Since the Mad Men one started up nerd slapfights in half a dozen places on the internet, here is another! I hereby declare it Alignment Chart Week here at mgkdotcom!
Part of me wants to see a Next Generation alignment chart, but none of the major characters would go below Neutral, and even that’s a stretch.
Major characters defined as regular crew members, that is, not just characters with multiple appearances.
Interesting. I happen to be in the middle of rewatching DS9 right now, and I’ve gotten to about a third of the way through Season 4. What’s interesting is how badly Chaotic Good and Chaotic Evil fit Sisko and Dukat respectively at this point. I’m not even entirely sure Sisko would fit into Neutral Good at this point, and Dukat’s adherence to Cardassian principles (up until “Indescretion”, at least) would make me want to put him in the Lawful Neutral box.
Which is one way of saying how much the characters in the show changed and evolved, though in truth I was never happy with Dukat in his raging lunatic stage.
Over the course of the show Sisko’s willingness to bend and break Federation law to get shit done becomes more and more apparent until the end of the series, wherein he’s almost a free actor who just happens to work for the Federation.
I disagree with you about Dukat, though. His adherence to Cardassian principles isn’t lawful at all; it’s out of his own personal preferences, which he is cheerfully willing to impose on everybody else. (Cardassian society isn’t particularly lawful to begin with, anyway, not like the Klingons are – it’s more or less founded on might-makes-right principles and logically extends from there.)
Huh, that’s… actually pretty good, with the exception I might put Odo in straight-up lawful neutral… he gets “good” by the end of the series but he was always so much more devoted to “lawful”.
Odo shifts to “good” pretty firmly the moment he learns about his people and the fact that they’re horrible dictators, and codifies his moral stance that law is only worth defending if it helps people.
I would say that part of the reason why Dukat appears lawful for most of DS9 is that he knows how to play the Cardassian legal game. I haven’t played enough actual D&D sessions to say it’s a common mistake, but I wouldn’t be surprised if people assume that chaotic characters can’t follow the rules, and I don’t think that’s true. They feel no need to follow the rules, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t invoke them to help themselves and hurt others.
I’m not sure I’d say Sisko’s willingness becomes more apparent; I’d say his willingness increases. A change, rather than a reveal.
I see your point regarding Dukat. You can boil it down to the argument he has in “Indescretion” with Kira, actually. Dukat claims he has to kill his own daughter to prevent his family from being ruined according to the way Cardassians run things, but Kira’s convinced he’s doing to save himself.
Even so, I stand by my conviction that “Chaotic Evil” is only a label that can be sensibly applied to Dukat after “By Inferno’s Light” at the earliest, and perhaps not until “Waltz” in Season 6.
I don’t think I agree with your appraisal of Cardassian society. Cardassian society is massively totalitarian and unsympathetic, but unlawful? We know from “Tribunal” just how important the Cardassians consider their legal system – bizarre though it appears to us. Whilst I can see that military rule, harsh punishments and a lack of civil rights is hardly a recipe for happiness, I don’t think it a priori means there’s a lack of law. Of course, there may be specific examples I’ve forgotten or am overlooking.
Moreover, their seeming obsession with “Orders”, status and family might also suggest a comparatively rigid social structure, which I would associate with Lawfulness, though that’s a debatable interpretation. Garak also talks about the fact that Cardassian literature reflects the belief that the most noble life is one that is lived in devoted duty to the state. I’d find it hard to imagine an unlawful society putting such emphasis on duty.
I guess, though, this is heading into another discussion: how unlawful can a society become whilst still being able to convince itself it’s lawful?
This is perfect. Utterly flawless. I finished re-watching the whole series all over again a couple months ago, and I can’t disagree with any of these.
@ Tales to Enrage
I’m not saying it’s inconceivable that a Chaotic Evil character would never use rules to gain leverage. But Dukat spent his life working his way up through the military until he became commander of a space station and the head of the Second Order. In other words, if he’s been gaming the system, he’s being doing it his whole life. When he wants to gain something, he reaches for the rulebook to work out how to get it.
