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  1. - Top - End - #151
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    Default Re: Girl Genius XIII: "Gott's Leedle Feesh in Trousers!"

    What's with people calling Tarvek a Stu when he shows previously established skills? We've known for a long time that Tarvek got smoke knight training and pickpocketing an unsuspecting target is basic sleight of hand, compared to Violetta's pulling a Dummed lookalike decoy out of nowhere.
    Last edited by Lynn; 2012-06-19 at 07:01 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #152
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    Default Re: Girl Genius XIII: "Gott's Leedle Feesh in Trousers!"

    Because a) getting new powers as the plot demands is a warning sign, if not the be-all-end-all, b) because being an annoying character(in some people's opinions, inc. My own) whom the author likes is another sign, and c) some people call Sue more easily on characters they don't like than on characters they do. It's not ideal, but it's true. However, I am agreed on the fact that Tarvek is not a Stu, just a pompous jerk who still needs lots of character development to even come close to Gil's level, let alone be worthy for her hand. (and no, I don't believe Gil has what it takes either. At the very least he needs to learn some self-control first)

    EDIT: oh yeah, and the pickpocketing is totally reasonable.(not sarcasm)
    Last edited by Landis963; 2012-06-19 at 09:55 AM.
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  3. - Top - End - #153
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    Default Re: Girl Genius XIII: "Gott's Leedle Feesh in Trousers!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Landis963 View Post
    Because a) getting new powers as the plot demands is a warning sign, if not the be-all-end-all, b) because being an annoying character(in some people's opinions, inc. My own) whom the author likes is another sign, and c) some people call Sue more easily on characters they don't like on characters they do.
    This, mostly

    One of the things about GG is that all Sparks have a few, if not several, Mary Sue Traits. The nice thing is that these things are explained in-universe as simply how Sparks operate -- they can invent all sorts of implausible things and appear to be imbued with a supernatural charisma. Particularly strong Sparks (Agatha and Gil certainly, Klaus and Tarvek probably) also routinely exhibit superhuman physical abilities and hyper-competence in disparate fields. These have either been explained (Agatha & Tarvek's training, Klaus's Construct Body) or serve as a mystery to be resolved later (Gil's Jaeger-like capabilities).

    The fact that not all of the Sparks are being called Mary Sues is mostly the result that some people react strongly negatively to fictional people and libel them as a result. Not Landis, clearly, but it is hard to see how someone could call Tarvek a Gary Stu and not Agatha

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    As an aside, the reason why I objected so strongly to Agatha, Goddess of Science, is that it was such a transparent New Powers as Plot Demands that would never be used again. Considering that drinking the Dyne is supposed to have random (and usually lethal) effects it seems absurd that the Guardians of the Heterodynes would subject Agatha to it unless they were pretty sure they knew how it worked. And if it always works that way, why not use it more often?

    The worst thing about that sequence is that it was used to solve a problem that had only just be introduced. The Foglios could have cut out that entire sequence and lost nothing in the story. By far the sloppiest storytelling I've seen them do
    Last edited by Oracle_Hunter; 2012-06-19 at 09:54 AM.
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  4. - Top - End - #154
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    Default Re: Girl Genius XIII: "Gott's Leedle Feesh in Trousers!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynn View Post
    What's with people calling Tarvek a Stu when he shows previously established skills? We've known for a long time that Tarvek got smoke knight training and pickpocketing an unsuspecting target is basic sleight of hand, compared to Violetta's pulling a Dummed lookalike decoy out of nowhere.
    My problem with Tarvek is quite the opposite, in fact, and I was complaining about it just a few pages back: his sparkiness is, at this point, an informed ability. He has not built anything off the top of his head. He is always studying other sparks and adapting their work (i.e. Tarvek is a glorified mechanic that takes better sparks's works and understands it just enough to do the next step - compare this to Agatha's reading a non-spark treaty on coffee making and creating in a few hours the Best Coffee Ever Machine (tm)). Now, I think he would be a more likeable character if he was, indeed, a weaker spark than Agatha and Gil, because that would show that you can be a less-than-amazing spark and still be a powerful player, but as Stalkingheron countered me, he probably is as powerful as those two, just off-page.

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    Last edited by Grey_Wolf_c; 2012-06-19 at 09:58 AM.
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  5. - Top - End - #155
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    Default Re: Girl Genius XIII: "Gott's Leedle Feesh in Trousers!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle_Hunter View Post
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    As an aside, the reason why I objected so strongly to Agatha, Goddess of Science, is that it was such a transparent New Powers as Plot Demands that would never be used again. Considering that drinking the Dyne is supposed to have random (and usually lethal) effects it seems absurd that the Guardians of the Heterodynes would subject Agatha to it unless they were pretty sure they knew how it worked. And if it always works that way, why not use it more often?

