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Greatest Hero of the Matoran Universe


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49 replies to this topic

#41 Offline delilah

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Posted Oct 08 2012 - 11:51 PM

I'm not sure I understand why people find Jaller's sacrifice so much less worthwhile than Matoro's. Granted, Jaller came back to life, which I suppose does undermine the value of his sacrifice a bit, but here's the thing: Matoro gave up his life for the universe. Who wouldn't do that, seriously? If you had to choose between your own life and the lives of millions, which would you choose? One life, or many?Jaller, on the other hand, gave up his life for one person. He had no idea that Takua was destined to be Takanuva; he sacrificed himself because Takua was his friend. Nothing more. This wasn't one life for many; this was one life for one life.So I'm going to have to say that Jaller is probably the greatest hero. Looking at his thousand years of being the military leader of the Matoran, it's pretty obvious he's a hero. But when you add in his willingness to lay down his life for one person... I think that takes the cake.
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#42 Offline Onarax

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Posted Oct 09 2012 - 04:30 AM

Vakama. He may have been very flawed, but without him, the heroics of the future generations would never have happened.
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#43 Offline LewaLew

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Posted Oct 09 2012 - 01:41 PM

Teridax had backup plans for his backup plans for his backup plans. It is extremely out of character for him to let a Toa threaten him and not confirm the threat with mind reading. And of course, we are reading that in omniscient third person, not Teridax's POV. That makes it far less likely that it's a bluff. However, I may have forgotten something. I have not read Time Trap in years.But the only reason Vakama had that struggle is because he fell himself. We give Darth Vader credit for, in the end, beating Palpatine and achieving his destiny. But he's not a hero, simply a redeemed villain. Because of what Vakama did as a Turaga, the fact that he wasn't nearly as far gone as Darth Vader, and the fact that he was under the influence of Hordika venom, we cut him some slack, but I wouldn't put him in the category with Lhikan, Jaller, and Matoro. He's a tarnished hero who really is still trying to make up for his failures, though he's not as obsessive over it as he was as a Toa.At this point, however, I think we've whittled down the argument to a matter of opinion. Was he bluffing/not bluffing? The book doesn't state that he bluffed, but it is highly out of character for Teridax not to verify. If anything, I think fishers64's idea of that it was too much effort for Teridax to exert, when he could just wait without the mask is a much more reasonable idea, but the book implies that Teridax specifically feared that Vakama would destroy the mask.And just because Teridax would likely win does not mean that it could not be reversed. It was likely that by keeping the mask, as Vakama did, that the Matoran would be fine. Teridax's plan succeeded even without the Vahi. He just failed to maintain success after the Plan was finished. Even if Teridax gets the mask according to plan, Mata Nui still probably lands on Bara Magna in the Mask of Life, and the '09-'10 story occurs pretty much the same way, because either way, Makuta gets control of the MU, which was his original goal, theoretically.It's more likely that Teridax wins if he gets the Vahi, but as shown by the main story, he didn't need it in the end. Vakama, however, incorrectly assumes that if Teridax wins the battle, he wins the war, so he decides to become a suicide time-bomber. And if he was bluffing, and Teridax didn't use mind reading, or simply chose to switch to one of his backup plans, then it was heroic, but that only happens if Teridax suddenly is no longer the great mastermind he's been shown to be.Anyhow, now I find I can't really argue against anything, since there are loopholes to my two main points. Namely, the fact that the book never explicitly states that Teridax used mind reading or that Vakama was not bluffing, and two, that Vakama's behavior in the time that led up to the mutation is a matter of opinion. Now, the first one would be easy, if not for GregF's new restrictions on online interaction, and the second one, being opinion, cannot be right or wrong, although GregF could probably determine what Vakama's emotions were at that time also.I dislike ending the debate on an uncertain note, but without GregF, I'm sort of unable to continue pressing my point.

Edited by LewaLew, Oct 09 2012 - 01:42 PM.

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#44 Offline bonesiii

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Posted Oct 09 2012 - 09:02 PM

Teridax had backup plans for his backup plans for his backup plans. It is extremely out of character for him to let a Toa threaten him and not confirm the threat with mind reading.

