Author Topic: Seraph - remember him?  (Read 2666 times)

gyoza

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Seraph - remember him?
« on: October 18, 2011, 11:33:12 pm »
Hi guys! :)

First off, a little background: I was a longtime Flipside reader and posted a bit in the old forum, before getting really busy and taking a several year-long hiatus. I decided to resume reading Flipside a couple of days ago and sped through the archives (including book 0) as a refresher to get me back up to speed. I've found Flipside to be a great read then and now, and though there are some characters I wouldn't like if I met in real life, they're all compelling and act in totally believable ways given their personalities. The one exception to this statement in my case would be Seraph: I just can't seem to understand the guy. Since apparently I have nothing better to do than worry about the foibles of fictional characters, I'm going to explain myself a little bit and then ask for opinions from you guys :)

On this most recent reading, I didn't have a problem with Seraph with most of Book 0, until I hit book 15. My problem can be summed up in these three scenes:
http://flipside.keenspot.com/comic/book0/fs15pg11.html
http://flipside.keenspot.com/comic/book0/fs18pg09.html
http://flipside.keenspot.com/comic/book0/fs20pg04.html

These three pages paint a picture of a guy who neglected and cheated on his wife, didn't regret it, and thought her crazy for having the audacity to take it badly, a guy who later takes this grudge against his wife and directs it at all women, forbids his apprentice from having a girlfriend under the standard "I don't want you to go through what I did" and "all women are the same" pretext, despite actually admitting a few chapters later that he did find fulfillment with women (the women he cheated on Noventia with), and who now scorns all women for being crazy and irrational (despite the fact that every single thing he has done in the preceding paragraph smacks of irrationality). So not only is he an asshole, but a hypocritical asshole whose words and actions make no sense whatsoever.

Weird thing is, his final monologue (http://flipside.keenspot.com/comic/book0/fs21pg09.html) reveals a completely different Seraph - if that page existed on its own, it represents a compelling, well-rounded character and is in keeping with most of the scenes we see of him (a cold, calculating, rational sorcerer). It's also consistent with the regret he shows here: http://flipside.keenspot.com/comic/book0/fs15pg09.html. Why, then, does he come across the way he does in the 3 pages above?

The taunting of Noventia is probably the easiest to explain away - calling her a crazy bitch served pretty much the same purpose as Bern's goading of Bloody Mary in their second battle. He already knew he had less spirit energy than her and his only chance to beat her would be to make her so incredibly pissed off that she lost focus... and it worked.

His remarks to Bern are a little harder to explain. The only thing I can think of is that it was a plot device - he had to be taken to the torture room, which meant he needed to be knocked out, which meant he had to say something incredibly dickish to Bern. As for his forbidding Lucient to have a girlfriend, I have completely no ideas.

I'd love to hear what you guys thought of Seraph, and if you had any way of reconciling his very illogical actions with each other :)

Brion Foulke

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Re: Seraph - remember him?
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2011, 08:20:14 am »
Hi there, welcome back to the forum!  Glad to hear that you're getting caught up again.  I'll go ahead and briefly address the points you raised:

These three pages paint a picture of a guy who neglected and cheated on his wife, didn't regret it, and thought her crazy for having the audacity to take it badly,

To be fair, "take it badly" is a bit of an understatement.  Noventia went on a lifelong quest of murderous revenge, actually killing him at one point.  Seraph admittedly was a huge jerk to her, but does that justify her behavior?  The equivalent in our world would be a woman hunting down a man with a shotgun and executing him.  Given that that's the case, I think Seraph's attitude towards women makes sense for his character.

L0g0s

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Re: Seraph - remember him?
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2011, 01:36:56 pm »
I have to point out that this sentence describes nearly every person on the planet. 

"So not only is he an asshole, but a hypocritical asshole whose words and actions make no sense whatsoever."

I say *nearly* because I haven't actually met every person on the planet, and I'm sure that there's at least one or two odd balls out there.

gyoza

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Re: Seraph - remember him?
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2011, 05:01:21 pm »
Thanks for replying guys :) Probably some of my personal distaste for the character came through in the post and my main point was lost in translation... I'm not here to be a reverse-fanboy and be like "OMG SERAPH IS TEH SUCK", but I'm trying to understand the thoughts and motivations of his character. Obviously Noventia can't be excused for what she did, but it wasn't so much Seraph's attitude towards women per se that bothered me as how he seemed to swing wildly between "I created a monster"/"I must have been a terrible husband" and "damn bitch, you crazy!". The inconsistency was pretty jarring and at odds with his cold/calculating persona.

