Author Topic: Quod Dea Vult  (Read 2748 times)

Istvan

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Quod Dea Vult
« on: December 06, 2013, 09:47:45 PM »
Well, it's been an all around wonderful experience, and I'm quite sad to see it ending. The other contestants were a fantastic group of people, and you audience members with your unceasing dedication to reading and reviewing deserve a hearty round of applause as well.

And now, of course, it is time for the traditional question-answer-and-guessing routine. I'm sure that there are still some lingering questions about Istvan that you all still have, though I can't promise how much I'll be willing to reveal. Some things, after all, are better off a mystery.

Balmafula

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Re: Quod Dea Vult
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2013, 01:38:21 AM »
I have to congratulate you, first and foremost. One thing I've always believed is that it is hard to make a paladin-type character that's not boring or just a one-dimensional stereotype. Chloe from Tales of Legendia is a good counter to that, and now, so is Istvan. Istvan always managed to show his character and personality through his religion without it being just a gimmick or the entirety of his character. Anyway, I think I've already gone on enough about how much I like Istvan so onward to the questioning!

1. Why an otter? This may seem like an odd question, and the answer might as well just be "well, I like otters!" but I'm genuinely curious.
2. I won't be asking any questions about the nature of the All-Mother, but are there any other Woodlanders that follow the All-Mother religion? Was he ever able to convince any other Yew villagers?

And because I asked Nyika...

3. What is Istvan's theme song?
4. If Istvan was a Pokemon what would his type and signature move be?

Istvan

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Re: Quod Dea Vult
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2013, 07:49:24 AM »
1. Otters are interesting. They inhabit a bizarre gray area in the traditional woodlander triumvirate of themselves, mice, and squirrels. They're carnivores, and are more physiologically similar to weasels and the like than to their fellow woodlanders, not to mention being much stronger. Istvan's a character who takes the black/white mentality of the Redwall series and warps it horribly, and an otter seemed most adapted to fill that role.

2. Yes and no. There are probably a couple vermin and woodlanders running around the poorer parts of Yew with the swirly tattoos, but he's never managed to actually convert anyone totally. Those few who are not repelled by Istvan himself tend to bolt whenever sacrifice becomes a pressing issue.

3. Good question! And the short answer is, I have no idea- though this is probably a good place to start.

4. Hmm... I'm going to say that he'd be a steel/dark type, and his signature move would be either Destiny Bond or Curse.

Matra Hammer

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Re: Quod Dea Vult
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2013, 09:20:26 AM »
Who wins in the following tag-team fight: Flash Gordon and Freddy Mercury VS John Williams and Pre-Jedi-Training Luke Skywalker?

Would you rather: never be able to eat the same thing twice ever again OR get slapped HARD once per day at a random time of the day for the rest of your life?

Which element (magical) is the worst? Why?

How much of Istvan's religion was planned and what did you have in mind for it from the start?

What do you think made Istvan so successful? Give me a top three.

Why is Istvan a Yew Guard?

Istvan

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Re: Quod Dea Vult
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2013, 02:02:33 PM »
Matra:
1. Do you even have to ask? Freddy and Flash dream team all the way.

2. Second one, since that happens to me on a fairly regular basis anyway (I make bad jokes and my friends are sadists).

3. I'm going to go with water, since it's far too situational; a water mage wouldn't last five minutes in desert combat.

4. Honestly, I'd figured out pretty much everything by the time my first post was over. Once I got down the core beliefs, all the situational stuff flowed from that.

5. Well, it looks like I'm going to have to be a bit egoistical here. Hmm... first and foremost, I think Istvan represents a rather rare instance of the paladin character type that isn't entirely one-dimensional- I looked at the idea of someone who basis their entire life around one specific cause to the exclusion of everything else, and though to myself: "What kind of person would freely choose to do this? What kind of life would they have led to bring them here?" And then I ran with that. I think that way of approaching the archetype made Istvan so popular because it's not terribly common, it's quite realistic, and it forces you to think seriously about the nature of right and wrong, good and evil, and the lens that everyone views those things through.