That’s Lawful behaviour, as far as I’m concerned. Put another way: I don’t think it’s necessary for a Lawful Evil character to respect rules. Only to use them as their primary weapon. A Chaotic Evil character might also use this ploy, but it would hardly be their first choice.
Of course, I’ve played exactly no D&D, so all of this could be embarrassingly wrong.
The two Changelings are lawful, the two Bajorans are neutral, and the two Cardassians are chaotic? Excellent consistency.
This is going to be the best week ever.
I’d swap Quark and Garak.
Ferengi do have the Rules of Acquisition, but they’re functionally a means of justifying any action in the pursuit of profit, and Quark’s business expeditions too often place him at odds with Lawful people for me to accept him as True Neutral.
And Garak… well, he’s good at being contradictory. He’s very, very talented at chaotic actions like lying, assassination, and acting independently, but performs those actions out of a sense of duty to family and government, which is the hallmark of the “lawful” alignment. I’d say he’s “true neutral” when you average things out.
That’s true, but that’s for most of his life. I think DS9 represents a huge break for all of the characters, since the very first episode is about the Federation taking over a former Cardassian space station. Kira has to go from a terrorist/revolutionary (which would certainly lean towards chaos) to being a cultural representative/officer, who has to at least respect the rules instead of looking for ways to subvert and break them.
Sisko is put in an uncomfortable situation as well. He’s been trained in Federation rules and regulations, and every other station commander in the Federation is on a Federation starbase. He’s not, and being appointed a religious icon of the society he’s dealing with makes it even thornier. So he shifts from Lawful to Neutral good, and then further into Chaotic, unlike Kira’s move away from Chaos towards Law.
But where Sisko’s alignment change is about trying to find a livable balance between his duties to the Federation and his new responsibilities as commander of Deep Space Nine and Emissary of the Bajoran Prophets, Dukat is being pushed out of a system he’s been involved in all of his life. The highest he climbed was to be commander of the former Terok Nor, and he’s been ousted, in a society that does not have any empathy for failure. He’s desperately scrabbling to keep any influence he can, hoping to redeem himself in the eyes of Bajorans and Federation officers who have good reason to mistrust him, and eventually decides “Fuck it. If I can’t work within these systems, I’ll burn it down.”
That’s how I see them fitting into these categories, at least.
@Tales to Enrage
Your comparison between Kira and Sisko is an excellent one, though we can argue for hours as to whether or not they genuinely pass each other or just get closer and closer together. I’d never thought of it that way before, though. Good catch.
I actually entirely agree with your assessment of Dukat, but then my point was never that he doesn’t belong in “Chaotic Evil”, just about where he was up until being kicked out of the Second Order after “Indiscretion”. Up until that point, we were gradually learning more about Dukat, but I don’t think we were watching him change from the man he was as the commander of Terok Nor.
Quark and Garak, I think, should swap places. And I personally view Worf as falling into the Lawful Good box, though he’s definitely stronger on the Lawful axis.
See, this is why I always like DS9 better than Next Gen. The costumes were still designed by mad upholsterers who didn’t know what bodies looked like, but the characters were actually kind of complicated.
Sooo…can we request Alignment Charts? Because I personally would like to see one for Fringe.
I’ll certainly concede that Dukat isn’t into full blown Chaotic Evil in Season 4, or beforehand-there’s a very definite break for him. But I think the hints are there already. His treatment of the Bajorans during the occupation starts to come up well before the reveal of his daughter, and there’s the idea that Dukat went above and beyond what was required. Not so far that he can’t remain within Cardassian society, but enough that people aren’t willing to deal with him if they can help it, like they can with Odo.
Now, in fairness to Dukat, he’s not unusual there. Probably any Cardassian commander of Terok Nor would have done many of the same things. So that alone doesn’t work as a hint that he will eventually fit into Chaotic Evil. But the attempted air of benevolence, even after he’s no longer in command, give him a hypocritical stance after the fact that many other Cardassian characters do not have. Garak can justify his duplicity as being his job and training, and most other Cardassians looked down on Bajorans, and still do. But Dukat cultivates the air of a wounded patrician after he’s removed, which feeds into his bitterness and feeling rejected. Almost any other Cardassian would want nothing to do with Kira or other Bajorans, but he desperately needs their approval, some sign that he was doing the right thing. Even his daughter becomes a part of this driving need.