    The worst thing about that sequence is that it was used to solve a problem that had only just be introduced. The Foglios could have cut out that entire sequence and lost nothing in the story. By far the sloppiest storytelling I've seen them do
    Yeah, that plotline was terrible. But I disagree that it was entirely useless. At the very least, it introduced Otilia's body and exposed both the Dyne and Lucrezia's lab. However, I do agree with you in that both could be introduced in a manner far less egregiously padded and anticlimactically resolved.
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  6. - Top - End - #156
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    Default Re: Girl Genius XIII: "Gott's Leedle Feesh in Trousers!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    My problem with Tarvek is quite the opposite, in fact, and I was complaining about it just a few pages back: his sparkiness is, at this point, an informed ability. He has not built anything off the top of his head. He is always studying other sparks and adapting their work (i.e. Tarvek is a glorified mechanic that takes better sparks's works and understands it just enough to do the next step - compare this to Agatha's reading a non-spark treaty on coffee making and creating in a few hours the Best Coffee Ever Machine (tm)).
    You're right, Klaus is a terrible Spark
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  7. - Top - End - #157
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    Default Re: Girl Genius XIII: "Gott's Leedle Feesh in Trousers!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle_Hunter View Post
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    As an aside, the reason why I objected so strongly to Agatha, Goddess of Science, is that it was such a transparent New Powers as Plot Demands that would never be used again. Considering that drinking the Dyne is supposed to have random (and usually lethal) effects it seems absurd that the Guardians of the Heterodynes would subject Agatha to it unless they were pretty sure they knew how it worked. And if it always works that way, why not use it more often?

    The worst thing about that sequence is that it was used to solve a problem that had only just be introduced. The Foglios could have cut out that entire sequence and lost nothing in the story. By far the sloppiest storytelling I've seen them do
    I would somewhat disagree, at least as regards to
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    the effect of Dyne water on Heterodynes combined with electrical shock. It would appear both der Kestel and Higgs know it will empower and amplify a Heterodyne; although der Kestel apparently forgot this can reach a point that results in spontaneous Heterodyne explosion. And in Agatha's case, right then, they knew that was what was needed, because she, Gil, and Tarvek needed a massive influx of energy to survive, and the only option was to artificially boost Agatha's. I doubt they will voluntarily do so again because Agatha came very close to blowing up; but whether this was bad story telling or foreshadowing will depend on whether she HAS to do the same thing again at some point to save the day.


    We'll have to wait and see...

  8. - Top - End - #158
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    Default Re: Girl Genius XIII: "Gott's Leedle Feesh in Trousers!"

    Quote Originally Posted by eee View Post
    I would somewhat disagree, at least as regards to
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    the effect of Dyne water on Heterodynes combined with electrical shock. It would appear both der Kestel and Higgs know it will empower and amplify a Heterodyne; although der Kestel apparently forgot this can reach a point that results in spontaneous Heterodyne explosion. And in Agatha's case, right then, they knew that was what was needed, because she, Gil, and Tarvek needed a massive influx of energy to survive, and the only option was to artificially boost Agatha's. I doubt they will voluntarily do so again because Agatha came very close to blowing up; but whether this was bad story telling or foreshadowing will depend on whether she HAS to do the same thing again at some point to save the day.


    We'll have to wait and see...
    It's bad storytelling because she literally became a Goddess of Science, complete with increased sparkiness, levitation and telekinesis. Why wouldn't you use this all the time once you figured out how to solve the unpleasant side-effects. You might not always need to cure a deadly disease or flawlessly revive someone but when is being a Super Spark not useful? Heck, Agatha should have been refining her Super Spark Devices now instead of fiddling with some walker clank! But she's not, because it is now Forgotten Phlebotinum.

    Also, they didn't know how to solve the problem -- they just thought that supercharging Agatha might help. In fact, Der Kestle was impressed at how Agatha kept herself from blowing up. It was just remarkable convenient that the one way to prevent this Dangerous Forbidden Technique from killing the Heterodyne was precisely what was needed to solve the problem.
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  9. - Top - End - #159
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    Default Re: Girl Genius XIII: "Gott's Leedle Feesh in Trousers!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle_Hunter View Post
    You're right, Klaus is a terrible Spark
    Klaus has the ability to understand other Spark's abilities and add them to his own - but he does have his own spark creations (Castle Wulfenbach springs to mind). Tarvek has nothing but "I amost fixed a muse after my dad broke it" and "I should be able to reverse the polarity on the Other's machines".

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  10. - Top - End - #160
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    Default Re: Girl Genius XIII: "Gott's Leedle Feesh in Trousers!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    My problem with Tarvek is quite the opposite, in fact, and I was complaining about it just a few pages back: his sparkiness is, at this point, an informed ability. He has not built anything off the top of his head. He is always studying other sparks and adapting their work (i.e. Tarvek is a glorified mechanic that takes better sparks's works and understands it just enough to do the next step - compare this to Agatha's reading a non-spark treaty on coffee making and creating in a few hours the Best Coffee Ever Machine (tm)). Now, I think he would be a more likeable character if he was, indeed, a weaker spark than Agatha and Gil, because that would show that you can be a less-than-amazing spark and still be a powerful player, but as Stalkingheron countered me, he probably is as powerful as those two, just off-page.

    Grey Wolf
    "Not built anything off the top of his head." Not on screen, no. But neither has Gil, yet, on screen. So far Agatha's gotten the on-screen sparking...and even that's very carefully framed so that the Fs never have to show us the entire process, because the entire process is, well, severely fictional.

