Garak: A good guy?

Discussion in 'Deep Space Nine' started by Hando, Nov 24, 2013.

  1. Hando

    Hando Commander Red Shirt

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    Maybe a badly stated question. I wonder, would Garak choose the Federation over Cardassia?

    We know that before his exile to Terok Nor, Garak did some pretty bad stuff, even on Terok Nor he was still an Obsidian Order asset.

    Apparently, he had clear loyalties: to Tain and then to Cardassia.

    The only reason why he did not to the democratic Cardassia, was because Dukat was high up the food chain. And than he was a persona non grata. So he sided with the Federation by default.

    There are also two alternative versions of him, which are "evil" a pro-Cardassia: MU and in the novel Lost Time.

    While a good version appeared in the story A Gutted World.


    So I ask again, when would Garak turn again Cardassia? Mainly if the Federation-Cardassian War were to be hotter, more like the Dominion War?
    Or after a True Way takeover?
     
  2. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    I don't know anything about the novels, so can only judge Garak by what we saw on screen. Since Garak chose to return to Cardassia after the Dominion nearly destroyed it, I think his loyalties and sense of what's more important to him personally are clear. Siding with the Federation for a while was merely a form of survival.
     
  3. od0_ital

    od0_ital Admiral Admiral

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    Garak is the ultimate patriot and would never put anything over Cardassia.

    Even in his exile, he remained loyal to his home, removin' threats and fightin' its enemies, as he viewed them.

    :cardie:
     
  4. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    Cardassia over Federation means ...? If it's a question of patriotism, he's Cardassian, and he's always wanted to go home, even in extreme defeat. Does he prefer the Federation system over the Cardassian? WOTW suggests that Garak, like Quark, have begun to appreciate the Federation even if they dislike aspects of it. I would think that in a Cardassian election, he would support politicians who would write a Federation-like constitution. Could he every give up being the covert spy? No way.
     
  5. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Garak was on the side of Cardassia.

    He was just smart and free-thinking enough to know that the Dominion, and the military rule were very bad for Cardassia.

    Garak is the Sheridan of Cardassia.
     
  6. borgboy

    borgboy Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Garek was the greatest Cardassian patriot. He wasn't exactly what I'd think of as a good guy though, he was capable of doing some truly awful things if he thought the ends justified the means. He's a very grey character (no pun intended!) which makes him all the more fascinating to watch.
     
  7. WarpCore

    WarpCore Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    He did choose the Federation over Cardassia, but only as a means to ultimately help Cardassia, which ultimately helps Garak. The result of having to make that choice was pretty much a mental breakdown.

    The only reason he was ever on DS9 was due to having too many enemies on the other side of all the bridges he'd burned throughout his years.

    If there had ever been an all out Federation-Cardassian war, without any 3rd party Cardassia was making concessions to, and Garak thought Cardassia had a hope to win, I have to assume he would have killed as many Federation citizens as necessary or as requested. Garak always shows a lot of hesitation in killing fellow Carsassians. He, like many, could have killed Dukat several times and made his life easier as a result but chooses not to partly because it's immediately beneficial to let Dukat live.

    I wouldn't read too far into mirror characters. O'Brien was pro-federation/human. Smiley was pro-rebellion/human. Remember, the tube grubs aren't poisonous, but they should be, right?

    Garak, being the pragmatist he is, would probably have little use for these notions of "good" and "evil."
     
  8. Mister Spock

    Mister Spock Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I don't think Garak really threw in his lot with the Federation until about the sixth season.
     
  9. Pondwater

    Pondwater Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    He's a Cardassian.…. If he wasn't exiled again when Cardassia joined the Dominion, he would of gone back to Cardassia with the rest of the prisoners in that camp.
     
  10. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Garak was mentally on the side of the Federation the moment Cardassia joined the Dominion. He didn't start fighting for them until the station was evacuated and he was forced to in order to accompany them as his only means of protection.
     
  11. soapp

    soapp Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    As someone stated, it's more like he was doing it for the Cardassia he knew. I think Garak is a Cardassian to the core and a patriot, just think of it in a social context, the greater part of his life was lived with Cardassian ideology and culture. When he talks with Bashir you can really see a different way of thinking.

