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  1. - Top - End - #61
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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

    Quote Originally Posted by Mutant Sheep View Post
    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.
    Horace does say about Eugene, "I'm still surprised that he liked girls" or something to that effect (I'm not looking up the specific comic, but I think it was while he was taking Roy fishing). That strongly implies that not only is he disappointed that Eugene didn't follow in his footsteps and become a fighter, but that he also views Eugene's study of magic as effeminate.

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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

    Quote Originally Posted by dps View Post
    Horace does say about Eugene, "I'm still surprised that he liked girls" or something to that effect (I'm not looking up the specific comic, but I think it was while he was taking Roy fishing). That strongly implies that not only is he disappointed that Eugene didn't follow in his footsteps and become a fighter, but that he also views Eugene's study of magic as effeminate.

    You have to give a little leeway, sons tend to think they are smarter than their fathers at some point in their lives, and fathers will probably always think that their sons lack of experience really prevents him from being a "real" adult. Its normal for generations to not 'get' each others. Grandparents get grandchildren better because they understand that the grandchild was raised by "my idiot son". This happens a lot, which is why its relatable.

  3. - Top - End - #63
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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    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.
    Well, if you're referring to professional literary criticism (conducted by Ph.Ds and so forth), then about 99% of literary criticism has been "death of the author" since about 1930. This doesn't mean that an author's opinion on his own work isn't significant, it's more just an acknowledgement that reading and writing a work are two completely different experiences. That said, it's interesting to hear the process by which you created the relationships, and really shows why the plotting is always so strong and efficient in OOTS. So thanks for posting.

    As far as my own opinion goes, I think that most things critics point out are "emergent properties" of the author winging it, but that doesn't make them any less interesting to think about. A modern author saying "I made it up as I went along" seems to usually be saying the same thing as a modern artist who says "I just draw things the way I see them"- in both cases they seem to be de-emphasizing the amount of meaning they deliberately put into their work, and are much more interested in the audience's immediate reaction than any philosophical underpinnings. But anyone who reads any text closely is probably going to draw some interesting connections whether or not the author intended them.

    Getting back to the comic, one other thing I noticed about the human characters and their fathers is how the fathers all have some unfinished business that they need their kids to take care of. It is, as Burlew said, a natural way to work the parents into the larger story arc, as "secondary character needs you to finish what they started" is one of the basic elements of any rpg story. But the way that each father conceived of something (killing a sorcerer, overthrowing a tyrant, creating the greatest Joseph Campbell story of all time) that they were unable to finish themselves, and so called on the people they had helped create to finish the job for them- this seems to have another parallel, with the gods and the snarl. The gods created the world to hold the snarl, but they couldn't keep it in, so their creations needed to finish the job for them. The whole setup of the overarching campaign calls into question the gods' ability to effectively rule their own creation. The world in the snarl strongly suggests that we don't have the full story yet, but I'd be surprised if the gods come out any better in the overarching storyline than the fathers do in the smaller subplots.

    Also, I wanted to clarify my original post, which should read, "Is Burlew JUST using a well-known trope?" Thank you to everyone who pointed it out, but I am aware of the large number of stories that involve a father-son or father-daughter conflict. For that matter, there's a lot of stories that involve conflict with the mother, too- Hamlet's a good example.

    And really, the most interesting thing I found about Burlew's original post is that he can't see Nale rebelling against his mother in the same way he rebels against his father. He has a point- despite never having much in the way of a mother figure, Nale's healthiest relationship is with Sabine, and it seems like he doesn't consider it a challenge to his authority when she makes her own decisions, the way he did when Elan didn't want to join him. He might be able to deal with having a powerful mother more than he could deal with being under Tarquin's thumb. But it does to a certain degree explain why the gender distribution works out this way- when Burlew needs a child to rebel against his parent, he feels more comfortable making the parent a father. I'm not trying to imply any sort of relationship to his own family history- that would be lazy and unsatisfying analysis at best- but it does show how patterns can spontaneously emerge from a work even when the author isn't too interested in those patterns, and how procrastinating graduate students can have some fun coming up with ideas explaining how those patterns add something to the work as a whole
    Last edited by DougTheHead; 2011-11-20 at 06:14 AM.

