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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default A discussion about the villains

    As I read the posts in other threads I've noticed that there's a lot of hatred for Xykon, Belkar, Nale and Tarquin but far less for Redcloak. Most of the posts justify their opinions of them based on the character's motives, history and the events they've done in the current story. For some reason despite knowing about as much as many other posters I find my perspective of the various antagonistic characters to be rather different from many of the posts I've read.

    I wanted to discuss the villains and the reasons for peoples opinions of them in greater detail, starting with my opinions of them and main reason for my opinion, please post your own opinions and the reasons you have for them.

    Xykon:
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    Doubtless my favourite character in OotS, I find him highly endearing because I can relate to his ideology of 'nothing matters anymore, let's just see what we can do for fun and damn the consequences.' I'm certain we've all felt that way at times in games ourselves, but we know that when we have nothing left but mindless carnage we can walk away, Xykon can't, he has a choice between eternal torment in the afterlife or doing the only fun thing he can still do.


    Belkar:
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    Almost certainly my second favourite character in OotS, I like Belkar because he puts me in mind of the unorthodox and off-putting character that should be found in any RPG session even if only for laughs (In my current RPG we have possibly the least pious of all Grey Knights to have ever lived). In addition, Belkar much like Xykon, reminds me of those times when you just want to cut loose and kill something, be it bandit, bear or baker, to relieve your boredom.


    Nale:
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    My least favourite of the villains, scoring even below the fiendish cockroaches. A lot of people seem to think Nale should have been killed off long ago and that his continued survival contributes nothing to the plot, but I think that if he dies we lose one of the contrasts that makes Elan what he is. His life is an irritating necessity to ensure future character growth in someone who does matter to the plot.


    Tarquin:
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    Unlike many I neither like nor dislike Tarquin. He reminds me of many villains found in computer games, he always has just the right thing to interfere with your attempts to stop him. His morality and ethics are both highly questionable but I suspect that were I in his position I would be rather similar, if less lawful.


    Redcloak:
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    A lot of people seem to find our treacherous little cleric sympathetic and hope he succeeds to the extent that goblins find a place in the world. Personally I highly dislike Redcloak, some seem to say that the end justifies the means in his case. I disagree, using evil to try and achieve a goal that isn't evil is not only Evil but moronic as well, a far more reliable (and less morally questionable) method to achieve his goals would have been to slowly and steadily change peoples perceptions of goblins through adventuring and good deeds. Instead he has committed acts of blatant murder, stolen his oldest allies phylactery, become blinded to his good achievements in Gobbotopia by his dedication to a tyrannical scheme. He has wasted several opportunities to improve the lot of goblinoids and as far as I can see his people will suffer for his misdeeds in the end, the Azurites and the Elves are both in a state of war with the goblinoids due to their alliance with Xykon, which if I remember correctly Redcloak is responsible for.


    Monster in the Darkness:
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    Adorable, he's like a concussed puppy.

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    Default Re: A discussion about the villains

    I think you may be misunderstanding the position of some Redcloak-supporters. We want Redcloak to achieve his end because the end is a good end. This does not justify Redcloak's evil, but conversely, just because Redcloak is pursuing his goal the wrong way doesn't mean that the goal itself should not be pursued.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: A discussion about the villains

    Quote Originally Posted by ReaderAt2046 View Post
    I think you may be misunderstanding the position of some Redcloak-supporters. We want Redcloak to achieve his end because the end is a good end. This does not justify Redcloak's evil, but conversely, just because Redcloak is pursuing his goal the wrong way doesn't mean that the goal itself should not be pursued.
    I do understand the nobility of his goal and that it should be pursued, but I believe that his methods will ultimately bring more harm to his cause than good and that he specifically should not be the one trying to fulfil the goal of goblin equality.

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    Default Re: A discussion about the villains

    Quote Originally Posted by ReaderAt2046 View Post
    I think you may be misunderstanding the position of some Redcloak-supporters. We want Redcloak to achieve his end because the end is a good end. This does not justify Redcloak's evil, but conversely, just because Redcloak is pursuing his goal the wrong way doesn't mean that the goal itself should not be pursued.
    You know, for me it is the opposite, normally I would agree that giving equality to the monstrous races would be a worthy goal, but Redcloack sheer hypocrisy and his actions make me think "you know maybe it is better to kill them all"
    Needless to say he is my least favorite antagonist but I admire the cunnig power play between him and Xykon.

