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Villains You Pity But Do Not Sympathize With

Discussion in 'Fiction Discussion' started by Nikkolas, Jan 3, 2017.

  1. Nikkolas


    Texas, US
    An important distinction I think.

    A villain does not, in my view, have to repent to earn pity. Sympathy is another matter but as far as pity goes, I think a good death scene can accomplish this. Villains like Father from Fullmetal Alchemist or Light Yagami from Death Note immediately come to mind for me as examples of this. They've done all these horrible things and they've brought their pathetic, violent ends upon themselves...yet they still just don't get it. Whether it's Father shouting "WHAT WAS I SUPPOSED TO DO?" or Light begging for someone to save him in spite of the fact he's alienated or killed everyone in his life, they just can't see passed themselves to understand this is all their fault.

    That's tragically pitiable in my view, just not sympathetic.

    Do you agree? Do you have any similar examples?
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  2. Insufficient Dakka

    Insufficient Dakka Funpost King

    Sephiroth had a really messed up backstory that factors into who he is, but he's still a horrible monster who wouldn't hesitate to destroy the planet.
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  3. Cthaeth

    Cthaeth Have at thee, blaggard!

    Tir Na Nog
    Yeah insert any Final Fantasy villain here, 'cept maybe Ultimacea of the Yuna conspiracy theory is true )which it isn't. Square Enix is fine with huge twists, they were not gonna leave something that monumental up to you to decide. But whatever).

    I feel sorry for Voldemort and Magneto due to their childhoods but...yeesh.

    I also kinda get Dooku, althugh why he decided the best way to fight the evils of corruption was to join Space!extremists is beyond me.

    Joel from the last of us (shutup he's clearly the villain at the end). I feel sorry for him because of all he's gone through, but
    killing dozens of people to prevent the death of the one person who's death would end the literal apocalypse when that person , being of sound mind and whatnot, fucking agreed to it (including killing defenseless bystanders along the say mind you)
    was just....no.

    Maxwell/Charlie from don't astarve . What they're currently up to is....yeah no, but how they got there is pretty sad.
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  4. Insufficient Dakka

    Insufficient Dakka Funpost King

    A lot of the notes tell us that Ellie's far from the first person with an immunity the Fireflies tried to use to make a cure. Letting them use her isn't that likely to have gotten them any closer to saving the world.
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  5. Dream Logic

    Dream Logic Best Worst Person

    All of the shadows from persona 4.

    You are the literal embodiment of everything your psyche hates about itself. Which goes a mile to explain why they feel the need to prey on the psyche of their person.

    Still doesn't excuse the fact they would kill you if you didn't accept them on the spot. But I still pity their circumstances.
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  6. Janus


    Hm interesting. I think that The Joker sometimes fits this description. Some of his incarnations should be more put out of their misery than just killed out of malice. SOME of his incarnations though, are just hideously evil.
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  7. If it helps the normal shadows that you face, not the boss ones, are just the negative parts collective unconsciousness and have no real understanding of most anything; they are simply rabid animals. Boss shadows have a human level of self awareness and you can only beat them by accepting the parts of you that you hate and becoming a better and whole person, it that makes sense.

    I pity Gendo Ikari, but I do not sympathize with him at all.
  8. Melancholeric

    Melancholeric Love can ignite the stars.

    Nice Joel roleplaying there. Did you not notice the «Ellie is the breakthrough» buzz all around the endgame, or are you just ignoring everything except a single note that actually matches that buzz? :V
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  9. Insufficient Dakka

    Insufficient Dakka Funpost King

    I figured the Fireflies were in denial this would be any different from all the other times they've done this and failed.
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  10. Melancholeric

    Melancholeric Love can ignite the stars.

    Ah yes, people with actual surgeons and medical knowledge are in denial. Not a dad that has his daughter taken away.
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  11. Insufficient Dakka

    Insufficient Dakka Funpost King

    Because people haven't ever had false hope before. Mhmm.
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  12. Melancholeric

    Melancholeric Love can ignite the stars.

    Of course they have, take Joel, you and everybody else that justufies kidnapping Ellie for example. People that are emotionally invested in something have a tendency to ignore what experts say, because dad just knows the virus better than actual medics, amiright?
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  13. Insufficient Dakka

    Insufficient Dakka Funpost King

    Is there anything showing they're going to do this differently last time than "they're surgeons"?
    • Like Like x 4
  14. Scorpius. He has a very justified hatred and fear of what the scarrans are capable of and is ruthless enough to pursue any avenue to gain a strategic advantage over them. And he puts John Chricton through so much hell and misery that he didn't deserve, negating any feelings of sympathy towards him.
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  15. Dark Lord Bob

    Dark Lord Bob Ambition

    Of course, experts that deserve the title (like quite a few in our world) typically succeed at some stuff. If every time someone says "Trust me, I'm an expert." they fail entirely, and this keeps happening, eventually you've got to wonder if they really have any expertise.

