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Thread: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

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    Default Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

    Since Iga came on, Castlevania has been way analytic psychological. Long hours of gameplay for a few very well done scenes has been the norm of the series. In these few scenes, the characaters, which are usually given minimal background, are fleshed out with apparent special attention to what I would call the supersocion traits.

    That is:
    • the IM type of the character
    • the EM type
    • the conflict resolution and caste types
    • the political type
    • various attitudinal tendencies between the belief elements, which may result in marked character flaws
    • and of course, the ethical type of the person (most easily captured with existing ethical philosophies/categorizations)

    Let's take as an example Portrait of Ruin for the Nintendo DS.




    These scenes clearly establish Charlotte as an ENTP: the creative Ti is apparent, with an eye to establishing the possibility or impossibility of propositions. The HA may not seem apparent at first, but consider the social implications of trying to achieve a desired effect over opposition. Charlotte makes enemies of the vampire sisters in deigning to escape the castle. Of course she has no choice but, logic leaves few options. INTJ, the other alpha NT possibility, is ruled out by her outgoing and socially observant nature.

    Her conflict resolution type is crisis oriented at the ego level and problem solving at the id: she sees crises as being created by intractable issues that become exponentially more dangerous the longer they are ignored. Decisive action is needed to keep the situation under control. Not that the character actually says much to indicate this outlook as such... experience with crisis-oriented people has shown them to have rather plush features, especially the women.

    However, consider that moment when Jonathan is about to recklessly use the Vampire Killer whip, an action which might have cost him his life and, moreover, might have exacerbated conflict needlessly. Charlotte urges restraint when dealing with this new, unknown face. The aim of a crisis-oriented ego is to avoid creating new problems by making appropriate compromises, thus keeping crises from exploding out of control.

    I've known several people of the same general trait set and manner as is held by the character, and am aware of several public figures besides, (most notably former Bush Admin political adviser Karl Rove).

    The EM type is notably less clear. To identify the EM type, the magical energies which she seems to understand quite well would first have to be quantified in terms of an information element. If I were to hazard a guess, I'd argue LSI due to the strong emphasis on "removing obstacles". This is something Rove engaged in himself, going to enormous lengths to pseudo-legally out Valerie Plame, on behalf of making the case for her respected husband's questioning of the Iraq War rationale as possibly motivated by a (in those circumstances understandable) vendetta. Whether Rove succeeded as he intended or not, the nation certainly overlooked the intelligence failures associated with the war for some years afterward. (although there are substantial arguments, calculable in terms of supersocionics and in terms of attitude theory in particular, that naive individuals were successfully persuaded to doubt the integrity of Wilson, perhaps enough to turn the election the following year). That is explained by the crisis-emphasis, which doesn't find easy expression in non-political situations. Additionally, the super id EM block is quite capable in its own right, or else it would not have been possible for Victor Gulenko, as an LII-LSI, to offer his enormous contributions to analytic psychology.

    Charlotte's subtype is C, that is apparent from her reliance on theory over possibilities. She puts more emphasis on realizing what isn't impossible, to be deduced by theory, than what is possible.



    ENFJ (weak Ti) is hinted at for Jonathan when Wind notes he's not one for brains. That's typical sentiment by Ts towards Fs, particularly when comparing T and F people. (the contrasts are usually that stark) Yet it is this scene in which we see ENFJ straight out, where the apparently IEI Death counters the pair's malicious intent towards it by observing that it has no connection to Brauner (reference to beta Ni, the function of alliance). Jonathan counters that the lack of connection to Brauner is irrelevant because he and Charlotte are also allied against Dracula, with whom Death is intimately connected. Based on that relationship, the ENFJ Jonathan declares Death an enemy vis a vis beta Fe, the function of vilification.

    Jonathan also seems to have a positivist/Right-leaning temperament given his unfailing optimism and emphasis on acting based on first impressions. Charlotte is more cautious, less confident, and more concerned, the same being attributes of the negativist/Left-Leaning temperament.

    Jonathan is bullheaded, a risk-taker. His light-hearted approach suggests harmonizing subtype, which melds well with his sister's. He is very focused on preventing Dracula's revival, which may be a sign of problem-focused ego/crisis-oriented id. In the capacity of the id, the crisis-oriented temperament focuses on direct threats to self. This is the type of a heroic stereotype who aims to achieve victory "once and for all", the kind of person who by their actions plays in important role in the resolution of vexing problems. The conflict resolution types of himself and his sister are complementary, a very effective force when coordinated, that while not able to revolve every issue is nonetheless like to succeed over less complementary parties.

