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Cisturn
2012-08-04, 12:35 AM
Hey guys sorry I'm late to the party on this one but I just marathoned Avatar: Legend Of Korra. I think the show is great but the character Tarrlok I really found interesting. I was wondering where you all would place his alignment.

For those not in the know, here's a bit of his bio from the Avatar-wiki

SPOILERS BELOW


Tarrlok was a former Northern Water Tribe representative and former Chairman of the United Republic Council. He was an ambitious politician considered fair-minded and likable by the general public, however, he was a manipulative. Tarrlok sought to fight the Anti-bending Revolution with brute force rather than peaceful negotiations. The Chairman was willing to go to extremes to win the conflict against the Equalists, even if it meant fanning the flames of aggression and risking the lives of innocent people.

Tarrlok tried to keep it hidden that he was the son of the infamous escaped crime boss Yakone. Tarrlok's ancestry was exposed to the public. When the Equalists were close to conquering Republic City, Tarrlok revealed he was the younger brother of the Equalist leader Amon, and that together they share a tragic past. After Amon's defeat at the hands of Avatar Korra, Tarrlok and his brother left Republic City on a speedboat, but Tarrlok committed a murder-suicide as atonement for his and Amon's mistakes.


I apologize if i put this thread in the wrong forum.

Pokonic
2012-08-04, 12:41 AM
This is in the wrong forum, should be in MD.

Scarlet-Devil
2012-08-04, 12:41 AM
You should probably put something like 'MONSTER SPOILERS' in the thread title.

I kind've think LE, because he chose to work within 'the system', though NE also kind've comes to mind. Mind you, being evil definitely doesn't mean you can't have feelings of regret, shame, self-loathing, etc.

NecroRebel
2012-08-04, 12:51 AM
I'd also put him towards the Lawful and Evil ends of the spectrum from that description, so he'd be one of LN, LE, TN, and NE. I'd probably peg him as LN, however.

Politicians seem to tend towards Lawfulness, just because they're working with an external system rather than than the purely internal ethical framework of a Chaotic. Fair-mindedness also suggests Law. All told, a reasonably strong case can be made for his being Lawful.

The only things that I see that is definitively Evil is a willingness to risk innocent lives to accomplish his goals, and the fratricide mentioned at the end. Good and neutral on the GE axis character can be manipulative, so that's irrelevant, as is likability. Choosing force over negotiation is a non-Good choice most likely, but if evidence suggests that it would be more effective, that can be a morally Neutral act as well. His heritage is also irrelevant, and keeping secrets about oneself isn't Evil. As such, while he probably leans towards Evil, I wouldn't peg him as such.

elizasteave
2012-08-04, 01:16 AM
The biography about him seems to be interesting but I can't judge just by reading out his bio. I am now pretty more much interested in watching the play, then I will be able to judge that the character played is just like the biography or not.

Sidmen
2012-08-04, 01:25 AM
Tarrlock is Lawful Evil. His entire schtick is that he wants to gain power and control over the city by using legitimate means, while at the same time using this power to utterly crush his enemies.

The best example of this is when he calls on Korra's support - and when she declines to give it, he goes to the press and basically blackmails her to help. This is a major **** move, which isn't necessarily evil, but he only does it so that the Avatar is associated with him (giving him more political power), not to actually help the city. Which is an evil move.

And, although he did use emotional blackmail, what he did was entirely legitimately legal. He didn't use force of arms to move her into position.

golentan
2012-08-04, 02:46 AM
Definitely lawful evil.

The curfew anyone? Attempting to arrest all those innocent people to crush opposition, the replacement of Bei Fong with his toady, holding the friends of what is basically acknowledged to be the world's moral compass hostage so she'll back down and go with his plan? At every stage that we meet him, he's authoritarian. He's ruthless. He works within the system because he wants the mechanisms of power functioning and in easy reach, whether that means pressuring someone with a ball and badgering reporters or sitting on the council and voting to give himself massive authority. Admittedly, good is not always nice, but he consistently shows a willingness to trample on what is good for the sake of expediency and power, putting him firmly in evil by my book.