I'm not convinced it's out of character. As someone who can easily 'read' people, I know that facial cues and other emotive language cues are very difficult to fake and I imagine a telepath who has had countless years to verify the reliability of those things would likely rely less on telepathy and more on them. His experience would confirm that facial cues like the eyes are accurate -- and yet, it is possible to be fooled by these methods. If he was going to make a run for it anyways, then yes, I'd agree he would likely check. But he was not willing to risk it.You could even argue that facial cues could be more reliable. We don't really know how the mind reading works -- does it reveal the entire mind truthfully? Or just conscious thoughts? Might a hero with extreme motivation focus their conscious "as if out loud" thoughts to bluff? And Vakama must have learned a power over his own mind as a result of turning away while still in full effect of the Hordika venom, likely a mental challenge no other character is known to have overcome, except perhaps Brutaka in a more Vaderish way. At least with humans, there is much about body language that we cannot help, and even if someone seems to be genuinely lying to themselves consciously (from what they say), their body language and similar cues will still usually give them away. Makuta may have learned such a lesson.Now if we saw Makuta portrayed as always reading minds as a standard check for everything he did, then it would be out of character, but that's just not the case. He seems to rarely use it if ever.Frankly it's possible he's just so naturally talented at reading and manipulating people he may despise the power as a copout for the less intelligent. You can make a strong case that a true mastermind would avail himself of any tool available to him, but then evil is fundamentally messed up in the head, so arrogance may affect his strategy here, as we've seen in his final defeat. IMO you could make just as strong a case that an evil mastermind like Makuta could not have achieved what he did if his people-reading was limited to telepathy. Other Makuta have that power too and they don't come close to his genius at manipulating people -- themselves included.Let's also note that the scene in question is one of the few times we actually get insight into what's going on inside Makuta's head, so to argue that this one scene is out of character is basically the opposite of the right approach. If anything this scene should be taken as one of the most important in understanding Makuta's character. :) As it's written, he implicitly trusts his surface reading of Vakama, and the scene moves on immediately after this analysis.That defines Makuta's character. :)Let's not forget that in the very quote I mentioned, Makuta mentally compares Vakama's response to reading Makuta's mind. The idea of mind reading is not forgotten here. It is implicitly taken as not necessary. IMO this is backing up this take; Makuta is habitually familiar with the concept of telepathy, and also habitually comfortable not using it.

And of course, we are reading that in omniscient third person, not Teridax's POV. That makes it far less likely that it's a bluff. However, I may have forgotten something. I have not read Time Trap in years.

The scene begins in Teridax's thoughts, and after some of the dealmaking is talked out (pretty much right after the part I quoted), switches briefly into Vakama's thoughts, with no insight into whether he is bluffing. And BTW, some of those thoughts include concern that the other Toa Metru would not accept the deal; they would rather battle Makuta and risk damaging the city beyond possibility of repair. He concludes that he should not tell them of it, backing up both the idea that he does not want to cause destruction and that he is willing to keep secrets to avoid such destruction -- which bluffing counts as.

But the only reason Vakama had that struggle is because he fell himself. We give Darth Vader credit for, in the end, beating Palpatine and achieving his destiny. But he's not a hero, simply a redeemed villain. Because of what Vakama did as a Turaga, the fact that he wasn't nearly as far gone as Darth Vader, and the fact that he was under the influence of Hordika venom, we cut him some slack, but I wouldn't put him in the category with Lhikan, Jaller, and Matoro. He's a tarnished hero who really is still trying to make up for his failures, though he's not as obsessive over it as he was as a Toa.

So the moral lesson is that if an enemy forcefully injects you with mind-altering substances and while under that influence, you do some bad things, or almost do -- yet while it's getting even worse, you catch it and fight that influence... you're permanently tarnished? It just doesn't follow, IMO. :) Lhikan, Jaller, and Matoro weren't injected with such a substance, so again, I don't see how you can judge them as better in that category. How do you know that if they had been, all three might not have permanently fallen? I doubt it, but the point is, we don't have "data" to make a fair comparison in the same types of challenges.Also, believe me, all heroes have to overcome an enemy inside themselves. Matoro had to overcome the temptation to not use courage -- he overcame it probably the most of anyone, or at least with the highest stakes, but there was that darkness inside him to fight too. There is in everybody. Shouldn't that 'tarnish' him unforgiveably by your same logic, and really disqualify every hero?What makes you a hero, as was said in the Green Lantern movie recently, isn't absence of cowardice or other "darknesses within", but overcoming them. :)Also may be worth pointing out that Anakin did many heroic things prior to his fall, though I agree he obviously crossed over and remained on the wrong side of the line of villain for a long time. But he didn't do this because of some mind-altering substance, so it really isn't comparable...

And just because Teridax would likely win does not mean that it could not be reversed. It was likely that by keeping the mask, as Vakama did, that the Matoran would be fine. Teridax's plan succeeded even without the Vahi. He just failed to maintain success after the Plan was finished. Even if Teridax gets the mask according to plan, Mata Nui still probably lands on Bara Magna in the Mask of Life, and the '09-'10 story occurs pretty much the same way, because either way, Makuta gets control of the MU, which was his original goal, theoretically.