Secondly, his relationship with Nyika. That's definitely the most important relationship for the two of them, and (in my opinion) its only real competition for "Most Important Relationship of the Contest" would be the Zevka/Mekad dynamic. Especially in the second half of the contest, Istvan and Nyika's shared struggle to understand their missions and themselves paved the way for some of their most dramatic character moments and interactions.

Thirdly, I think my policy of being very careful about how and what I revealed probably helped out as well. Kept things interesting, kept people guessing, and there's enough stuff that I never saw anyone catch on to that it makes the story worth at least a reread or two.

5. One of the parts of Istvan's past that I never really touched on is the discrepancy between when everything went downhill "sixteen seasons ago" (Painting Wings in Shades of Red) and his joining of the Yew Guard seven seasons ago. The reason I never touched on it is because it's almost entirely irrelevant, and there were always much more important things to discuss. In short, the Yew Guard represents the last in a series of jobs that Istvan took to keep food in his body, and he stayed with it as long as he did because it turned out to be a perfect fit for him. He's large and strong, takes orders well, and has a genuine commitment to keeping society running smoothly and morally upright. The fact that he was given a large amount of leeway by his superiors with regards to the condition of prisoners definitely helped as well. He was, of course, completely ineligible for further promotion because the officers of the Yew Guard are not entirely stupid, but he had no desire for earthly authority or money anyway.

carelesswhisper

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Re: Quod Dea Vult
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2013, 04:16:50 PM »
At last -

Were the similarities to a cult structure coincidental? 

What gave you the idea to incorporate self injury as part of the repentance process?

How do you, personally, see Istvan?  I feel like my take on him is pretty different from what other audience members have vocalized, and I'm interested to know your opinion.  Is he mentally ill?  Is his religion based in fact, or in hope? 

Istvan

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Re: Quod Dea Vult
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2013, 04:54:48 PM »
Careless!

1. Both yes and no, I'd have to say. I did do a bit of research when constructing Istvan's religion, but most of it just stems from the fact that that was the structure that I felt seemed natural for him. The religion definitely classifies as a cult, so I suppose there are only a limited number of ways that definition can play out.

2. Well, injuring others for their forgiveness was pretty solidly entrenched in the theology from my application, and one of the only real saving graces of Istvan's religion is its egalitarianism. Istvan doesn't hold the rest of the world to any higher of a standard than he holds himself, and as a priest his duty is to serve as the intercessor on earth for a higher power,  so it follows that he could obtain forgiveness for others by performing the same rituals on himself as he would on them.

I put a fair amount of thought into All-Mother theology, and I like to think it functions rather well as a self-contained philosophy, inasmuch as there are no real logical holes in it if you throw out all your basic morality first.

3. Good question! And, naturally, it's one I'm going to have to be a bit vague about, since I don't want my opinion of Istvan to wreck anyone else's interpretation.

Is he mentally ill? That's a hard one to answer, given that the circumstances we put the characters through would make it hard to say who's really sane at this point. Everyone's a prime candidate for PTSD at the very least. But as of the beginning of the story... I'm going to say "yes, but not in the way you think." Istvan's acceptance of his religion isn't based on insanity. We all look at the world through a specific lens built from our experiences and teachings, filtered through our own personality. Istvan's just someone who happened to get a very unusual combination of these things, and being the stubborn bastard he is he refused to modify anything to conform to others' standards.

Is his religion based on fact or hope? Well, isn't every religion ultimately based on hope? Certainly Istvan's experiences are fact, and he "hopes" (believes/knows) that his interpretation of them is fact as well. Whether or not there actually is an invisible Mother in the sky is entirely irrelevant to the story, to his character development, and to how the reader should think of him.