  4. - Top - End - #64
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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

    Quote Originally Posted by DougTheHead View Post
    - this seems to have another parallel, with the gods and the snarl. The gods created the world to hold the snarl, but they couldn't keep it in, so their creations needed to finish the job for them. The whole setup of the overarching campaign calls into question the gods' ability to effectively rule their own creation. The world in the snarl strongly suggests that we don't have the full story yet, but I'd be surprised if the gods come out any better in the overarching storyline than the fathers do in the smaller subplots.
    Maybe, but possibly not in the way you think. The Snarl is nothing more than the by-product of a series of errors in continuity. He was created because the divergent Gods were changing things on the fly (there are multiple versions of trolls, elves, goblins, etc.) The fix was to set each concept in stone so that continuity could be maintained. The problem is they created a bunch of critters with the ability to reason and free will, and in their own way, each is their own Author as well. Goblins weren't meant to have their own nation, orcs seem rather fun-loving and not bent on conquests, its possible humans werent supposed to be siring half-breeds with the other races, perhaps Elves were supposed to be evil, but somehow ended up choosing good, etc. The point is, its very possible that the very Gods creations are unraveling the creation. And you can blame the gods for this, since they don't seem to do a very good job of communicating their intentions. But that is very different from Eugene and Tarquin, (not so much Ian, nobody knows what his intentions really are) those two are pretty good at telling you exactly what they want.

  5. - Top - End - #65
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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

    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.
    What the??? Wait does that mean that there will be some sort of time travel or "wonderful life" paradox showing what would have happened if they had been with the other parent. Will the archfiends warp reality to do it? Does this mean that Nale and Elan aren't twins? Or that Tarquin isn't really Tarquin?

    Because all except the last one sound really really stupid. And I can't even say "Rich would never do something like that" anymore.

    What could possibly have persuaded The Giant to say such a thing (potentially giving away a twist)? He normally hates doing those (Belkar's death being a prime example).

    PS: Troubled family lifes has become an increasingly strong theme in the comic. Although Rich has said he doesn't have "issues" it is really odd that it's so intense.
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    It's nice to see someone saying it isn't for once, the forum IQ did just go up. Please have a cookie Sunken Valley.
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    I thought Sunken Valley eloquently covered the points I wanted to make.
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    Yes, exactly.

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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

    Quote Originally Posted by Sunken Valley View Post
    What the??? Wait does that mean that there will be some sort of time travel or "wonderful life" paradox showing what would have happened if they had been with the other parent. Will the archfiends warp reality to do it? Does this mean that Nale and Elan aren't twins? Or that Tarquin isn't really Tarquin?

    Because all except the last one sound really really stupid. And I can't even say "Rich would never do something like that" anymore.

    What could possibly have persuaded The Giant to say such a thing (potentially giving away a twist)? He normally hates doing those (Belkar's death being a prime example).
    I take it more that those are the kinds of questions addressed by the comic whenever the two interact: to what extent are they similar and to what extent are they different? Does the comic lean more towards Rousseau (children will become like their parents regardless of whether they know them, disclaimer: HEAVILY paraphrased there) or Locke ("memory is identity" - you are an accumulation of your past experiences).

    Since these are themes central to the conflict between Elan and Nale, a simple answer at this point wouldn't, I think, do.

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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    *thorough and enlightening response to my off-the-cuff analysis*
    Wow, thanks! This was an interesting read, including the parts that can be summed up as "it's just a coincidence".

    Also looking back through other strips linked in this thread, I see what you mean about more family members taking up more space in the comic, for example Roy's little arc in Heaven which consisted in large part of establishing relationships with and between three new relatives. You also, I noticed, kept Eugene carefully separated, since he's the one who had conflicts with everyone else involved that would have taken up months of comics to explore in detail.