But again, this is missing the point. This is saying that the bluff option should not have been used just because handing over the most powerful weapon imaginable to the bad guy wouldn't necessarily be TOTAL guaranteed success for that evil mastermind supervillain. :P This cannot be taken as a point to argue against the interpretation that it was a bluff. Therefore, it's pretty much irrelevant.And I agree with fishers -- if Makuta got the Vahi, it would be all over. His plans would obviously be adapted to this new benefit, and he would find ways to eliminate any hope of resistance later coming up. Only if you don't think it through does it seem irrelevant -- but (as you say we must consider their 'in-character'-ness) Makuta is Mr. Think It Through.IMO he would likely make it seem like he is overconfident in thinking the Toa cannot awaken the Great Spirit, so he would leave them and go to other areas of the universe like the continents and go into all-out conquering by traditional armies aided by his use of the mask, thus the only conceivable way to stop him would be the one thing he appear to have arrogantly thought they couldn't actually accomplish, and awaken the Great Spirit to save them from him. Then he would still gain control but in the meantime he would have wiped out much of what later (in the actual version of events) was used to slow him down as resistance. Likely he would quickly eliminate the Toa and others once in power, since they'd be among only a tiny amount of opposition still left.Then he would arrive at least a little bit early on Bara Magna and be in a position to destroy Mata Nui and/or the planet without any hope of powering up the robot. Likely the first thing he'd do, seeing that they were trying to bring it together, would be to physically scatter the pieces much farther so it would take them years to pull them together again. Then he could use pretty much whatever strategy he wanted, as long as he was careful around the Mask of Life.Also, to reiterate about this part:

Teridax's plan succeeded even without the Vahi. He just failed to maintain success after the Plan was finished.

Teridax's plan was not to stop with taking over the giant robot. That was not a plan original to him, that was the GBs' plan for him. :) His defined destiny. His plan in terms of how to take over worked, yes. But he definitely planned to stay in power afterwards! And likely, as was hinted at somewhere I think but forget where (Mata Nui Saga?) wanted to go on with the body to other worlds and conquer or whatever.But if he had the Vahi, then he may have inadvertently helped to reform Spherus Magna perhaps (we didn't expect the outcome that happened, so we shouldn't assume we're capable of knowing other such outcomes couldn't happen) but kept his body, enacted tyranny over the reformed Spherus Magna, killed Mata Nui and others who opposed him, and then go on to conquer other worlds. It's possible!Also I still think that destiny can be thwarted in some senses. For example, it's Marendar's destiny to destroy Toa who "leak". Do any of us really think Marendar was planned to succeed no matter what at this? It would be ironic and fitting if the Mask of Time gave the user the ability to thwart their destiny -- a "guaranteed future" as it were. Perhaps in its tampering with time it would be the needed bridge to get over the ability gap to actually do that. :shrugs:Anyways, none of this changes two key facts:1) Vakama couldn't have known that there would be a limitation on Teridax using the Vahi ever -- he didn't know Teridax planned to rule by taking over the giant robot. He didn't even know it was a giant robot. He assumed that Teridax would conquer by a more traditional means, and use the Vahi to unstoppably aid this. Whether that was true or not (and likely it would play a role somehow or another), Vakama's assumption was well grounded and reasonable. Though Makuta's usage of the Vahi likely would have taken a different form than Vakama imagined, it definately would have been very formidable.2) The chances of defeating Makuta anyways if he got the Vahi are not relevant to the question of whether or not Vakama was bluffing. That's one of three main options Vakama could have tried, perhaps second-worst, but we already know Vakama rejected that option. What we're really debating is whether Vakama actually chose the worst option -- destroy the Vahi and let whatever bad things happen from that happen -- or the best -- bluff. To argue that he didn't choose the best IMO is to clearly ignore everything we were shown about who he is, who Toa heroes are, etc. It just doesn't make sense...Finally, let's note that in Vakama's description, time doesn't just end or deaths occur, so that might be an interesting line of discussion to go down. Of course, he has no way to know if that was accurate.You got me curious enough to search whether Greg actually did ever comment on if this was a bluff. Using various combinations of terms, some got almost no results, others many that are mostly irrelevant but I did get some useful tidbits out of it. Here's an interesting comment from a similar Makuta vs. Vakama scene in LoMN, discussing Vakama's use of the Vahi before he learned how to use the Mask of Concealment:

Did he know when he put the mask on he would be able to make it work? No. As you pointed out, how could he? But Makuta didn't know he hadn't been able to access his mask powers yet -- for all he knew, he had been using the Huna and so could trigger the mask -- so you have to take into account that Vakama's initial thoughts were a) bluff him and wear the mask and make him take it away. He was probably just as surprised as Nokama had been when he was actually able to trigger it.Greg

This establishes, from Greg's perspective, that Vakama is willing to bluff, and to bluff Makuta -- and that Makuta does not typically use mind reading to determine if it was or wasn't a bluff. I think we can apply this to the Time Trap scene too.Here's some other results:

Vakama was able to use the threat to destroy it to defeat Makuta 1000 years ago

Emphasis mine.

