A Comparative Analysis of Pepe Carvalho and Hannibal Lecter

A Comparative Analysis of Pepe Carvalho and Hannibal Lecter

While Hannibal Lecter may seem like an odd choice at first for comparing Pepe Carvalho, it is through extensive examination that the similarities will become evident. Despite their obvious similarities: both are European from countries once ravaged by war (Carvalho in Franco-era Spain and Hannibal in World War 2 Lithuania), both worked for one of the US secret services and both left for varying reasons. But it’s the core of their characterisations that makes them so similar. They share a love for fine-dining and high culture, they are both voyeurs in the professional sense and they both have complex relationships which are very untraditional.

The most obvious point of comparison is found within the subject of culture and hedonism. Both men are extremely self-serving characters who go out of their way to improve their lives through culture. They also subscribe to the philosophy of hedonism, but they never go so far as hedonism taking over their life. This is further proven when even Hannibal Lecter’s incarceration merely slowed him down instead of stopping him completely. The most abundant example found is food. All throughout ‘Los mares del sur’ we see Carvalho eating at every given opportunity and when he’s not eating, he is discussing food or thinking about food. And of course, Hannibal Lecter is famous for what he eats – humans.

The concept of being cultured is very important to both characters and it even plays into the main plot of each book (Los mares del sur and Hannibal) especially Italy and the Italian language. ‘Los mares del sur’ takes its title from a poem by Salvatore Quasimodo, an Italian poet. Alternatively, it was named after Cesare Pavese’s poem ‘Los mares del sur’ who is also an Italian poet. Within the book we see Carvalho discussing the poem over paella with his two friends Fuster and Beser, and its significance for Pedrell. Carvalho does all that he can to understand Pedrell’s obsession with Paul Gaugin and French Polynesia as part of his assignment to retrace Pedrell’s life during the year he went missing. In ‘Hannibal’, Hannibal has escaped custody and hides in Florence, Italy under an assumed name. The Florence plot of the book involves a disgraced police officer, Rinaldo Pazzi, hunting down Lecter to collect the bounty on his head. Many references to Italian artists, writers, poets and philosophers are used throughout the book as a means for Hannibal to both indulge in his desire for high culture as well as manipulating the plot to move on. Dante Alighieri’s ‘Inferno’ becomes an important tool in the novel where Pazzi befalls the same fate as the two Pazzis in Dante’s work as well as Francesco de Pazzi from Italian history. Another point involves Hannibal and Pazzi’s wife discussing Dante’s ‘Vita Nuova’. From discussing this Dante piece, Hannibal decides to return to America to save the protagonist, Clarice Starling, from the true antagonist, Mason Verger.

There is one aspect of their hedonistic lifestyles that separates both characters quite substantially: sex and sexuality. From reading the book, we know that Carvalho loves sex or rather, he loves having orgasms. He masturbates quite frequently almost to the point of being described as a chronic masturbator. But as well as his love of masturbation, Carvalho loves women just as much. Charo and Yes are just two examples of sexual relationships that Carvalho has with characters in the book. Despite all this, Carvalho does prove that he does not have a sex addiction as his desire for sex and orgasms never prevents him from working and he also maintains standards. A sex addict generally wouldn’t care who s/he has sex with so long as they’re having sex. Carvalho expresses how disgusting he finds anal sex, or at least bottoming (on the receiving end) in the book as well as showing he is quite homophobic. Hannibal, on the other hand, expresses little to no sexual attraction in any of his portrayals. He does show romantic interests (which will be discussed further on), but the interests are purely romantic, not sexual. Hannibal however does partake in one aspect of hedonism that Carvalho does not: cannibalism. Many scholarly works state that sociopaths will use murder as a means for sexual gratification or as a replacement, but we know that Lecter is unclassifiable due to his personality and he has no sexual relations with any of his victims either peri-mortem or post-mortem. Rather he removes his victims’ organs with surgical precision and uses them as fine-dining ingredients, which leads to the most famous quote, “I ate his liver with some fava beans and a big Amarone / a nice Chianti.” The act of murder and cannibalism can be taken as a sexual act without being intrinsically sexual, but intimate.

