The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerd-o-rama View Post
    Or perhaps I'm projecting a pet peeve of mine onto the story.
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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

    I'd like to chime in here and say that since this is a literary analysis of a unfinished story, nothing presented here will be absolutley factual or correct for that matter. Barring Word of Giant of explicit explanation in-comic, it is all speculation as is all literary analysis.
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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

    Well, Nale-Tarquin is the story about a Smart father that admonishes his son about the dangers of impatience, and gets rebuked. The results are reminiscant of Daedalus and Incarus as well.

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

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

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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

    Quote Originally Posted by Palthera View Post
    Kubota was a right royal thingummywhatsit, Therkla was a minion, just one he happened to be training. She was fond of him, but I don't think he ever had any real affection for her.
    Kubota and Therkla most definitely had a father/daughter dynamic going. He may not have cared about her much beyond being his personal Tyke Bomb, but he still took pains to mentor her on villain etiquette etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
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  5. - Top - End - #35
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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

    Quote Originally Posted by Palthera View Post
    And I think you're being unfair to Shojo really, both his "adopted children" are well and truly adults. They're supposed to be taking care of themselves and since he himself had a very different philosophy on the world than they did I'm not surprised he felt it reasonable to deceive them. It's a "one adult to another" thing, not a "parent lying to children" thing. I've found that once you get to a certain age, any reasonable adult treats you as a fellow adult, even if you're a couple of generations below them.
    Miko was a kid when he took her under his proverbial wings.
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  6. - Top - End - #36
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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

    Actual literary analysis is so rare around here that I feel compelled to respond to this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    So, I'm afraid that any connection is simply an emergent property of the fact that I started the comic without any sort of plan for where it would go. That doesn't mean that you can't analyze it if you want though, if you're a "Death of the Author" sort of critic. Just please don't speculate on my family life in the process.
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  7. - Top - End - #37
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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Actual literary analysis is so rare around here that I feel compelled to respond to this.
    That was a really interesting read. Thanks!

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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    I guess a case could be made for Miko, but I see that as more of a "bad child" situation than a bad father one. Miko was Miko long before Shojo started lying to her; his ruse started only a few years ago but Miko was 28 when he said that.
    Hey Giant, thanks for the detailed and interesting response. I was wondering about this part of what you said. When Miko confronts Shojo just before she kills him, her words make it sound like it was Shojo's influence that largely shaped her into the person that she was. That is, he took her away from everything she knew at a young age, and told her it was necessary because of how important she'd be in serving the will of the gods. From her perspective, it looks like she attributes much of her identity to Shojo even (long) before he actually started lying to her. Do you see it more that Shojo tried to raise her in a certain way but Miko's personality kept her from turning out the way he had hoped, or do you view Shojo as being partially responsible for some of her less desirable traits?
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  9. - Top - End - #39
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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

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


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  10. - Top - End - #40
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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

    One doesn't have to have daddy issues to write about disappointing fathers and so on and so forth...fact is, if enough other authors have problems with their fathers and write about that, one tends to unconsciously copy that.

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


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

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

  11. - Top - End - #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Both, but more the former. If anything, I attribute most of her positive traits to the way she was raised by Shojo and her subsequent membership in the Sapphire Guard. Which is not to say that he did a perfect job, but he recognized that she needed discipline in order to function, and gave her life meaning and purpose that it wouldn't have otherwise had. I've always felt that someone who had come to him with less underlying issues (whether due to her inherent personality or the trauma of losing her parents and getting sent to a monastery) could have been raised the same way and not turned out to be like Miko. Likewise, if Miko had never met Shojo, she probably would have left the monastery as an angry unstable loner with no purpose. Shojo's guidance was the tape that was held her together for so long, which is why she went to pieces when it was ripped off.
    This is some neat stuff Giant. It seems to imply that the Monks view of Good and Shojos view of Good were not enough (or quiete possibly contradictory in some senses) to give poor Miko an understanding of right/wrong. Which explains her reliance on detect Evil to know who to fight/kill, something the other pallys in the web comic (no books yet) have yet to rely on. No wonder the lead sheet wielding halfling had such an affect, it made her lose confidence in her only method of telling right from wrong. My mind is now going on a trip, thank you.

