The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #61
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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: How do we feel about Therkla?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Joeltion View Post
    I see your point, and I mostly agree. Therkla and Haley aren't quite equal, although the comparison can be made. Still I see Therkla and Haley like two sides of similar tropes, same archetype but different backstory. I think I should have said I see Therkla as being the same "type" of girl as Haley, the kind of girl that apparently Elan tends to fall for.

    What I think is odd is that you think Therkla is ugly or unattractive. Sure, half-orc isn't the epitome of beauty by default (YMMV of course) but really no inhuman race truly is. Even the most beautiful Elves are the ones that are regular humans with pointy ears and no other Elven trait. Also, I don't think the Giant is the kind of person that presents a non-human expecting us to believe they are unattractive just cause they aren't Humans.

    I believe the Giant's mindset is quite the opposite, actually. After all, even Elan's apparently superhuman Charisma is told to us rather than shown (for obvious artistic choices). Therkla's racial issue was downplayed too, nobody bated an eye when they saw her Orcish (Orcen?) heritage. I think Therkla was played like the only black main character in an all-white movie cast: obviously different but still objectively attractive, because Hollywood.
    I said that Therkla's heritage made her "unattractive" for humans, specifically. It's not a matter of people of the same species with different skin color shades. It's a matter of different species. The orc chieftain in the island mistaked her for an orc, and I don't know in your town, but in mine telling a girl that she resembles an orc is not exactly a compliment on her beauty. (For the orc chieftain it is, because he is an orc and, therefore, finds orcish traits attractive. Humans, on the other hand, generally don't). This far in the comic I haven't seen any hint from the Giant that humans of the OOTS world have different concepts about physical beauty than humans of our world. And for the record, I mean "beauty" specifically related to sexual arousement. A flower is beautiful but not something you want to have sex with*.

    In any case, I concede that there is more about sexual arousement than raw physical beauty. Still, I fail to see that kind of sexual tension from Elan towards Therkla. The other way, sure, but not from Elan towards her. I don't see any conflict between his feelings for Therkla and his commitment to Haley. In fact, Elan had no problem making out with Sabine when the tactical situation required it. But he was unable to, I dunno, kiss Therkla or tell her a white lie to boost her morale while she was dying from poisoning. He just didn't feel it.

    Anyway I'm not pretending to invalidate your interpretation, or any other. Provoking different interpretations in people is part of the point of a good piece of art, and discussing them is fun and edifying.

    * I actively attempted to come up with an example not related to any actual paraphilia. Unfortunately, the Internet is too big. So I gave up. Rule 34 has no exceptions
    Last edited by The Pilgrim; 2019-09-25 at 04:21 PM.

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  2. - Top - End - #62
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    Default Re: How do we feel about Therkla?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Pilgrim View Post
    And the reason I don't like to draw parallels about the two, is because I can't help but think that Haley could get her man because she was attractive, while Therkla failed and got death because she was ugly. Yes, yes, I know Haley has a lot more qualities beyond being pretty. But, you know, cool kids date each other, not the uglies. Of course, that's not at all the message The Giant wanted to convey through that story, which is why I prefer to avoid making that parallel.
    For me one of the factors was that Haley actually knew Elan pretty well before they started dating, whereas Therka was building a fantasy around him. She wanted in on being a cool-kid, and maybe on being a good-guy, not she didn't really even kno him as a person.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ruck View Post
    And I think that gets to why I don't have any strong feelings about her or found her arc particularly interesting-- drama is best driven by strong characters with strong convictions, when their morals and motives collide. Therkla was too easily swayed by others for her to really be a full player in the drama, even as I see the purpose of her character in the larger story.
    By that measure Hamlet is a terrible character/play. Man versus himself plots are also perfectly legitimate.

    Although (of course) them not being to your taste is also perfectly legitimate.

  3. - Top - End - #63
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    Default Re: How do we feel about Therkla?

    Quote Originally Posted by KorvinStarmast View Post
    She acted as a catalyst.
    Sure, but she didn't really catalyze that much change. Before Therkla, Elan was devoted to Haley; after Therkla, Elan was devoted to Haley. She was part of the wedge that grew between Elan and Vaarsuvius that ended up leading V to separate from the party, but I don't think she was integral to that process.

    And anyway, "catalyst" kind of implies someone who sparks something in other characters rather than having their own character, which kind of speaks to my point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quizatzhaderac View Post
    By that measure Hamlet is a terrible character/play. Man versus himself plots are also perfectly legitimate.