Also, if all I knew about Seraph was that he cheated on his wife and she killed him, I'd understand his attitude about women. But he goes on to say later that he found happiness with the women he cheated on Noventia with. That's something I can't make sense of; I'm not sure how a Level 3 sorcerer can take the fact "My wife killed me for cheating on her" and the fact "I found fulfillment in seven illicit relationships" and derive "all women are crazy" from it. :)

L0g0s: True... most people are hypocritical assholes on some level, but it's the 'words and actions make no sense' part that I would emphasize. I mean, there's "I'm proud that I'm so humble", and then there's "tell you that violence solves nothing as I beat a man to death with his own spleen". His actions make no sense, at least to me, and I'm trying to understand what his thoughts and motivations would have been as he forbade Lucient to have a girlfriend because 'men and women are incompatible', all the while having happy little flings with....oh yeah, women.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2011, 05:13:51 pm by gyoza »

Andrea

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Re: Seraph - remember him?
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2011, 01:43:55 am »
Actually Seraph was my favorite character at that time, and I'm sorry he died. His woman was indeed a psycho bitch, while he was a great character.

gyoza

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Re: Seraph - remember him?
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2011, 05:07:41 pm »
Valid opinion, but I'm not trying to find people who agree or disagree with me - even big assholes can be compelling characters (Moss is an example IMO), and since Seraph does seem to have quite a few fans I'm trying to find explanations for his thoughts, motives and actions.

Narrowing it down:
- He hates women. I don't have a problem with him hating women because his wife killed him - perfectly understandable. I have yet to come up with a plausible explanation for him hating ALL women despite having cheated on his wife with seven women who by all accounts were perfectly normal.

- Hypocrisy. Essentially, at some point he said to Lucient, "Don't have a relationship because women and men are incompatible. Now stay here and be a good boy while I bang some women behind my wife's back." Ignoring the hypocrisy inherent in the above statment, let's look at his two main grudges against women. Firstly, they're controlling - http://flipside.keenspot.com/comic/book0/fs15pg11.html - though he doesn't seem to be giving Lucient any kind of freedom at all. Secondly, they're irrational - http://flipside.keenspot.com/comic/book0/fs18pg09.html - but if you can find me one thing that's in any way rational in these two paragraphs I'll eat my kneecap.

Now it's true that everyone in the world of Flipside (and the real world for that matter) is hypocritical in some way. But Seraph is the cold, calculating, logical one - if there's one character you'd expect to not be irrational or hypocritical, it's him. So this seems to go against the kind of character that Brion established in the first few chapters.

- Reconciling these two Seraphs: http://flipside.keenspot.com/comic/book0/fs15pg09.html and http://flipside.keenspot.com/comic/book0/fs20pg08.html I'm not saying Noventia wasn't a crazy bitch because she was, but one shows the words of someone who regrets his part in what happened, and the other shows the words of someone totally unremorseful. So which is it? Because you can't both regret and not regret something.

Any character can be likeable if you understand their actions and motivations but Seraph is just a bundle of contradictions to me right now - hope someone can shed some light on this.

Brion Foulke

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Re: Seraph - remember him?
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2011, 05:37:02 pm »
- Reconciling these two Seraphs: http://flipside.keenspot.com/comic/book0/fs15pg09.html and http://flipside.keenspot.com/comic/book0/fs20pg08.html I'm not saying Noventia wasn't a crazy bitch because she was, but one shows the words of someone who regrets his part in what happened, and the other shows the words of someone totally unremorseful. So which is it? Because you can't both regret and not regret something.

Let me just answer this.  There's no contradiction there.  In one situation Seraph is in a safe, calm place.  In another he is being held prisoner and threatened.  Obviously his emotional state is going to be very different in those two situations.  People are complex... they often have mixed feelings about some things.  Perhaps Seraph feels both remorse for his actions, and anger at Suspiria.  In one situation where he's feeling reflective, the remorse comes to the surface... in the other when he's being held prisoner, the anger comes to the surface.  Does that make sense?