    "Studying other sparks and adapting their work." That's the Spark Way. Klaus is particularly renowned for it, but there's not a spark in sight who doesn't start muttering about how they can improoooove this, that, or the other. They study hard--both nature and other sparks' efforts. Whether it's Agatha cannibalizing Gil's clank to create an Othar Rescuer or Gil adapting a Heterodyne device to power his zappy stick--or modifying Agatha's modification of his own original minor lightning device, or both Agatha and Gil modifying and combining old Heterodyne torture devices and combining them with the prior work put into the Si Vales Valeo, or Theo and the Kestle-Sparks modifying the modifications planned by Agatha and company to put Otilia in the Tiger body....

    Sparks stand on the shoulders of giants. They study other sparks' work, they modify, improve, re-purpose...but so far they don't just pull stuff out of thin air. Which is pretty much how science works. Even the coffee machine is a modification of existing tech.

    I realize you don't like the book as well as comic for your canon sources, but combining them to determine Tarvek's ability we get:

    A radiator-style heating system for a room in his castle, a revolutionary adaptation of Van Rijn tech applied to an entirely new function, a life-support system that served for an extended period of time for a brain attempting to self-destruct, the tools needed to analyze the previously unknown and mysterious components of Lu's command voice, a device to reproduce those components, a vaccine to possibly defend against wasp infection, a possible way to remove an implanted personality from another brain. Most of these from the looks of it are not mere adaptations of existing tech.

    It's hard to believe that you need the same tools to study or undo Lu-tech that the tech itself uses, any more than you would just reverse a gun to undo the damage caused by a bullet, or just adapt a wall socket to undo electrocution, or re-engineer a nuclear bomb to undo Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Tarvek's reported as doing *original work* on problems posed by Lu-tech and unsolved by some of the greatest sparks we've heard of. Designing and creating the tools needed to study the aftermath of technical devestation and to ameliorate the results demands original sparking. The study and creativity needed isn't just derivative or mimetic. Arguably it takes more original creativity to create something like a wasp vaccine or a command-voice replicator than to create a battle circus using well-recognized clank principles, because Tarvek first had to research deeply enough to crack subjects previously either unknown...or unknown to anyone but Lu.

    Finally, Tarvek's the character of the triad of whom much was suggested very early, but whose applied ability is only demonstrated over a long arc. From his ability to fight, through his loyalty to Agatha, to his knowledge and understanding of Europan politics and warfare, his competence was all suggested quite early, and often repeatedly. He was also established early as concealing much of his ability, for reasons made more and more clear and developed over a long arc.

    Tarvek's a slow-reveal. Where Gil and Agatha are in your face, established in big, iconic sequences early on, Tarvek's development is the reverse: when he does something it's not simply an ass-pull, it's usually something that's been suggested by canon (either through direct statement or logical extrapolation) for extended stretches of time, to be revealed only as situations demand Tarvek's skill set. If anything he's the reverse of a Marty(Gary) Stu: his background, his "origin story", his circumstances, his spark, his complex challenges and loyalties are all suggested early and are all integrated with the Girl Genius world as we know it, but only demonstrated late, after being well hinted at previously.

    The Fs went a long way out of their way to establish over the Sturmhalten and Si Vales arcs that Tarvek was of royal birth, designed to be a true heir to the Storm King, a spark of substantial talent, with access to the training of a Smoke Knight, raised under circumstances of such intense threat that secrecy and secret-agenty behavior was a survival necessity. He was established as believing he could fight, spark well, understand Europan politics and military theory. He was established as studying at least medicine, Lu-tech, and Van Rijn muse-tech very seriously. And he was presented as claiming to truly be loyal to Agatha.

    Yes, the Foglios also played a merry red-herring game to make it easy for people to assume he was simply a vain, dishonest, conceited braggart -- disloyal, etc., etc., etc. They used their framing skills and audience affection for Gil and Agatha to actively help disguise how well they were laying the groundwork for later revelations about Tarvek. But they did lay the groundwork, they did build in the prior suggestions, they did create an "origin story" that makes the current developments well-structured revelation and development arc rather than ass-pull, deus ex machina, or Marty Stu.

    Further, even as they reveal Tarvek to be the many excellent things they suggested he might be earlier, they've continued to keep him human, fallible, young, inexperienced, and having to learn himself how to actually live up to what his birth, education, and life-training make possible. He's functioning as a "nascent Storm King", rather than a fully realized Storm King. Just as we're watching Agatha grow into her role as Heterodyne, and Gil learn what it means to be a Wulfenbach, we're getting to see Tarvek come into his fullness as Storm King Heir in the context of being raised a Sturmvoraus, with all the skills and all the dangers that went with that.

    You don't have to like Tarvek....and lord knows, a lot of people don't. But the Fs have built him very carefully and he makes sense. He's just a very, very different kettle of dramatic fish than are Agatha and Gil, who were designed to be immediately transparent in a number of ways. His dramatic job is *different.*

  11. - Top - End - #161
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    Default Re: Girl Genius XIII: "Gott's Leedle Feesh in Trousers!"