Rallicus
2012-08-04, 09:22 AM
A good character can't be classified on the alignment sheet.

I seriously hate alignments. I guess they work in something like DnD, cause it's a game, but when you start aligning characters based on their basic attributes... I don't know, it sort of detracts from how complex a character can be. I know alignments are supposed to be used as guidelines, but I still hate them.

As for the question: I've never seen the show, so I don't know.

Hyena
2012-08-04, 11:17 AM
On a related note - what alignment the equalists would be? I'm not asking about Amon - we know so little about him, we can barely judge his actions, but what about the whole organization? Sure, they are terrorists, but they've never murdered (or seriously hurt, for that matter) anyone on screen and they seem to fight for the right reasons. So?

golentan
2012-08-04, 11:50 AM
On a related note - what alignment the equalists would be? I'm not asking about Amon - we know so little about him, we can barely judge his actions, but what about the whole organization? Sure, they are terrorists, but they've never murdered (or seriously hurt, for that matter) anyone on screen and they seem to fight for the right reasons. So?

I think as a group, they vary all over the Neutral and Chaotic ends of the spectrum. Many are evil, played up because they're the main villain faction of the show. Many are good, working towards their goals because of solid, legitimate complaints about the world and honestly motivated by protecting non-benders. They're revolutionaries and are working against the system in many other ways, so I'd peg relatively few of them as lawful. Sato is almost certainly Neutral Evil in my book, Amon as well. Neutral because they do want to be in charge of a new system when it all comes apart but they've got all their chaotic methods. And I peg them as evil because of Sato's motivation by hatred and revenge to seek disproportionate retribution and Amon's willingness to use horrible methods like Bloodbending to absolutely violate other people's personal integrity and repeated use of terror tactics and assaults on innocents.

Though Amon's complicated. I think he started out good, and retained the good intentions. He just took it too far in his methods once the ball started rolling. I wouldn't even hold the bloodbending against him if he limited it to criminals and combatants, for example (I don't believe in intrinsically evil tools, only tools which are disproportionately prone to abuse).

Rorrik
2012-08-04, 11:53 AM
If Tarrlock was Lawful Evil yet, he was sprinting in that direction during the course of the show. I'm willing to believe he was a power hungry lawful neutral, but his true colors were shown to be black as soon as he met any opposition.
Blood bending is akin to necromancy in the Avatar world, and even undermines his lawful position.

The equalists are a complicated bunch. The announce man is pretty much lawful scumbag, the perfect loud mouth mook. The Lieutenant may even fall into the lawful good category, his disillusionment at the end reveals he believed wholeheartedly in the cause. Hiroshi Soto strikes me as the most truly evil of the equalists(withholding judgement on Aman), willing to kill anyone, including his daughter, if they get in the way. The organization as a whole acts outside current law and is therefore chaotic, though many of it's members are lawful, thus the incredible order in the organization.

Burner28
2012-08-04, 12:01 PM
Tarrlock? Neutral Evil.

Hyena
2012-08-04, 12:03 PM
Blood bending is akin to necromancy in the Avatar world, and even undermines his lawful position.
Well, he DID restrain himself from using it - notice how he is just using his waterbending against Korra until the bloodbend-or-die situation, when the Avatar nearly burns him alive.


I think he started out good, and retained the good intentions.
Though I am a big equalist fan, I doubt we can say what intentions Amon had by the start of the show. Did he truly believe that bending is evil and
did he bent only to strip people of bending, before the Avatar proved herself as a little too much to hande for a badass normal? Or was he just using
the equalists to put himself in power (and strip of power anyone who could oppose him?). Or was he just a tool of the Dark Spirit, BBEG of the next book? When Amon said that the spirit granted him his mission and power, he could be telling the truth for this time.

Manly Man
2012-08-04, 02:57 PM
When I first saw the title of this thread, I thought it was about giving the Tarrasque levels as a Warlock.

