Main Diabolusex Machina Discussion

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02:48:39 PM Aug 8th 2015
edited by Derkhan
Just wanted to detail my reasons for removing the following entry:

  • In Midnight Tides, the fifth book in Malazan Book of the Fallen, the Emperor of the Tiste Edur is effectively immortal as each time he dies he is resurrected and healed. The Royal Champion of Lether counters this by cutting every single muscle and sinew used for movement in the Emperor's body; the Champion then dies from poisoning. Moments later, a demon befriended by the Emperor's brother walks in and, unaware of the Emperor's condition, kills the Emperor, believing it to be a mercy and thinking it a favour to the brother, thus undoing the Champion's sacrifice.

None of the things that happen change the situation significantly for the worse, as in: the outcome would've been roughly the same either way, so it sounds like 'an important character dies, which sucks'. The only new element introduced in that scene is the poisoned wine, and even that is foreshadowed by the King behaving unusually as the scene begins.

In case anyone cares, here's the how and why:
The Letherii Empire has been conquered by the Tiste Edur, and their immortal Emperor would've ruled it wether he could move around or not. The land is occupied, the room is full of the Emperor's cronies and the regular King as well as his immediate advisors have just commited suicide via poisoned wine. The King's Champion, preoccupied by duelling the Emperor, does not notice that and, after having disabled the Emperor, drinks from the wine.
Also present in the room is the God of Fate, well known and established throughout the book as someone who compulsively manipulates events at a whim, not caring about the good or bad of his 'nudges' and eager for a change in the kingdom. It is strongly implied that he nudged the King's Champion to drink the poisoned wine.
A demon appears to pick up the Champion's body because they have a kind of contract too finnicky to explain here, agreed upon earlier in the book. This demon has absolutely nothing to do with the Tiste Edur, nor has he any relationship/aquiantance with any of the Emperor's brothers (the troper who wrote the entry must've been thinking of a different demon). Hence, ignorant of the situation, he kills the Emperor, thinking it an act of mercy.

Again, except for the wine, none of the things that happen are introduced out of the blue in this scene, nor do they change the overall situation. Also, there is no good or bad side in the conflict, and neither gains an advantage as a consequence. In fact, this resolves a problem.

Not that the series has no moments of Diabolus ex Machina, it's just that I am sure this is not one of them.

That aside, there are many examples which sound like 'bad thing happens, so it sucks', but I am not knowledgeable enough to be sure.
06:12:46 PM Jun 20th 2015
would this break the suspension of disbelief less if there some build sort of build up or justification.
04:49:47 AM Oct 9th 2012
edited by Candi
Hans Christian Anderson entry: I read a collection of his stories touted as 'complete'. Nearly every friggin' one had a depressing ending. Not all were Diabolus, but they sure as heck weren't happy.

But...there was one, where a kid pulls himself up from a servant's son (possibly illegitimate, no father is ever mentioned). He wins the notice of a music master, eventually writes his own version of Aladdin, casts himself as the resident genie-finder. The story speaks of his ultimate triumph as he climbs the set during the first performance to seize the golden lamp -and then an unknown weakness in an artery to his heart bursts. Yeah.
02:28:03 PM Jul 7th 2012
12:20:21 PM Feb 25th 2012
Would Pendragon count as an example?
05:50:06 PM Jan 3rd 2011

"* The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion has both a Deus ex Machina and a Diabolus ex Machina in the end. Martin, the heir to the emperor's throne, who you have spent the entire main quest protecting, manages to close the Oblivion Gates and totally stop the Daedra invasion. He does so by ritually sacrificing his life. A Winner Is You!
  • It seems that the Diabolus hates that family. During the opening sequence, the player is helping the Emperor and his bodyguards escape through underground tunnels. You fight your way through a dozen assassins only to reach a dead end, where one more comes through a hidden door and murders the Emperor.
    • It gets even worse if you read the Emperor's obituary and find out that Martin was his fourth son. His three brothers were killed offstage by the assassins before the opening sequence even started."

Its not a Diabolus if its the result of *actual in-story forces* conspiring against you. As for the ending, its a plain old Heroic Sacrifice. Mehrunes Dagon was fully manifested in the physical world, its not exactly shocking that kicking him back out might take a Heroic Sacrifice.
05:42:58 PM Oct 3rd 2011
edited by TheNifty
I really can't be bothered fixing this trope, but I would say 75% of the examples are just "a bad thing happens". Surely the point of this trope is that, much like how Deus Ex Machina resolves an unsolvable problem through outside action, this is when something terrible happens that is not foreshadowed and not the result or consequence of anyone's actions in the plot, Not just the occurrence of ANY event that harms the protagonists.

A good example would be the death of Meg Ryan's character in City of Angels. It comes out of nowhere, isn't caused by any action in the plot and its only purpose is to make Nick Cage's character suffer.
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