    Stalk, I haven't read your whole post (at work, I can only sneak in so much time), so I may edit this one later, but two points I completely disagree with you in the first two paragraphs:

    Quote Originally Posted by Stalkingheron View Post
    "Not built anything off the top of his head." Not on screen, no. But neither has Gil, yet, on screen. So far Agatha's gotten the on-screen sparking...and even that's very carefully framed so that the Fs never have to show us the entire process, because the entire process is, well, severely fictional.
    No. Gil, on screen, has created heavier-than-air machines, including the wasp, which warps the laws of physics. Agatha has, of course, infused her clanks with the Spark (or a reasonable facsimile). Both of those are very definitely major creations not adapted from earlier inventions - technically, Agatha may have reinvented the wheel if Van Rijn managed to do it too, but she was unaware of it when she first created her little clanks in Castle Wulfenbach, so I'll give it to her regardless.

    This, I suppose, requires explanation, because I suspect we are working from different definitions. Sparks are, as I understand, people capable of warping the laws of physics when creating. Compare this to the regular blokes in the University at the start, who could follow Spark designs and build things even if they didn't quite grasp the concept. Tarvek has not been shown to do anything beyond that level. He must be able to, since he is a spark, but how good a spark we have not yet been shown. Gil and Agatha, on the other hand, have been shown to go beyond that.

    Now, Oracle Hunter and you refer to Klaus. But he is not a main character and has not been shown working (except on Othar, and was interrupted before he started). But Klaus has been described as a prodigy where he has no one area of expertise; instead, we have been told that he studies other sparks and becomes as much of an expert as they were. Tarvek is nowhere near that level, or he would be producing his own muses, not just not-quite-fixing broken ones. And Klaus, like Tarvek, suffers from "told, not shown" informed ability syndrome. But where it is forgivable in Klaus, an antagonist, it is not as forgivable in Tarvek anymore.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stalkingheron View Post
    "Studying other sparks and adapting their work." That's the Spark Way.
    No, it is not. The best definition of spark comes from the old guy in mechanisburg: warping the laws of physics. Intelligent people that spend a lifetime in a university can expect to adapt and create spark-level machines, just not come up with them. Natural minions can maintain and run machines created by Sparks. What marks a spark as different from those blokes in the mental arena is not in building on what someone else already did, it is in the warping of the laws of physics to go beyond what is possible. Tarvek has not been shown to be able to do this at all. For all his mutterings, all he can do is modify other sparks work, and in no particularly amazing ways: change Agatha's message (badly), extract instead of insert Other from a brain (or so he claims - and then, the jaegers expected Gil and Agatha to be able to do the same, given a free week, so they could get on with the kissing), almost-fix the muses (key word being "almost"), etc.

    But you also accuse me of not liking Tarvek, as if that made a difference. I dislike Tarvek because he is a snake that furthered the Other's plans to save his skin. That is unrelated to how sparky he is. I might like him more if he wasn't a great spark, but unfortunately, he likely isn't and if he is as good a spark as you imply and the comic seems to be aiming for, then it is suffering from a big issue of "telling, not showing" that has not affected the other main characters.

    Edit: OK, had another few free minutes. Mostly neither agree nor disagree with you - you mostly give me reasons to like Tarvek, which are a matter of personal opinion and don't move me at all, since that's not my problem with him. But I do have a bone with this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Stalkingheron View Post
    It's hard to believe that you need the same tools to study or undo Lu-tech that the tech itself uses, any more than you would just reverse a gun to undo the damage caused by a bullet, or just adapt a wall socket to undo electrocution, or re-engineer a nuclear bomb to undo Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Tarvek's reported as doing *original work* on problems posed by Lu-tech and unsolved by some of the greatest sparks we've heard of.
    (my emphasis)

    First, we will see what is required when he does do the reversal, but in this comic, I disagree that is "hard to believe" that it just means running the Other's machine in reverse - in fact, I would imagine that is exactly what they will do. There will be extra cables and so on, but in the end, they'll just pull out the Other out of Agatha's head. Unlike all your examples, no damage was done to Agatha, so the process is much more clearly reversible. If I have a machine that puts a spanner in your gut, the same machine can be used to take it back out.

    Second, my issue with Tarvek is indeed the "reportedly". It is all he claims this and he claims that and nothing gets actually built or shown that is in any way spark-level impressive. A half-broken clank, an incompetently hacked video recording to change the words spoken, a few extra inventions in a book, and a lot of grandstanding about his future plans. Nothing that truly warps the laws of nature.

    If it is working itself up to admitting he is at best a mid-of-the-pack spark with amazing political acumen, then that'd be great. If it turns out that he is a great spark but that's all he has managed to do, then not so much.

    Grey Wolf
    Last edited by Grey_Wolf_c; 2012-06-19 at 12:43 PM.
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  12. - Top - End - #162
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    Default Re: Girl Genius XIII: "Gott's Leedle Feesh in Trousers!"

    Maybe... Tarvek never had the spark?

    You cannot blame him for furthering the Other then, as he's just a minion.

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    Default Re: Girl Genius XIII: "Gott's Leedle Feesh in Trousers!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryacko View Post
    Maybe... Tarvek never had the spark?

    You cannot blame him for furthering the Other then, as he's just a minion.
    No, he has said he has the spark. When discussing the spark-infecting bug, he refers to all sparks as "us", IIRC. I'm sure there are other indications I can't recall at this time, too.

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    Default Re: Girl Genius XIII: "Gott's Leedle Feesh in Trousers!"

