Book 2 – Page 34

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Re: Book 2 – Page 34

Postby Nihila » Sun Jun 20, 2010 5:48 pm

DoctorJest wrote:By definition, however, it's the person you're supposed to feel the most empathy for and root for.


Not necessarily. By some definitions of "protagonist," of which there are way too many, a protagonist is simply the person who drives the plot, whether that person is a boophole or a saint.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 34

Postby enthar » Sun Jun 20, 2010 7:04 pm

Geordy wrote:Therefor my hero is called by the name of Trammenis. Being the funny sidekick at first he evolved into a somewhat self-aware Erfworlder, cunning, fully equipped with a Code of Honor/Nobilty, fighting for what is just and right. These attributes (most important the fact that he is beginning to grasp the bigger whole) makes him destined to be Parsons next adversary. Id really like to see that - a lawful honorable mastermind vs. the gamer that leaves no stone unturned and exploits any game mechanic be it an atrocity or not in order to win.

Imagine right before the conflict cumulates into a spectacular peak it will be discovered that the whole war is just a subplot to the bigger thing - the unification of the four Arcentools. The journey Wanda seems to be on. Maybe Parson is going to pull another trick to win the war, combines the arcentools in the process... and then calls yet an even bigger evil over the world threatening all life. And so the two (three, four..?) sides have to overcome their differences to prevent Armageddon from happening.


Good and Nobility are a lie. They are propaganda....

I remember hearing that somewhere ;)

The point is that there is a huge lack of clear cut good guys in this story, and deliberately so. Code of Honor, fighting for what is just and right? I just dont see it. Fighting for King Slately is like fighting to the death to support the CEO of a corporation. Who owns you like a slave. Who is fighting other CEO's, who fight with their slaves as proxies...

Yeah, just a bunch of deluded boop holes murdering each other.

I am willing to embrace Parson as the protagonist, but the people who fascinate me most are the casters: Wanda, Maggie, and Sizemore. I really wish we got more of Wanda's internal monologue, and I am dearly missing Sizemore these long months.

takes all kinds I guess :)
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Re: Book 2 – Page 34

Postby gazes_also » Sun Jun 20, 2010 10:22 pm

So lets see, where are we?

Parson as Kurtz: when Marlowe meets Kurtz he is at the end of his journey, Parson is at the beginning of his. Kurtz rationalizes what he is doing, that doesn't mean he doesn't regret what he has done. In the end he is revolted by himself and what he has created ( "The horror, the horror."). Yes Parson regrets what he has done, but if he does something really nasty to win this fight, what does all that regret mean? He has no sword of ruthlessness to blame it on, it will be his own action. his descent into his own heart of darkness will be on.

The problem with Parson right now is he is drifting with the tide, the interesting characters are those who are striving against it. (Maggie for sure, Sizemore, up to a point, Tramennis is thinking about it and Jillian for sure). Until he sees the opportunity to do something really evil and says no, he is a pretty irritating whiny character.
I am rooting for him in a way, just the opposite way than many others - I root for him to fail because he won't do what it takes to succeed.

Jillian as indecisive: you can only be indecisive when you have options and choices.
Don't mistake objectives - capturing Jitterati - for methods. Yes, she is still pursuing typical royal objectives, but she's doing it in interesting ways, this choice thing is probably still pretty new, so figuring out what to do with it will take time.
She offered Wanda the option that they both dump their sides and wreck merry hell themselves, Wanda wouldn't drop Stanley.
Her decision on Wanda makes perfect sense to anyone who has ever been in the situation of knowing that a friend or colleague needs a serious butt-kicking, but didn't want to be asked to be the one to do it. I can completely relate to what she did. That's partly why I can relate to her.

Parson as Mary Sue. Ok Mary Sue by proxy - a character that gamers could easily associate with and relate to. Gamers/ mother's basement is a cliche - and like most cliches has become a cliche because it contains a lot of truth (that also is a cliche - and therefore is largely true.)

Tram has the potential to be a really interesting character if he takes his musings of the nature of life of Erf further. I would be happy to see an alliance of Jillian Tramennis and Parson (and maybe even Charlie) against the Titanic Whackjobs who become apparently unstoppable after the fourth tool is found. That would be an epic tale worth telling.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 34

Postby kagato23 » Mon Jun 21, 2010 10:01 am

You really can't call Parson a mary sue. Granted, the defnition of a mary sue is hotly debated (though he definitely doesn't merit the original definition, that of an author self-insert/wish fufillment).

Going with the Mary Sue as the over idealized character, he's anything but. Plenty of people have disliked him (but not in a persecuting way), he has, as has been bluntly pointed out to him, failed to live up to the ideal of perfect warlord, and failed or even been wrong more than once.