    When he was messing with Worf asking him to sponsor his application to starfleet accademie, you see he doesn't have the federation but surely doesn't mind toying with them. :P

    His a man of principal I think, even with all his lies, skeams, and tricks, deep down he has definit loyalties.

    As they say there is method to his madness

    Edit: As for is he a good guy? ... Not really, he's a dangerous person, basically I don't think he'd hurt anyone without reason, but if you stand opposed him, watch out...
     
  12. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    We never hear the specific stories for how Garak was originally exiled, but you get the definite impression he was ordered to murder people and tried to spare them. Before that it's pretty clear he did kill people just because they were dissidents, but he certainly possessed empathy and didn't feel like opposing the state made you an enemy of Cardassia.
     
  13. Mister Spock

    Mister Spock Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I rather like the idea that he was exiled for tax evasion.
     
  14. GENERAL_DS

    GENERAL_DS Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Still not sure......
    In the novelverse he is an earth ambassador, I agree with most of the novelverse so i guess that he would always choose Cardassia first. Being good or evil is purely cultural, in his cardassian eyes he might think he is a good guy, in our eyes he is morally not so good, but then again, sisko had his moments too ;)
     
  15. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    Garak is truly one of the "shades of grey" characters in that he's never 100% one way or the other. And just when you think you've got him figured out, something else happens to throw in a surprise. This is one of the amazingly good characters in Star Trek, in terms of how complex he is.
     
  16. JiNX-01

    JiNX-01 Admiral Admiral

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    I wouldn't say Garak was a "good guy." But he was my favorite character on DS9, just for the sheer entertainment.
     
  17. Mimi

    Mimi Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    If you are including novels, then yes, Garak is a 'good' guy. He clearly has a lot to atone for, and his struggle to put aside his worse nature for the greater good is probably one of my favorite story-lines from the novels. He's shown himself as a strong ally of the Federation, and considered the federation president one of his close friends.

    ...but even then, he would never choose the Federation over Cardassia. He will go down with the ship.

    Its worth noting that even in 'A Gutted World', Garak siding with the federation was not him turning against Cardassia. At that point, Garak realized that most of the command structure of Cardassia had been replaced with changelings. Or he suspected they had been, so the only way to help Cardassia was to side with the federation.

    The closest thing you get to a Garak choosing the federation over Cardassia is in the Millennium trilogy, when everyone gets bumped into the future. But in that instance
    Cardassia had been destroyed.
     
  18. CorporalClegg

    CorporalClegg Admiral Admiral

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    A not-so-wise man once wrote: "You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to. So that, when they turn their backs on you, you'll get the chance to put the knife in." I've always thought that described Garak perfectly.

    He never gave the Federation (Julian) more than was required and was always sure to give it with a smile. And, as we know, he buried the truth in as many lies as that smile could hold.

    In turn, he never the Federation as far as he could throw it. He may have warmed to specific individuals, but they do not represent the whole. And, had the Fed turned on him at any time, he would have immediately found a nice spot to jam the dagger.

    OTOH, he was doggedly loyal to the Cardassia, probably to a fault.

    But non of that makes him a "bad" guy. He's certainly not a shining beacon of altruism, but he's not inherently evil either.

    BTW Mimi, I love your avatar. So much so, I'm going to steal it.
     
  19. E-DUB

    E-DUB Captain Captain

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    Love the character, but not a "good guy" in the true sense of the term. Reminds me of the old line, maybe LBJ said of someone, "He may be an SOB, but he's our SOB." Garek himself said it.

    And if Garek was the Sheridan of DS9, does knocking up the housekeeper make Tain the Arnold Schwarzenegger of DS9?
     
  20. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I dunno, I think cases like murder and slavery transcend cultural considerations.

    At least, if we don't make exceptions for extreme violations of other people's rights, we are nihilists and should live our lives cynically playing the system and manipulating everything to get whatever we want all the time no matter the effect on anyone else.

    But Garak seemed like even though he strongly believed the ends justify the means, he believed Cardassian citizens should enjoy basic freedoms. That's why he protected Quark's girlfriend in that early episode.