  12. - Top - End - #42
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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

    Quote Originally Posted by rbetieh View Post
    This is some neat stuff Giant. It seems to imply that the Monks view of Good and Shojos view of Good were not enough (or quiete possibly contradictory in some senses) to give poor Miko an understanding of right/wrong. Which explains her reliance on detect Evil to know who to fight/kill, something the other pallys in the web comic (no books yet) have yet to rely on. No wonder the lead sheet wielding halfling had such an affect, it made her lose confidence in her only method of telling right from wrong. My mind is now going on a trip, thank you.
    At what point prior to her fall did Miko do anything wrong? I certainly don't count trying to kill Belkar as anything but a good act, regardless of how it was presented in the comic, and I can't accept V's opposition to the same as anything but wrong. The little skunk had just murdered a guard in cold blood and, IMO, deserved execution. V's intervention was pretty much an evil act, even though it was presented in such a way that we were supposed to feel good that the elf prevented Belkar's well-merited demise.
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  13. - Top - End - #43
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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

    Please don't turn this into a "Was Miko and/or Vaarsuvius morally justified?" discussion. There's a reason we lock those on sight, and this thread is actually interesting.
    Rich Burlew


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  14. - Top - End - #44
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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

    Well, since the Giant is answering questions on the subject, I have one.

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

  15. - Top - End - #45
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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

    Quote Originally Posted by jidasfire View Post
    We know Elan spared Nale in their first encounter because he believed he was only the good twin because he'd been raised by his mother and Nale was only evil because he was raised by Tarquin. But is he right? After all, little Nale was born with a goatee, and he was prone to bonking little Elan on the head. If their positions had been reversed, would Nale be good and Elan evil, would they be their current alignments, or would they both perhaps have ended up True Neutral?
    I can't answer that one without giving away events that have yet to be revealed. Sorry.

    EDIT: However, I will say that you're misinterpreting events if you think Elan spared Nale only because "he believed he was only the good twin because he'd been raised by his mother and Nale was only evil because he was raised by Tarquin." Elan didn't believe that; he had no reason to think his father was Evil at all until he met him, and thus no reason to think that Nale's alignment was not his own doing. Elan spared Nale because Elan is Good, and to Elan, Good spares people rather than killing them when they have the option. Note that he also spared Kubota in the same way, though he was a bit angrier about it.
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  16. - Top - End - #46
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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

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


    Giant, thank you for making an awesome story, and for making a place where we can all come together and have a civil discussion about it.
    Last edited by Mutant Sheep; 2011-11-18 at 10:13 PM. Reason: Grammar, clearing up some bad phrasing, and too many bad jokes that don't belong in this thread.
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  17. - Top - End - #47
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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

    This is very interesting. I thought that Belkar's reference to "Mama Bitterleaf's recipe for steaming entrails" was a reference to having a killer mom. Now, I realize that it probably was a throw away joke. I also understand that even throw away jokes may reappear when they serve a unexpected purpose down the line.
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  18. - Top - End - #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Please don't turn this into a "Was Miko and/or Vaarsuvius morally justified?" discussion. There's a reason we lock those on sight, and this thread is actually interesting.
    Oh sorry, I certainly didnt want to lead anyone down that path. It was more that your explanaiton of the Miko/Shojo relationship made me realize that Mikos fall was a moment of real tragedy, in the old greek tradition. Her story could have been so different.

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

  19. - Top - End - #49
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    Personally, I can't see how Tarquin is anything but an awful father.