    Although (of course) them not being to your taste is also perfectly legitimate.
    I think your first paragraph here is fairly uncharitable to my point and really suggests (as your second paragraph seems to understand) why trying to "measure" art in any sort of quantitative or categorical sense is a fallacy. (I am reminded of when people told me "If you like It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, you have to like Girls, because they're both about bad people doing bad things.")

    Hamlet (from Hamlet) did, in fact, have a strong motivation and high stakes, but was crippled by his indecision. Therkla was working out a teenage crush; she was not attempting to bring a murderer to justice and replace a usurper with a rightful king. And, of course, as much as I love The Order of the Stick, there is certainly a qualitative difference between Hamlet and "Therkla's subplot in book four."
    Last edited by Ruck; 2019-09-25 at 06:14 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #64
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    Default Re: How do we feel about Therkla?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Pilgrim View Post
    I don't remember Elan showing any conflict between his commitment to Haley and his feelings toward Therlka. He never shown any sign of feeling "tempted" by her, or of having any feelings for her beyond "friendship".
    On this specific note....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Don't Split the Party Commentary, opposite 594
    ...I also thought it would help emphasize Elan's loyalty to Haley to have a new love interest throw herself at him. Which is not to say that this was a true triangle; Elan was never going to cheat on Haley, period. But I thought if I could show him resisting the charms of a girl who was very much his type (athletic, sneaky, morally shady with a ponytail...sound like anyone?), it would help strengthen the fledgling relationship between him and Haley even as they were far apart.
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  5. - Top - End - #65
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    Default Re: How do we feel about Therkla?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Pilgrim View Post
    I said that Therkla's heritage made her "unattractive" for humans, specifically. It's not a matter of people of the same species with different skin color shades. It's a matter of different species. The orc chieftain in the island mistaked her for an orc, and I don't know in your town, but in mine telling a girl that she resembles an orc is not exactly a compliment on her beauty.
    On the other hand, Therkla's parents clearly loved each other, despite her being a full-on orc and him being a human.

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    Default Re: How do we feel about Therkla?

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    On the other hand, Therkla's parents clearly loved each other, despite her being a full-on orc and him being a human.
    I'm aware, and I mentioned it in my previous posts. But note that the joke worked because the expectation is quite different, as the orc chieftain himself exemplarized by assuming Therkla was not the result of a loving relationship. Therkla's dad just had... different tastes (and I don't think there is anything wrong with it).

    Elan on the other hand has never show sexual attraction towards anything but normative human beauty*.

    * Okay, Sabine had horns. But that's different from tusks. A girl with horns is horny! (ba-dum tssss)
    Last edited by The Pilgrim; 2019-09-26 at 04:36 AM.

  7. - Top - End - #67
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    Default Re: How do we feel about Therkla?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Pilgrim View Post
    Elan on the other hand has never show sexual attraction towards anything but normative human beauty*.
    Well, it's not like he showed revulsion at Therkla's advances either, and given Jasdoif's linked quote from the Giant, it wouldn't have really had any impact if Elan were incapable of feeling attraction to Therkla--it was *resisting* said attraction that strengthened his relationship with Haley.

  8. - Top - End - #68
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    Default Re: How do we feel about Therkla?

    But I didn't see any example in comic of Elan "resisting" anything. At any point he feels tempted of anything.

    So, The Giant intended to emphatize Elan's commitment to Haley by showing him totally ignoring the desperate beggings for sex of an uglier, weaker-willed, morally darker version of Haley that he would have ignored anyway even if he had been single?

    Well, sorry, didn't work for me. If it worked for other readers, fine. There are other instances where what The Giand did worked for me but not for other readers. A work of art is not a tailored suit.

    Maybe if Elan had actually, during that arc, paused to reflect about his feelings for Haley and why he loves her... because, you know, while we have been shown Haley explain what she sees in Elan, we have yet to see Elan explaining why he loves Haley. Maybe that would have worked better to empathize the relationship than showing him dodging an uglie.
    Last edited by The Pilgrim; 2019-09-26 at 10:10 AM.

  9. - Top - End - #69
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    ClericGirl

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    Default Re: How do we feel about Therkla?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruck View Post
    Sure, but she didn't really catalyze that much change.
    I'll offer that she was a catalyst for the familicide event: Elan's distraction was one of the reasons that V finally gave up and headed off.

    FWIW: I am using the term "Catalyst" in the sense that Robin Hobb uses "Catalyst" for her character Fitzchivalry Farseer. (Assassin's Apprentice, Royal Assassin, Assassin's Quest as well as the Tawny Man trilogy). More or less what happens is that the world's fate is rolling along like a wagon wheel in a well worn rut in a well worn trade route. The catalyst is a rock big enough to cause the wheel to get bumped out of the rut and now the wagon goes off in another unexpected and story/world/plot changing direction.