Part of what makes both characters so compelling is the jobs they have as both their jobs are extremely important to their characterisation. Carvalho is a dick, a private detective, and his series of books revolve around him trying to figure out the mystery of the story. In the case of ‘Los mares del sur’ what happened to Stuart Pedrell. Lecter’s job is important to his characterisation as well, as in ‘Hannibal (TV series)’, ‘Red Dragon’, ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ Hannibal Lecter acts as a profiler who aids the protagonist in looking for the antagonist. But we can see that both men have had jobs that led them to their current profession: Carvalho used to work for the C.I.A. and Hannibal studied medicine up until he became a psychiatrist. But obviously, we can’t negate the obvious links between how both jobs would be connected in a parallel universe were they exist together. As a private detective, it would seem possible that Carvalho could use Hannibal’s expertise on the criminal mind to help him track down whoever it is he is looking for. But both men’s careers are more similar than one would presume upon first glance. Both Carvalho and Hannibal are, in essence, voyeurs. They are paid to get intimately acquainted with the lives of people, they have to get to know the subject with as little personal interaction as possible and then they have to make decisions and come to conclusions while looking from a distance. The whole plot of ‘Los mares del sur’ involves Carvalho finding out what happened to Pedrell during the year he went missing before his death. Obviously with Pedrell being dead, Carvalho is learning about his life from a distance. He starts with Pedrell’s family and from there he moves to Pedrell’s friends, acquaintances, rivals and lovers. Every bit of intimate detail that Carvalho learns is from second-hand sources. Hannibal acts as a voyeur with both first-hand and second-hand sources. As a practicing psychiatrist he had to deal with the personal lives of his patients, he would have to get to know them quite intimately to offer them advice on their life. Working as a profiler, he had to get himself acquainted with the killer in question through second-hand sources. He would use police reports, crime scene photographs and the protagonists’ own opinions. Another interesting point to note is how both characters use their respective jobs as a means to further their own desires and these desires border the line of immoral if they’re not already classifiably immoral. The most obvious example in Carvalho’s case is Yes, the daughter of Stuart Pedrell. Maybe Yes was in her right state of mind, maybe not, but Carvalho and Yes do have sex and it can be taken that Carvalho takes advantage of the emotionally distraught Yes. They have sex, they do drugs, Carvalho cooks her a meal and then he kicks her out of his home. Upon Yes’s second attempt to hook up with Carvalho, he flat out refuses and she leaves quite quickly. Hannibal uses his job to realize his own desires too. Hannibal follows his own code of ethics and his main one being that he will only kill the “terminally rude” if possible. The most infamous example was his patient, Mason Verger, a paedophile and a rapist and Hannibal’s patient. Hannibal used his sessions with Verger to gain his trust then he went back to Verger’s house where he proceeded to drug Verger and made him mutilate his own face and feed it to the dogs. Obviously that is far past the point of morality, but then we see examples of Hannibal genuinely helping people such as Abigail Hobbes in the TV series whom he goes out of his way to protect. Although it can be argued that he is only protecting her so that she won’t reveal his secret.