Pokonic
2012-08-04, 03:00 PM
When I first saw the title of this thread, I thought it was about giving the Tarrasque levels as a Warlock.

This is my next Big Bad. Thank you.

Friv
2012-08-04, 04:34 PM
I'm going to actually argue for Tarrlock as true neutral.

While he does various bad things, he doesn't stoop to torture or murder, and he doesn't throw his power around for pleasure, only for direct gain. He actually believed that the curfew would be beneficial for the city and for its inhabitants, and that the people violating it were dangerous criminals. He wanted power, but he also wanted to be a hero, and was someone who was uncomfortable with killing.

To prove my point, I will point out that when Korra pushed his back to the absolute wall, what we got was not a ruthless attempt to kill her, or even an impassioned attempt to kill it. It was a flat-out panic attack. From the moment that she challenged him, Tarrlock had no idea what to do. He freaked out and tried to take her down, and then freaked out again when she was winning and finally unleashed the trump that he hated to use to protect himself. Ultimately, when his powers were removed, he helped the person who was responsible for his fall and deliberately remained imprisoned (and then killed himself) to make up for what he'd done.

He did things that were bad, but never excessively. He worked the system and worked against it, but ultimately he was a guy who made mistakes; an antagonist, but not a villain.

faustin
2012-08-04, 06:56 PM
I want to ask a question: if I agree Tarrlock was mostly Lawful Evil (in some ways he reminds me a moustacheless Kubota), which alignment he had after repenting for his sins (telling the truth and apologizing to Korra, and finally pulling a Redemption Equals Death for him and his brother)?

Dienekes
2012-08-04, 07:05 PM
I'm going to actually argue for Tarrlock as true neutral.

While he does various bad things, he doesn't stoop to torture or murder, and he doesn't throw his power around for pleasure, only for direct gain. He actually believed that the curfew would be beneficial for the city and for its inhabitants, and that the people violating it were dangerous criminals. He wanted power, but he also wanted to be a hero, and was someone who was uncomfortable with killing.

To prove my point, I will point out that when Korra pushed his back to the absolute wall, what we got was not a ruthless attempt to kill her, or even an impassioned attempt to kill it. It was a flat-out panic attack. From the moment that she challenged him, Tarrlock had no idea what to do. He freaked out and tried to take her down, and then freaked out again when she was winning and finally unleashed the trump that he hated to use to protect himself. Ultimately, when his powers were removed, he helped the person who was responsible for his fall and deliberately remained imprisoned (and then killed himself) to make up for what he'd done.

He did things that were bad, but never excessively. He worked the system and worked against it, but ultimately he was a guy who made mistakes; an antagonist, but not a villain.

A few points

He challenged her. He's the one who lashed out after Korra compared him to Amon (I have absolutely no idea why he lashed out in such a way, to be honest). It was him that made the first attack, and then when he couldn't beat her conventionally just blood bent her.

Then he decided to lock her in a metal box where she couldn't even move seeming through dialogue to have the intention of keeping her there until she died. This is on top of the blatant misuse of power earlier in that episode where he imprisons those he knows are innocent.

Yeah, I'm going with evil.

Now he does have a heel face turn after he was beaten. I'm willing to give maybe a neutral alignment after he was depowered and helped end Amon for good, but before? No way.

JadedDM
2012-08-04, 08:22 PM
Even before reading the previous responses, I was thinking Lawful Evil right off the bat. He works with the system to get what he wants, and he doesn't care if he has to violate people's basic rights to do it.

Sidmen
2012-08-05, 12:49 AM
I want to ask a question: if I agree Tarrlock was mostly Lawful Evil (in some ways he reminds me a moustacheless Kubota), which alignment he had after repenting for his sins (telling the truth and apologizing to Korra, and finally pulling a Redemption Equals Death for him and his brother)?