Also, no legit love interest. A Mary Sue parson would have not only already become leader of GK and would be ready to challange the titans themselves, hed be totolly hawt by now and banging all the archons sometimes all at once and maggie and wanda to cause hes so cool and also vinnie would bite him and he'd be a vampire now to and be sparkly and he'd be a caster to cause thats be cool. (Grammar and spelling errors deliberate)
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Re: Book 2 – Page 34

Postby robak » Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:33 pm

effataigus wrote:
robak wrote:Hmmm, good point you raise there. We know that stuff can be passed along between hexes (battle reports were handed hand-to-hand in Ansoms column in Book 1). So it seems likely that you can poke the pliers through the zone "barrier" and thus decrypt across zones.


Robak... you and several other people have talked about passing notes from hex to hex in this fashion in book 1 and book 2, but I can't remember seeing this happen. Do you (or does anyone) remember where this happens in the comics? I always thought they got messages around by hat.

Thanks in advance!

I remember reading that somewhere in "Word of God", I don't know where to find it though.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 34

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Mon Jun 21, 2010 2:26 pm

irt. gazes_also:

I see your Kurtz and raise you Ender. Which, given the story Ender was in, is more apropos I think. (See spoiler immediately below for Ender-fueled rant).

But to say that Parson is Ender, or Kurtz, or Dorothy, is to miss the forest for the trees. Parson is a picaresque character (hm? incorrectly deployed terms?) meaning someone who is thrust away from their zone of comfort, a stranger in a strange land as you say, where they will experience new things that will make them "grow", obtain better knowledge of themselves, the world, and their place in it.

Yes, the spark that starts the fire is external (it always is), but in the end the tests and the ways to pass them are the character's own, their choices. Parson is as much, or more (but about that, later) of a deliberating agent as Jillian. He decides that surrender is a cop out. He wants to see the battle through. At the end, the volcano is not his choice (Erfworld is weird like that), however the precision Fuck strike is. Yeah, he ended up being a bit more emotional than healthy about his part in the zombcano, but that was a deliberate decision to rebel against the world and the place it appointed for him, a rebellion brought forth by the realisation that he can no longer view Erfworlders as pawns in Heroes of Muscle and Moxie.

And make no mistake, this is actual growth. "Gamer for life" -> "this is booping hardcore, man" -> "I am become death, the destroyer of worlds". Parson made that step on his own. These little crazy people around him are people, he came to see. Not just stat collections.

(Debates about whether Parson's change in perspective are justified by the reality of Erfworld are postponed due to ill weather).

OTOH, Jillian. She always went were she pleased, befriended whom she pleased, fought whom she pleased, loved whom she pleased, Titans help her. As she informed Ansom, that one time. Becoming a Queen changed the influence, resources and authority she commands- and nothing else. Her character growth is just a sparkly hat with matching costume, for the character who just whisked Ansom of the Dead away would have done exactly the same, had her mercenary troop consist of Megalogwiffs.

Jillian's free-roaming spirit does challenge one aspect of Erfworld- almost everyone is the serf of someone above themselves- but that's like saying the Queen is challenging the Middle Age notion that everyone is poor. Like that Monty Python joke went, "how do you know he's the king?" "he doesn't have shit all over him".

True, Wanda is a slave to the Titans, Slately to ideology; so is Don. Tremennis is still trying to figure out what he's a slave to. As for Jillian, she's a slave to passion. Which, deliberate allusion to trashy lit intentional, is not the perfect place to be. Jillian's decision making process involves the attention span of a goldfish, which in fact makes her predictable. Everybody knew who she was going for when she left Wanda alone (if you- whoever is slogging through this rant- thought I was seriously suggesting Sylvia, Tremennis, then Big Fat Al ...). It makes her shallow, a mere stimulus-response machine, boring.

Her passionate goldfish nature also makes her petulant, and selfish, and all other attributes like that. Somebody truly unfit to wield influence on a large scale, when the only thing they really care about is their own person. Wanda, Don, Slately, Trem etc- they may all be deluded but they at least know that the world does not revolve around them, and some effort is needed to figure out where they stand, and where to go (taking the followers along).

So okay, Jillian is the crazy Royal, the Nero, the Caligula. Fine, why not, some (Lord Kasavin) have said she's the villain of the piece, and that'd be great. But then, everybody loves Jillian. Some pine for her, some admire her, and the few who did disagree with her- well, they've got sequoias up their bums, and probably can't tie their own shoelaces and are stupid who cares about them. It's grating to see this character, precisely when we know that very few of her accomplishments are actually her own, get validated like that- "hey, the world DOES revolve around me!". I'm hoping this is a set-up. If so, it's very, very effective.

Enough tl;dr for now. Except for one more rant, hidden by a spoiler tag (not that it contains actual spoilers) in which I tackle Parson as Mary Sue Ender.