As previously established, both Carvalho and Hannibal are ultimately self-serving characters which has a direct impact on their relationships with others. Some relationships serve both characters for a higher purpose whereas others are more akin to a master and slave type relationship. Moreover, both men actually have very similar relationships to other characters in their respective series fulfilling similar roles. As mentioned above we see Carvalho discussing the case he’s working on over paella with two of his friends /associates and the significance of ‘Los mares del sur’. Here it is quite clear that Carvalho considers them to be of equal intelligence and he’s comfortable enough to discuss poetry with them as well as the case. We see Hannibal has a similar relationship with Will Graham in ‘Red Dragon’ and ‘Hannibal’ (TV series) and Clarice Starling. Both men however manage to get something out of each scenario as well as information: Carvalho gets a meal that he thoroughly enjoys whereas Hannibal negotiates the information he has for better amenities (including a meal) in prison or to prolong his being discovered as the Chesapeake Ripper. Both men establish a master and slave relationship with certain characters in the book as a means to assert their dominance. Carvalho uses Yes for sex, drugs and a companion to eat with, but once he’s finished with her he treats her indifferently. In fact, Carvalho more-or-less kicks her out of his home and into the streets and he is completely indifferent as to what would happen to her. It isn’t until Biscuter convinces, or rather, makes Carvalho realize what he’s doing isn’t good that he follows Yes into the streets looking for her (on an interesting side note, a case for Carvalho being a sociopath could be made considering his personality). Hannibal’s master and slave relationships are a lot more pronounced than Carvalho’s. Most people are easy targets that he can manipulate into doing what he wants such as convincing the lunatic Miggs to eat his own tongue or convincing Mason Verger to cut his own face off. Both men do have romantic interests in their books, or as romantic as is possible considering their characterisation. Carvalho has Charo, a prostitute, and while their relationship easily could have started off as purely sexual, he does show to genuinely care for her which is evident in the time he spends with her in non-sexual scenarios. Hannibal’s relationship with Clarice Starling is just as untraditional as Carvalho’s with Charo. Clarice originally uses Hannibal to catch serial killer, Buffalo Bill, and then she is later charged with capturing Hannibal seven years after he breaks out of incarceration.

The two men have more in common than one would think initially. Their characterisations and personalities make them more similar and at times it is possible that the two men could switch places with very few consequences. Their mutual love for high culture and their complex relationships with others make them close and almost spiritually connected and their jobs as voyeurs link the two men professionally. Carvalho is more akin to the sociopathic Hannibal than any other detective in any series. In the end, their main difference is what would draw them even closer in a parallel universe: the killer and the detective.

Word count: 1,990


Furia, Carlo A. “References to Dante in the Movie Hannibal.” Dante Alighieri on the Web. Great Dante, 2008. Web. 05 May 2013.

Crystal, Garry, and Niki Foster. “What Is a Sociopath?” WiseGeek. Conjecture, n.d. Web. 06 May 2013.

Carich, M., D. Fisher, and M. Kohut. “Sexual Murder and Sexual Serial Killers: Towards A Mind-Body Developmental Theory.” Rocky Mountain Way Writing. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://www.rockymountainwaywriting.com/PDF/SEXUAL%20MURDERS%20AND%20SEXUAL%20SERIAL%20KILLERS.pdf&gt;.

Story Telling And Hows

From time-to-time, new writers ask me for advice on how to start writing or what my inspiration is to write. They usually ask me the same question too, and by that I mean the question is almost always the same word-for-word. “I always have these great ideas, but I never know how to put them onto paper. How do you turn your ideas into reality?” My answer to this is the well known proverb, “It’s not the destination, but the journey.” While this may not initially seem helpful if you will allow me, I will show you what I mean.
Recently I watched a talk given by the Scottish comedian Daniel Sloss. He made such a beautiful point at the start of his talk, we’re all story tellers. Whether you’re recounting the events of a night out to friends, telling your family how your day went or even when you’re attempting to woo a certain someone. In all these scenarios we are telling a story regardless if it’s fiction or not. In my experience, it’s not the information being relayed to us that makes the story, but how the information is relayed and I’m not just talking about grammar and vocabulary choices. How we tell a story is far more important than what we’re actually telling, but don’t get me wrong, the actual story itself is obviously important too.