    Xykon himself and Belkar are the one on the top for me, they are basically two different takes on the stereotipical "Stupid Evil" that manage to become realistic behaviours and effectiveness, I love them because for me they are extremely funny.

    Tarquin: The evil overlord lits given shape, what's not to love, the contrast between the guileness (is that even a world? I am not sure ) of his actin and plans and his complete ingorance of his own role in the story make for an really interesting setup.

    Nale: he is the ineffective villain that mirrors his brother ineffective hero, I agree that by himself he does not mean much but is an essential part of the story, in a way he is the Wile E Coyote of the order of the stick, sometimes you feel for him.
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    Default Re: A discussion about the villains

    I loved reading the comics in which Redcloak is revealed to be disloyal to Xykon. It basically means that Xykon has no way to win, right? After all, even if he did discover Redcloak's treachery, he would still have no way to control the Snarl for himself.

    I don't feel strongly about Redcloak one way or the other. Although he is most definitely an interesting character. (I think Xykon will eventually be killed by Redcloak, once Xykon finds out that Redcloak has betrayed him.)
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    Default Re: A discussion about the villains

    Quote Originally Posted by Grim Portent View Post
    I do understand the nobility of his goal and that it should be pursued, but I believe that his methods will ultimately bring more harm to his cause than good and that he specifically should not be the one trying to fulfil the goal of goblin equality.
    I don't think anyone disagrees with that either. Redcloak has become an awful person, but his descent from an idealistic young novice into a groveling monster is a tragic one, and we can sympathize with him and appreciate him as a well written character without agreeing with his actions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Lantern View Post
    You know, for me it is the opposite, normally I would agree that giving equality to the monstrous races would be a worthy goal, but Redcloack sheer hypocrisy and his actions make me think "you know maybe it is better to kill them all"
    Needless to say he is my least favorite antagonist but I admire the cunnig power play between him and Xykon.
    Disregarding the validity of an entire cause because of the actions of one extremist is a very strong position to take. How do you feel about Righteye? Do his actions in the pursuit of equality redeem the goblin race and demonstrate that they deserve better than their current lot?

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    Default Re: A discussion about the villains

    It basically means that Xykon has no way to win, right?

    He doesn't age, has plenty of levels to gain, millions for slaughter, and knows about the gates which he could exploit to release a god killing monster that can unmake all of creation.
    Yes, he can still win.
    Win in a more literal sense than Tarquin's, "I lived an awesome hedonistic life so it doesn't matter if I die slightly sooner than expected".
    Maybe even earn a cushy job as the deity of the Undead.

    But anyways, I like Redcloak. (I like them all really, cept Tarq.)
    He represents the real villains. He thinks that he's doing the right thing and he's religiously motivated. Perfect mix to creating a real monster.
    Hes a product of his environment, unlike Xykon he wasn't born rotten.

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    Default Re: A discussion about the villains

    I like Belkar because he's an essential character in a game campaign that's played for fun. His life philosophy is "it's only a game", which adds a very welcome shot of reality to a setting where, without him, I for one would find it much harder to suspend disbelief. I know some people take their D&D deathly serious and get really into the roles of world-saving heroes, and that's fine, but me - I like games where everyone remembers that the real goal is to have fun. (That doesn't mean psychopathically slaughtering everything in sight, but that is always an option.)

    Xykon - could be seen as a mirror image of Belkar - he also plays the universe like a game, except that as a non-PC he's stuck in it, so there's an unpleasant edge that's not present from Belkar.

    Redcloak: noble aims? Hmmm, maybe, sorta. But it seems to me that The Dark One isn't really playing for parity for goblins - not any more, if he ever was. That's just a diversion, a line he spins to make his actual crusade (for his, The Dark One's, personal dominion over -well, everything) more sympathetic and enlist the support of suckers like Redcloak. Further, I think that RC himself, with his high WIS, must at some level share that suspicion, and that contributes to his internal conflict and self-loathing.

    MitD: OK, lovable, but I don't see any basis for calling it a "villain" at this point, not for about 400 strips now.

    Nale: at this point, it looks as if Nale is being set up for a particularly horrifying fate with the purpose of raising the dramatic stakes and letting us all know "this time it's about to get serious". I'm probably wrong, my record of second-guessing the Giant is poor, but to me the signs are pointing very strongly that way.

