Skull knight character – initial thoughts

It just now occurred to me that Gray Fox is a Skull Knight character. That’s why his helmet is white. It’s a skull. Very obvious in retrospect.

Metal Gear Gray Fox Wallpaper - WallpaperSafari

For me, the archetypal version is the guy from Berserk.

Characters like this have always appealed very strongly to me. It’s a combination of these two tropes:

https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/KnightInSourArmor
https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MentorArchetype?from=Main.TheMentor

The role appears to have greater potency when this person turns out to be some variety of big brother mentor (https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BigBrotherMentor), which is usually the subject of a big reveal when he takes off his helmet. It makes sense, because their character arc is typically a white knight who went through hell and came out changed almost beyond recognition. But it might not be a literal big brother, it could be some form of ancestor (or spiritual ancestor) as in Berserk’s skull knight.

Visually, the skull is a clear reference to the Ahriman character design, as detailed here:

Twilight Princess has the most succinct presentation of the archetype:

I think the reason this character appeals to me so much is because he’s a shaman in a dark fantasy setting, and as MM and I pointed out in a podcast long ago dark fantasy is the most honest fictional setting.

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6 Responses to Skull knight character – initial thoughts

  1. MM says:

    >as MM and I pointed out in a podcast long ago dark fantasy is the most honest fictional setting.

    I remember it as cosmic horror and being surprised as the implications didn’t make sense with the stated foundation of your worldview. I didn’t say so at the time.

    Someone could say that cosmic horror is an extension of dark fantasy, but I do not believe this to be the case.

    Dark fantasy is obsessed with significance. Cosmic horror deals with in-significance (or, you could argue, perhaps the significance of insignificance to the lobster about to be boiled).

    To put it more concretely:

    Dark fantasy still has some belief (perhaps faith) in Man, his actions, his symbols as having a grand significance.

    Cosmic horror does not. There is only the material. And “egotism- cold, intact, and radiant” per Houellebecq.

    I haven’t watched/read Berserk yet (would only do the old version, can’t do the clean computer gfx esque new anime) but from what I do know I suspect one of the reasons it is so interesting is because it straddles the line between the two.

    (if the idea of evil thingy was canon then that would no longer be the case and it is a cosmic horror story).

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      > I remember it as cosmic horror and being surprised as the implications didn’t make sense with the stated foundation of your worldview. I didn’t say so at the time.

      That’s weird, it’s stuck with me as dark fantasy. But I hesitate to listen through all the old podcasts :-P.

      > I haven’t watched/read Berserk yet (would only do the old version, can’t do the clean computer gfx esque new anime) but from what I do know I suspect one of the reasons it is so interesting is because it straddles the line between the two.

      Good guess, Guts is presented as the only person in the story with free will. As the “struggler who defies death” he’s presented as a Nietzschean superman with Griffith being a failed superman who became bureaucrat gang gang.

    • f2000 says:

      you boys and ur comic stuff
      way to save the world

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