I am a natural klutz. Disasters happen wherever I go and it is guaranteed that I can’t go two days in a row without something embarrassing happening to me. I will often use these embarrassing moments as sources for my comedy material. How I tell these embarrassing moments will change what my readers think of me. I could tell them in a way that would seem utterly mundane and no one would laugh. I could tell them in a way that would seem as if my life is completely depressing. Or I could tell them in a way that would make people laugh. Nearly every joke I’ve ever written about myself or people I know has actually happened. I may tweek the timeline of certain events, I may exaggerate a different event slightly or sometimes I don’t need to do anything. These are all “hows” in the story telling process. It’s very rare that I will make up a joke that hasn’t happened unless I’m writing fiction.
We all have the ability to tell stories, I just personally believe that those who can’t write a story simply haven’t found their voice yet. Your artistic voice is just as important as anything else. Do you think Harry Potter would be as successful if J.K. Rowling tried to add a little bit of spice into nearly every page? No. And that’d probably be classified as child porn if she did. Similarly do you think ’50 Shades of Grey’ would have been such a success if E.L. James had written about so-and-so’s “pee-pee” and “hoo-ha”? No. Although to be fair, that probably would have made that piece of shit called “literature” better. She could have passed it off as a comedy then instead of her writing techniques being the joke.
I would like to return to the employment of how to tell a story but in relation to comedy. The best (and I’m aware how controversial this may turn out) example I can think of is rape jokes. Rape. The taboo subject. It’s a horrible thing that can happen to anyone, of course it is and I’m not saying it’s not. Comedians talk about “taboo” topics for one of two reasons, a) they’re going for the shock factor or, b) they’re trying to open the forum to a delicate subject in a light-hearted manner. I have made jokes about Rohypnoll with myself as the butt of the joke. No one gets offended and people have a laugh at my expense. We’ve opened the discussion and no one is hurt. Now think about what would happen if I told that same joke but I used someone else as the butt, maybe a random girl from the audience. It’s gone from being a light-hearted means of dealing with a sensitive subject to almost being a personal attack. This too is all part of the “how” of story telling.
To be honest, I think when people ask me how to write, they’re expecting a step-by-step guide on how to get from A to B. Unfortunately there is no step-by-step guide. Every writer has their own method of writing and what works for one person might not necessarily work for another. What I’ve written above might not necessarily help you either. I’ve been called the “King of Common Sense” plenty of times. I have the distinct talent of being able to express something so basic and simple yet people are unable to do it themselves. I then write down the common sense idea in an eloquent yet interesting fashion. Here we have another “how” involved in writing. The point I’m trying to make is that you can make the most boring thing imaginable be enticing and provoking simply by changing how you tell it. In order to do that you need to look at the “hows” of story telling and discover your own personal voice.
Just to make this worth your time, I’ll try give an example involving fiction. Let’s say you’re writing a story about two people meeting and falling in love. How did they meet? Don’t tell me what you think people want to read, I don’t care what they might want to read. What do you want to say? I’m more interested in what you want to tell me about your characters. What seems real to you? Did they meet in a supermarket? How did character A get from point A to the supermarket? Did anything interesting or funny happen during the trip? Why is character B at the supermarket? Look at the macro scale of the story. Now break that into the micro level. Getting character A from point A to the supermarket is the “what”, the story line. Turning what may seem like a mundane trip into something interesting and worth reading about is the “how”. But don’t take this as religion. Maybe stopping an evil super genius during the journey is necessary to the plot, or maybe going to the supermarket really is just as boring as it sounds. It’s possible that your characters need these boring events that define them.
My final point, and I’m well aware that I am slightly contradicting myself here, is about presentation. I write stories and jokes for myself. I don’t write them to appease others unless I am being commisioned in which case I work around what I’ve been asked to do. When you write a story you should do it for yourself and for no one else. If you are writing with the intention of showing it to other people then there is one final tip. Write what you want. It’s your story. But if you want to show it to people then they have to want to believe the story is real. Happiness and good times can’t always happen to your main character unless you’re writing a children’s story. Sometimes your characters need something sad or boring to happen to them so they can grow. Look at stoner comedies. Stoner comedies are more-or-less built on the foundation of bad luck. Characters get high and then a series of unfortunate events befall them. But look at all the parts that don’t make you laugh. They are “boring”. This is important because these non-exciting actions is what makes the story somewhat more believable and more enjoyable. You could easily mistake a stoner comedy for a horror movie due to a lot of what happens. The “how” of the stoner comedy is what makes it a comedy. How the actors portray the characters, how the editor or director does their job, etc.

Legendary Pokémon Theories

This is more for myself but I just want to make a list of the Legendary Pokemon and the theories behind their creation. I think it is really interesting how in-depth the developers really take the games.