I’m going to stop there, since I haven’t watched DS9 recently enough to be sure I’m getting the chronology right.
Dukat is pretty hard to figure out, but I’d never say that he was Lawful. Lawful anything would better fit Damar than Dukat. Damar’s a patriot at his best and a fanatic at his worst. Everything Damar does, he does to serve Cardassia. It’s why Damar hates Bajorans- they beat Cardassia. It’s why he starts drinking after Dukat sells Cardassia out to the Dominion- because he is now partly responsible for betraying Cardassia. And when Cardassia is fully enslaved by the Dominion, it is then that Damar can see how evil the Cardassian government really was for doing the same thing to Bajorans. But he never abandons Cardassia- he tries to save it and rebuild it and make his home better.
Dukat, on the other hand, was always more cynical and self-centered than Damar. Dukat tried to make things better on Bajor by abolishing child labor and whatnot, because Dukat can see that his government’s practices are immoral and inefficient. But when the Bajorans don’t fall down and praise Dukat for giving them an extra hour of relaxation before they head back to the acid mines, Dukat gets all pissy, because he’s so wrapped up in himself he can’t stand the idea that someone doesn’t like him. When Cardassia starts shit in the Demilitarized Zone, Dukat decides to stop it, because he can see that this will only weaken Cardassia further. When Central Command is overthrown, Dukat switches sides and ensures his rise to power. In “Return to Grace,” when, after being given everything he wanted, Dukat decides to wage war on the invading Klingons all by himself, because he knows there’s no negotiating with the Klingons while they hold the advantage. And of course, he sells out Cardassia to the Dominion in exchange for making Cardassia- and himself- the rulers of the Alpha Quadrant.
I’d swap Odo and Worf, myself. Odo was willing to serve as the agent of law for both the Cardassians and the Dominion, after all, and Worf accepted loss of clan and honor for the greater good twice.
(And it makes the ‘opposite numbers’ across the dial pairs who actually are in direct conflict more often in both cases.)
Does this mean we’re going to get an Archie alignments, with Betty Cooper as Chaotic Evil? =D
Dukat called Kira in the middle of the night (on her dead mother’s birthday) to let her know that he banged her mom. That, my friends, is the epitome of Chaotic Evil.
Man, DS9 was such a great show. All the themes of terrorism, war, and government control seem a lot more poignant after 9/11.
If you want to see some real nerd fights, do Firefly.
Best. Internet Discussion. Ever.
Very nice. I particularly like how the top and bottom rows line up with each other.
@MIB: Do we have enough characters from Fringe to do an alignment chart? We have Olivia, Peter, Walter, Broyles, Nina, Astrid, Walternate, Fauxlivia, and who? Charlie Francis, maybe?
The problem is, I’d put Olivia and Broyles as Lawful Good, Peter at Chaotic Good, Walter at Chaotic Neutral or Chaotic Good, Walternate at Chaotic Evil, Fauxlivia at Lawful Evil, and I really don’t think we know enough about Nina or Astrid to put them anywhere. You might put Francis at Lawful Neutral, but he seemed more good to me.
“Over the course of the show Sisko’s willingness to bend and break Federation law to get shit done becomes more and more apparent…”
I noticed a while back that “I don’t like it any better than you do” was practically Sisko’s catchphrase, especially in the early years, often referring to the way his freedom to act was constrained by Federation regulations or by the conditions of the treaty with Bajor.
They might not have set it up intentionally from the beginning, but having him get more and more willing to do something about such frustrations over time is what makes him unique among the captains.
(Kirk just did what he wanted from the get-go, Picard was practically one with Federation law and always going along with something he believed so strongly in just seemed to empower him, and Janeway ran things like she’d just taken a mid-90s management training seminar.)
This is exactly perfect for where they end up, though it’s perhaps not where they started. Except Dukat — he used law exactly as long as it was useful for him, then set up a death cult and decided to burn everything. He was always ce, but Cardassia didn’t care as long as he toed the line, which he did as long as it was a line he liked.