4. What was the real purpose behind Makuta's illusion on Vakama?A: He didn't realize that Vakama did not have the Vahi and he was trying to trick it out of him, rather than have to fight him and risk damaging the mask

This one makes me think Greg is implying that there are limits on the effectiveness of Makuta mind-reading. He actually didn't know that Vakama didn't have it anymore, yet he didn't see it on his person, therefore he must have assumed it was hidden somewhere. Well, if mind reading was totally reliable, you'd think it would be easier to just read the location where it was hidden and go there.IMO, BTW, I would greatly prefer it if such a limitation on mind reading did exist as it makes for far more interesting stories. :) But that's neither here nor there (but it might be in between... :P).Just for interest's sake:

5. The Avohkii, like the Vahi, will all light banish from the universe if it was destroyed?A: We don't know that any other mask works the way the Mask of Life does. Actually, if it did, a broken Avohkii would flood the universe with light, not banish light. A broken Vahi does not banish time, it banishes orderly time

This seems to support Vakama's assumption of what would happen if it broke. It doesn't justify him assuming it or acting on that assumption necessarily, but it's interesting. Perhaps if he was aware of the principle of Legendary Masks he may have been led to believe it was factual. And Makuta doesn't really doubt it. It is treated as a logically sound deduction.If so, then destroying the Vahi might not be the end-of-the-world type scenario you seem to be implying; people's world would become chaotic, but they would still be alive, and still be free. (I could theorize further but I have some ideas I'm saving for a fanfic. :P) Anywho, a successful bluff is in any event far better, so yeah.While I'm at it if I may tangent a bit, found this one that actually answers a recent topic about the Vahi:

2.) In BA10, Makuta demonstrates his ability to control gravity and the ability to teleport things. So why doesn't her summon the Vahi into his hands by one of those methods?2) Because anything like that risks a physical battle over the mask which could damage it.

I was wondering about this one too as a result of this discussion:

22.) Even if Vakama hid the Vahi, logically, surely an island full of Rahi could have found it in 1000 years, couldn't they have?22) True, but think of it this way. Okay, Vakama already made it clear he was willing to destroy it rather than let Makuta have it. So Makuta sends 1000 Muaka and Kane-Ra to storm Ta-Koro and get it -- but what if Vakama sees them first? What if he can get to the hiding place before they do, and destroys it? Why take that chance? Makuta knows where it is, he knows Turaga Vakama cannot use it for anything, why risk its destruction and the end of time? He had the Vahi 10 feet away from him and let Vakama walk out with it, so obviously he is aware of the consequences of something happening to the mask.

So we can likely add the fact that the Matoran remained free for a thousand years to Vakama's list of accomplishments, specifically because he still has the Vahi and Makuta still believes he might destroy it, so Makuta had to use kid gloves with them all. If he hadn't done this one thing, then likely the entire population would be wearing infected masks by the time the Toa Nuva arrived (hey, another cool story idea lol).Also fascinating that Greg confirms point-blank that Makuta is aware of the consequences. This appears to mean that Makuta essentially confirms what Vakama said. I'm wondering if this is because of Mutran's knowledge of how the MU works through Tren Krom, that the chaotifying of time is a possibility in the MU even without the mask, and he knows that the mask is simply keyed into this, so destroying it unleashes a result he already could have realized based on his knowledge of how it works, so as he hears Vakama's reasoning, he is thinking back (though not described in-story) to his knowledge of these things and reaches the conclusion that Vakama is right.And Vakama may possibly have read this in his eyes and lack of objection. So perhaps Vakama and Makuta both had strong reason to believe that destroying the Vahi doesn't kill anybody directly. Notice Vakama's lines about walking into the past and undoing whatever Makuta had just done.So this option might not indeed be the worst of the three; unstoppable tyranny may very well be far worse. Fascinating...Another possibility is that since it only affects the MU, Makuta might know that most people could be evacuated onto Mata Nui via the "loopholes" in this chaos; it would prevent him ever taking control of the robot, while the people might escape similar to the Kingdom. Not sure though.Also, part of this could be taken as evidence against the bluff interpretation (at least the sure bluff; there are shades of gray here as I mentioned; Vakama might not have been sure what he would do, but seriously entertained the idea). He says "he was willing to destroy it" -- though in context, it still fits a bluff, because just before this he says "made it clear" (to Makuta) and he goes on to describe it from Makuta's POV.Anyways, we can agree, I think, that Vakama doesn't want to destroy the "time stream" (as Greg put it in another post I found). His use of this strategy is ONLY because he KNOWS Makuta does NOT accept that result. Thus, if you think about it, it actually has to be at least mostly a bluff, right? If he thought Makuta was a Destroyer, not a Conquerer, he would probably just grab the mask and run pellmell to get away and hope to be able to hide it (and himself) somewhere Makuta could never look. That would obviously be a far less likely reaction to work, but thankfully since Makuta did not want the timestream destroyed, Vakama could use the idea of it to defeat Makuta's Conquerer goals. Or if Vakama wanted the universe destroyed rather than Makuta conquering, then he wouldn't be making deals! He'd just smash it without giving Makuta the ability to make a deal. And Makuta did take over, and did you see Vakama trying to destroy the universe?No, his goal was not "tyranny or destroy the timestream", it was "avoid both tyranny and destruction of the timestream with a convincing threat". I really don't see any other possibility that is consistent with Vakama as we know him throughout the rest of the story.And here's another thing we haven't even considered -- Vakama can't trust that Makuta wouldn't use it poorly and accidently destroy time without meaning to. So his threat may actually be saving the timestream. Giving Makuta the Vahi may very well be the same thing as smashing it with the hammer.