Arceus is the Big Bang Theory. The creation of the Universe.

DialgaPalkia and Giratina represent the dimensions of Time, Space and Antimatter.

KyogreGroudon and Rayquaza are said to represent the creation of the Earth and its three “layers”. The hydrosphere (water), the lithosphere (land) and the atmosphere (air). They are also based on the Hebrew legends of Leviathan, Behemoth and Ziz.

Mew is meant to represent the theory of evolution. It is considered to be the common ancestor of all Pokemon.

Mew (Earth) is also (allegedly) part of the Taoist theory of Wu Xing along withCelebi (Wood), Jirachi (Metal), Manaphy (Water) and Victini (Fire). The building blocks of matter.

UxieMesprit and Azelf are essentially the creation of mankind. The concepts of knowledge, emotion and willpower that makes us, us. In the Japanese versions they are based on the Imperial Regalia of Japan myth: Yata no Kagami (wisdom), Yasakani no Magatama (benevolence) and Kusanagi (valor), the three Sacred Virtures.

Regigigas, RegirockRegice and Registeel resprent four major ages in history. The Mesozoic Era, the Stone Age, the Ice Age and the Iron Age. Regigigas is also said to represent the separating of Pangea into the separate continents.

Reshiram and Zekrom represent the concept of Yin and Yang. Good and evil. Black and white. The constant struggle of opposites to maintain balance and harmony.

Kyurem represents Wuji which is the absence of Yin and Yang. I am no expert at all in Oriental philosophies but I guess the closest thing we have to this theory is “chaos”. Kyurem represents chaos.

TornadusThundurus and Landorus are based on the kami in Japanese mythology. Many debates as to the true meaning of kami but essentially it is the theory of deities or spirits. Each of the three represent a particular deity needed to maintain life. Fujin (the kami of wind), Raijin (the kami of thunder) and Inari (the kami of fertility). All three are necessary in order to sustain ourselves through food.

Darkrai and Cresselia are said to further represent the subconscious mind. Nightmares and good dreams. They also further represent opposition with one being a new moon and the other being a full moon. Lunar cycles and the moon are important in their creation too.

Meloetta is said to represent beauty. As in through the arts in the form of a muse. Both of its formes represent a type of art: singing and dancing.

Mewtwo and Genesect are said to represent the pinnacles of human achievements. The creation of new species, cloning and the morality behind such choices.

Friendship Is A Balancing Act

I think the title of this article pretty much sums up what it is I want to talk about today. I firmly believe that friendships are the most important relationships we will ever have in our lives, they are also the most difficult to maintain. Amorous (and sexual) and family relationships are all about power. Someone will always have power over someone else. Parents have power over their children, older siblings have power over their younger siblings and in relationships the more dominant will have more power over the more passive one. Often these values change and someone else will hold the position of power. Maybe the submissive partner is really the dominant one in S&M sex, an extreme example but a valid one. Basically we are always trying to shift the unbalance of power within family and amorous /sexual relationships to suit our personalities and our situations at the time. If one person has a job and is making enough money to have a little expendable cash and the other is unemployed and looking for work, then the person with the job becomes the more “powerful” person. Admittedly not always the case, there are people like myself who are too proud to let anyone pay for them thus the poor one remains in control.

Friendships are completely different though because the purpose of a friendship is to keep the balance of power as equal as possible. If one person is too dominant then the others are fans or followers, not friends and if one person is too submissive then the other is a shepard or the leader of a cult. This isn’t one of those cases where only a few notice these things. I think nearly everyone can recognize this situation. If someone is too dominant and only talking about their problems or only doing what they want to do then we feel underappreciated, taken advantage of or worse, resentful. The same is true for the opposite side of the scale. We might tend to become self-conscious if the other person won’t talk about their problems or if he or she only wants to do what you want to do. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a big romantic. I can see the romanticism in just about anything but in order to get my point across I have to take a clinical approach. What I am saying is that if you do a favour for someone then they should do a favour for you. To quote Chicago “When you’re good to Mama, Mama’s good to you.”. If you start thinking of your friendship in terms of scorecards then you really have a problem. I am not saying you should do that either. I am just saying that if a friend does a favour for you then it is only natural that if they ask you to do something then you should do it. That might mean having to set aside some time and do it, regardless of if you want to or not. And if you really can’t then it is only fair that you just explain, without lying, why you can’t or won’t.