    And then here, we see how bringing in Elan's father requires exploring Tarquin's conflict/relationship with Nale as well as Tarquin's conflict/relationship with Elan (perhaps the former is pushed to the background for now, maybe, but I'm confident we'll see more later). I guess the mark of a good storyteller is making these connections and developing them, but I definitely see how it would get out of hand if everyone in the party had a family the size of Roy's. Then you'd be George R. R. Martin, I guess, but with a slightly better update schedule.
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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

    Quote Originally Posted by Sunken Valley View Post
    What the??? Wait does that mean that there will be some sort of time travel or "wonderful life" paradox showing what would have happened if they had been with the other parent. Will the archfiends warp reality to do it? Does this mean that Nale and Elan aren't twins? Or that Tarquin isn't really Tarquin?

    Because all except the last one sound really really stupid. And I can't even say "Rich would never do something like that" anymore.

    What could possibly have persuaded The Giant to say such a thing (potentially giving away a twist)? He normally hates doing those (Belkar's death being a prime example).
    Dude, chill. He probably just means that we will later learn more about the circumstances of Elan's and Nale's parents' marriage and divorce.
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  9. - Top - End - #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerd-o-rama View Post
    Then you'd be George R. R. Martin, I guess, but with a slightly better update schedule.
    And just a touch less, uh, let's go for the family-friendly ending to this sentence, GRIMDARK.
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    "The really unforgivable acts are committed by calm men in beautiful green silk rooms, who deal death wholesale, by the shipload, without lust, or anger, or desire, or any redeeming emotion to excuse them but cold fear of some pretended future. But the crimes they hope to prevent in the future are imaginary. The ones they commit in the present--they are real." --Aral Vorkosigan

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

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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

    Quote Originally Posted by Sunken Valley View Post
    What the??? Wait does that mean that there will be some sort of time travel or "wonderful life" paradox showing what would have happened if they had been with the other parent. Will the archfiends warp reality to do it? Does this mean that Nale and Elan aren't twins? Or that Tarquin isn't really Tarquin?
    I would guess he means a flashback, possibly narrated by a third-party. (Elan's mother? The IFCC? One of Tarquin's allies?) Something told by Sabine or the archfiends certainly seems possible--Qarr asks why they even bother with this guy, and they explain it's because he has serious Eeeeevil potential and made a conscious decision to be Evil at a young age (and then we get a scene like the opening of SoD), or they explain that his upbringing gave him his Evil potential.

    Or Crazy Idea: The world-within-the-world is an alternate timeline where Elan and Nale are swapped.

    EDIT: Or what Flames of Anor said. Or maybe something to do with Nale's sorcerous blood. I can think of plenty of things outside of time travel/alternate realities/It's a Wonderful Life/etc.
    Last edited by Gift Jeraff; 2011-11-20 at 05:44 PM.
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    elan: dad plz dont kill roy
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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

    Quote Originally Posted by rbetieh View Post
    You have to give a little leeway, sons tend to think they are smarter than their fathers at some point in their lives, and fathers will probably always think that their sons lack of experience really prevents him from being a "real" adult. Its normal for generations to not 'get' each others. Grandparents get grandchildren better because they understand that the grandchild was raised by "my idiot son". This happens a lot, which is why its relatable.
    Yeah, but I don't think it's normal for fathers to be surprised that their son likes girls.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DougTheHead View Post
    I'm not trying to imply any sort of relationship to his own family history- that would be lazy and unsatisfying analysis at best- but it does show how patterns can spontaneously emerge from a work even when the author isn't too interested in those patterns, and how procrastinating graduate students can have some fun coming up with ideas explaining how those patterns add something to the work as a whole
    Ultimately, I think it just comes down to typical gender roles in fiction. More often than not, the father is stern and authoritarian and requires some rebelling against, whereas the mother is generally more nurturing. So unless given reason to do otherwise, it tends to be what one expects when one is reading or writing a story.
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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