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

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

  20. - Top - End - #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by AutomatedTeller View Post
    1) He abandoned one kid and his wife, taking the other kid (I can't imagine mom was all that happy about losing one of her twins)
    Divorce is abandonment now? We are shown a court hearing, no indication is ever made that he abandoned her. Quite the opposite, the split appeared to be mutual, and the twins separated as part of custody. There might be more to it, as per the Giant's statement earlier in the thread, but at this point there's no evidence of abandonment and kidnapping.

    Quote Originally Posted by AutomatedTeller View Post
    3) When he finally meets the son he never made any attempt to meet, he tries to honor him in a way guaranteed to turn his son against him, by burning 23 people.
    That wasn't on purpose, he really was trying to impress his son.

    Quote Originally Posted by AutomatedTeller View Post
    4) Instead of just telling Elan the information he wants to know, he forces him to wait.
    So that he can see the son he hasn't seen since he was a baby. Keep in mind that they haven't told him the severity of the mission yet. He has no idea the planet is at stake.
    Last edited by NerfTW; 2011-11-18 at 11:29 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    I can't answer that one without giving away events that have yet to be revealed. Sorry.

    EDIT: However, I will say that you're misinterpreting events if you think Elan spared Nale only because "he believed he was only the good twin because he'd been raised by his mother and Nale was only evil because he was raised by Tarquin." Elan didn't believe that; he had no reason to think his father was Evil at all until he met him, and thus no reason to think that Nale's alignment was not his own doing. Elan spared Nale because Elan is Good, and to Elan, Good spares people rather than killing them when they have the option. Note that he also spared Kubota in the same way, though he was a bit angrier about it.
    I know Elan is on the far end of the good spectrum and generally spares people based on that. But I recall that he had to wrestle with himself over it, and that was one of the arguments his angel used to convince him of it (well that and that it would make his mother cry). I saw it as Elan believing that if there's good in him, there must be some in his brother as well. I guess I just wondered if that train of logic bore out, but knowing that it or something like it may be answered in the future is nonetheless interesting.

  22. - Top - End - #52
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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

    Will we see Elan's & Nale's mother "on-screen" at some point?


    Also, I agree with NerfTW's last post.


    Oh! And another thing! Giant, when you showed the "T" banner in #50, panel 8, had you already decided that it stood for Tarquin? I know various of us on the forum were sure it was going to be Tyrinar.
    Last edited by Flame of Anor; 2011-11-19 at 05:07 AM.
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  23. - Top - End - #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by AutomatedTeller View Post
    Personally, I can't see how Tarquin is anything but an awful father.

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

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

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



    I just realized that there is at least one father who is not disappointing in OotS...if Inkyrius is male. And should Vaarsuvius be female, there also is a mother who is not at all saintly.
    And don't most users here agree that Inkyrius has a rather male body form?
    Counting V as "disappointing father" here is not fair, since, officially, we don't know.
    (Ok...one could still argue that "father" is a gender role and a father who stays at home and raises the children takes on the mother role, but still...)
    Last edited by Themrys; 2011-11-19 at 06:22 AM.

  24. - Top - End - #54
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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

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



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



    So that he can see the son he hasn't seen since he was a baby. Keep in mind that they haven't told him the severity of the mission yet. He has no idea the planet is at stake.
    Nale said: "He told me he abandoned my goody-two shoes mother in some backwards village." That's what I based by abandonment statement on.

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

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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

    Quote Originally Posted by DougTheHead View Post
    (and it's not just his intelligence or silliness that makes him do it- he doesn't address anyone else in such infantile terms).
    "Mean meanie-head".

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

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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

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

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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

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

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

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

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

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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

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

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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

    Quote Originally Posted by AutomatedTeller View Post
    All true. And I think he did make an effort.

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

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

    I'd say that none of them would win father of the year.
    Oh yeah, I'd never call him a good father. Intentions and reality are wholly separated. I just don't think he was being as selfish as you seem to believe. He did do an awful lot just for Elan. No matter how crappy of a father it makes him, staking slaves and lighting them on fire while still alive to form a message of love for your son is still a helluva thing to accomplish, ridiculous evilness aside.

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

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