Friends are completely different. We can’t choose our family and more times than not, we don’t choose who we fall in love with either. Who we have as friends though is 100% our choice. They are fun to hang out with, they always have something funny or interesting to say or they might even have something that benefits you in some way. I firmly believe that friendships shape us into the adults we become more than our family or teachers ever could. We choose to rebel against our elders and against societal norms but the people we choose to associate ourselves with have a direct influence on how we act and what we say. Keeping a lasting, close friendship requires a lot of hard work and it often involves doing things we really don’t want to do. But in order to maintain them completely then the balance of power needs to be constantly near equal. Otherwise all you have is a case of a shepard and the sheep.

LGBT Characters in Video Games

I want to start off this post with a slight disclaimer. I am not one of those people who actively seeks out my own minority represented in the media. I am a gay man but that does not mean nor should it suggest that I actively go looking for LGBT issues in the media. Now in having said that I did specifically do a lot of reading on this particular topic as it is not one that I am too familiar with. I am a nerd and I associate myself as a gaymer. I just love video games especially beat’em ups. Recently I got Street Fighter X Tekken and it blew my mind. Tekken and Mortal Kombat were always my games of choice. I always knew the more popular characters of Street Fighter (Ryu, Ken, Chun Li, M. Bison, Vega, Blanka, Zangief) but that was it. I didn’t know any more. Street Fighter X Tekken introduced me to a lot of new characters, two of whom I feel in love with immediately, Poison and Juri. Whenever I find new fictional characters that I really like, I will research them to no end. This time I was very surprised to find out that Juri is a lesbian and Poison is the most infamous male-to-female transsexual in video game history (I’ll get to the Birdo and his/ her story in a second). This piqued my curiosity and inspired me to do some actual research on an LGBT issue. The representation of the LGBT community in video games. I did use Wikipedia as my starting point. This list is what told me where to look. I would also like to point out that this is not at all in chronological order. I just wrote whatever way my brain felt worked best.

My first discovery was this, the video game industry has been far kinder to the LGBT community than any other industry in the world. The only exception to this that I know of is probably the comic industry. The whole thing about Marvel is people who are different being discriminated against while they are just trying to save the world. I have noticed that a lot of video game companies have had LGBT characters and themes for a long, long time but censorship (usually American) removes all evidence of this. Probably the most famous example  is actually with the Super Mario series. The character Birdo being the first transgender character in a video game. In the original manual for Super Mario Bros. 2 says “Birdo thinks he is a girl and likes to be called Birdetta. He likes to wear a bow on his head and shoot eggs from his mouth.” and surprisingly this came from the North American manual. This little description is present in nearly all language versions of the game. The question of Birdo’s gender was played down by Nintendo but occasionally has been mentioned throughout the years. This is of particular importance because of the (romantically implied) relationship between Birdo and Yoshi. Just to not confuse ourselves with dinosaur sex-reassignment surgery, let’s just refer to Birdo as a trans*.

Now we get onto Poison from the Final Fight series. Final Fight is a side-scrolling beat’em up from 1990. Two of the recurring villains in this game were Poison and her palette swap Roxy. Due to censorship, men could not hit women in video games. The Japanese branch responded by saying that Poison was never a woman but a cross-dresser (in Japan) and a male-to-female transsexual (in the US). According to this excellent mini-documentary Poison was always born a man, even in the early stages of the game’s development. In the end Poison and Roxy were removed from the game altogether and were instead replaced with Billy and Sid, two male punks. Eventually Poison and Roxy saw a release in the English speaking markets but they were dressed more conservatively than their original debut and Poison’s current wardrobe. A fun fact, that I learned from the documentary, is that Capcom has always mentioned Poison’s confusing gender whenever possible, often teasing the situation through character interactions.