And if he was bluffing, and Teridax didn't use mind reading, or simply chose to switch to one of his backup plans, then it was heroic, but that only happens if Teridax suddenly is no longer the great mastermind he's been shown to be.

I thought I cleared the middle point up -- he did not use mind reading. That is crystal clear. See my previous post with the actual quote. Makuta reads his facial expression; his "eyes" and is clearly ignorant of what is actually going on in Vakama's head. See also one of the above quotes backing up that this is consistent with Makuta's character; he is not defined as using that power much, if ever. And we don't really know that it is 100% reliable anyways.Anywho, I'll take this as agreement on that point (that it was heroic if he was bluffing). :P I disagree about him not being a mastermind -- far more likely it's because he's so unimaginably smart that we're having trouble catching up with his mind. :lol: Not sure what you mean about the backup plans.

two, that Vakama's behavior in the time that led up to the mutation is a matter of opinion.

How is that a matter of opinion? We're going off of what was officially portrayed, as you said. The "legacy logic." You're saying he is the opposite of how he was clearly portrayed... I don't see how that is consistent with the true-to-story approach you said you try to stick to...[I have a thorough, quote-filled reply to this point, but too many quote tags for one post and outta time to reformat. If someone else posts I'll just put that as a new post. :)]

Edited by bonesiii, Oct 09 2012 - 09:43 PM.

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#45 Offline fishers64

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Posted Oct 09 2012 - 09:29 PM

I actually was going to use the "Teridax doesn't use telepathy" argument and threw it out - Teridax does use his telepathy later...but actually, as an offensive weapon, sending messages to the Piraka, ripping Karz's mind apart, etc. But he doesn't use it for actual mind reading anywhere.I'll be honest, I don't think Teridax really cared about getting the mask at that point. Either way, he had a plan to win. He just didn't want Vakama to smash time. That would really mess up his plans. :)And I inferred off Vakama's description that the destruction of time would not kill people - in fact, it would make it impossible to kill people. I think Vakama's description was also part of the psyche-out factor in that situation. Teridax would not have had to have absolutely known that Vakama's words were true, but he decided not to risk figuring out if they were. (I wouldn't...)Now we have out of story GregF confirmation for facts like these, but Makuta might not have. Also, I doubt TK would have known about the properties of the Mask of Time, as the mask didn't even exist yet when TK was active...even the disks for that didn't exist yet.

And Makuta did take over, and did you see Vakama trying to destroy the universe?

Well, there was some individual named Voporak that got in the way. :) Perhaps an additional use of Teridax's telepathy?Of course, none of this disqualifies Vakama's heroism. Just being nitpicky because I can. :) I think I'm done here for now.

Edited by fishers64, Oct 09 2012 - 09:48 PM.

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#46 Offline bonesiii

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Posted Oct 09 2012 - 09:45 PM

Here's the response to the leadup to capture by Visorak.Let's get specific again. Here's the actual portrayal, from Web of the Visorak:At the very open of the book, we already see the very opposite of your interpretation of arrogance:

In his brief time as Toa, Vakama had come close to being crushed by Morbuzakh vines, devoured by stone rats, and absorbed into Makuta's essence. He knew that he risked death every time he challenged a foe. By now, he had envisioned a hundred different ways he might meet his end.

This is the very opening paragraph of the flashbacks! (After the traditional bit in the story-present as he prepared to continue the tales of the past.) An arrogant Toa would be thinking, "I beat the Morbuzakh, Makuta himself, and those little rats aren't even worth mentioning -- there's no danger that can touch me now!". Rather, he views these victories in terms of how close he came to defeat -- the mark of a hero who knows the fear of the enemy but uses bravery to fight for what's right anyways.He goes on to think about his facing of the fire elemental creature. You could perhaps make an argument from this:

...about to die from a cause that would never have made his list in a million years: white-hot flame.

But of course, being a Toa of Fire, that's understandable. :P And his thought a moment later isn't that he's really shocked that he's about to die or anything, but:

The other Toa will never believe this.

But he himself clearly believes he is quite likely to die from this -- after all why not? is basically the implication.

