Misused: Moral Event Horizon

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Complete Monster is YMMV, this wont be.
52 32_Footsteps30th May 2012 07:33:26 AM from Just north of Arkham , Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
Think of the mooks!
This thread is starting to refine Moral Event Horizon into something both more distinct and less ambiguous than Complete Monster. I think we need to do more work on it, but I am starting to warm up to keeping MEH around.

edited 30th May '12 7:33:41 AM by 32_Footsteps

Reminder: Offscreen Villainy does not count towards Complete Monster.
"Villainous act causes a thematic shift in the portrayal of a character" sounds totally tropable to me. It's a form of character development.
It does kind of ruin the event horizon analogy though. We'd need to rename, or create a new trope for that.

edited 30th May '12 12:03:53 PM by abk0100

55 32_Footsteps30th May 2012 12:51:03 PM from Just north of Arkham , Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
Think of the mooks!
Not really. The "event horizon" analogy needs to be changed, but it's still valid. Once the character crosses the Moral Event Horizon, their characterization cannot return from that point onward. Much like how, with real black holes, objects cannot be affected any further by that which is outside said event horizon once it is crossed, anything outside of evil cannot affect that the story treats said character as a villain once the Moral Event Horizon is crossed.
Reminder: Offscreen Villainy does not count towards Complete Monster.
I think the analogy still works, and it's still a better name than Rape The Dog was.
You can die a Comic Book Death and then later not be dead, so it seems acceptable to say that you can cross the Moral Event Horizon and then later find yourself outside it again. Trope Names Are Flexible.

(A few weeks ago I actually used the phrase "Moral Event Horizon" in conversation with a non-troper [I forget what show/character we were discussing], and he both (a) immediately understood what I meant, and (b) thought it was a really funny/clever metaphor. So, a strong vote to keep the name attached to something in this general ideaspace.)
I think the name is fine, and I like the direction this thread is going in regards to the definition. I particularly like the comparison to Catholicism—that, by the way, would be very good material for the Analysis page.
Rhymes with "Protracted."
I too am happy with the direction this is taking. When this is all done, we could have an excellent trope here. The TRS system works.
So, essentially, something a person does that makes it impossible to for others to forgive them, according to the narrative. If the person develops to a different person later on who isn't completely unforgivable, it's a different person, as far as this trope is concerned.

That's something I can stand behind.

edited 30th May '12 9:44:29 PM by Feather7603

The Internet misuses, abuses, and overuses everything.
61 32_Footsteps31st May 2012 07:21:20 AM from Just north of Arkham , Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
Think of the mooks!
@58 Thanks - I was worried that I'd accidentally start a tangent about religion. I just couldn't think of a better way to describe how I was looking at the trope.

I would have to reword that for an analysis page, but it'd be pretty simple. I just make it clear that the author, effectively, is the judging god for the character. Thus, when the author makes it clear that they've done an in-work mortal sin, that's when they've passes the Moral Event Horizon.

Also, include a line about how the wiki does not support or condone any religious outlook; it's just a useful shorthand to illustrate the concept.
Reminder: Offscreen Villainy does not count towards Complete Monster.
This is a tough question. I mean, in my mind, Darth Vader is the poster boy for this trope. You can accept that Anakin is doing bad things but is not actually evil through most of the films, but at that point where he starts killing children there's just no way around it. He's evil and you can't have any sympathy for him from that point on.

In fact I think that's a big weakness of Rot S as a film — after that point, the movie tries to evoke sympathy for Anakin, from the scenes of him burning on Mustafar to his Big "NO!", and it all falls rather flat because of what he did earlier.

I think Vader is a bit of a special case, though. His redemption story came years and years before his Moral Event Horizon was revealed. We knew Vader was bad, but nothing totally unforgivable was really shown on screen, so we could accept his return to the light as long as he died in the act of atoning. If we'd watched him slaughter innocent children and then later seen him turn on the Emperor, I'm betting there wouldn't be as much sympathy for him.

I guess as long as it's an In-Universe trope, I can see it. Luke can forgive Vader because he wasn't there and didn't see it; Obiwan, Yoda, and Padme can never forgive him. Am I using this correctly?