    Ok, you got back in while I was writing.. I'm going to take a little time off to try to sort out my response, and just wipe this for now.

    Well. Thought a bit. First...

    I really, really recommend you go back through canon at some point and ask yourself as you read just how much the Foglios ever show you or tell you about Agatha and Gil's work, and how much they show you and tell you about Tarvek's work. Personally I feel your version wildly exaggerates how *much* is shown of Agatha and Gil's sparking, while also exaggerating how little is shown of Tarvek's.

    My own analysis is that they show similar amounts for all three, with Agatha understandably getting the best coverage. But most of what is shown is a device claimed by the character, a hand holding a spanner, a page or two of discussion, but not more. It's mainly hand-waving and context.

    Second, you're missing that while similar amounts are shown, Gil and Agatha are presented as non-mysteries, while Tarvek's a mystery they're slowly unwrapping. That doesn't make it a flaw that he must be unwrapped, or that much is suggested prior to it being shown. It means that they're preforming different functions in the story. You can personally prefer the presentation that dumps it all in your lap from the git-go, but you at least appear to be arguing that this is the only convincing and appropriate way of doing a reveal. Tarvek's *not* an instant-gratification character. He's a mystery they're exploring over time, and they drop hints and build in implications that they're only now expanding on. This is actually *good* writing.

    One of the reasons I get annoyed is that too often people declare something to be a writing flaw that's actually a great virtue. Tarvek's a great example of that. He's structurally different from Agatha and Gil. He serves a different purpose, and he's revealed in different ways. Again, he's a mystery, and much of that mystery has to do with a difference in transparency as compared to Gil and Agatha. Things are suggested about him in all sorts of ways. Some prove to be true, some false, some blossom and some ultimately dry up.

    This isn't a failure in which they tell without showing: it's a success in which they present a lot of theoretical postulates and a lot of clues and conflicting evidence, and then allow the "proofs" to play out over an extended series of arcs. If they had not established from the very start that Tarvek was in a very complex situation, and that he was having to keep secrets and hide elements of himself and his circumstances, you might have better grounds for complaining about the lack of transparency. But in Tarvek they've created a situation and set of ongoing issues that explain *why* Tarvek's not transparent. They are letting the readers discover the layers and hidden truths to Tarvek much as Agatha and Gil have to: without a perfect view or the entire backstory.

    I get frustrated in part because summaries like yours seem to assume that the Foglios have an obligation to tell the story in such a way that you never have to discover or learn about a character over time, even when the story itself justifies the fact that there's a lot hidden. You're treating a well-structured slow revel as though it were a failed full-disclosure statement.

    A mystery is judged not by whether the author tells you everything up-front in the first chapter, with footnotes and vivid illustrations. It's judged by whether the suggestions, statements, reports, and hints revealed along the way eventually total out to a reasonably coherent and logically consistent character/solution, and by whether you were at least given some degree of reason to believe that there might actually *be* a mystery. Even taking into account that this is only half-way point in the story, IMO Tarvek's succeeding wildly on those grounds. The hints, suggestions, and clues dropped early are slowly playing out more fully...and it's not like Tarvek and his situation was ever presented as not being rife with layers of mystery, secrecy, complications, and backstory.
    Last edited by Stalkingheron; 2012-06-19 at 02:18 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stalkingheron View Post
    Ok, you got back in while I was writing.. I'm going to take a little time off to try to sort out my response, and just wipe this for now.
    While I have you: since I believe we are close to talking past one another (or even looking at that point in the rear mirrors), let me state what I agree with you, and what I do and do not believe. I suspect part of your post wasn't really directed at me.

    I agree with you that Tarvek is a spark, and that he is capable of doing sparky things. I continue to disagree how much of that is top-level spark (I gave a few examples of what I do consider top level), but I will agree there is no hard rule, and if you set your bar in a different place from where I put it, then we can agree to disagree.

    I do not believe Tarvek to be a Sue, because Sues produce in me a dislike different from my dislike of Tarvek (he is a snake, I can't stand his duplicitous tendencies and attachment to his royal status and skin in the face of extreme evil - i.e. he is not heroic enough for my tastes). You are unlikely to change my tastes on this area, and I advise you to not try - again, we can agree to disagree on the topic of "liking Tarvek"; on the other hand, if you do want to argue against his sue-ness or otherwise, please don't address the post to me (i.e. clearly break the post into "answering Grey Wolf's misguided claims" and "answering all those others that see Tarvek as a Sue") - I take posts answering mine seriously, and am close to incapable of not answering them.

    Finally, I am of the opinion that he would be a more interesting character if he wasn't a top-level spark. But I also find it hard to believe that will be the case. And I am irritated (in the same way Oracle Hunter is irritated with the drink-from-the-Dyne moment) by the use of "told, not shown" tropes when it comes to Tarvek. I suppose my mind could be changed if there was a clearly top-level Spark moment for Tarvek I am forgetting, but the ones you have been using don't qualify in my mind. So it is entirely possible that, as I mentioned above, my standards may be impossibly high.

    Finally, just in case, please be assured I am not angry or trying to be snarky, or unpleasant in any way. I am quite enjoying our conversation, although since I'm worried that I may get caught, my posts are not as polished as I would like them to be (even less so than usual, I mean).