    I haven't played the game, so I can't say much with any certainty. Is there any reason to believe their belief that this time they'll succeed is any more accurate than all the other times they believed it? Or that these 'experts' aren't also emotionally invested?
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2017
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  16. Strunkriidiisk

    Strunkriidiisk Ah yes, 'Reapers.'

    Alberta, Canada
    Saren Arterius. He was a raging asshole, a xenophobe, and alarmingly blasé regarding collateral damage and civilian casualties even before Sovereign got its hooks into him.
    • Hugs Hugs x 5
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  17. vicky_molokh

    vicky_molokh The *other* transhuman[ist]

    Kyïv, Ukraine
    I'm not sure what exactly what you mean by pity in this context. You seem to be using this word as some sort of good thing. But I think this is the closest match:

    Clyde Shelton, Law Abiding Citizen. He had to go through some very, very bad stuff in the film's beginning, which was then aggravated by being screwed out of justice by the way the system works, and then later witnessed other cases of people in power abusing the system to get what they wanted, even when they were again and again offered opportunities to do the right thing. And yet I cannot support the approach he took to avenge such injustices.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2017
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  18. galahad

    galahad Seeker of Truths

    TBH when you consider his origin what choice did Scorpius have in life but turn ruthless. His origin is basically if there is a god he hates you. A life of happiness, goodness even if he craved it was never possible for the guy.
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  19. Sayle


    Sauron. There was a moment when he could have been redeemed, but fear of rejection and punishment drove him away. Still, what he did was heinous.
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  20. Nikkolas


    Texas, US
    Saruman is much the same. The parallels between him and Sauron are pretty much endless.
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  21. Reveen

    Reveen Dunked On

    The Fireflies thought they could effectively study a specimen and create a cure by killing the specimen, and pretty much fucking immediately at that. Because apparently they know that they can succeed in one shot and that the biological processes that they need to study don't require the host to, y'know, be alive?

    Joel may be a psycho. But the Fireflies were completely fuckstupid.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2017
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  22. I agree, I'm just saying he's not sympathetic.
  23. BunBun299

    BunBun299 Killer Rabbit

    Shinzon from Star Trek Nemesis. He only existed for a plan to plant a Romulan Agent in Star Fleet, a plan which was aborted, causing him to become the weakest slave in the Dilithium Mines, and yet he rose to become a major military leader during the Dominion War. And then, due to a genetic flaw as a result of the cloning process that created him, found he was dying.

    The guy had a lot of crap in his life. Doesn't justify his plans, but I can't help but pity his situation.
    I know a lot of people don't like that movie, but I kinda do. To me, it's the best of the bad Trek movies.
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  24. SteelRaptor

    SteelRaptor Ready for Zone ops!

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  25. Mila

    Mila Mysterious and magical cat

    I actually literally just finished playing this game last week! There isn't really any indication that the Fireflies have had a "live" specimen to study before that has an immunity. They've purposely infected monkeys (or at the least, it is implied they have) with the cordyceps to study it, but never had a human being who is immune to the infection before as far as I remember it. They believe that they can formulate a cure by examining her brain because typically the cordyceps fucks with your brain and turns you into a mindless, aggressive animal that wants to eat other people. They think they might be able to figure something out by studying Ellie's brain. Sadly, they don't seem to have a working MRI machine so they decide they just have to cut her open to do it. Is it necessarily smart or a good idea? No, but it's a desperate act from people who are still doing their best to try and defeat a disease that has basically collapsed human civilization. The life of one girl, in their view, is an unfortunate but necessary sacrifice towards that end.

    Joel is a traumatized, violent man who has spent twenty years following the death of his daughter as not just a smuggler, but a violent criminal. He has robbed and murdered innocent people and at the beginning of the game wants to just dump Ellie and be done with it. In fact, midway through the game he tries to foist her off on his poor brother who has his own life to live. Ellie even confronts Joel about how she's not his daughter. Yes, they grow attached to each other and so forth, but Joel is a bad person. Yes, his trauma and loss are pitiable but he is a violent man whose only real skill is killing people (his brother even throws that at him when the hydroelectric plant is attacked, asking sarcastically if he still remembers how to kill). He substitutes Ellie for the dead daughter in his mind and instead of thinking about what Ellie would want to do (and she has been pretty clear that she wants to help the Fireflies) or the bigger picture, he instead goes on a violent rampage, murders his way through the Firefly facility, kills the woman who is effectively Ellie's only family in cold blood and then lies to her about it. It's heavily implied at the end of the game that Ellie knows this and I hope that the sequel involves Ellie confronting Joel about his lies.

    Anyway, Joel is a bad person even if he's the protagonist.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2017
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