I'm going to have to say "Still Lawful Evil". People don't just automatically become not evil when they do something only borderline good.
Besides, he did it because he was suffering from depression because he just lost all his power and couldn't get it back. If he thought that his bending could be restored, or that he could somehow spin things with the Avatar to get his council seat back, he probably would've said "cya" to his brother and stayed behind. Besides, committing suicide is generally considered an evil act (it can't be good, and you'd have a hard time convincing me it was neutral); combine it with fratricide and your pretty deep into evil territory. Especially when it isn't a Noble Sacrifice or anything.

Dragonus45
2012-08-06, 05:00 PM
I think this is the point where we hit the main problem i have redemption equals death as a trope sometimes. It leaves things a bit too ambiguous as to whether or not the attempt to be better stuck. That said i would place him as LE with a hint of neutrality on the law chaos scale for most of the series. And after he got straightened and realized the effect his father had on him and Noatok (spell check on that one?) he wanted to try and make up for his wrong doings. I just think he made the wrong choice deciding that he was unsalvageable as a person do too his fathers effects on his life. I would put him at lawful neutral at his time of death with the possibility of sliding into the good scale given more time to flesh out his mindset.

Nerd-o-rama
2012-08-06, 05:46 PM
For the first ten episodes or so he's pretty classically Lawful Evil. He might be tending toward Neutrality in his last couple of appearances, but I think the case can definitely be made for LE for all of his initial characterization. Contrast this to the other villain of the season, Amon, a Chaotic Evil (in methods and outlook on life; the "evil" part of actual alignment I leave to the rabid fans to debate) anarchist.

Fjolnir
2012-08-06, 11:41 PM
Tarrlock swings the along the arc of Ln-Le-LE-Le-Ln that is he starts off neutral with evil tendencies, then by the end returns there but never leaves the lawful side of the law/chaos axis

Knaight
2012-08-07, 12:30 AM
I'd place him as LN for the first few episodes, with a slide into LE somewhere. Tarrlock is one of fairly few characters who does fit in the alignment system somewhat decently, though not as much as the LE Amon.


Besides, committing suicide is generally considered an evil act...
This is something that needs more than just assertion. Suffice to say I disagree entirely.

MLai
2012-08-07, 01:40 AM
Suicide is a misguided act, but I don't see how it is an "EVIL" act. I'm not religious.

As for Tarrlock not evil because "he did it for direct gain not for pleasure," then... all the unscrupulous politicians in the world aren't evil then (FYI, I consider unscrupulous politicians as epitome of EVIL).

Doing something for direct gain of your own person/organization/ideals/goals, without consideration of other ppl, is EVIL. It's how wars happen.

Xondoure
2012-08-07, 04:25 AM
There is a difference between suicide and self sacrifice. Ultimately I'd say this is one of the classic examples of how alignments don't work in real life. Or at the very least, change radically depending on the situation.

In a position of power Tarrlok was clearly Lawful Evil, but as soon as that power is removed we see a very different side of him. His ambition flattened we see a man interested in helping others even when he sees no future for himself.

Now as I've generally seen the GE axis described it's "Save my own hide" "Save my friend's hide" and "save whoever I can." While LC is "Obey the law" "Don't go out of way to break law" "Laws are meant to be broken." Needless to say, none of that comes close to describing a person.

MLai
2012-08-07, 05:15 AM
Not only does power corrupt, loss of power can also un-corrupt. Basically a person's situation can profoundly affect his perception and "alignment." It's why it took a jarring out-of-body experience to convert Ebenezer Scrooge.

Xondoure
2012-08-07, 10:40 AM
Not only does power corrupt, loss of power can also un-corrupt. Basically a person's situation can profoundly affect his perception and "alignment." It's why it took a jarring out-of-body experience to convert Ebenezer Scrooge.

Right but take an innocent human being and throw them in say, the hunger games. Should they survive that, they've probably suffered from an alignment shift. Yet the only thing in play is the situation, they had the tools to do what they did and the drive to do so when forced to it (or they'd have died.) So what would you do? Retcon their alignment?