    Tarquin: yeah, I've said enough about him in other threads.
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    Default Re: A discussion about the villains

    Quote Originally Posted by Grim Portent View Post
    As I read the posts in other threads I've noticed that there's a lot of hatred for...
    Before we go on: did you read Start of Darkness? The online strip contains those characters and everything seen in SoD, but the background gives a lot of... background on Redcloak and Xykon. Some character traits are perceived even more extreme (Xykon), other only show up then (Redcloak) or at least become much more obvious.
    Ser Ilyn, Ser Meryn, Queen Cersei, King Joffrey, The Tickler, The Hound, Ser Amory, Polliver, Raff the Sweetling, Weese, Dunsen, Nale, Ser Gregor Clegane and Chiswyck: Winter is coming!

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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: A discussion about the villains

    It's funny how people's opinions of characters form, because I would never have guessed a lot of them.

    Redcloak is never someone who struck me as admirable really, though his new spine since the Battle for Azure City makes him a lot more interesting. The thing about Redcloak to me is that he just seems so (emotionally) weak and self-obsessed, and the fact that the "villain just trying to save their oppressed people" thing is so overplayed in media that I can't take it seriously.

    Xykon is hilarious, and threatening when he needs to be, but it's hard to take him seriously as a villain. He's pretty dim, though not as much as he'd like people to believe, and has serious issues focusing. Still, him and Redcloak as a team make a good villain; Team Evil gets his spine and raw magical power, plus Redcloak's brains and ability to inspire minions.

    Nale is my favorite villain, and it's so weird to me that so many people want him gone. In terms of effectiveness, his plans have been pretty well thought-out and actually gotten pretty close; his first plan was defeated by blatant Deus ex Machina, his second was seconds away from succeeding when Elan burst in, and his "Find the Gate" one was only fouled by V's genocide spell. He's got interesting characterization, especially his relationships with Sabine and his father, and is pretty funny. Not BBEG material, but a solid second-stringer villain.

    Tarquin gets a lot of flak/love for being a master of just-according-to-plan, but he really hasn't struck me as nearly as invincible as people like to say. He's smart, and that's a good thing in a villain, but incredibly overconfident and somewhat disconnected from reality. Apart from his weird "haha, let's keep reminding the audience I'm a serial rapist" thing, a pretty solidly interesting villain.

    Tsukiko was better than Redcloak, in every way. She was more interesting, had more potential for character growth, and nearly as powerful despite her unfavorable multiclassing. She will be missed.

    Miko was cool at first, but got old quickly. Good riddance.

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    Default Re: A discussion about the villains

    Quote Originally Posted by Fallbot View Post
    Disregarding the validity of an entire cause because of the actions of one extremist is a very strong position to take. How do you feel about Righteye? Do his actions in the pursuit of equality redeem the goblin race and demonstrate that they deserve better than their current lot?
    Considering said extremist is the de facto spiritual and temporal leader of the major goblinoid power and what is most likely a sizable chunk of the species, and that the average member of said species seems eager to follow the speciest directive of the leader, and considering their attitude toward slaughtering, enslaving and torturing humanoids I have to admit my empathy fails to kick in.
    I actually had the outmost respect for Righteye, and if more goblinoid acted like him I would be more sympathetic toward their cause, but it does not seems to be the case.
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    Default Re: A discussion about the villains

    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Lantern View Post
    Considering said extremist is the de facto spiritual and temporal leader of the major goblinoid power and what is most likely a sizable chunk of the species, and that the average member of said species seems eager to follow the speciest directive of the leader, and considering their attitude toward slaughtering, enslaving and torturing humanoids I have to admit my empathy fails to kick in.
    I actually had the outmost respect for Righteye, and if more goblinoid acted like him I would be more sympathetic toward their cause, but it does not seems to be the case.
    I had a long post typed up, but it's a derail, and my point boils down to;

    killing Redcloak and his followers because they're members of a cult devoted to potentially destroying creation, or because they're an occupying power enslaving innocent people is reasonable. Killing them because they're goblins and as a race goblins deserve to die is monstrous. It's a vital distinction and I can't tell if you're making it.

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    Default Re: A discussion about the villains

    I wonder if the monstrous races are innately typically evil because they were made that way by the gods to be antagonist races or if they're typically evil because they have ****ty lives.

    Would a prosperous goblin society continue being largely evil a few generations from now?

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    Default Re: A discussion about the villains

    Quote Originally Posted by Koo Rehtorb View Post
    I wonder if the monstrous races are innately typically evil because they were made that way by the gods to be antagonist races or if they're typically evil because they have ****ty lives.

