. 

Mari is naturally very manipulative. Or “resourceful,” as some would call it. It’s clear in her powers as Ladybug–she is literally given a tool with which she has to manipulate her surroundings in order to use. When she can’t get what she wants as Mari, her first instinct is to manipulate the situation to change that. She needs Alya’s phone? She steals it and lies about it. She wants Adrien’s phone? She steals it and slips it back into his bag as though it’d been his mistake the whole time. She want to help Juleka? She intends to break into an office, delete the photo, and trick the photographer into taking another. She wants Adrien to notice her? She comes up with an elaborate plan to walk by him inconspicuously at the park, or follow him to the theatre. Mari is the type of person who wants what she wants and will do just about anything to get it. 

Sometimes her manipulations are bad, sometimes they’re not. I’m not saying this is a bad part of personality–it’s a trait many women share. Women who help, women who are good. It’s not a bad thing. For example, she realizes her mistake with the photo, and so returns Chloe’s phone and the stolen memory card. But do you know what she does a second later? Pleads with and praises the photographer into doing what she wants–she manipulates the crap out of him by telling him how great he is. I love Mari, but girl doesn’t know when to quit. Which, again, is not always a bad thing. If Mari is anything else, she is just and kind, and almost overly caring of the people around her. She almost always puts others before herself, which is what lands her in hot water a lot of the time to begin with.

However, there are times when, as Mari, she’s offered a bit of power and so she runs with it. Getting elected class president, for one. She’s clearly a leader there, despite initially not wanting to deal with it (but she can’t resist, ultimately). Entering the gaming competition–she knows she has the skills to be number one and so is confident in playing despite everyone (except Adrien, bless his feminist heart) doubting her. Mari and Ladybug aren’t different at all, they just have to utilize different tactics to get what they want because, as only a teenage girl, Mari doesn’t have the influence Ladybug does. 

As far as Mari being clumsy, this isn’t exactly something I agree with. I think Mari thinks she’s clumsy, and other people do because she tells them she is, but the only time Mari gets clumsy is when she’s flustered, overwhelmed, or excited. Mari is a type-a personality–she gets focused on one thing and can’t think about anything else. When that focus gets hijacked by excitement or stress, she gets so nerved up that she becomes clumsy. She wasn’t clumsy in Gamer when she was being chased by laser beams, despite eventually being outgunned by a giant robot. She wasn’t clumsy when she was chasing down Chloe and the akuma in Princess Fragrance (though she did trip over a vacuum cleaner as a result of being attacked). She was clumsy as Ladybug in Origins in the beginning, when she was nervous and uncertain. 

That’s the thing–her clumsiness is completely mental. It’s a manifestation of her insecurity and uncertainty. Like when she tripped over the bag in Princess Fragrance–she was distracted and worried about Tikki, as well as concerned about approaching Adrien. When her nerves get the better of her, she becomes absentminded–much like she becomes thoughtless when she wants something and is coming up with manipulations to get it. 

That’s just the way her brain works–both as Ladybug and Mari. We see it in her emotional responses too. What does she do when she gets jealous? Zeroes in on the cause and acts rashly. What doe she do when she’s irritated? Blocks out solutions or leaves in an emotional huff (this happens in Anti-bug and Evillistator, that second episode being another one FULL of Mari’s manipulations). 

Mari is a confident girl trying to get the best of everything in a world where women who are leaders are frowned upon. Where a girl who acts demure and vulnerable may get further than one who simply makes demands. She can be rash, thoughtless, and insensitive, as well as the exact opposite. Mari is SO complex, and a victim of a society where women have to fight and claw to get ahead. 

Ladybug gives her that advantage without all the work she has to do as Mari. The people love her and so that gives her confidence in her decisions. She doesn’t doubt herself, doesn’t get flustered, doesn’t get overwhelmed, because she’s adapted so well to finally getting the power she’d otherwise be struggling to get. In a lot a ways, being Ladybug is just as liberating for Mari as being Chat is for Adrien. 

And yes, the societal structures of our society do impact the media put out. Look at Gamer, for instance. This is a clear example of a male doubting a female simply because she’s female. Even Alya is victim to it. She thinks Mari is just being a silly girl with a crush. It doesn’t occur to her that Mari could actually be good. Max, despite Mari making it totally clear that she was not a noob, still talks to her in a patronizing fashion. As if a girl couldn’t possibly be interested in video games. It seems like a small detail, but it says a lot about how women are treated in our society versus men. If Mari had been a boy and been interested in the gaming competition, there’d have been no naysayers at all. 

My point is this. Mari and Ladybug are not different people, they simply utilize different strategies depending on their situations. They are literally the exact same. Which is why I get so irked by the Marichat trope that says Mari and Chat are the “truer” versions of the characters. This invalidates so much of who they are. I break down how Chat and Adrien are the same in my other analysis, and I’m hoping I’ve done so here with Mari (I guess I’ll tag this as my Mari analysis from now on, haha). Which is another reason why I don’t like reading Marichat, because a lot of it implies that Ladybug and Adrien are somehow lesser than Mari and Chat. I don’t view Ladybug and Adrien as being ideal–Ladybug can be bossy, insensitive, and will abuse her power to satisfy emotional needs. Adrien is reserved and awkward. I think their peers and Paris in general views them as “perfect,” but that is far from the truth. 