    However I am not totally sure that just trying to prevent the resurrection of Dracula this go around is enough to qualify a person as being problem-focused and determined, because determined people are more focused on keeping the peace in a group, making compromises in the name of common aims and friendship. Jonathan appears to be more bull headed than that.

    The EM type is not clear.


    Wind's resignation to his daughter's fate, and his determination to put his feelings aside that Jonathan can "do what must be done", is a tell-tale sign of LSE temperament. He makes a point of making the team work to earn his support, citing "good reasons" for the training. He understands well the roles each person -- even each family -- must play in the quest to prevent Dracula's revival.

    Past this, I can't see the character very clearly.


    IEI, who duals with...


    Dracula is depicted as various types. From resurrection to resurrection he never looks nor even talks the same. Like his castle, Dracula is mostly a symbol of the human unconscious, a role alluded to directly in Aria of Sorrow. He is resurrected by the rage of the people time and time again, by the growth of "darkness" in the human heart. So to say, as people are led away from peace and social collaboration, Dracula grows stronger. If Dracula is a symbol of the id, then his castle is a symbol of the subconscious in which it resides, the monsters being the fantasies and nightmares of men. However, he has some constant traits. His subtype is always dominant: his castles often feature symbols of pervasive strength and power. Death follows after, in a normalizing role. He is crisis-oriented/determined, the brutal absolute ruler of Darkness with the personality to match. As a D-crisis/determined figure with decidedly unethical mores, he recalls Adolf Hitler in terms of his sly charisma and seeming restraint, masking none too subtly his determination to overcome any threat to his personal safety. He is, moreover, a spiritualist, estranged from concrete reasoning and held in thrall to the Christian mythos in a way that the Belmonts, and even his son, Alucard, tend not to be. He is obsessed with hating God, having in the past given recklessly of himself to the Catholic Church, and has numerous times attempted to destroy the entire human race, sometimes in revenge for various lost loves claimed by lynch mobs (in the name of the same misguided religious beliefs). Politically he seems to be a positivist, always overestimating himself and underestimating his opponents.

    At times he is offered as an Antichrist figure, a would-be replacement for Jesus in the hearts of European Catholics. In the sense that he would supplant the kindness of Jesus, a liberal communitarian, with his own brutal assertions of leadership, he is a symbol of conservative communitarianism at its most arrogant. And yet, there is the method to the madness: Dracula sees himself as the last best hope against a demagogic and hypocritical religiosity, a crusader against a dogmatic proscription that is at once perverse and cruel. But as the centuries pass and religiosity ebbs, Dracula gradually finds himself in a world apart, a relic that no longer serves any useful purpose save its very own. Bereft of any social justification for his existence, Dracula is left to consume himself in grandiose fantasies of his own importance, a self-styled replacement for the very cruelty he once tried to end.

    Lords of Shadow

    Lords of Shadow is a "reboot" of the Castlevania franchise. It uses many themes from the old storyline, but combines them in different way to produce a different story. This time around the motivations of the characters are deeply explored, even to the extend of laying bare their deepest insecurities. This makes the characters very well defined and quite believable.

    The story centers around a man who seeks to restore his dead wife by obtaining the Mask of God, a relic which allows the wearer to see the world through God's eyes. The setting is a spiritually catastrophic situation where the souls of the dead have been barred from departing to the hereafter; instead, they are left to wander and torment the living. The Mask of God is held by the Lords of Shadow, the same demons who are responsible for. The protagonist, Gabriel Belmont, is thus in the position of unwittingly saving the world while selfishly -- and ruthlessly -- questing for the Mask of God.

    Gabriel Belmont is one of the most compelling -- if not THE most compelling -- figures that I've come across. Not even Spawn's character was this compelling and... human. He is an exceedingly self-righteous figure who even rationalizes (although under a cloud of deception) the murder of his own wife. I'm not sure what his type is, although EIE seems a decent possibility.

    In personality, he seems to recall wrestler Tony Benoit, who killed both himself and his family, perhaps due to roid rage. He has Benoit's superficiality and arrogance, a person who keeps trying to "stand up for" the right thing. I get the impression he's a normalizer, in that respect, in that he accepts others' definition of the "right thing" without giving a lot of thought to it himself. As such he finds himself enforcing norms of righteousness and goodness against others, only to learn too late that he is enforcing the acts in the name of less than righteous persons.