I’d nominate Firefly, Leverage, and House, but I don’t know if you could easily fill a chart with any of them.
Avatar. The royal house of the Fire Nation provides you with all three sorts of evil, the Gaang lets you fill in the good. (Don’t get much more Chaotic Good than Toph.) Plenty of characters to fill in the middle ranks as well. And no shortage of quotes.
Roman emperors. Marcus Aurelius for Lawful Neutral, Antoninus Pius for Lawful Good, Julian the Apostate for Chaotic Good, Heliogabalus for Chaotic Neutral. No shortage of candidates for the various Evil alignments, alas.
Oh which nerds to bait. Stargate, BattleStar Galactica, is pretty much fly fishing.
Battlestar Galactica (new school) would probably be easy enough to fill out. Even with an all-cylon condition, for that matter.
Yeah, I dunno about Quark. Others here have said he’d be better in the Chaotic Neutral, but he was pretty devoted to following the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition. There were several episodes highlighting how stringently he followed them, including one where he was torn between breaking one (reneging on a deal), and dying. That’s more devoted to the rules than anyone else on the show that I can recall.
But on the other hand, he certainly didn’t care about any other culture’s laws, and would routinely break Federation law and get involved in illegal activity. Does a “Lawful” character have to obey the laws of the land he’s in, or do they just strictly obey a certain set of rules, even self-imposed ones?
From what I understand, it’s about obeying the rules that you recognize more than anything else. If your laws conflicted with the law of the land, you’d be more concerned with the former than the latter, though you wouldn’t wantonly break the latter-you’d just defer to your laws first, and try to go by their laws if you could. There’s room for interpretation there, but to me, it makes more sense to have room for interpretation with a lawful character, or else you could just make their heads explode too easily.
I’d suggest a Babylon 5 Alignment Chart. I’d also second Leverage, but it’d be pretty heavy on the “Chaotic” part. And is Sterling Lawful Neutral or Lawful Evil?
Part of me wants to see a Doctor Who one with all nine alignments being the Doctor, but that’s because I’m crazy.
I want an Arrested Development chart.
Deadwood would be simple, but probably too simple. As complex as the characters could be, law and chaos play such a visible part in the show’s very premise, their alignments might as well be their ethnicities.
Doctor Who (with a Doctor for each alignment), BSG, and Babylon 5 have all been done. I am not gonna repeat other people’s schtick, even if I think my grid design is prettier.
@Doug: I thought about a Firefly/Serenity one, but 1. you’d have to contend with the local hater contingent and 2. you’d have to use characters that were one or two appearances only (like, say, Niska or Early in the evil categories)
I request a version for the Walking Dead. The Comic.
I’ve riffled through my Nerd Topic Rolodex, and I’d like to see an Elseworlds-inclusive all-Superman version of the Batman chart. Or an all-David Bowie one, though I’m not sure he has quite enough notable film roles and musical personae to fill the grid.
I wonder if the Aliens characters can be shoehorned into an alignment chart. That would be worth it for the quotes alone.
Also, though I know nothing about the Uncle Scrooge comics, I would be pleased if MGK produced a chart for them.
How about Teen Titans or LSH members? There’s a pretty deep well to draw from in either case.
Do one for all the versions of the X-Men teams. There have been enough that I’m sure they’d fill out the grid.
I have only seen a handful of DS9 episodes and no MAD MEN episodes but in comparing the two charts it’s easy to see MAD MEN is the far superior show.
Y’know, I’m surprised nobody’s mentioned Buffy yet. Legion would make a good choice, too. So would Heroes, if the show hadn’t been cancelled halfway through the second season….
Personally, I think the Smurfs would make for a particularly insightful alignment chart.
“@MIB: Do we have enough characters from Fringe to do an alignment chart? We have Olivia, Peter, Walter, Broyles, Nina, Astrid, Walternate, Fauxlivia, and who? Charlie Francis, maybe?
The problem is, I’d put Olivia and Broyles as Lawful Good, Peter at Chaotic Good, Walter at Chaotic Neutral or Chaotic Good, Walternate at Chaotic Evil, Fauxlivia at Lawful Evil, and I really don’t think we know enough about Nina or Astrid to put them anywhere. You might put Francis at Lawful Neutral, but he seemed more good to me.”
