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Such a good boy ...

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  • Such a good boy ...

    BtVS and Ats made me think about good and evil, and when you are good or evil.

    Is it the soul? soulless persons --> bad, soulled persons ---> good? (What about the W&H lawyers, they are soulled, still planning the end of the world for a nice price)

    Are it the deeds? (Angelus killing the Beast and bringing back the sun, is Angelus good? Wesley kidnapping Connor; Wesley is evil?)

    And the one I always use;
    What was the intention? (Wesley kidnapping Connor doesn't make him an evil person because he tried to help, Lilah loves money, and does evil things to have a nice life ... she is bad, soul or no soul.) But than ... the problem;

    Gunn in a vampire who tries to be a hero ... he wants to save the world and the people ... only the little problem, he eats the people he saves. He has good intentions, he just can't do it ... he is soulless, he is a murderer ... and still, he tries to do good.

    I still look at their intentions to judge the character ... but the last character I mentioned made it very hard.

    What do you use to judge characters?
    I look if they are human.
    I look if they have a soul.
    I look at what they do.
    I look at their intentions.
    Last edited by Nina; 01-09-08, 02:00 PM.

  • #2
    For me the two most important factors are intent and remorse. If they feel remorse for something horrible they’ve done I'm more sympathetic to the character, if as you say their heart was in the right place and I can respond and connect with that, that also plays a huge part.

    Intention is huge for me. As for example, Spike helped save the world in 'Becoming' which in itself on the surface would be considered a good deed. But his intentions were to get Dru back. Once he has her, he leaves the world to be sucked into Hell and leaves Buffy to die. So clearly, intent plays a huge part in determining wether or not a character is good or evil, actions are not everything.

    Another example, Angelus stabs the Beast in the back, killing him and restoring the sun to Los Angeles. He very may well have saved a lot of people's lives. His actions would be considered good on the surface, but his intentions were anything but. Again, his intentions determine wether he is good or evil, not his actions.

    Compare both scenarios of Spike and Angelus with Wesley. Who as you say, kidnapped Angel’s son and in the end lost him to Holtz and a Hell dimension. His actions on the surface are bad, but his intentions were to save Connor’s life when he believed Angel would ultimately kill him. His intentions tell us his heart was in the right place, that’s how we judge what kind of person he is.

    So intent is a huge factor for me, I don't believe it's enough to simply look at a characters actions and determine wether or not they are good or bad, it's far more complicated than that.

    Remorse is also very important for me. Take for example the difference between Spike pre-season seven and Angel. Both have murdered hundreds of people. I determine Angel as good because he feels remorse for this, he's truly sorry for his past as Angelus. Spike without a soul sometimes helps the Scoobies out but he doesn't care about any of the people he's murdered, he jokes about them. Clearly the one with remorse, is the good one in that case.

    Or Darla. Darla didn't feel remorse for any of the people she had murdered when first coming back as human but slowly as she began to "feel the weight of her soul" she couldn't bare to look at herself, to the point she smashed all the mirrors in her room. Her genuine remorse makes her a better person than before when she had none.

    So they’re the two big factors for me in how I determine a character as good or evil. Obviously it gets more complicated than that and a soul plays a huge part, but even people with souls, like Warren, can be truly horrible.

    Did Lilah have a soul? Or did she sell it? I can’t remember? Was it ever stated? Because she's a person who, as much as I love her, was evil. Sure she was able to love Wesley but her capabilities to love is irrelevant. We've seen many of our evil vampires love someone and they were still evil, Lilah's no different.

    I agree about actions though, whilst I believe intent is more important actions sometimes play a part. Especially with the character you mention. Honestly, I don't feel comfortable with having one view I must apply to every character. Every situation is different and unique. When Angelus kills the Beast his intentions are more important than his actions, but with the character you mention, ultimately his actions are more significant than his intentions. Now my brain hurts...
    Last edited by vampmogs; 01-09-08, 02:17 PM.

    ~ Banner by Nina ~


    • #3
      Lilah had the same kind of contract as team Angel signed in Home I believe. She still had her soul, just like Lindsay and Holland ... but they ignored their guilt because they loved money and power too much.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Nina View Post
        Lilah had the same kind of contract as team Angel signed in Home I believe. She still had her soul, just like Lindsay and Holland ... but they ignored their guilt because they loved money and power too much.
        Oh ok thanks I honestly couldn't remember. I believe Wolfram and Hart lawyers do have the option of selling their souls but I may be wrong? I think it was a throw away comment, probably in a conversation between Lilah and Lindsey? Wouldn't surprise me.