    Quote Originally Posted by dps View Post
    Yeah, but I don't think it's normal for fathers to be surprised that their son likes girls.
    Of course, there's nothing in Horace's comment that suggests he'd disapprove of Eugene being gay- just that he was surprised that Eugene wasn't gay. There's some fairly reductive gender roles going on in that statement, but nothing worse than you'd regularly see in the real world.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shhalahr Windrider View Post
    Ultimately, I think it just comes down to typical gender roles in fiction.
    In real life, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by DougTheHead View Post
    Of course, there's nothing in Horace's comment that suggests he'd disapprove of Eugene being gay- just that he was surprised that Eugene wasn't gay.
    My impression was not that Horace implied he thought Eugene would be gay, more that he thought Eugene would pay no attention to human relationships. IIRC, he said he was surprised Eugene was "still interested in girls", and I doubt he would expect him to become gay.
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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

    Quote Originally Posted by Flame of Anor View Post
    My impression was not that Horace implied he thought Eugene would be gay, more that he thought Eugene would pay no attention to human relationships. IIRC, he said he was surprised Eugene was "still interested in girls", and I doubt he would expect him to become gay.
    No, he said "I'm still surprised that he liked girls." The still modifies surprised.
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    Maybe it bears personal significance to Rich? (Just a shot in the dark, don't ban me! xD)
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    I'm pretty sure Horace was simply following the unfortunate (and needless to say very very incorrect) stereotype of Not Being Interested in Manly Things (refusing to fish with Dad, being a bookworm, not being interested in sports, et etc) = Not Being Interested in Girls.

    Nothing more than that.
    Last edited by Porthos; 2011-11-21 at 11:05 PM.
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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

    Quote Originally Posted by Porthos View Post
    I'm pretty sure Horace was simply following the unfortunate (and needless to say very very incorrect) stereotype of Not Being Interested in Manly Things (refusing to fish with Dad, being a bookworm, not being interested in sports, et etc) = Not Being Interested in Girls.

    Nothing more than that.
    This.

    Horace is simply a believer in traditional gender roles and hetero-normativeness.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Porthos View Post
    I'm pretty sure Horace was simply following the unfortunate (and needless to say very very incorrect) stereotype of Not Being Interested in Manly Things (refusing to fish with Dad, being a bookworm, not being interested in sports, et etc) = Not Being Interested in Girls.

    Nothing more than that.
    True, though it is also fair to say that being more of a bookworm type often goes with a more introverted personality--one which, while it by no means must be less interested in girls, might well appear so.



    Oh, and in regards to Tarquin's supposed abandonment: read #751.
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    Or maybe Giantitp doesn't want hatemail from feminist groups? Look at 95% of the man-wife sitcoms in america today, the wife is the glue that hold the family together and the man is a total waste of life. It's just the acceptable dynamic.
    Last edited by the_tick_rules; 2011-11-22 at 12:35 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flame of Anor View Post
    Oh, and in regards to Tarquin's supposed abandonment: read #751.
    And we are supposed to trust Tarquin on this?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shhalahr Windrider View Post
    And we are supposed to trust Tarquin on this?
    I believe him that Elan's mother demanded a divorce, fought as hard as she could for custody of both children, and burned the letter he left for Elan.

    As for why she did those things, well, I'm pretty sure Elan realized a long time ago (...around the "flaming slave letters strip," to be exact...) that it wasn't her being "petty."
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    "You are what you do. Choose again, and change." --Miles Vorkosigan

    "The really unforgivable acts are committed by calm men in beautiful green silk rooms, who deal death wholesale, by the shipload, without lust, or anger, or desire, or any redeeming emotion to excuse them but cold fear of some pretended future. But the crimes they hope to prevent in the future are imaginary. The ones they commit in the present--they are real." --Aral Vorkosigan

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

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shhalahr Windrider View Post
    And we are supposed to trust Tarquin on this?
    Would you rather trust the Lawful person or the Chaotic person? T seems more like the "leave parts out to get you to believe what you want to believe" type, not the outright liar. He probably sent a letter, and it never got to Elan, maybe he didnt use Wizard certified mail.

    There is an old Spanish saying: "Piensa el Ladron, que todos son de su condicion", loosly translated "The thief thinks everyone is a thief". This is the problem as I see it with people, like Ian, believing Tarquin is a liar. He hasn't outright lied to anyone, including Amun-Zora.

