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Deep Space Nine What We Left Behind, we will always have here.

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Old October 2 2009, 12:34 AM   #1
Joel_Kirk
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Mr. Garak-He is not that complicated

I was watching a DS9 episode the other day. (I forget the name; Bashir, Martok, Worf, and Garak are on a Dominion 'rock' being held with two Romulans and a Breen).

Anyway, it had me thinking to various comments that say Garak is a 'complicated' character.....or a 'complicated man, where no one understand him but his woman' (Tora Ziyal!)...

Actually, he isn't...imo...(And yes, that was a John Shaft reference above...)

Garak is an individual who keeps to himself. He's obviously had a bad past, which shows up every now and then.

He has no remorse or qualms about killing evil indivduals...i.e. his remark to Sisko in 'Pale Moonlight'. However, he does have a heart...and he does have a bit of honor about him.

He is right on the Defiant fighting with the Starfleet[and Bajoran] officers, protecting DS9...

Garak isn't perfect (he knows he isn't)...but he will do the right thing if he needs to. (Although, he won't openly admit that he did the right thing).

He is definitely an anti-hero.
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Old October 2 2009, 01:43 AM   #2
PSGarak
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Re: Mr. Garak-He is not that complicated

I think there is a complexity to the character that goes beyond having a bad past, keeping to himself, or even basically doing the right thing, for example when he is under the influence of a psychotropic drug and starts hunting his friends for the fun of it. True, the drug brought that out in him, but it had to be there to be brought out in the first place.

There is a dark side to the pragmatism, and in his career he hurt far more people than just bad people. Ironically, I think Ziyal understood him the least. She saw only what she wanted to see. It was part of her nature and one reason I think she could love her father as much as she did for as long as she did. While seeing the good in others and bringing it out is an admirable trait, ignoring the bad to the point it gets one killed shows a certain lacking in discernment.

I can completely agree with your last statement. He is an anti-hero.
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Old October 2 2009, 04:56 AM   #3
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Mr. Garak-He is not that complicated

You know what? It just occurred to me that Garak reminds me of Dexter (from the show by that name).
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Old October 2 2009, 05:21 AM   #4
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Re: Mr. Garak-He is not that complicated

Rewatch all the new Bond movies, but imagine that Judy Dench's "M" is really in fact Jimmy's Mum.
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Old October 2 2009, 11:05 AM   #5
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Re: Mr. Garak-He is not that complicated

Nerys Dukat wrote: View Post
You know what? It just occurred to me that Garak reminds me of Dexter (from the show by that name).
That's apt.

And probably worth remembering he was part of the Obsidian Order. While his recounting to Bashir of various atrocities he committed were, of course, all lies, it's not a flowers-and-sunshine operation and he probably has a fairly nasty past. His stories suggest that he didn't reform and then leave, he just failed and then left (or did he?). His choice of DS9 could be an ironic one for his exile or one selected on orders so he could still be useful (which seems to be his implied role early on in the series in episodes like 'Past Prologue', where he is the Obvious Cardassian Spy.) He only becomes one of the 'heroes' gradually, and even then because they have the same enemy - Dukat and the Dominion (in that order, I'd suspect as far as Garak is concerned.)

What's complicated about him is while we know the broad strokes of his past - his father, whom he left, was the head of the Obsidian Order - there are a multitude of possible ways this could have played out of which we're ignorant.

And as always, whether Garak is complicated or not, it's probably a good idea not to trust a single thing he's ever said.
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Old October 2 2009, 02:41 PM   #6
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Re: Mr. Garak-He is not that complicated

Garak's a nasty piece of work. Someone who enjoyed torturing people the way he did shouldn't be quite as loved as he seems to be.
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Old October 2 2009, 04:10 PM   #7
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Re: Mr. Garak-He is not that complicated

Characters like Garak will always be popular; to quote the Simpsons, "girls think they can change him, guys want to be like him". I mean, I don't think that's quite it, but there just something about him that's awesome, and pretty universal, since he's a popular character amongst nearly everyone who watches Deep Space Nine (as far as I know).

I think that, at the start of the series, Garak truly resents being on Deep Space Nine, and still very much has the mindset of an coldblooded killer. Throughout the series, though, he gradually gets to know various characters, and doesn't necessarily change, but at least has come to accept...well, not being entirely evil, I suppose? I definitely agree that he's an anti-hero all the way.
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Old October 2 2009, 07:00 PM   #8
Tallis Rhul
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Re: Mr. Garak-He is not that complicated

Joel_Kirk wrote: View Post
I was watching a DS9 episode the other day. (I forget the name; Bashir, Martok, Worf, and Garak are on a Dominion 'rock' being held with two Romulans and a Breen).