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  16. - Top - End - #166
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    While I have you: since I believe we are close to talking past one another (or even looking at that point in the rear mirrors), let me state what I agree with you, and what I do and do not believe. I suspect part of your post wasn't really directed at me.
    To the extent that you're not part of the Marty Stu post, I think you're right. I had percieved you as being part of that thread. Sorry!

    I agree with you that Tarvek is a spark, and that he is capable of doing sparky things. I continue to disagree how much of that is top-level spark (I gave a few examples of what I do consider top level), but I will agree there is no hard rule, and if you set your bar in a different place from where I put it, then we can agree to disagree.
    (Considers) I think, *personally*, that to get Tarvek within the parameters you're suggesting you're having to warp canon and privilege Gil and Agatha's unknowns over Tarvek's. Your difference seems to depend on an axiomatic assumption that Gil and Agatha's stuff is novel and conceptually powerful and unique (not suggested in text)(Edit: Not supported in text to any greater degree than that Tarvek's own work is suggested as being landmark work in its own field) and that Tarvek's is merely derivative and based on unoriginal reversals and copy-catting. IMO neither belief is very strongly suggested in canon or by direct extrapolation. To *me* your distinction appears forced.

    I do not believe Tarvek to be a Sue, because Sues produce in me a dislike different from my dislike of Tarvek (he is a snake, I can't stand his duplicitous tendencies and attachment to his royal status and skin in the face of extreme evil - i.e. he is not heroic enough for my tastes). You are unlikely to change my tastes on this area, and I advise you to not try - again, we can agree to disagree on the topic of "liking Tarvek"; on the other hand, if you do want to argue against his sue-ness or otherwise, please don't address the post to me (i.e. clearly break the post into "answering Grey Wolf's misguided claims" and "answering all those others that see Tarvek as a Sue") - I take posts answering mine seriously, and am close to incapable of not answering them.
    I'm not trying to alter your taste. I am trying to suggest that your interpretation of what was shown in Sturmhalten and Tarvek's actions and motivations is far from proven...and that part of the whole point of Tarvek is to explore whether that interpretation is correct. I tend to argue because frankly, you seem to be operating on a "guilty until proven innocent" assumption in regards to a character who's built into the canon as being mysterious, and whom one of the creators speaks of as "misunderstood." Again, you're treating Tarvek's behavior as axiomatically assumed to be deceitful in negative ways for negative reasons, when the actual canon has left the ultimate explanations open and not yet confirmed...and increasingly subject to some doubt.

    Hmmm. Look at it this way: if this were a trial--and in a certain sense any mystery story is a trial--the defense lawyer would repeatedly object that you were characterizing his client as being *known* to have committed the crime and committed it for known negative reasons, and the judge would repeatedly rule in favor of the defense.

    Finally, I am of the opinion that he would be a more interesting character if he wasn't a top-level spark. But I also find it hard to believe that will be the case. And I am irritated (in the same way Oracle Hunter is irritated with the drink-from-the-Dyne moment) by the use of "told, not shown" tropes when it comes to Tarvek. I suppose my mind could be changed if there was a clearly top-level Spark moment for Tarvek I am forgetting, but the ones you have been using don't qualify in my mind. So it is entirely possible that, as I mentioned above, my standards may be impossibly high.
    As I've tried to say, you're judging Tarvek and his spark by standards that are based on a desire for a kind of instant-gratification reveal that's in direct opposition to the kind of "slowly unwrapped mystery" he's being presented as. Like Agatha and Gil, you're having to build the picture up slowly. Gil and Agatha are shown differently because their story-function is different.

    (EDIT ADDITION) IMO the spark stuff Tarvek has shown is intended to be seen as implying a great deal of talent and skill while not yet giving you an Overwhelming Moment of Awesome Sparkage. Instead I think the implications are there to provide proper foundation for an upcoming Big Reveal that may be delayed to the very end of the story, with lesser reveals along the way to help support whatever they are building toward.

    [QUOTE}Finally, just in case, please be assured I am not angry or trying to be snarky, or unpleasant in any way. I am quite enjoying our conversation, although since I'm worried that I may get caught, my posts are not as polished as I would like them to be (even less so than usual, I mean).

    Grey Wolf[/QUOTE]

    Likewise. And I'm dodging in and out of my own work, though it's of a different sort. Seriously, I like the dialog. Don't worry that you can't always polish. If nothing else, we can always take a deep breath and clarify if we get muddled!
    Last edited by Stalkingheron; 2012-06-19 at 03:36 PM.

  17. - Top - End - #167
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    Default Re: Girl Genius XIII: "Gott's Leedle Feesh in Trousers!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    Finally, I am of the opinion that he would be a more interesting character if he wasn't a top-level spark. But I also find it hard to believe that will be the case. And I am irritated (in the same way Oracle Hunter is irritated with the drink-from-the-Dyne moment) by the use of "told, not shown" tropes when it comes to Tarvek. I suppose my mind could be changed if there was a clearly top-level Spark moment for Tarvek I am forgetting, but the ones you have been using don't qualify in my mind. So it is entirely possible that, as I mentioned above, my standards may be impossibly high.
    So, the fact that Tarvek not only managed to study & learn from a Van Rijn without destroying it -- a feat unmatched by generations of Master Sparks -- is not enough? Or that he was able to create a truly sentient clank with nothing more than that knowledge? If Tarvek is not truly a potent Spark, then what about those past Masters?