    A more interesting note on Tarquins fatherly qualities: He teaches Nale that being a bard would be a waste of his talents, but gives Nale the freedom to experiment in unfavorable multiclassing, what do we make of that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbetieh View Post
    He hasn't outright lied to anyone, including Amun-Zora.
    Yes, he has. First and foremost, the "make sure all the parts of my lies are true" game he usually plays with himself has no moral significance; in every meaningful way, he lied to Amun-Zora and told her he was sending troops to help her. But even "despite his near-constant lies, he always plays that game" would not be true; he produced a barrage of lies-in-every-sense here.
    Last edited by Kish; 2011-11-22 at 02:06 PM.
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    "You are what you do. Choose again, and change." --Miles Vorkosigan

    "The really unforgivable acts are committed by calm men in beautiful green silk rooms, who deal death wholesale, by the shipload, without lust, or anger, or desire, or any redeeming emotion to excuse them but cold fear of some pretended future. But the crimes they hope to prevent in the future are imaginary. The ones they commit in the present--they are real." --Aral Vorkosigan

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

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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

    The idea that Tarquin doesn't lie because he's lawful creates a contradiction with Nale (who is lawful) and who said that Tarquin said that he abandoned his mother.

    So, one of these things is false:

    Nale lied about Tarquin telling him that he abandoned his mother
    Tarquin lied to Nale about that
    Tarquin lied to Elan about him leaving Elan behind.

    Both of those guys are lawful evil.

    What Tarquin said to Elan was pretty self-serving - I don't think i believe any of it.

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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

    Quote Originally Posted by AutomatedTeller View Post
    The idea that Tarquin doesn't lie because he's lawful creates a contradiction with Nale (who is lawful) and who said that Tarquin said that he abandoned his mother.

    So, one of these things is false:

    Nale lied about Tarquin telling him that he abandoned his mother
    Tarquin lied to Nale about that
    Tarquin lied to Elan about him leaving Elan behind.

    Both of those guys are lawful evil.

    What Tarquin said to Elan was pretty self-serving - I don't think i believe any of it.
    Tarquin lets people believe what they want to believe. Most likely, Nale came up with his own conclusion of what happened without asking (that fits with Nales personality, after all) and thus neither is lying per se.

  27. - Top - End - #87
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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

    Quote Originally Posted by Porthos View Post
    I'm pretty sure Horace was simply following the unfortunate (and needless to say very very incorrect) stereotype of Not Being Interested in Manly Things (refusing to fish with Dad, being a bookworm, not being interested in sports, et etc) = Not Being Interested in Girls.

    Nothing more than that.
    Either that or it's a comment along the lines of "they grow up so fast." At least that's how I read it. Other times I've heard that line it was in the context of "last year you thought all girls had cooties" sort of thing.
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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

    Quote Originally Posted by rbetieh View Post
    Tarquin lets people believe what they want to believe. Most likely, Nale came up with his own conclusion of what happened without asking (that fits with Nales personality, after all) and thus neither is lying per se.
    That seems right to me.
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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    Yes, he has. First and foremost, the "make sure all the parts of my lies are true" game he usually plays with himself has no moral significance; in every meaningful way, he lied to Amun-Zora and told her he was sending troops to help her. But even "despite his near-constant lies, he always plays that game" would not be true; he produced a barrage of lies-in-every-sense here.
    What blatant lies does Tarquin say in that comic you linked? There may be some hyperbole or formality (saying "I'm humbled" is more of a formal turn of phrase than a true statement about himself), but no direct lies as far as I can tell.
    The closest one is "serve our blessed empress for as long as she draws fiery breath." But even there, the term "fiery" leaves him an out, since he could potentially betray her quickly and have her killed while she's asleep or surprised and therefore no literal fire would be involved. And he does serve her, so long as she remains useful to him.
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    Default Re: Disappointing Fathers and Saintly Mothers in OOTS

    Quote Originally Posted by Flame of Anor View Post
    That seems right to me.
    Clearly, I'm never going to agree with you on that :)

    As I see Tarquin, he's completely self-serving. You basically cannot trust anything he says.

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