This is my character development and insight on my two favorite champions in League of Legends. Sadly, I can only gather so much on what minimal lore that Riot has provided. Nonetheless, they are well thought-out and I would certainly appreciate feedback from the general populace. These are also written for a deeper and further analysis on a novel (League spin-off) I am currently writing for personal entertainment. (I have hit a writer’s block at ten thousand words.)
Despite how he is portrayed in the actual game, one can easily question his actual morals and values aside from the current goal that is clearly burning within his mind. It is quite prominent that his purpose of living, as Riot has deemed in his lore, is to exact vengeance on the man that “destroyed” his life, namely Twisted Fate. But this arises several questions at the same time, and it is vital for any reader to keep in mind that Graves is also a human susceptible to normal aspects of life, particularly those that pertain of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
The first question I will address is what he will do if he finally gets his hand on Fate. One must think about his childhood, his experience, and his ideals before making any judgments on what would occur. Would he kill Fate? Would it satisfy him? Moreover, the question is, will he be able to kill Fate?
Let us examine this further. He had no family. According to the lore, he was born in a Bilgewater tavern, and left to survive by himself in the streets. He had to scrape a living for himself, and naturally, as humans, necessities come first, so he spent most of his childhood trying to just live, with not much room on the side for personal hobbies or thoughts. Then he met Twisted Fate, a man almost like himself.
In order to understand why Graves is the person he is, we must also take a quick look at his accomplice, Fate. Fate was born in a gypsy home, had a family, however, did not place much of a value in them and instead, left them to pursue his true desire. And what might that be, you ask? Simple. He wanted magic powers. He wanted to be able to control such a mysterious art – one that fascinated him, filled him with a terrible need to acquire such an amazing talent, and there was not once did he refuse to believe that it was impossible. It was his only goal in life, his dream, his love, and a powerful one that consumed him inside out.
So Malcolm Graves meets Twisted Fate. One can argue that they were on similar grounds, as Fate ran wild looking for his dream, and Graves for simple rations and a need to live. They have both experienced the “harsh life” and easily came to understand each other. Quite naturally, it is easier to team up with someone as smart as oneself, and reap extra benefits, and that is what they did.
But I will stop here momentarily. It is VITAL to understand that Graves and Fate looked at their relationship differently from one another. First off, recall that Fate took his family for granted, and even left them in pursuit of his own desires. It is easily deprived from this that he does not place a high value in other humans. Because of this, it easily led him to betray Graves to Dr. Priggs, because his desire for his magic overweighed his friendship with Graves. On the other hand, Graves probably never had anyone pay even the slightest bit of attention to him. He can barely survive on illicit ways of acquiring rations, no less even think about the comfort of another’s presence. Fate was very first person to make a difference in his life, and he granted Graves a new experience. No matter how rough the relationship might have been, a friendship is a friendship, and Graves clung on the fact that there had never been anyone out there who cared for his wellbeing before.
Thus, with this information, one can conclude that Graves will be unable to kill Fate. Fate remains his only “family” and dominates his whole life. Graves easily values his relationship with Fate more than anything else, even over the long bitterness that Fate had caused him. It is plausible to take it a step further and assume that Graves will also be able to forgive Fate for his actions. An easy example that relates to this would be any normal parent-child relationship. A child could hate his father, use his father, throw his father around, but the father would be unable to raise a single hand against him because of the child’s importance to him.
The second question now inquires about Graves’ personality as a whole, and what type of person he is. More specifically, what kind of character is he and what are his ethics? This is a hard topic to speak about as I tend to have a propensity for understanding characters through feelings and words rather than logic derived from experience. However, from what minimal evidence that Riot has provided its readers, there can be several thoughts that can be formed.
The Journal of Justice Volume 1, Issue 29 hints about Graves sometime before his release into the League of Legends and one major part of it speaks of his jailbreak from Dr. Aregor Priggs’ containment. On his way out though, however, Graves does not kill Priggs’ guards, he instead chooses to knock them out. ["I couldn't make out much of him. He was a big, grizzled man. He threw a smoke grenade of some sort, and when the haze cleared, the two guards were unconscious and the man had gone.”]