    I think the problem is that Tarvek is understated -- in sharp contrast to Gil and Agatha. As you can see, evidence of his Sparkiness is present even back in Sturmhalten; simply because he hasn't had a chance to chew the scenery and throw about wires doesn't mean his competence -- perhaps brilliance -- has not yet been shown.
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    Default Re: Girl Genius XIII: "Gott's Leedle Feesh in Trousers!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    No, he has said he has the spark. When discussing the spark-infecting bug, he refers to all sparks as "us", IIRC. I'm sure there are other indications I can't recall at this time, too.

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    On another note, my memory might be wrong, but is it really certain that Tarvek changed Agatha's holographic projector? Agatha was fighting with Lucreza in her head at the time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryacko View Post
    Like Tarvek has never lied, manipulated, or schemed.



    On another note, my memory might be wrong, but is it really certain that Tarvek changed Agatha's holographic projector? Agatha was fighting with Lucreza in her head at the time.
    Violetta has stated outright that he's a spark more than once. Agatha and Gil have treated him as having the spark. He's been included in their plans as a peer, rather than as a minion. He even repaired a falling machine in mid-fall--far more a spark action than a minion action. If he thinks he's a spark, his relatives believe him to be a spark, his peers think he's a spark, and he pulls of the same sort of identifying "spark action" Agatha performed in her first canonical confirmations of her sparkiness, I think the burden of proof is to provide clear evidence overturning all the indications he is a spark. Right now he's got "looks like a duck, waddles like a duck, quacks like a duck, lays duck eggs" in his favor.

    It's not proven that he changed her device, but with the novelization added to the canon it's fairly certain he did. What remains outstandingly unclear is what he thought he was accomplishing, what time frame he had in mind, and whether he originally intended to discuss it with Agatha before it went off. The novel leaves an overall feeling that his motives were not malicious or purely self-centered, but it fails to provide any clear answers. So that one remains on the "Who knows?" list.

  20. - Top - End - #170
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    Default Re: Girl Genius XIII: "Gott's Leedle Feesh in Trousers!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle_Hunter View Post
    I think the problem is that Tarvek is understated -- in sharp contrast to Gil and Agatha. As you can see, evidence of his Sparkiness is present even back in Sturmhalten; simply because he hasn't had a chance to chew the scenery and throw about wires doesn't mean his competence -- perhaps brilliance -- has not yet been shown.
    I agree, but the thing is, The Madness Place has been used throughout the series as a shorthand to show how bright a character is and, because of the nature of the Spark, one could assume that the intelligence of a spark is proportional to the frequency of their "Madness Place " episodes.
    Tarvek almost never gets into The Madness Place, probably because he tries to always keep his emotions under control. Also he is a little too good at getting people to underestimate him.

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    Default Re: Girl Genius XIII: "Gott's Leedle Feesh in Trousers!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynn View Post
    I agree, but the thing is, The Madness Place has been used throughout the series as a shorthand to show how bright a character is and, because of the nature of the Spark, one could assume that the intelligence of a spark is proportional to the frequency of their "Madness Place " episodes.
    Tarvek almost never gets into The Madness Place, probably because he tries to always keep his emotions under control. Also he is a little too good at getting people to underestimate him.
    No....... that doesn't feel quite right to me. The Madness Place is where a spark goes when they lose control. Now, within that loss they may accomplish great things, but no one has indicated yet whether a spark's *intelligence* is dependent on entering that chaos-space.

    Indeed, some of the comments and suggestions dropped so far would seem to indicate that the less truly brilliant a spark is the less control they have and the less control they can exert when in the Madness Place. If you look at the "lesser sparks" we've been shown--the circus folks, for example--they get really sparky, but they're not very good or very powerful. Same with the criminal sparks in Castle Heterodyne.

    Some of the issues of spark, like that having a good education makes a big difference, would suggest that the spark depends on some inter-mixture of control and freedom. It also suggests that the less imposing a spark finds a challenge, the less likely he or she is to break out in heavy-duty Madness Place behaviors. Tarvek's *definitely* way at the far end of the curve on control. He's also not been aimed hard at any of his own pet fields.

    And he values sane, stable, thoughtful behavior. It's one of his crits of the Knights of Jove conspirators, it's part of what bothered him about Gil's apparent decadence and depravity in Paris. In the novelization one of his specific attractions to Agatha has to do with her being *sane* for a spark.

    Without further info I'm strongly inclined to think Tarvek's reserved, contained, and has both personal and situational reasons for really distrusting the massive loss of control that goes into Madness Sparking. But that doesn't mean he's not a powerful spark. At most it may mean that until he learns to let go a bit more, he won't operate at his optimal levels.