    He may be the most flawed protagonist I've ever seen, in that by his capriciousness he shapes his own hell. Honestly, there are no words to qualify what he is, none that I have heard. Perhaps an IEI could do better, but I only find these word to describe him and they are "pitifully contemptuous" and "pathetic".

    But he is pitiable, woefully so. Pitiable for the depths of his pain... he is sympathetic in a way that even Darth Vader does not compel. Where Darth Vader is a man who refuses to arrest his own descent into arrogance and vice, Gabriel repeatedly tries to redeem himself, only to find himself doubted even by those who love him.

    But he not lacking for empathy. He is not delusional, he is not crass. He's not that different from you or I, and that's what makes him truly interesting.

    The character Zolbek appears to me to be an ENFP. Note his emphasis on obtaining power -- his aim is to make himself as capable as possible. He boasts about manipulating Gabriel by motivating him to unleash this darkest potentials. "Even I did not see the beast that lay within." If delta Ne is the internal statics of objects, then Zolbek is a specialist in the same. Ethically, Zolbek is at once both a psychological egoist (this is evident in his "shining", intensely focused eyes and his detached, over-the-top mannerisms) and an ethical egoist. At once, Zolbek is an ardent disciple of Adam Smith and a strict student of exactly the phenomenon which Smith argues it safe to ignore. Where Smith argues that, Zolbek wants to know exactly where people's interests lie and especially how they can be controlled. And for what purpose, save for the increase of his own power? Zolbek takes a certain pride in observing the depravity of his unwitting student's actions, calling him "a cold blooded murderer... beyond redemption... beyond hope." His appetite for destruction, and his talk of being possessed by an "evil force" which grants "immeasurable knowledge", recalls Ted Bundy's talk of the "entity" which he said compelled him to kill. Indeed, the experience of individuation may seem to a psychopath to be a feeling of being "indwelt" by a foreign personality, in that the psychopath may be at heart unwilling to admit that the new attitude and the old are halves of the same individual. And who better to be lord of the vampires than a psychopath, who justifies the murder of others as a part of their nature? To Zolbek, the purpose of life is to act on one's passions as thoroughly and completely as possible. And yet for all that, Zolbek is not without pity: he can feel for others, he can have empathy and even sympathy. But he is completely unapologetic for being who he is, and when there is potential for power he will act on it until he either has it or the potential no longer exists. It is an Ne function run completely rampant, with no checks of any kind.

    Zolbek's EM type is not easily discerned. He talks with some authority about the evil qualities of Gabriel (and of himself), and as such is hardly amoral. Yet he demonstrates markedly less emotion than an IEI EM would, instead preferring the artful restraint and dramatic flair of the showman. Thus it seems probable that he is an EIE EM type, a skilled emotional manipulator who works ever to align the sentiments of men for his own purposes.

    Zolbek's position as leader of the group, striving for dominance over the others, and the skill with which he frames Gabriel's worldview. His control of the situation is so firm that he boasts about how he has emotionally incapacitated Gabriel from fighting back against him, through merely revealing the extent of his mechanations and Gabriel's complicity in them. He seems to have taken great pleasure in making Gabriel into something a bit more like himself -- it is nothing if not the purpose of the dominant to remake the world -- and the people around them -- in their own image.

    Finally we come to Lucifer, who for sake of his pride chose to disobey God, only to find that no amount of Se can confront nature itself. Not that he understands: the character of Lucifer, adapted quite faithfully from John Milton's poem, is blinded by its own understanding of its own evil. In obsessing over God, Lucifer fails to be God. But he can never be God because he does not have the ability to reckon himself as God. Lucifer's is the story of an EIE who rebels endlessly against society -- he cannot stop rebelling, because he cannot imagine a society without a ruler, without aristocracy. His type holds him hostage -- he is so ENFJ, and only ENFJ, that he can never break free of limits his relationship to the world places upon him. An LSI would have told him he didn't have the power to overcome power itself, but Lucifer will not listen. Instead he fights a war of souls that is impossible for him ever to win for the simple reason that he himself still believes God something outside himself. But for God to be God, he must be all things positive, without true negatives. As long as God is God, nothing can ever prevail over Him. Thus Lucifer denies himself eternally that which he most desires.
    Last edited by tcaudilllg; 12-18-2010 at 04:26 PM.

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