    Similarly, Thurkla acts as a catalyst of Kubota's demise due to her attraction to Elan. She doesn't want her mentor dead, but once she gets that wheel rolling in another direction, Kubota's plan to take over as the leader of the Azure City refugees goes off the rails and he is ultimately defeated and then destroyed.

    Her agency is what starts the rock slides and then the avalanches.
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2019-09-26 at 08:02 AM.
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  10. - Top - End - #70
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    Default Re: How do we feel about Therkla?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruck View Post
    I think your first paragraph here is fairly uncharitable to my point and really suggests (as your second paragraph seems to understand) why trying to "measure" art in any sort of quantitative or categorical sense is a fallacy. (I am reminded of when people told me "If you like It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, you have to like Girls, because they're both about bad people doing bad things.")

    Hamlet (from Hamlet) did, in fact, have a strong motivation and high stakes, but was crippled by his indecision. Therkla was working out a teenage crush; she was not attempting to bring a murderer to justice and replace a usurper with a rightful king. And, of course, as much as I love The Order of the Stick, there is certainly a qualitative difference between Hamlet and "Therkla's subplot in book four."
    Your tastes are legitimate. I just question the consistency of your analysis. You don't have to like Therka, Hamlet, or Girls; although, if you're going to make a categorical statement it's best for it to be consistent. For instance if it was actually you that said "I like shows about bad people doing bad things", you might want to reexamine that in light of the fact that you don't like Girls.

    "Hamlet (from Hamlet) did, in fact, have a strong motivation and high stakes, but was crippled by his indecision". You said "strong characters with strong convictions" at first. The stakes are plenty high for Therka. I would also say her motivations are strong as well, albeit confused and juvenile.

    "she was not attempting to bring a murderer to justice and replace a usurper with a rightful king". She is trying to replace a rightful king with a usurper. Also, that's not what Hamlets spends his time on; he spends it attempting to figure out if Claudis killed his father and what to do about it. The play's climax (in the classical sense) isn't Hamlet killing Claudius, it's Hamlet waffling sword in hand, with Claudius at his mercy.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Pilgrim View Post
    * Okay, Sabine had horns. But that's different from tusks. A girl with horns is horny! (ba-dum tssss)
    I wouldn't really say Elan is particularly attracted to Sabine, even with the kiss.

    I imagine capable of delivering a "passionate" kiss whenever circumstances require, even when circumstances include "my consent doesn't really matter and I want to piss of my brother"

  11. - Top - End - #71
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    Default Re: How do we feel about Therkla?

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Weirdo View Post
    I feel towards her the same amount of empathy, patience and understanding I feel towards any "Neutral or Lawful Neutral character that is beholden to a Lawful Evil guy (particularly a noble, particularly an usurper one) and yet is only doing their job when they do said guy's bidding" within the context in question (i.e.: how she fell in love and then died and so on in doing that).

    Zero.
    Seconding this.

    @The_Pilgrim I feel like your understanding of how Elan relates to Therkla is not on steady ground. Obviously you’re welcome to interpret the text how you want, but to my mind there’s no textual evidence that Elan was repulsed by Therkla for being orcish or even considered it as a factor. In fact part of the reason she falls for him in the first place is that he treats her like a normal person instead of an orc.
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  12. - Top - End - #72
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    Default Re: How do we feel about Therkla?

    I say that the comic never shown Elan felt any kind of physical attraction towards Therkla. Whether it's because of her orcish traits or any other reason is secondary. Elan himself probably has never given it a thougth, given that he is not a character who usually reflects about his own actions or feelings.

    Besides, the fact that you point out that a factor in Therkla falling in love with him is that he doesn't treats her different for resembling an orc, means you acknowelde that people treating her different for resembling an orc was an usual occurrence on her life. And btw, thinking that someone looks good is not a prerrequisite to treat that person with respect or to befriend that person.
    Last edited by The Pilgrim; 2019-09-26 at 02:44 PM.

  13. - Top - End - #73
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    Default Re: How do we feel about Therkla?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Pilgrim View Post
    I say that the comic never shown Elan felt any kind of physical attraction towards Therkla. Whether it's because of her orcish traits or any other reason is secondary.
    I think the point is not that Elan was ever meant to be conflicted, just that if Haley hadn't been part of the picture he would have felt attracted to Therkla. His pre-existing love for Haley precluded that possibility, but that doesn't mean the possibility itself wasn't real.
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    Default Re: How do we feel about Therkla?