1998 saw a landmark for not only video games but LGBT rights as a whole. The game Fallout 2 was the first video game to ever feature a same-sex marriage. I’ll be honest with you. I have searched but I haven’t been able to find much evidence to say either way but from what I understand the marriage is actually a shotgun marriage. So while it might be a violent means to an end, it still serves as a same-sex marriage. The reason I like the Fallout series is that they treat LGBT characters the exact same way they do as heterosexual characters. Some are funny, some are violent, some are abused and some are just boring. Their sexuality is incidental, not the main focus of their characterization.

2000 and 2003 saw Capcom create two more LGBT characters from the same series. Alfred Ashford from Resident Evil: Code Veronica and Morpheus Duvall from Resident Evil: Dead Aim. Alfred and Morpheus are interesting examples of LGBT characters because of their complexities. My hypothesis is that Capcom was playing with the idea that being transgender used to be an actual medical condition. Alfred suffered from Dissociative identity disorder as a result of losing his sister Alexia. He developed the disorder in order to keep Alexia alive, just for him. As a result, Alfred became a cross-dresser who genuinely thought he was Alexia Ashford. This is a key plot element as Alfred is heard conversing with “Alexia” and “Alexia” replying before the real Alexia is revealed to be alive and well. If the real Alexia had never gone into hibernation then it is quite plausible that Alfred would never have become a cross-dresser. Duvall is interesting too as he was a male-to-female transsexual. Just like Alfred, Duvall’s transformation was not voluntary. Duvall infected himself with the t+G virus in order to destroy his enemies. The highly mutagenic properties of the t+G virus caused Duvall to mutate into the first and only (to my knowledge) female Tyrant in the Resident Evil series.

I have to discuss Capcom once more and then I am finished with this franchise. Capcom has a history of LGBT characters dating all the way from the 80’s. Capcom’s second Golden Goose is rich in LGBT characters that act as good role models for LGBT children and teens, and even straight children and teens. Street Fighter. Street Fighter has the honour (and I have seen no information to indicate otherwise but if I am wrong then please tell me) of having the very first openly gay video game character, Eagle. Eagle appeared in the original 1987 Street Fighter. His design and personality were based on the late Freddy Mercury. Win quotes from the Japanese version of Street Fighter indicate that Eagle was gay, although Freddy Mercury was bisexual. The game was censored though in the US, removing all indications of this. It was rumored for years that the Russian wrestler, Zangief, was gay but in Capcom Fighting Evolution it was stated that he had a girlfriend (keep in mind that that game is not canon). 2010 saw the release of the first lesbian in the series, the previously mentioned Juri Han. Juri’s sexual preferences seem to be incidental as she is sexually aggressive towards a lot of characters but in-game dialogue suggests that she has a preference for Chun Li and Cammy.

These characters are important as they show that LGBT characters (and real life people) can be tough and they can defend themselves. This is certainly an important message considering the amount of homophobic related assaults that happen every day. The next character that I’m about to talk about is actually in a situation that annoys me so much because I really like her. The company Namco has this really smart but annoying habit of avoiding controversy by keeping their characters as ambiguous as possible. This brings me to the popular series Tekken and the new fan favourite, Émilie “Lili” de Rochefort. An affluent, 16-year-old Monegasque street fighter with expensive tastes, an almost sadistic personality and an obsession with taking down her rival, Asuka Kazama. A few Wikis have stated that Lili is a lesbian but Namco have not commented on this (at least from all the research I’ve done. I wish I spoke Japanese).