Anyway, it had me thinking to various comments that say Garak is a 'complicated' character.....or a 'complicated man, where no one understand him but his woman' (Tora Ziyal!)...

Actually, he isn't...imo...(And yes, that was a John Shaft reference above...)

Garak is an individual who keeps to himself. He's obviously had a bad past, which shows up every now and then.

He has no remorse or qualms about killing evil indivduals...i.e. his remark to Sisko in 'Pale Moonlight'. However, he does have a heart...and he does have a bit of honor about him.

He is right on the Defiant fighting with the Starfleet[and Bajoran] officers, protecting DS9...

Garak isn't perfect (he knows he isn't)...but he will do the right thing if he needs to. (Although, he won't openly admit that he did the right thing).

He is definitely an anti-hero.
I agree with you in that he's not complicated to us, but that's because we get to see his secrets. To the characters on DS9 you can see how he would initially be quite enigmatic.

USS Bones wrote:
Garak's a nasty piece of work. Someone who enjoyed torturing people the way he did shouldn't be quite as loved as he seems to be.
No, apparently it takes executing people "for their own good" to make a character loveable, right?
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Old October 2 2009, 10:29 PM   #9
PSGarak
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Re: Mr. Garak-He is not that complicated

Tallis Rhul wrote: View Post
USS Bones wrote:
Garak's a nasty piece of work. Someone who enjoyed torturing people the way he did shouldn't be quite as loved as he seems to be.
No, apparently it takes executing people "for their own good" to make a character loveable, right?
I was thinking the same thing. Dukat was FAR worse than Garak on every level. I also didn't get the sense Garak enjoyed torturing people. Garak did it as part of his job. If one is willing to excuse Dukat on that basis but not Garak, one is not being consistent at all. I'm not excusing Garak's work in the Order, but there is a difference between doing a job and enjoying that job.
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Old October 2 2009, 11:29 PM   #10
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Re: Mr. Garak-He is not that complicated

Garak enjoyed torturing, as said by Tain in The Die is Cast. Dukat might be deluded, but Garak knew what he was doing.
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Old October 3 2009, 12:07 AM   #11
PSGarak
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Re: Mr. Garak-He is not that complicated

USS Bones wrote: View Post
Garak enjoyed torturing, as said by Tain in The Die is Cast. Dukat might be deluded, but Garak knew what he was doing.
Yes, because Tain is such an upstanding honest man with no ill will toward Garak or reason to try to cast doubt on his motives. You'll have to do better than that. Delusion isn't a good excuse to do what Dukat did.
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Old October 3 2009, 01:09 AM   #12
Brutal Strudel
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Re: Mr. Garak-He is not that complicated

Part of Garak's appeal lies in how Robinson played him. Robinson, like Combs, has a knack for what can only be called subtle scenery chewing--he plays it broad and theatrical but still layers it with meaning and nuance.

I think the comparison to Dexter is somewhat apt in that, like Dexter, Garak initially wanted to believe he had no sense of liking and loyalty for the people who would become a sort of family to him. Seeing Cardassia ruined only brought home to him just how arrogant and evil a machine he had been a part of and a servant to. He's a snake, yes, but a snake with a heart.
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Old October 4 2009, 09:06 PM   #13
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Re: Mr. Garak-He is not that complicated

Enabran Tainted wrote: View Post
Yes, because Tain is such an upstanding honest man with no ill will toward Garak or reason to try to cast doubt on his motives.
Tain said it with no-one but Garak around, however, and Garak accepted it as a compliment.
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Old October 4 2009, 09:59 PM   #14
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Re: Mr. Garak-He is not that complicated

^Well, they ARE Cardassians ...
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Old October 4 2009, 10:04 PM   #15
PSGarak
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Re: Mr. Garak-He is not that complicated

SoM wrote: View Post
Enabran Tainted wrote: View Post
Yes, because Tain is such an upstanding honest man with no ill will toward Garak or reason to try to cast doubt on his motives.
Tain said it with no-one but Garak around, however, and Garak accepted it as a compliment.
And yet in that very same episode, Garak shows great remorse and discomfort with everything he had to do to Odo. Odo was no longer awake or in solid form to see it, so there would be no benefit in faking the remorse when he's the only other person in the room. There would, however, be a lot of perceived benefit to being agreeable with Tain since he believes he may get to go home after doing this for him. I don't think Tain ever fully understood his son. Like so many in Garak's life, he saw what he wanted to see.

I saw a lot more evidence in the show that Garak did not enjoy inflicting pain than that he did. Also, Odo himself seemed to understand that what Garak did was necessary and saved him from far worse. Odo was a fairly decent judge of character. Odo would not have been nearly as forgiving or understanding of someone who happily inflicted him with pain, and he would've been able to see if that were the case.
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