So, new question, then — if Moral Event Horizon becomes a trope related to how other characters (or the work in general?) perceives the character, do we need to make a new, separate YMMV trope for when a previously sympathetic character loses any audience buy-in because of their behavior? Perhaps limited to cases where the character is apparently intended to continue to be sympathetic but a significant part of the audience is so horrified that they can't accept it? In other words, the point at which an Anti-Hero or Tragic Villain flips across the line to Complete Monster.

Edit: I can spell. Really.

edited 31st May '12 8:22:39 AM by Escher

Going back to the "author as judging god" analogy, George Lucas did condemn Darth Vader to burn in hell at the end of Rot S for what he did, and he has admitted that the symbolism was entirely intentional.

Still, even Vader's redemption can be worked into this trope. Going back to the comparison with Catholicism, Catholics do believe that even an "unforgivable" sin can be forgiven. It just takes a miracle. Considering that in-universe it's believed that it's impossible to break an addiction to the Dark Side, I'd call Anakin Skywalker's return to the light a miracle.
I'd be willing to entertain the idea that Redemption Equals Death is an allowed escape from the Moral Event Horizon — probably the only one.

In other words, a heroic sacrifice is allowed to return the character to some measure of sympathy, because after that point they're dead and we (as the audience) don't have to continue to have them around. It may not balance the scales, but it can give them just enough of a flicker of goodness to accept that they aren't completely evil. (This would almost certainly be a YMMV, though — some audience members wouldn't buy into it and would just say "He's dead? GOOD.")
65 IndirectActiveTransport31st May 2012 12:11:51 PM from Chicago , Relationship Status: Coming soon to theaters
You Give Me Fever
This has always been a troper opinion page. It serves no other purpose but as an opinion page for viewers. It isn't even like Jumped the Shark, where these are long established cases ingrained in pop culture memory. This page is better off cut.
That's why he wants you to have the money. Not so you can buy 14 Cadillacs but so you can help build up the wastes
Personally, I think that if it's possible to make this an objective trope, it's worth the effort.
Rhymes with "Protracted."
[up][up] Isn't that a bit extreme, cutting something completely just because it's subjective? We're trying to refine this into something that isn't subjective, and so far I feel like we are making progress. Cutting now would be a wasted opportunity.

edited 31st May '12 12:57:57 PM by NewFnu

Does this have to be a villain? I'm thinking of the Silmarillion where the Noldor kill their fellow elves (called the Kinslaying) just so they can commander their ships. Feanor and the other Noldor seem determined (theres a better word, but I can't think of it) before this point going as far as to falsly accusing the Vala of trying to imprison them on Valinor and leaving for Middle Earth against their advice. In addition to the doom placed on the Noldor by the Vala, it's now clear just how far Feanor intends to go just to recover the Silmarills. Not exactly a villain though. (That would be Melkor who had stolen the Silmarills.)

Also, does it have to be a single event?

As for Darth Vader, the MEH is when he stops going by Anakin.
Someone more familiar with the Silmarillion than I am would have to answer that.
I don't quite follow that example, but yes, it has to be a single event. And it has to be someone who ends up evil, though it needn't be a villain. (What is a "villain" anyway?)
Well the Noldor aren't evil, just Anti-Heros, and the kinslaying is what cements their postion solidly as Anti-Héros.
No, I don't think this should list antihero event horizons. It would just turn into a list of some of the awesome, badass things people have done.
Well the example I listed is not badass. The Noldor had outnumbered the elves that they had slayed. The other elves where innocent, the Noldor where just stealing ships that other elves had refused to lend them. The act was evil. But the Noldor needed the ships to chase after the Big Bad.
If it was justified, I doubt it painted the actors as irredeemably evil. But if it did, sure, it's an example.
After that point the Gods offered the Noldor a chance at redemption, if they returned. Some did, but those that continued on to middle earth earned the wrath of the Gods, with many dying in particularly horrific ways. It keeps them from forging a key aliance that could have easily overthrown the Big Bad. And of course their language is banned:

—> But hear my words! Never again in my ears shall be heard the tongue of those who slew my kin in Alqualondë! Nor in all my realm shall it be openly spoken, while my power endures. All the Sindar shall hear my command that they shall neither speak with the tongue of the Noldor nor answer to it. And all such as use it shall be held slayers of kin and betrayers of kin unrepentant.

As I said, a group of Anti-Heros, in that they are fighting the forces of evil but aren't so innocent themselves.

edited 1st Jun '12 2:55:19 AM by reub2000

Total posts: 114
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