    Quote Originally Posted by hrožila View Post
    I think the point is not that Elan was ever meant to be conflicted, just that if Haley hadn't been part of the picture he would have felt attracted to Therkla. His pre-existing love for Haley precluded that possibility, but that doesn't mean the possibility itself wasn't real.
    Mmmmh... true. When you are in love with someone, that certainly provides you with a certain immunity to feeling attracted to people of the desired gender you would normally feel attracted to.

    Still, the point would have been made more clear if Therkla had been presented as an attractive person, like Samantha (who, in Elan's words, was younger and had higher charisma than Haley). But that would have made Therkla a whole different character with a whole different story arc, probably much less interesting.
    Last edited by The Pilgrim; 2019-09-26 at 02:33 PM.

    I owe Emanick 20 quatloos if the Sphinx Pox turns out to have a further story role beyond "passing commentary" - and vice versa.

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    Default Re: How do we feel about Therkla?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Pilgrim View Post
    Still, the point would have been made more clear if Therkla had been presented as an attractive person, like Samantha (who, in Elan's words, was younger and had higher charisma than Haley). But that would have made Therkla a whole different character with a whole different story arc, probably much less interesting.
    It might be hard to ascertain the raw beauty of someone who spends most of their waking hours wearing a ninja mask. :)
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    Default Re: How do we feel about Therkla?

    For what it's worth, Elan does call Therkla "sorta cute." Take that how you will.

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    Default Re: How do we feel about Therkla?

    Quote Originally Posted by Harbinger View Post
    Seconding this.
    An alarming number of people have been agreeing with me of late.
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    Default Re: How do we feel about Therkla?

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Weirdo View Post
    An alarming number of people have been agreeing with me of late.
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    Default Re: How do we feel about Therkla?

    Quote Originally Posted by Harbinger View Post
    You need to step up your game, mate. You’re slipping.
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    Default Re: How do we feel about Therkla?

    Quick, someone start an argument over whether Laurin Shattersmith is a good mother!

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    Default Re: How do we feel about Therkla?

    Quote Originally Posted by HorizonWalker View Post
    Quick, someone start an argument over whether Laurin Shattersmith is a good mother!
    Well, she's better than my biological one, to be sure.
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    Weirdo... I'm not sure you're entirely clear on how an 'alliance' works.

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    Default Re: How do we feel about Therkla?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quizatzhaderac View Post
    Also, that's not what Hamlets spends his time on; he spends it attempting to figure out if Claudis killed his father and what to do about it. The play's climax (in the classical sense) isn't Hamlet killing Claudius, it's Hamlet waffling sword in hand, with Claudius at his mercy.
    And note that Hamlet is CORRECT to waffle. His only initial evidence is what he's been told by something that admits to being a phantom sent up from Hell. That the phantom claims to be the ghost of his father out for revenge for a murder is something. But as far as Hamlet knows up to that moment, his father died of natural causes. Then the first really good chance he has to kill Claudius is while Claudius (his uncle, king, and foster-father) is praying, in a church, by stabbing him in the back, in front of witnesses.

    Yeah, nothing suspicious about this setup. That couldn't possibly be a demonic setup to get you to die in the commission of about 6 different moral sins.

    But note that the moment he gets a chance to kill someone he thinks might be Claudius who is doing something mildly nefarious at the time (eavesdropping from behind a tapestry), his sword is out and stabbing without checking ID or anything. He does want to kill Claudius, but he wants to do so in a way that confirms Claudius is actually guilty of something.

    You can argue that Hamlet is too skeptical and should act sooner, or that he should be more careful about collateral damage (he gets his best friend and his fiance and their father and two other friends and his own mother and himself all killed after all). But he's playing at high stakes, he knows he's playing at high stakes, and he's trying to act appropriately.

    The scene with him not stabbing Claudius in the church is simply there to provide some evidence for the audience as to why Hamlet doesn't just kill Claudius at the first opportunity. We see the first opportunity, and it has "this is a trap" written all over it like Admiral Ackbar was the playwright.

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    Default Re: How do we feel about Therkla?

    She was an interesting character, and her presence improved the story. I don't like her personally, but I don't think we were really supposed to. But I did respect her.

    As for her alignment, I'm pretty sure that she was Lawful Evil before she met Elan, but that his influence shifted her to True Neutral by the time she died. Sure, she was never as evil as a lot of other villains in the story, but she was evil.
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    Default Re: How do we feel about Therkla?

    Quote Originally Posted by HorizonWalker View Post
    Quick, someone start an argument over whether Laurin Shattersmith is a good mother!
    Ummmm she tried to keep her family out of nefarious business, that's good
    But maybe
    She wanted to keep them out so she can blackmail them more effectively if they find something good! Because that's what plumbers do right?
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    Default Re: How do we feel about Therkla?