    Would a prosperous goblin society continue being largely evil a few generations from now?
    I suspect that it would be evil for a few generations until it hit an equality for all people movement similar to the ones that have occurred in numerous real societies. Of course as fictional characters (and a separate species) goblins wouldn't necessarily reflect the thought processes of humans and they could easily stay evil forever or become good overnight. The OotS goblins strike me as having control over their alignment but a society that inclines them to evil.

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    Default Re: A discussion about the villains

    Why would being equal with other races necessarily make them Good?

    Remember, Humans in D&D have no natural tendency towards Good; we are a Often Neutral race. If, as Rich has said, he dislikes the idea that alignment is influenced by Race, then both Orcs/Goblins and Elves/Dwarves are going to end up moving more towards the middle by default. It's no less problematic to say Orcs are Usually Evil than to say Elves are Usually Good; either way that implies certain races are just morally better.

    I'd think that becoming prosperous would, if anything, validate the Evil lifestyle among the Goblinoids. After all, their God is Evil, their traditions are Evil, and as a direct result of an Evil leader they are in a solid position for the first time in their history. There's no reason wealth and stability would necessarily make them less Evil; after all, a lot of the really top-shelf evil (like massive dark altars for thousands of human sacrifices, or stadiums for constant gladiatorial games) is difficult when still using a tribal economy.

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    Default Re: A discussion about the villains

    Quote Originally Posted by Water_Bear View Post
    Why would being equal with other races necessarily make them Good?
    Excellent question. The comic has sometimes tended to emphasise racism as a form of evil, but it's far from the only form. Tarquin and Xykon, for instance, are both equal-opportunity psychopaths.

    I doubt if Gobbotopia (national motto: "Screw you, suckers, it's our turn now!") has the potential to open into a friendly, inclusive land of opportunity and justice for all.

    It'd be interesting to go into a discussion of what causes "social progress" in real-world societies - but that would quickly devolve into real-world politics, so it wouldn't be appropriate to this forum.
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    Default Re: A discussion about the villains

    I think Trigakhttp://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0018.html is by far the most awesome villain in this strip... for he is the one that didn't get away!

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    Default Re: A discussion about the villains

    Quote Originally Posted by Koo Rehtorb View Post
    I wonder if the monstrous races are innately typically evil because they were made that way by the gods to be antagonist races or if they're typically evil because they have ****ty lives.

    Would a prosperous goblin society continue being largely evil a few generations from now?
    I am sure the answer is "it depends on the master".
    Every campaing world depicts the evil humanoids in a different way, and in that difference lies the distinction between "they're pests to be extirpated" or "they're just like us, only greener" with all the shades in between. From what I see of how they are depicted in oots, I think the evil races would be mostly ok if treated fairly. they would probably be a bit worse than humans, for example goblins seem particularly prone to anger and hate, but not so much that there would be a great difference. probably a goblin country would have a higher crime rate, but that would be it. At least that's the idea I got from the strip.

    Quote Originally Posted by Water_Bear View Post

    Tarquin gets a lot of flak/love for being a master of just-according-to-plan, but he really hasn't struck me as nearly as invincible as people like to say. He's smart, and that's a good thing in a villain, but incredibly overconfident and somewhat disconnected from reality. Apart from his weird "haha, let's keep reminding the audience I'm a serial rapist" thing, a pretty solidly interesting villain.
    Actually Tarquin don't strike me much as "all according to plan". He has been proven wrong plenty of times. he took Z for an ambassador of the drow, he didn't notice nale hiding in his city for months, he failed to kill thog in the arena... Tarquin's skill is that he's good at getting back on his feet. Also, he is resourceful and has plenty of backup plans, and I like the way he pulls them off, but I wouldn't call him "crazy prepared". Every one of his backup plans was reasonable for someone with his resources and power level. In short, his plan derails all the time, he's just very good at putting it back on track.
    But the reasons I like him so much are his motivations and his style. I am surprised no one mentioned how much style he's got.
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    Roy Greenhilt:
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    Here lies a very troubled and disturbed individual with deep psychological problems. It's obvious that he has deep father issues that he is too cowardice to cope with and thus lashes out at everyone else because his daddy never hugged him enough. Roy's father may have been neglectful, but Roy never came to deal with his issues in a calm rational way and seeks to destroy everything about him while he's under that false notion he's saving the world or making it a better place. How else do you explain his class choice? A fighter? With his stats? A fighter needs only good stats at most, while Roy has good to great ability scores in all 6 stats. So, why did he choice fighter? Because he has an uncontrollable rage. He has to hit things with a large, harmful object. He has no patience to be something like a druid or wizard, something that requires a calm, focused mind. His only desire is to beat things to death because he was never good enough to his father.