This is easily questionable. First off, this is his torturer’s men – men who have easily come in and out, mocking his imprisonment, perhaps even partaking in his pain. Why would he not choose to demolish them, especially since they worked for the one terrible man that screwed over his life? One can conclude that he is an empathetic man, one that does not kill without reason and takes no pleasure in the pain of others.
Between his imprisonment and the anger it caused him one can also question the line between his hate for Twisted Fate and Dr. Priggs. After he escaped from his jail, he also took the time to release other prisoners, showing his concern for similar victims and his prominent disapproval of Priggs’ actions. This, along with the fact that he had to scrape for a living, shows that he has a good sense of injustice and has little to no tolerance for it. An easy and comparable example to this would be Robin Hood’s actions and beliefs in the classic novel.
In conclusion (for this is all my meager brain can scrape out of what minimal information Riot has provided), Malcolm Graves is a good-hearted man underneath the current angry facade he has. One cannot blame him for his bitter outlook on life and society, but it is possible for him to overcome this if he is given enough care and kindness.
Yes, I firmly believe he has the capability to forgive Twisted Fate. After all, he was willing to trust people, despite his harsh, Oliver Twist childhood. Oh, Graves, you gullible moron.
Jarvan Lightshield the Fourth.
There have been major problems in ancient royalty, and it can be easily be consequent in upbringings of the Lightshield family as well. Because of this, I can easily predicate Jarvan IV as a corruptible character. The first and foremost issue I will address is the impact of the royal bubble on Jarvan IV.
As you may know, a royal bubble is where a child is raised knowing only riches and a privileged life while many others do not. This is rather unfitting as an immature king will have no experience or ideals on how to rule over the people that do not have his advantage. As in Europe in the past, this has caused many problems amongst the peasants as they often had to endure long and terrible reigns of inappropriate kings.
However, Demacia is not regarded as a poor state, and the only problem that it seems to have is its conflict with Noxus, its sole neighbor. But one questions why exactly the two city-states constantly war with one another, and even what point there is to it all.
It is quite simple really. Jarvan IV was indoctrinated by Demacian beliefs and ideals upon growing up in his royal bloodline. He was taught to be a bringer of “justice” and “righteousness”, and was given meaning to the words good and evil - good being Demacia, evil being Noxus. It was his responsibility to rid Valoran of the “Noxian scum” simply because they were, well, of Noxus. This easily reminds me of a well-written piece speaking of Garen’s betrayal of Demacia due to his love for Katarina, and there is a quote that goes “I’m just Demacia, and you’re just Noxus.”
Prince Jarvan never had a choice. He was born in a prestigious bloodline and had responsibilities and ideals shoved upon him like nothing other. No, Noxians weren’t just to be tolerated, they had to die, and he would be the one to finally bring them to his knees…or would he? Imagine if he found everything he did meaningless one day and that he no longer placed a value in succeeding his country. This easily leads to my second argument.
Unless forced, humans rarely do anything that does not benefit them, pertaining to the concept of egoism and the fact that altruism fails to exist. As said earlier, Jarvan IV was polished to be the Prince of Demacia and everything that withholds it. If one day, he fails to see the benefits nor hold any value towards such a position, he can easily turn on his responsibilities. After all, what meaning does war after war hold other than bloodshed and limited power?
The second corruptible point is his relationship with Garen Crownguard and possible hardships while growing up. No one is perfect, especially a young child born with high expectations. It is an inevitable fact that Jarvan IV would stumble, struggle, and grow bitter over failed results. As of the current information, it is not possible to tell if Jarvan III was harsh on his son, but he was a successful King and it is easily said that he would have held similar regards for his offspring. Prince Jarvan can only go so far his motivation takes him.