    Quote Originally Posted by HorizonWalker View Post
    Quick, someone start an argument over whether Laurin Shattersmith is a good mother!
    Remember, Laurin was actually the green spikey devil that HPoH summoned. We found that out in strip 910: Spikey was standing next to the Order in 909, but abruptly disappears as soon as Laurin shows up. Obviously, this is because Laurin was the devil, and she teleported out of the pit in between panels. This fact is confirmed over the next few pages, when "Spikey" is still not in the pit, because Laurin is standing next to Tarquin outside of the pit. We even get a clear view of the Order in the crater in panel 2 of page 912, and the spiked devil is nowhere to be seen. The devil doesn't reappear until 916, at the exact same time that Laurin disappears.

    With that in mind, I think Laurin is far from a perfect parent. She was consorting with Hel, who wants to destroy the world (which is why HPoH was able to call her with Planar Ally). On the other hand, she did help the Order escape from Tarquin's army, which forced Tarquin to promise her a favor, which she used to get access to a giant ocean to help her daughter's business.
    And yes, this entire post is sarcastic, in case you couldn't tell.
    Last edited by 137ben; 2019-09-28 at 09:36 PM.

  26. - Top - End - #86
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: How do we feel about Therkla?

    Quote Originally Posted by 137ben View Post
    Remember, Laurin was actually the green spikey devil that HPoH summoned. We found that out in strip 910: Spikey was standing next to the Order in 909, but abruptly disappears as soon as Laurin shows up. Obviously, this is because Laurin was the devil, and she teleported out of the pit in between panels. This fact is confirmed over the next few pages, when "Spikey" is still not in the pit, because Laurin is standing next to Tarquin outside of the pit. We even get a clear view of the Order in the crater in panel 2 of page 912, and the spiked devil is nowhere to be seen. The devil doesn't reappear until 916, at the exact same time that Laurin disappears.

    With that in mind, I think Laurin is far from a perfect parent. She was consorting with Hel, who wants to destroy the world (which is why HPoH was able to call her with Planar Ally). On the other hand, she did help the Order escape from Tarquin's army, which forced Tarquin to promise her a favor, which she used to get access to a giant ocean to help her daughter's business.
    And yes, this entire post is sarcastic, in case you couldn't tell.
    Honestly, I don't have much to say. I'm just impressed. That's beautifully, creatively, utterly batspit. I love it.

  27. - Top - End - #87
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    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: How do we feel about Therkla?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
    As for her alignment, I'm pretty sure that she was Lawful Evil before she met Elan, but that his influence shifted her to True Neutral by the time she died. Sure, she was never as evil as a lot of other villains in the story, but she was evil.
    I'm pretty sure you can remain True Neutral, even if your work's description includes black ops and assassination. After all, we don't know what Therkla thought about all the lives she supposedly has taken during her career. For all we know, even the guy she killed when she received her title could have been the worst guy ever and she hated him for that. Motivation is essential for proper alignment categorization IMO.
    (sic)

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  28. - Top - End - #88
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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: How do we feel about Therkla?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Joeltion View Post
    I'm pretty sure you can remain True Neutral, even if your work's description includes black ops and assassination. After all, we don't know what Therkla thought about all the lives she supposedly has taken during her career. For all we know, even the guy she killed when she received her title could have been the worst guy ever and she hated him for that. Motivation is essential for proper alignment categorization IMO.
    Motivation is important, but on the other hand, in the Stickverse, there are things that are just plain Evil regardless of what the person doing them thinks about it. Belkar never sits down and decides, "I'm going to do Evil stuff today!" he just decides "I want to kill something, who's in my way today?".

  29. - Top - End - #89
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: How do we feel about Therkla?

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    Motivation is important, but on the other hand, in the Stickverse, there are things that are just plain Evil regardless of what the person doing them thinks about it. Belkar never sits down and decides, "I'm going to do Evil stuff today!" he just decides "I want to kill something, who's in my way today?".
    For that matter, V never thought "I'm going to do evil by casting Familicide and killing all of the Draketooths." They cast Familicide, which was evil. Because genocide is always evil.
    Last edited by 137ben; 2019-09-30 at 11:37 PM.

  30. - Top - End - #90
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    Fyraltari's Avatar

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    Default Re: How do we feel about Therkla?

    As for the ninja graduate she killed I think I remember the Giant stating that that’s just how ninja school rolls and both of them knew that when they enrolled.
    "Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    the Vector Legion [is the IFCC's new pawns], mark my words. Way too much unfinished business there and they already know about the Gates.
    I'll take that bet.

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