His mission had started out simply enough. [They'd come back; the Matoran are trapped.] It was to save their friends that the Toa had made the journey...Unfortunately, they had forgotten one thing.... [Lack of boat to cross the Silver Sea.] That left only one choice, searching until they found some other way to make the journey.... None of [the other Toa's] plans sounded very likely to succeed to Vakama, so he had gone off on his own to explore

Again, you could make a case, but everything here is consistent with his goals being about saving his friends, the Matoran. He just thinks they need to seek with a more open mind about what options they might come across, which is of course generally wise.

[He discovers Makuta's lab where he was apparently tampering with Vahki to turn them deadly.]Metru Nui will not miss you, Makuta, Vakama thought. I only pray you stay trapped forever.

Once again, awareness that the apparent good state of things is not necessarily stable; he's actively trying to think of ways things could go wrong, and he's worried about it. Opposite of arrogance.

The Toa of Fire hurled a ball of fire [at the flame creature], already suspecting it would be ineffective.

You could argue that this is patently obvious, but again he's clearly in the camp of paranoia, not overconfidence.

I could learn some things about my powers from this creature, thought Vakama. The problem would be living long enough to put them to use.

I could continue on in such detail but you get the idea. Even facing death, he's thinking of ways he could improve if he gets out of this, not thinking he's perfect already and thinking he's unstoppable.Incidently, this scene sets up Vakama's personality in terms of how he deals with impossible threats. Worth adding this bit before I go on as it demonstrates the "taking the bull by the horns" thinking he also used in Time Trap:

...A nova blast might stop it... but it would also destroy these tunnels and the other Toa in them.Vakama racked his brain. There had to be a way to defeat this thing! He found himself wishing Nuju were there, both for his knowledge of tactics and his ice power. Maybe the cold could counteract... [ellipsis in original]

Then he thinks of the absorption solution. Again, he thinks of Nuju as better than he, showing humility, and he's looking for the third option. It also sets up the theme of the year after he defeats it, as he thinks of it as a dark version of himself that he faced and conquered, but that he doesn't think he could do it again (again with the humility and the awareness that danger could come in the future). That is definately a foreshadowing comment on what happened later; that he conquered a foe; a dark version of himself caused by the Hordika venom, rather than becoming a villain who then turned good like Vader.Skimming forward to get to the Visorak scenes...They approach via the Vahki transport, shored up with logs from the Karzahni plant. They approach, Onewa feels something is off about the city but due to the fog he can't tell why. An interesting note that Onewa had doubted Vakama from the beginning, but "each time he had been proven wrong." Might be worth taking to heart. :)It is Whenua who acts overconfident:

"Is this really necessary?" asked the Toa of Earth. "What is in Metru Nui that we can't handle?"

Nokama and Nuju say Nuju saw Rahkshi roaming the rooftops. Nuju adds agreement with Onewa's feeling that there's "something" obscuring "everywhere" in the city, that he fears for the city, and here's Vakama's reaction:

Vakama's reaction to the news had been to urge Matau to increase their speed. The Toa of Air was never one to turn down a chance to make a vehicle go faster, but the choppy seas were beginning to make even him nervous.

And myth busted. :P He's worried about danger to the Matoran, not arrogantly unconcerned. And his worry is not about himself, but heroicly about the Matoran. The others in fact are thinking more of themselves, and look for every excuse to delay. Here's what happens:

The skies are gray-dark," [Matau] said. "Lots of lightning, too. Might not be the best time to cross.""We keep going," answered Vakama."And then there is what Nuju spotted," said Onewa. "We should send one or two of us ahead as a scouting party. [Because that always works so well lol.] I would volunteer. Make sure we know what we are walking into."

Legitimate concern, but the method would only open them up to being picked off in smaller, less defensible groups. Let's face it, they had no safe way into this situation, and Vakama goes on to remind them that time is an important factor here not just for their safety but the Matoran:

Vakama shook his head. "We can't afford the delay. I don't want the Matoran trapped in those sleep pods any longer than they absolutely have to be."

I haven't finished making this point, but just a note -- Vakama's fear here, though based purely in caution, turns out to be accurate. All the time the Visorak wasted enabled the memory wipe effect to take hold. Had they been able to quickly get in and get the Matoran out they may have kept their memories, which Makuta knew full well, and likely was a big part of the reason he summoned Sidorak and his army (besides, of course, getting himself freed).Continuing with why time matters:

"If we end up Rahi bones on the shore, they will be sleeping a good long time," Matau muttered. "Vahki transports are built for calm seas, not storm-tossed."A wave washed over the deck of the transport. Vakama and Onewa held onto the railing to keep from being swept overboard. But the sea's argument made no more difference to the Toa of Fire than did Matau's."Waiting increases the risk that Rahkshi or something else will break into the Coliseum and harm the Matoran," he said firmly. "So we go on. If we wanted smooth seas and safety, we should never have become Toa."Matau watched the Toa of Fire walk away, and said to himself, "Or one of us shouldn't have, anyways."