His childhood friend, Garen Crownguard, is a successful example of the ideal Demacian soldier. He holds an acceptable sense of justice and the “greater good” and is a leader and a captain of the Vanguards. His family was also close to Jarvan IV’s and one can probably deduce the comparison of both sons while they were growing up. If Jarvan III constantly acknowledged Garen’s accomplishment and his outstanding swordsmanship, it could cause Jarvan IV to hold even a slight bitterness toward Garen. It is clear in the lore that Garen is a well-established man and is of high reputation while Jarvan IV does not necessarily have the same status despite being the Prince.
Captain Crownguard also rescued Jarvan IV from his death. This can further Jarvan’s bitterness or jealously, and can cause him to constantly compare himself to Garen in order to improve. If actually taken far, he may even place this goal before his own nation and this fact can easily corrupt and tempt him to gain more power in order to surpass Garen. After all, his childhood, accomplished friend saved him from his very own death! How would that be anything else but shameful? He would technically be “indebted” to Garen for the rest of his life.
Other than this, I personally believe Jarvan IV is a shallow idiot. He should learn to think for himself and contemplate whether fighting for his country is truly what he wants despite the fact he really had no choice.
Hey, nice analysis Zyphemis!
In my mind, Graves' vendetta is all he lives for. He's been in the slammer a long time because of Twisted Fate, and the attitude I get from his judgment is that he's lost the desire to think ahead more than one step at a time. The last time he had a plan, Fate stabbed him in the back and reminded him there was only one person he could trust. I think he would kill his old partner easily, but be at a loss of what to do afterwards. He's not a conman anymore. (edit wait ... he wants to show the world what Twisted Fate really is, never mind, killing him doesn't seem to be part of it)
I object to your analysis of Jarvan. It seems to match Swain's perception of the prince. Demacians have a rigid order, where personal desire is a secondary concern at best. Jarvan was likely raised a world apart from his future subjects, but he was raised to fill a well defined, necessary role. Jarvan knows his place in the world, and no one is capable of changing that. That confidence shows itself in his personality, which some might describe as brash and arrogant. When he faced death at the hands of Urgot, he did so without showing any fear or doubt. The only effect it had on him was to cause him to improve his combat skills - by hunting dragons. There are high expectations for Jarvan. If he should fail, he will merely get back up and continue on his way.
As for the conflict between Demacia and Noxus, the League has considerable weight on the issue of war. Jarvan III was willing to work with Noxus for peace in Kalamanda. In Issue 30, Jarvan IV showed the same reasonability by working with Kat and Talon to expose the truth. As long as Demacia and Noxus exist as we know them, their ideals will clash - but war against Noxus is not Jarvan's goal. His rivalry with Swain is a different matter.
Good luck with that novel!
Well, I understand your authorial goals. If you intend to twist a character, or the concepts of good and evil (Riot avoids those stereotypes, notice the only evil champion is Veigar), a good part of making your writing believable is having a solid foundation for your character flaws while still portraying them consistently with how they've been portrayed elsewhere.
That said, I just want to point out some stuff I know (I've read ... lots of stuff).
- Graves shot Dr. Priggs' face across a wall.
- Anger, the slow, simmering kind, doesn't die easily. Graves shows how angry he still is years later in his judgment. TF's betrayal cost Graves years in prison, his way of life, and the closest relationship to another person he had.
- TF isn't a hero, but he is a showman. Graves is the kind of man who will shoot a showman's legs off, and there's a certain Dr. Xavier Rath whom TF parted with on poor terms.
- Forgiveness ... would, like you said, come from emotional attachment. TF and Graves used to be kindred souls, but Graves' original connection with TF was broken by the betrayal. What in Graves' life would encourage him to hope that TF could still be his old partner when Graves has his anger?
- Jarvan is heir to the throne, and probably doesn't think he has any flaws he can't overcome. I would say the essential parts of his character, however, are pride in Demacia, determination, and a ... severe mistrust of Swain (this is probably reasonable).
Ten thousand words is impressive. I don't think I've written any story longer than three thousand, myself. I hope you find a way around that block.
Heh, what a coincidence. I've been playing a lot of Jarvan lately.
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