The Good, the Neutral, and the Evil: Part 1 – The Good

So, Fearless Admin and I were considering D&D alignments (yes, we are occasionally hopelessly nerdy that way – perhaps even Adorkably Nerdy) the other day.  Basically, the D&D gaming system allows a player to determine his/her character’s moral and ethical profile and likely patterns of behaviour in accordance with nine pre-set categories along Lawful, Neutral, and Chaotic and Good, Neutral, and Evil axes.  How, we thought, would some of Mr. Malahide’s characters fall within these categories?  Here’s our first installment of the Good, the Neutral, and the Evil, starting with the Goods.

Lawful Good

A lawful good character typically acts with compassion and always with honor and a sense of duty. Such characters include righteous knights, paladins, and most dwarves. Lawful good creatures include the noble golden dragons.  [Source: Wikipedia]

Alleyn: A Paladin of Forties crime-solving The Good, the Neutral, and the Evil characters played by Patrick Malahide

Alleyn: A Paladin of Forties crime-solving

RF:  Well, this is a no-brainer.  Our first Lawful Good character has to be… Chief Superintendent Roderick Alleyn of “The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries“.  He definitely always operates with honour and a sense of duty, and he’s about as close to a righteous knight as one can imagine.  He’s kind, compassionate, and chivalrous, and his calling in life is to investigate crimes, right wrongs, and see that justice is done.  (Note:  He’s not a dwarf, though.)  He even finds time in his schedule to woo a fair maiden, namely his girlfriend Agatha Troy (Belinda Lang).

Lethal combination of trenchcoat and fedora

Dashing pose by the petrol pump.

Admin:  It is kind of a shame it is his brother who has the title “Sir” because Alleyn is pretty much your ideal Knight in Shining Armour.   I think another contender could be his more provincial, but no less attractive, cousin Robert Blair of the “Franchise Affair”.   They are cousins, right?  😀  Blair proves the innocence of his fair maiden and her mother, both of whom had been wrongly accused of abduction.   He takes his task on with amazing commitment even though he is overwhelmed by it and more than proves himself.   Law and order prevail when Robert Blair is around.

D.S. Chisholm: Mostly Lawful Good, if just a bit cynical

D.S. Chisholm: Mostly Lawful Good, if just a bit cynical

RF:  Agreed that Robert Blair is another good candidate for Lawful Good.  As you say, he shares many characteristics with Alleyn.  They both want to see that justice is done, even if they don’t have the same wardrobe budget.  😉  I think we could also argue that D.S. Chisholm is mostly Lawful Good too, despite the fact that he’s quite willing to intimidate the occasional grass.

Admin:  Chisholm is perhaps a wee bit too cynical to really qualify, but I agree he is essentially Lawful Good at his core.

Neutral Good

A neutral good character typically acts altruistically, without regard for or against lawful precepts such as rules or tradition. A neutral good character has no problems with cooperating with lawful officials, but does not feel beholden to them. In the event that doing the right thing requires the bending or breaking of rules, they do not suffer the same inner conflict that a lawful good character would.  [Source:  Wikipedia]

Lord Glendenning: Willing to bend the rules

Lord Glendenning: Willing to bend the rules

RF:  This is a slightly more nuanced concept with a slightly less clear-cut code of conduct, but Neutral Good might best be embodied by Lord Glendenning of “The Paradise“.  Not that he’s not law-abiding – he is, but he’s also willing to bend the law just a bit and game the system so that he comes out on top.  He’s willing to be ruthless when he feels he has to be, especially when it comes to protecting his daughter, Katherine (Elaine Cassidy).  He didn’t seem to feel any inner qualms while engineering an end run around Moray (Emun Elliott) to acquire the Fee Simple and bring Moray’s finances entirely under his control.

Patrick Malahide in The Secret Agent

Making a clandestine visit to Verloc’s shop.