    How else do you explain his attitude towards Elan? Elan is everything Roy isn't: someone who could healthily deal with his emotions. Elan too had/has a bad relationship with his father. He never knew him growing up, and was told how such a horrible tyrant he was. Elan though was able to deal with this. He realized he is not just his father's son and his own person that doesn't have to prove anything to his father that doesn't appreciate him.

    Roy just can't deal with this: someone well adjusted who has father issues. Roy can't comprehend this and is furiously jealous of someone well adjusted. He hates - even loathes - how Elan can cope with his father and life while Roy hates this. It fills him with rage. How else could you explain how Roy just left Elan to be captured by bandits? This was a perfect chance to rid himself of the one thing that constantly reminds him he's not able to handle his father issues. And along with removing Elan, Roy could also delight in the notion Elan could have been painfully tortured to death by these bandits.



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    Default Re: A discussion about the villains

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    Excellent question. The comic has sometimes tended to emphasise racism as a form of evil, but it's far from the only form. Tarquin and Xykon, for instance, are both equal-opportunity psychopaths.

    I doubt if Gobbotopia (national motto: "Screw you, suckers, it's our turn now!") has the potential to open into a friendly, inclusive land of opportunity and justice for all.
    Though I notice that book does imply that plenty of other races are welcome in gobbotopia. Maybe they are okay with anyone other than humans and full blooded elves at this point? If so it wouldn't be a big leap, especially with human nations trying to start alliances with them.

    Love xykon for his ability to make normally intelligent people act like idiots.

    Love tarquin for his ability to act like an idiot and still be intelligent.

    Nale's kind of meh, but his purpose as Elan's mirror can't be discounted.

    I don't think anyone's mentioned the IFCC, probably because we haven't seen them as much, but I like them as a concept and because they're some of the most guileful villains I've seen anywhere.

    Liked Tsukiko, hope she ends up coming back somehow, but I know that's unlikely.

    Even so I enjoyed the way Redcloak killed her. It was pretty awesome.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fallbot View Post
    I had a long post typed up, but it's a derail, and my point boils down to;

    killing Redcloak and his followers because they're members of a cult devoted to potentially destroying creation, or because they're an occupying power enslaving innocent people is reasonable. Killing them because they're goblins and as a race goblins deserve to die is monstrous. It's a vital distinction and I can't tell if you're making it.
    In this particular case and in this particular settings I am making it, I had hoped it was clear enough from this phrase.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Lantern
    I actually had the outmost respect for Righteye, and if more goblinoid acted like him I would be more sympathetic toward their cause, but it does not seems to be the case.
    That said I admitt that personally I have no problem with settings in which monstruous races that are always evil and can be killed on sight without moral baggage exists.
    Those are two different approach to gameplaying or storytelling who serve two different purposes, and there is enough place under the sun for both.
    I imagine that it is because I do believe that purely escapistic fiction does exists and it is a good thing it does.

    But enough with the derail,

    The IFCC, I agree with the above poster position, the fact that they have not been much focused into leavef little space for discussion, much like the Dark one himself the seems to fill the role of the masterminds with a secret agenda that loam above everyone else, very fascinating.

    Also there is another figure, not exactly a villain, but at least could be difined antagonistic, Eugene Greenhilt, the lousy father, he did more to hinder the OotS than Nale, should he be included?

    Also poor Tsukiko, she was a lousy villain but was funny, I will miss her.
    Last edited by Blue Lantern; 2012-11-28 at 05:05 AM.
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    Default Re: A discussion about the villains

    I don't particularly like Redcloak as a person, but agree with his goals (as far as racial equality goes, anyway). I have no problem with his consequentialist approach.

    Xykon is amusing, but at the same time slightly boring, in that he's a generic Stupid Evil villain. No interesting motivations, no unique characteristics as villains go.

    I don't really enjoy Nale at all. I don't remember him ever being funny and his value to the story is suspect. I don't think he adds anything. Maybe that'll change with him, Elan and Tarquin being assembled now.

    Belkar... could be interesting. The story doesn't spend enough time seriously discussing his interaction with a "good" party. Most of the time he goes along with the party so we don't really see the conflict there would probably be when someone like him tags along with someone like Roy. He's funny, but wasted.

    Tarquin I've spoken about at length elsewhere. I really enjoy his unique perspective and flavour of "villainy", and especially enjoy that he triggers such distaste because people really want to see a villain get his comeuppance, but in his acceptance of his eventual defeat, he diminishes the satisfaction from it.

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