Spoiler: show
Mary Sue- I'm not using that term. But we can agree that Parson, by construction, is a wish-fulfilment fantasy. Nothing wrong with that, especially when said fantasy comes back to bite you, by showing that its fulfilment isn't all that cool. Less of a fantasy and more thought experiment eh?

The other fantasy I'm getting at is Parson as best warlord, and what that means. I've ranted before that it doesn't mean (just) "tactically innovative"; won't repeat that, but instead make a comparison with Ender, of Ender Saga fame.

In Ender's Game, a child (Ender) is made to be the most tactically brilliant mind, the best warlord ever. Humanity needs it, because a war against an alien race is going badly. In his training sessions of laser tag (which is more than it appears), Ender demonstrates a lot of tactical innovation; one time, he tells his team-mates to reinterpret "down" as the side of the room with the enemy flag. It's been years since I read it, I assure you it made loads of sense in context.

Anyway, that's not what made him great. Here's what did. One time at school, some bullies pick on him. So, he starts a fight with the head bully- and beats him to death. Without meaning to kill, exactly, but he did mean to inflict serious harm, to show that he is not to be messed with, to be left alone. Spoiler alert, he gets to do that on a much bigger scale by the end of Ender's Game, proving that if there's one principle behind the best warlord ever, it's credibly showing your opponents that "where I can go, you cannot follow".

Ender, and Parson, eventually do just that. And both recoil from the enormity of what they've done; now that you've gone, can you come back? Ender attempts this over Speaker for the Dead and Xenocide (which I'm going to reread; I lost track of the series after that, but frankly when I read those I felt the story was done). Parson ... we'll see.


tl;dr: you are teh worng!
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Re: Book 2 – Page 34

Postby HandofShadows » Mon Jun 21, 2010 4:11 pm

BLANDCorporatio wrote:So okay, Jillian is the crazy Royal, the Nero, the Caligula. Fine, why not, some (Lord Kasavin) have said she's the villain of the piece, and that'd be great. But then, everybody loves Jillian. Some pine for her, some admire her, and the few who did disagree with her- well, they've got sequoias up their bums, and probably can't tie their own shoelaces and are stupid who cares about them. It's grating to see this character, precisely when we know that very few of her accomplishments are actually her own, get validated like that- "hey, the world DOES revolve around me!". I'm hoping this is a set-up. If so, it's very, very effective.


Gezz. I would have thought by know that people would have realized that Erfworld itself is the villain. Or rather the entities that created it (Titans they strike me as being part of a fake history). I DO like Jillian, but not for the reasons you might expect. Right now she is a selfish pain in the neck, but I see potential of what she could be after the world falls on her and she has to to make the choice of either getting a life or dying inside.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 34

Postby opal » Mon Jun 21, 2010 6:17 pm

I think Jillian is great as a villain, I have no sympathy for the character. She is selfish; prioritizing personal feelings above the goals of her allies. She has attacked comrades for the crime of delivering bad news; I think Caesar's disgust of Jillian is justified because of that incident. Jillian is unreliable, a deadly sin in any military situation. She is the kind to get other people killed, Tramennis came to this conclusion himself.

I'm hoping Vinny doesn't really love Jillian, that he is just using the relationship to gain influence with her. I can forgive one character (Ansom) falling in love with her but having two characters fall in love makes the situation seem Mary Sue-ish to me. In my personal fanon Vinny has natural mathemancy & Data-a-mancy he predicted how Don King was going to act toward her and is trying to salvage the situation.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 34

Postby DevilDan » Tue Jun 22, 2010 2:06 am

opal wrote:I think Jillian is great as a villain, I have no sympathy for the character. She is selfish; prioritizing personal feelings above the goals of her allies. She has attacked comrades for the crime of delivering bad news; I think Caesar's disgust of Jillian is justified because of that incident. Jillian is unreliable, a deadly sin in any military situation. She is the kind to get other people killed, Tramennis came to this conclusion himself.

I'm hoping Vinny doesn't really love Jillian, that he is just using the relationship to gain influence with her. I can forgive one character (Ansom) falling in love with her but having two characters fall in love makes the situation seem Mary Sue-ish to me. In my personal fanon Vinny has natural mathemancy & Data-a-mancy he predicted how Don King was going to act toward her and is trying to salvage the situation.


So she's a Mary Sue after all these flaws? Well, all that's beside the point to me.

I will say this: to think that either it's straight love or straight manipulation is a very simplistic approach.
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Re: Book 2 – Page 34

Postby ftl » Tue Jun 22, 2010 2:43 am

From what little we've seen, it seems to be a relationship of convenience. Yeah, they like each other... but Jillian wouldn't want Vinnie if Ansom is around and if Don hadn't needed an ambassador in Jillian's court Vinnie wouldn't exactly be pining for her. Or so it seemed to me - no deep passion there. Friends with benefits.

(Actually, we might see that fall apart now that Ansom is back in the picture - but he's decrypted Ansom and not real Ansom for now.)
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