Admin:  Oh if only we had been allowed to see further examples of the more ruthless Lord G.  He was gosh darn cool when he was running circles around Moray.  I loved it when he got that slippery eel sweating.

I think I’ll also add Henry the Assistant Commissioner from the “Secret Agent”.  Granted, he is a law man which makes him an odd choice for chaotic, but he works in that higher element of power where they regularly make difficult choices in order to maintain a safe status quo.   He knows what Verloc did but shows compassion for the little man and lets him go.  He also knows who the brains behind the plot is, but there isn’t much he can do on that front either, so he just rattles the culprit instead.  Henry is a very, very good man and does what is right for his country and its citizens, but he bends the rules, maintains secrets and manipulates people without batting so much as an eyelash.  It is quite the juggling act.  I’m glad of it too since it means he gets to sneak about in that lethal black coat and fedora combo. 😉

RF:  That’s right, Assistant Commissioner Henry is willing to do a little clandestine work on his own in order to bring Verloc to justice and see that Evil Peter Capaldi… I mean, Russian agent Vladimir… the ringleader of the whole outfit, leaves the U.K. with a minimum of fuss.  I thought at first that Henry was slightly green when it came to diplomatic affairs, but he proved to have several layers of subtlety, and a willingness to go around the system, that allowed him to outfox one of the best.  *And* he looked devastatingly good in that long coat and fedora!

Chaotic Good

A chaotic good character does what is necessary to bring about change for the better, disdains bureaucratic organizations that get in the way of social improvement, and places a high value on personal freedom, not only for oneself, but for others as well. Chaotic good characters usually intend to do the right thing, but their methods are generally disorganized and often out of sync with the rest of society.  [Source:  Wikipedia]

Sir Myles: Circumventing the system when it suits him

Sir Myles: Circumventing the system when it suits him

RF:  When it comes to Chaotic Good, we could think of no character more appropriate than Sir Myles of “The Abduction Club“.  He certainly believes he’s bringing about change for the better by circumventing the existing system to help his gang of ne’er-do-well second (and third and fourth) sons kidnap suitably rich brides – which is definitely out of sync with the rest of his society.  He also refuses to sit idle when two of his protegés are taken prisoner and arranges a daring escape for them, literally from the end of the hangman’s rope (which is pretty gosh-darned daring!).  While he might not be as disorganized as the usual Chaotic Good character, he doesn’t mind inflicting disorganization and mayhem on others when he sees fit.

Getting a look at John Francis' secret chapel, which is enough to condemn him with Judge Jeffreys.

John Francis’ secret chapel.  Probably a hanging offense.

Admin:  Sir Myles is pretty much the perfect example, which is fitting since he himself is perfect. 😉   I think another contender might be “New World’s” John Francis.   He is a known Catholic who continues to not-so-secretly practice his faith even though it is incredibly dangerous to do so.  Nor can he shut up about there being no Pope-ish plot to destroy the king.  He backs his wife’s refusal to sell her lands to the king’s interest and even graciously entertains the king’s “bastard son” the Duke of Monmouth.  Unfortunately, he just wasn’t chaotic enough to get away with it all.

RF:  True, John Francis was something of a rebel in several ways.  He allowed his wife Angelica (Eve Best) to retain the title to her lands (by rights, he could’ve subsumed it once they were married) and supported her in creating a sort of educational commune on the estate.  He was remarkably compassionate, free-thinking, and fair-minded for his time, and quite willing to vocally oppose any laws he thought were unfair.  Unfortunately, this meant that he drew the attentions of The Powers That Be and, as you say, he couldn’t quite get away with things.   Perhaps he might have if he’d had a few highly placed connections to help him.

Admin:  He could have used some assistance from Sir Myles, but he was stuck with Sure-Shot (not really) Abe. 🙁

RF:  And there you have part 1 of the Good, the Neutral, and the Evil!  Stay tuned for part 2, the somewhat-more-tricky Neutrals.

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