        Was money and power really all that it was for Lilah though? I can understand why they may be motivations for her to get up and do the things she did everyday. But, nor money or power made her look at the devestated Angel just after loosing Connor, and say "Yes, we should. - We should let him suffer."

        ~ Banner by Nina ~


        • #5
          I don't know, maybe one of the members with a better memory can help me ... but I remember a quote about her comfortable life and how much she loved it.

          I think that Lilah started to hate Angel. He destroyed her peaceful life, she loses control when Angel is playing, he was a problem she couldn't fix and I remember that she was attracted to him in season 3? And he turned her down (Carpe Noctem?).
          Last edited by Nina; 01-09-08, 03:58 PM.


          • #6
            Lilah was definitely motivate by money and power. But she was also addicted to being who she was. In my opinion, Lilah was the best villain from either show because she was human, she had a soul, and she was 100% self-serving. And she always stayed true to character.

            As for the poll, I chose “other” because it is a mixture of things. A thing has to have a soul. I will never believe that a soulless vampire (like pre-season 7 Spike or Harmony) was good. They may have been forced to do good deeds, but they were evil, pure and simple.

            However, a demon like Lorne does not have a human soul and is definitely good (an exception to the rule for his species if the trip to Pylea is any indication) but he is also far more open minded about good and evil. He got along easily with evil demons in Caritas, but then so did Team Angel to a certain degree. Either way, I think that Lorne had something that resembled a soul.

            Intentions: Intentions are important. Wesley was good for trying to save Connor. He was wrong for not telling them about the prophecy, though. Has anyone noticed a theme here? Anytime someone tries to do something good despite the team, they always end up messing up?
            "A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject." - Winston Churchill


            • #7
              I recently started running a BtVS RPG season with a Slayer who isn't all that familiar with the canonical material. He's always liked playing paladins, though, so I figured he could handle the job. In our first session, however, he was all for cutting off a vamp's arms and cauterizing the wound to ensure the vamp wouldn't heal and then torturing the vamp. Suffice it to say, I had to steer him away from that sort of thing. It took some spoilerish doing (mostly concentrating on how Spike is treated) but he's got a better idea of the boundaries of Buffyverse morality.

              Sadly, I didn't think to just have him watch "That Old Gang of Mine." It would've been faster. I think TOGOM stands for the (previously implied but rarely ever stated very clearly) proposition that merely being a demon isn't enough; what one actually does matters more. Oh, sure, Slayers aren't supposed to kill humans (self defense excepted) but the 'good guys' aren't supposed to kill non-violent, non-'bad' non-humans, either. And I don't think intentions are the basis, either; they are merely guideposts for tough decisions (we understand that Wes kidnapping Connor was a good act from his POV but we also understand why he's shunned by the others for it for some time; by contrast, when Willow kills a human, it doesn't matter that we understand and maybe even agree with her desire for revenge, she's crossed a line and has become 'bad').

              So, the long and the short of it is, evil is as evil does. Intentions help us decide the close calls, but one's actions are what count most.

              I didn't jump. I took a tiny step, and there conclusions were.
              Addicted to Buffy


              • #8
                First, I have to say this is a major appeal to me. The whole grey area, where some people with a soul turn out to be bad and the soulless are better than those people. Second, I think it?s a complicated issue. For example, Spike tried to change his ways in S5, but not because he?s selfless, it?s because his intentions are to please Buffy. I voted "for what they do" but now I?m not very certain. Because what they do is also related to their intentions and sometimes, their intentions are not good.


                • #9
                  As a law student about to choose the path towards becoming a judge, I have to look at both what people do and what their intentions are, so I selected "Other".
                  Sin is what I feast upon
                  I'm forging my crematorium
                  Your tomb is waiting here for you
                  Welcome to my ritual

                  -Judas Priest, Death


                  • #10
                    I look at characters' actions. Intention for me is too woolly, as they say, 'the road to Hell is paved with good intentions'.

                    I will never see Faith as a 'good' character because of the things she knowingly did. In the same way, although Spike's intentions were sometimes suspect, his actions defined his character's growth over the later seasons of Buffy.

                    Buffy herself was always a doer, she often thought out loud and weighed up her options but she usually did the right thing when the time came to act.
                    What are you gonna do? Make me some more eggs?

                    Alan Tudyk Dot Net