There is one series that I would like to point out with special merit because it has helped me specifically and a lot of people struggling with their sexuality. EA Games wonderful franchise, The Sims. I think everyone knows The Sims. You create a character or characters and you pretty much get to play God or Saw depending on your style of playing. I personally enjoyed putting my Sims in the pool, deleting the ladder and then saying in the voice of Jigsaw “I want to play a game.”. The Sims offered a great opportunity for people to create characters and eventually make them gay or straight (or even bisexual if you like to make your Sims cheat). With expansion packs you could even make your Sims have sex. The Sims 2 saw same-sex Sims couples being able to get a Sims version of a civil partnership while EA games went for equality in The Sims 3 with any living adult characters being able to marry any other living adult characters. (Saying living adult is specific because I have seen people try turn their Sims into pedophiles, bestiality enthusiasts and necrophiliacs.) When I first began to realize that I wasn’t straight, or at least when I was in less denial about it, I used to explore my gay feelings through the Sims characters since I had no other outlet of expression. I would make gay couples, give them good jobs, give them children and then I would play Saw with them. I know a lot of people, LGBT and straight, who have done the same thing… except for the Saw part… that was just me. They all said the same thing, if it weren’t for The Sims they probably wouldn’t be as comfortable with their sexuality as they are now.

Now there are just two more I want to mention before I finish. This next series I’m about to mention has a family member already mentioned. The critically acclaimed Elder Scrolls series. The video game company responsible for this series have taken over the release of the Fallout series, having already released Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas. Skyrim has appeared in numerous polls and lists as important in LGBT characters due to option of being able to marry whoever you want. In the game there is a set list of NPCs whom your character is able to interact with and eventually marry. It doesn’t matter your race or gender. There is only interesting thing to note but this is just a coincidence. Of all the NPCs you are able to potentially marry, not a single one of them is Khajit. The only way for a Khajit to get married in Skyrim is if your own character is of that race.

I now move onto the final character /game. This studio, and this character in particular, has appeared on every list and every poll about important and /or notable LGBT characters in video game history. The Canadian video game company BioWare has a strong roster of LGBT characters in their release history. I’ll share this short article about some of the other famous games BioWare has released involving LGBT characters /storylines. Like I said, there is one character in particular I want to mention and that is because there series she comes from is unquestionably one of the most famous in the world and she is the first LGBT character in the history of this series. Juhani from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.

Like I said, Juhani has the honour of being the very first openly gay character in the history of Star Wars. I personally think she is the most important LGBT character in video game history. The storyline of Juhani’s sexuality requires a lot of time and high perks in all Speech skills and requires that your main character be female. (Although I have read there is a bug in the game that sometimes allows Juhani to hit on your character if he is male). Through constantly talking with Juhani, you learn about her life story. She was born into poverty, abused, sold into slavery, hinted that she was sexually assaulted, eventually escaped, became a Jedi apprentice and succumbed to the Dark Side. Obviously her life story is a lot more detailed than that but those are just the highlights. If the player decides to follow the Juhani storyline, Juhani eventually runs into one of the men who sold her into slavery. The player then has the option to turn her to the Dark Side or keep her good. Juhani is unique because her dark past is universal to all people who face discrimination. All this happened to her simply because she was not human, she was of the Cathar race, a species of humanoid felines (similar to the Khajit of the Elder Scrolls series). Mirroring real world homophobia, racism and one could also argue misogyny.

And there you have my very brief essay on LGBT characters in video games. I have had to leave out a lot of games, series and companies due to time restraints but if you read the list I provided at the start you will notice how much I have had to leave out. The bisexual succubi, Morrigan and Lilith from Darkstalkers or the bisexual subplut from Bully (Canis Canem Edit for those of us in Europe). I barely touched upon the depth of the Elder Scrolls series and I haven’t even touched Mass Effect. I also haven’t even touched upon video game characters, plots and series that I suspect of LGBT involvement. I would like to give a special mention to Mileena from Mortal Kombat and Lee Chaolan from Tekken as possible suspects. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did researching and writing this. Again, if you see any mistakes, major or minor, or if you disagree with anything I said then please don’t hesitate to let me know. If it turns out there is a lot of positive reactions to this then I might return and look at a few more games and series.

Credit for the photo of Billy the Doll goes to sisterluci

EDIT: I found this brilliant article on Female Characters in Video Games and I think a lot of what this writer has to say fits in well with what I have just written. Considering a lot of the characters I wrote about are female. So enjoy.