Now, is Matau's concern here reasonable? Yes, and Vakama likely erred here. A slower approach might have done less damage to the craft and possibly if they had repaired it so it could function as a land craft and made it essentially airtight against Visorak, they might have been able to go ahead as a team and perhaps avoided being bitten. But this would require foreknowledge of the Visorak, and nobody suggests that. Matau's reasoning is more about personal safety against the storm itself, and he isn't really considering Vakama's concern, which is also very reasonable.But the point is, Vakama is holding firm here out of worry that what Nuju saw might find the Matoran and harm them, or Rahkshi, or whatever else, not out of arrogance. He is not unaware of the danger of the sea, but he is trying to balance all the considerations, and the context I previously quoted shows that he is not arrogant, and really is actually worried about dangers to himself, but he wants to overcome that fear out of concern for the Matoran.The real reason this was a blunder was simple -- it was an army, a powerful one, that had taken over the island, and all six Toa Metru were ignorant of this. He couldn't have known that, and likely could not have imagined it, and neither did the others.Next Nokama thinks of how Matoran race boats in similar conditions; some had been destroyed, but it's not unprecedented. She's thinking of the danger of it, but it's worth considering that if Matoran were allowed to do this, certainly Toa going to save them might. Vakama also orders three of the Toa belowdecks for their safety, but stays up there, keeping watch. Again, not arrogance. Genuine concern over the dangers involved; either plan (Matau's or his) has risks. He chose the one that put the risk more on his side than the helpless civilians he is going to rescue.Much like a particular Toa who actually died for a similar goal... :PSoon it becomes clear that going back will just sink them anyways, and pushing through it is the most likely route of success, as even Matau snappily agrees. That "doubt but proven wrong" idea is showing up here again.A moment later that idea receives some question as speeding up results in the expected result. :P Although arguably it was the massive wave that did it; they go on to blame pilot error or "captain" error (Matau or Vakama) but real giant waves at sea like that tend to getcha when going slow too.Now Vakama's temper starts. They wonder where he is, and:

"Are we going to stand around all night?" yelled Vakama, emerging from the darkened streets of the city. "Or are we going to rescue the Matoran?"

Cue the oft-repeated cliche from the movie "We have to rescue the Matoran!!1!!!" lol. His motivation is so clear it borders on obsession, and quite frankly, it's a little surprising that you could forget it. :P Now why is he angry here? Likely angry at himself for insisting on speeding up, and the appearance of arrogance I mentioned earlier begins now, but it isn't really. He is, inside, worried, paranoid, depressed, guilty, etc. and he's taking it out on the others. Like real people do all the time, not true arrogance. He's still the guy we saw against the fire creature moments ago; we're just not in his head here so we see how it appears from the others' points of view.

The Toa Metru walked through the quake-damaged Le-Metru. Their progress was slow. Most of the city's lightstones had gone dark... strewn with rubble... strange plants... Worst of all were the webs, a combination of thick and thin strands with the strength of solid metal that hampered all forward movement.

Now -- first sighting of physical clues to the 'something aside -- let's remember our basic psychology here. We've just established that Vakama is yelling impatience, and has explained his motive -- "We have to save the Matoran!1!!111!" And at every turn he's encountering obstacles to slow him down.Put yourself in his foot armor. How would you be feeling?Frustrated? Angry? Even furious? Raw?Now, knowing what you know of psychology, when someone else sees you acting this way, especially leading into obvious danger, aren't they likely to confuse those natural reactions for arrogance? :)Ironically a few moments after this, Vakama scouts ahead, actually using the others' plans, and in thanks, Nokama criticizes him, lol. Certainly could spark anger, outrage, etc. in a truly arrogant person, but instead his response is thoughtful. Lemme give that whole section:

"Where were you? I mean, after we crashed," asked Nokama."Scouting," the Toa of Fire replied. "I wanted to make sure there was no immediate danger.""You might have helped your brothers first. They could have been injured. I'm surprised you didn't think of that."Vakama paused for a moment before replying. "I did. But if I went looking for them, and there was something lurking nearby, we might have been caught unaware. I made a decision to scout first, and seek later."

Once again we see that out of his concern, he is carefully thinking things through, in ways the others tend not to have thought of. And he does take advice, though he doesn't really give credit for it. Considering that Nuju had just said there were strong hints of an enemy, and that his vehicle had just noisely crashed, this is very wise. Of course, yelling a moment later kinda hurts that strategy, lol.His slight pause could, if we are really intent on seeing the worst interpretation, be taken as a moment to concoct a defensive lie. But IMO it's far more likely that he is really frustrated by all this, knows that by his yelling he let that wrongly turn into taking it out on the others, and when here he is frustratingly challenged by Nokama he needs a moment to calm down so he won't do that again.Arrogance would just retort and yell more or whatnot.