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    Default Re: Girl Genius XIII: "Gott's Leedle Feesh in Trousers!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynn View Post
    I agree, but the thing is, The Madness Place has been used throughout the series as a shorthand to show how bright a character is and, because of the nature of the Spark, one could assume that the intelligence of a spark is proportional to the frequency of their "Madness Place " episodes.
    Eh, I'd not draw that conclusion. Agatha, for example, is clearly a stronger Spark than Gil and yet we've had more on-screen "Gil Madness" than "Agatha Madness."
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    Default Re: Girl Genius XIII: "Gott's Leedle Feesh in Trousers!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Stalkingheron View Post
    It's not proven that he changed her device, but with the novelization added to the canon it's fairly certain he did. What remains outstandingly unclear is what he thought he was accomplishing, what time frame he had in mind, and whether he originally intended to discuss it with Agatha before it went off. The novel leaves an overall feeling that his motives were not malicious or purely self-centered, but it fails to provide any clear answers. So that one remains on the "Who knows?" list.
    Consider what the change did. Before, it was "I'm turning into the Other, I can't help it, somebody stop me". Afterwards, with Tarvek's editing, it was "Klaus is the Other. Somebody stop him". Tarvek obviously expected to be fleeing Strumhalten with Lu in control of Agatha, leaving the projector behind, perhaps to be found by Klaus' investigator. If the first message had reached Klaus, he'd have burned down Europa to find Agatha and contain or kill her. In the second case, though, he'd have just rolled his eyes, thought it was an irritating but not very impressive charge, and kept hunting her normally. It would be the difference between just being a hunted criminal, and being the most wanted terrorist on Earth. Tarvek was protecting her. Simple as that.

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    Default Re: Girl Genius XIII: "Gott's Leedle Feesh in Trousers!"

    Taverek comes off to me as being everything Zola was falsely portraying herself to be. ultimate though I do not think that he is the authors avatar. Agatha remains the only Mary Sue in this comic.y

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    Default Re: Girl Genius XIII: "Gott's Leedle Feesh in Trousers!"

    Quote Originally Posted by eee View Post
    Consider what the change did. Before, it was "I'm turning into the Other, I can't help it, somebody stop me". Afterwards, with Tarvek's editing, it was "Klaus is the Other. Somebody stop him". Tarvek obviously expected to be fleeing Strumhalten with Lu in control of Agatha, leaving the projector behind, perhaps to be found by Klaus' investigator. If the first message had reached Klaus, he'd have burned down Europa to find Agatha and contain or kill her. In the second case, though, he'd have just rolled his eyes, thought it was an irritating but not very impressive charge, and kept hunting her normally. It would be the difference between just being a hunted criminal, and being the most wanted terrorist on Earth. Tarvek was protecting her. Simple as that.

    (Nod) That's absolutely one of the logical possibilities. But until his plan is revealed I can see too many ways they can split this one off. At the very worst I can see it as a self-centered choice that he thought could *also* benefit Agatha and not harm her...while doing some damage to the man he thought of as enemy to himself, Agatha, and Europa.

    Mainly I'm waiting for a few more data points before I consider it resolved.

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    Default Re: Girl Genius XIII: "Gott's Leedle Feesh in Trousers!"

    Gil is nearly as strong a spark as Agatha is. Both broke out as yough children. We have seen Gil spark out more than Agatha because he has been in a lot more fights (read heavy combat) than Agatha has.

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    Default Re: Girl Genius XIII: "Gott's Leedle Feesh in Trousers!"

    Ah, new comic. And my word, but I'm growing more and more fond of that weasel with every passing strip. Especially the final panel. Hugs!

    *ahem*

    Also, good, still alive. Yes. Important.

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    Default Re: Girl Genius XIII: "Gott's Leedle Feesh in Trousers!"

    Quote Originally Posted by HandofShadows View Post
    Gil is nearly as strong a spark as Agatha is. Both broke out as yough children. We have seen Gil spark out more than Agatha because he has been in a lot more fights (read heavy combat) than Agatha has.
    Although he still cant compare to agathas multiple death rays. I know she made at least one or two while traveling with the circus, and another she used to melt a HUGE hole or three in der kestle. The only real weapon I can think of offhand is his lightning rod he used outside of mechanicsburg, and I bet agathas castle annihilating gun could have wiped them out better. :p
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    Default Re: Girl Genius XIII: "Gott's Leedle Feesh in Trousers!"

    In Gil's defense, he is very unexperienced in the whole weapons o doom category. After all, when the slaver wasps got loose on Castle Wulfenbach, the only weapons he had were a few fencing swords. So, for a first try, the Lightning Wand is a pretty good start.

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    Default Re: Girl Genius XIII: "Gott's Leedle Feesh in Trousers!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Traab View Post
    Although he still cant compare to agathas multiple death rays. I know she made at least one or two while traveling with the circus, and another she used to melt a HUGE hole or three in der kestle. The only real weapon I can think of offhand is his lightning rod he used outside of mechanicsburg, and I bet agathas castle annihilating gun could have wiped them out better. :p
    Seems your trying to compare apples and oranges. Making deathrays is what normal sparks do all the time. Gil being a nicer person does NOT build deathrays all the time (He builds heavier than air craft, some great clanks and actually figures out things.) And his lighting wand has a number of advantages over Agatha's gun. It's much ore impressive (scrares the %&$ out of people) and has a much wider area of effect. And that makes it a better weapon. Your also forgetting the gun on this page http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20111021

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