I was thinking that you could also include, say, The Observer, Bell maybe, Jones, Loeb–although you’re right is saying that they’re still in the process of revealing key elements of these characters and that those characters are also evolving over time.
I was actually thinking Olivia as maybe Neutral Good: sure, she’s FBI, but she seems to sort of skirt or bend the rules if she can when she thinks it’s for the greater good (not to mention shooting her stepfather, although she was only 9 when she did that).
I SO miss this show. Time for a marathon, I think.
I would switch Odo and Worf as well Buffy chart please
Ed(jack norris)(Kirk just did what he wanted from the get-go, Picard was practically one with Federation law and always going along with something he believed so strongly in just seemed to empower him, and Janeway ran things like she’d just taken a mid-90s management training seminar.) lol but what about Archer?
It’s obvious I’m missing out on what all the cool kids are watching, I wouldn’t know what any of these suggested charts are about.
I don’t quite see Garak as reveling in chaos for chaos sake. His allegiances seemed consistent, if complicated. Maybe chaotic good?
The thing with Garak is, he’s a fascist and a loyal supporter of the Cardassian regime, who just happened to cross the wrong person. He very much enjoyed his time with Obsidian Order and misses it greatly, even though he’s changed too much to go back.
Garak isn’t concerned with doing good, but doing good for Cardassia, even if it means working against Cardassian agents who are just as dedicated to Cardassia, or killing innocent people.
Yeah, Dukat is all over the map. You could make a case for him as Lawful Good or Lawful Neutral when prefect of Bajor, though he drops to Lawful Evil over time. He is, after all, the legitimate representative of Cardassia on Bajor.
But by Season 4 or 5, he’s much closer to Chaotic Neutral (he is, after all, a commando fighting against the Klingons). And then late in Season 6, Chaotic Evil fits perfectly. Especially after he’s possessed by a Pah Wraith – that quote must be from Season 7.
[...] An alignment chart for DS9. Personally, I would switch lawful evil and neutral evil, but that’s [...]
I dont think the writers for DS9 ever really knew what to do with Dukat. He was a good character in certain places, but christ, they had his loyalties all over the damn map.
The DS9 writers said a lot that they felt many fans became way too sympathetic to Dukat and were overlooking that he was always a brutal fascist.
@SC “The DS9 writers said a lot that they felt many fans became way too sympathetic to Dukat and were overlooking that he was always a brutal fascist.”
Our love for Dukat is both the writer’s Marc Alaimo’s fault. The writer’s made Dukat one of the most dimensional characters in the show; he’s loyal but a rebel, a brutal fascist yet an honourable solider, a savvy warrior yet an overconfident dilettante, a lecherous manipulator but a loving father, and on and on, but he also is both an underdog and the antagonist (alternating between seasons), and to top it all off, Marc Alaimo is wonderful and you can’t help but go, “Okay. So he’s a brutal dictactor that enslaved Bajor. But he feels bad about it. Sometimes. Plus, the world’s against him. Poor man.”
Dukat is a wonderful piece of art.
DAMN YOU MGK! *shakes fist*
I just watched the whole series a couple weeks ago, and now I have to watch it again! :p
This chart (and the subsequent discussion) really illustrates for me why I think DS9 is the best Trek series. It’s not just that it has complex and interesting characters, but it has such a deep bench of them! The fact that people can have a debate about the nature of Damar’s character speaks to that.
I also find it interesting that so few of the other Starfleet characters (Bashir, O’Brien, Ross, either Dax) made the chart. Are they all just variations of Lawful and Good?
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[...] is the Big Bang Theory chart, shown above. More useful to the people I play with might be the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine chart, shown [...]
[...] seen a lot of these recently. But one seemed to be [...]
You grabbed the number one google ranking for “DS9 character alignment” and Star Trek character alignment” from me.
[...] I just received a comment on the Star Trek: DS9 alignments post as [...]
This works better than most of these. Of course, I actually sort of know the source material, which helps.
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