Nokama said nothing. They walked on in an uncomfortable silence for a while before she turned back back to him. "You don't have to feel bad, you know.""About what?""The wreck. Even if we had turned back earlier, we might still have been swept up in the storm. It wasn't your fault."Vakama glanced at her, as if surprised she had brought it up. "I don't feel bad. We had to get back to Metru Nui. I wasn't going to let a little rain get in our way."A little rain? Nokama shook her head. She had seen Vakama angry, frightened, confident, uncertain, and in a whole host of other moods, but this new attitude was beyond her. She wasn't sure whether to be irritated or worried by his recklessness.As if sensing that she did not approve of his actions, Vakama stopped and looked her in the eyes. "Listen. Toa Lhikan was captured by the Dark Hunters because I could not help him. He gave me a missoin -- save the heart of the city, the Matoran -- and I failed. He died taking a blast meant for me, because [emphasis mine] I wasn't good enough to stop Makuta before that."Vakama's eyes blazed. "I won't fail again. The Matoran will be saved, with the rest of you... or without you."

This is misplaced resolve motivated by his depression and self-doubt. It is a mistake, but not one that makes him any less heroic. It's a character flaw, actually similar to Matoro's, ironically, when Matoro justified his own self-sacrifice because he was "just a translator." :) He is hoping that by using iron resolve, careful thought to the dangers, and above all speed (justified, more than he could know, but tactically this was his main blunder), a different approach than the one that met with so much failure previously, he will now succeed.And obviously to try it without them would be utterly stupid -- but again I think it is clearly motivated not out of arrogance but out of worry that they are slowing him down. At this point, given the path he has been forced on and his natural personality (not his fault ;)), I think twelve Makuta could stand in his way and he would have refused to back down. This is pure psychology at work. It creates the superficial impression of arrogance, but is clearly not.It's like the universe is conspiring against him, he feels, and he doesn't know how to handle it, so he's trying something new (remember Einstein's definition of insanity). If it means even leaving the other Toa, he's willing to consider it because he doesn't want to be limited by arrogantly sticking to a single strategy. Yet, that is making him seem unpredictable and thus unreliable to the others -- but how can we blame him for this? It's honestly the situation he was thrown into with no training that brings about this natural result. :) The real lesson here I think is in Nokama's words -- he doesn't have to blame himself. She just didn't realize what he's blaming himself for. Lhikan's death and the loss of the Matoran. He's so filled to the brim with depressed guilt over this the crash barely even registers on his radar screen.Likewise, we shouldn't blame him for his natural reaction to all that horror either, and remember that those others heroes we're comparing and contrasting him with did not have to face such deeply personal horrors.The book continues on with more of the same from him -- "we have to rescue the Matoran!!11!!!" :P against Vahki, and the like, blowing up at mistakes others make, etc.Then in the moment of capture, while paralyzed:

"Vakama, what do we do?" whispered Nokama."I... I don't know," answered the Toa of Fire, in a voice so low she could barely hear it.

While venomed:

His mind and body hurt all over.... He glanced at the other Toa, now all facing destruction because he had made the wrong decisions."I tried to lead you as best I could," he said. "I wish I had been better at it. But if I've learned one thing from all we have been through, it is that I am what I am. And no matter how much I might want to, I just can't change."

He then proceeds to physically change, lol.Jokes aside, here we see his true heart through what led up to this failure. He was trying not to be himself, since he feared that who he was was inherently not up to the challenges he'd been given.

Edited by bonesiii, Oct 09 2012 - 10:15 PM.

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#47 Offline Geardirector

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Posted Oct 12 2012 - 03:27 AM

I have three heroes I consider equal: Matora, "Toa" Ignika and that one member of Jovan's Toa Team.All three sacrificed themselves to save Mata Nui.Yes, I get that the Ignika didn't "sacrifice" himself, per se, but he gave up his "humanity", or whatever Bionicles would call it, but he did it for the universe.
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#48 Offline The Legendary TNT

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Posted Oct 12 2012 - 02:39 PM

I have three heroes I consider equal: Matora, "Toa" Ignika and that one member of Jovan's Toa Team.All three sacrificed themselves to save Mata Nui.Yes, I get that the Ignika didn't "sacrifice" himself, per se, but he gave up his "humanity", or whatever Bionicles would call it, but he did it for the universe.

Individuality. IMHO, I don't think of Toa Ignika as being a proper toa or being, just a sentient mask given a body. I guess he didn't have enough character development.

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#49 Offline Rooster Nui

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Posted Oct 16 2012 - 03:12 AM

Obviously the one and only Matoro. :voyanui:
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#50 Offline Makuta Matata

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Posted Oct 17 2012 - 07:52 PM

Besides Matoro... I'd say either Tahu, Jaller, or... VAKAMA. That's my choice, Vakama.
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