And so that’s why I don’t like that idea in Marichat fics, because, to me, it doesn’t do the characters justice. 

(Sorry this got so long, lol. I hadn’t written out my Mari analysis yet and my fingers just kind of ran away with me, haha XD You’re awesome, by the way, and always supporting me, so I hope this didn’t come off as aggressive. Your question was just very opportune ;D).    

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Chat Noir and Adrien are the Same Person, Not One or the Other

skaylanphear:

So I’ve been reading a lot of fic lately, as well as character metas when they show up, and I have to say, when it comes to Miraculous Ladybug, I’m a little disappointed. Mostly because there seems to be this notion that Adrien/Chat Noir has to be divided up into a binary. For example, either Adrien or Chat Noir is the “right” characterization. I don’t quite understand this mentality—the idea that Adrien or Chat is a mask, etc. Or that being a superhero allows him to become his “true self.” There’s even the reverse—that his alter ego allows him to behave in ways he normally wouldn’t.

These depictions are disconcerting to me for multiple reasons. One, it alienates an entire chunk of his personality simply because people are more comfortable existing in straightforward binaries. Secondly, it makes a character more simplistic than intended—Adrien gets a lot of flack for being a stereotype (which he’s not) and this binary only reiterates that incorrect interpretation.

Even some of the most thought out metas/fics I’ve read have eventually defaulted to picking one side of a character or another, to ultimately disregarding some part of who Adrien is. This is wrong. And harmful. Characters are dynamic and shouldn’t be viewed through a one-sided bias, just like real people. Putting individuals into categories is comfortable, but it’s also how generalizations are made and stereotypes created.

Viewing Adrien this way is an insult to his character and it irritates me to no end that this has become somewhat of a norm in the Miraculous fandom.

Keep reading

lapis the actress

im reading some su liveblogs and i just want to record a thought about Lapis

she’s really good at emotions

like, she just has really good control? she’s not at their mercy in any way. she’s capable of forcing a smile at Steven in the middle of angry meltdown at Peridot, and she switches between deep ennui and fart jokes as the opportunity presents itself

she doesn’t wallow, she doesn’t lose control, she doesn’t struggle to express herself

everything Lapis shows is exactly what she WANTS to show

every emotion on her face might not be an emotion that she’s actually feeling, but it’s definitely an emotion that she deliberately chose to project

i love characters like this so much??? especially when they don’t choose to just be straight faced and monotonous with a dash of tragedy??? Lapis CHOOSES to dance around with Peridot, make meep morps and fart jokes, and brush her hair on her face like Amethyst. She CHOOSES to be deadpan and withdrawn and straightforward with words when she’s faced with things she doesn’t like. We might not know everything about what Lapis FEELS deep inside her but we definitely know what she CHOOSES and imho this is a much more important&reliable indicator of who she is as a person

they call Usagi to a meeting and she doesn’t give a fuck she has friends to take care of

pure Usagi ™ and this is what makes her both SUCH A TOUGH MATERIAL FOR LUNA TO WORK WITH and so damn important and powerful. If you want Usagi on your side, you better have REALLY GOOD emotional arguments to convince her to your side. Logical arguments are not for Usagi. Emotion is where it’s at, and she’s not easily manipulated.

All the other girls accept Luna as the mission control because it’s the logical thing to do. Usagi doesn’t give a fuck about the logical thing to do. Luna is full of shit, and Usagi KNOWS it. Usagi never wanted to be a senshi, she never wanted to follow a vague mission for something vaguely important. She accepted this power for HER OWN goals, which are protecting people.

(In light of her eventually turning out to be the princess who was everyone’s goal all along, I just can’t get enough of the delicious irony – if only Luna knew that she had what she wanted right here all along! But maybe she did know on some level, and that’s why she kept Usagi at the forefront from the start… Senshi are vassals of the princess, and Usagi was never anyone’s vassal)

Seriously tho, everyone else joined the senshi as already a thing that was happening, and for all their huffiness they were glad to have a mission and be a part of this, they liked the idea of joining this team and furthering its goals as defined by Luna…

and Usagi never wanted a mission. She did not join any team, she was the first recruit, and she got the bitter taste of ??? with nobody to support her and having to figure everything out on her own. Luna was someone who thrust her into this, and Usagi never actually did sign up for going along with anything Luna told her to do. Luna more or less pulled a fast one on the other girls, making them see the senshi team doing senshi tasks as an established fact, but before Ami there was nothing of the sort. Usagi was doing Usagi things, and Luna trudged along and taught her to do them better.

Usagi ditches the meeting because – come on, go on and explain to me (and to her) why she owes anyone anything like this. Why does a middle schooler have to neglect her social life and joys of everyday life to save the world? Usagi knows how it is, and she is just. So right