Now, as for how I see Istvan... I see him as a person. That's basically it. He makes decisions based on what he believes is right. He cares for others, in his own way. He goes through some horrible experiences and that changes him for better or for worse. I don't intend him to be some kind of grand Author Tract about my opinions on religion, because that would be utterly stupid and not conducive to a realistic character. People aren't caricatures or symbols. People have nuances that dip into what we call "good," and "bad," and all kinds of areas in between. If nothing else, Istvan shows that there's no way to reduce others down to a single denominator, and the dangers of trying to see them as such. If that makes any sense.

carelesswhisper

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Re: Quod Dea Vult
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2013, 05:14:27 PM »
I have so many more questions and counters along those same lines, but I feel like it's going to quickly get out of hand for the purposes of this thread.  So I might be PMing you.  Istvan has intrigued me from the start for countless reasons, and you've hit on so many themes that are very important to me, so - I've wondered a lot of things through the course of the story. 

How long have you been a part of the ROC? 

Istvan

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Re: Quod Dea Vult
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2013, 05:22:59 PM »
When did Redscape start? 2009? Man, I feel old.

Nyika

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Re: Quod Dea Vult
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2013, 05:26:51 PM »
2004, son! You whippersnapper, you!! Get off my lawn!

Nyika

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Re: Quod Dea Vult
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2013, 07:24:15 PM »
What would Istvan's direction have been if Nyika had died early on, specifically, after this little line here:

Quote
"Because you may be something great! A miracle unseen since the long-past glory days. If you are real, I want to see you achieve your full potential and be a beacon of light to believers."

Istvan

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Re: Quod Dea Vult
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2013, 11:34:00 AM »
I have only received one guess as to my  identity, which is disappointing. Have you all no curiosity? I suppose I'll have to use some positive reinforcement then. As soon as someone guesses my identity correctly, I shall post the entirety of the greatest conversation in the history of the MO group chat. Assuming there are still some audience members who were not contestants, it's definitely worth the read.

And now, on to Nyika's question:
His direction would probably have been to an early grave, to tell you the truth. Nyika was so much of a central figure in Istvan's character arc that I'm having a hard time thinking of how it could have turned out differently and still been as good. But if I had to take a guess... he'd probably wouldn't have drifted away from the other Guards so much in the second half of the contest, since Nyika was the primary catalyst that drew him out of his dreary life of obeying Noonahootin's orders and slitting throats. His relationship with Poko probably would have developed more as well, since they had quite a few imtimations of closeness that were sadly never really articulated or focused on.

When it comes down to it, even if Istvan survived to the end without Nyika, I highly doubt he would have been the same person we saw in my final post. Zevka really was the only other positive influence on him, and she pulls him in an entirely different direction than Nyika, not to mention that he's less inclined to listen to what she says. So it's likely that he would have ended the story more confused, less sure of his destiny and his place in the world, and he'd likely not have stuck around in Carrigul with the others unless some other factor came up to root him there.

Noonahootin

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Re: Quod Dea Vult
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2013, 11:46:00 AM »
It's not that I'm not curious, Corporal; I just don't know anyone anymore! Alas!
:noonahootin: Captain Noonahootin

Poko

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Re: Quod Dea Vult
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2013, 12:46:25 PM »
So it's likely that he would have ended the story more confused, less sure of his destiny and his place in the world, and he'd likely not have stuck around in Carrigul with the others unless some other factor came up to root him there.

I'd like to have seen Istvan fall in love. That would have been interesting. I mean I guess he kind of did in a twisted way with Nyika, but more as a servant than a partner...and I'm not convinced she has in mind for him what's best for him. Istvan might be the angel to oppose the demon influence in Nyika's world, but in Istvan's world, I am not so sure Nyika was HIS angel (though he thinks she is).

I imagine if he found a young believer in Carrigul who actually cared about his emotional as well as physical well-being and cared for and loved him, it could have been that "other factor."

But that's just another "what if" scenario.

carelesswhisper

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Re: Quod Dea Vult
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2013, 12:51:25 PM »
I don't think istvan really wants someone to love.  Loved ones have flaws.  Worshipped ones do not. 

Are you male or female and are you an artist?