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Cipher

Guide to a Good Devil Characterization

Wasn't sure where to stick this as it could theoretically cover books/music/art as well as television/movies and video games, so since I'm coming at this with a comedic slant I'm shoving it here. It's my little internal quiz for judging which parts of a Devil portrayal I like and which I don't, some of the thoughts that run through my head, etc. Kind of like the Mary Sue test.

Is this driven entirely by my own bias?? Probably! It's fun anyway!

 

How to play: Pick something you've read/seen/played with the Devil in it. Go through the quiz and add/subtract points as necessary. See how low or high a score different works rank! For reasons of fairness/respect, original religious source material such as the Bible is off-limits. The religious fanfics, on the other hand...

 

Tradition is Good, Right?

1. The Devil is almost supremely powerful, an ultimate enemy. (+1 point)

1b. This ultimate enemy is boring, has a cliche or unimaginative design (big evil dude dresses all in black with lots of spiky armor for the
entire
duration of the work) and dishes out no legitimate thrill, suspense or fear, and suspension of disbelief that the characters might
not
live to win the day cannot be held in seriousness. (-5 points)

2. The Devil is the background antagonist. (+0 points)

3. The Devil is the main character antagonist. (+2 points)

4. The Devil revels in sex. (-5 points) [Yawn. I know it's because of "sinful personal pleasure" and stuff like that, but can we not for once?]

4b. The Devil's sex revelry is not 100% heterosexual. (+3 points)

5. The angels/faithful religious people are the protagonists/good guys/main characters. (+0 points)

6. Nephilim are involved. (+1 point)

6b. The nephilim are, for some reason, like three times as powerful as the Devil because...? (-5 points) [
They're half-human, people. You'd think that would make them
less
powerful by a long shot. There's a case to be made for "giants" according to Genesis, but none of this superpowered demi-god status crap.
]

7. Plot Point/Ultimate Goal: The Antichrist or Apocalypse. (+0 points)

7b. This trope is not played straight or is inverted/subverted (generic stop-the-apocalypse plots don't count). (+2 points)

 

Let Me Guess, You Have a Great Personality

1. The Devil has a complete, realistic personality. (+5 points)

2. Said personality is entirely based on eye-rolling sympathy for the devil popular culture values. (-5 points)

3. The sympathy for the devil effect is produced through the expression of complex character traits that can be honestly considered and questioned by the viewer.

(+5 points)

4. The Devil has a humorous quirk or ordinary trait unexpected for his character (ex. I read a story where he likes watching cartoons). (+3 points)

5. Pun trash. (+1 point)

6. Snarky sarcasm. (+0 points)

7. The Devil's personality is honestly endearing and he may or may not be a Problematic Fave. (+3 points)

 

Incredibly Handsome Criminal Genius and Master of All Villainy

1. The Devil is the protagonist. (+5 points)

2. The Devil has a mediocre job, like flipping burgers. (+3 points)

3. Evil Bureaucrat™. (-2 points)

 

Ow the Edge

1. The angels are the REAL villains, obviously. All angels are jerks and the Devil is just misunderstood and victimized so they can hide their own issues! (-10 points) [Pack this up and move it far away, you can have angels as antagonists without them being bad. It's also unimaginative.] *does not apply if this is the Devil's in-character opinion, but does apply if it is how the angels are presented by the work creator.

2. God is a jerk! He's the real villain here too! (-5 points)

2b. Alternatively: God is MIA and the angels are up to shenanigans trying to govern themselves. (+1 point)

3. Viewer Slowly Becomes Disillusioned with Divine Beings. (-3 points) [Angels! They're just like us! Nah friend. Give me seraphim who don't understand the concept of human morality and instead see things big picture, who are terrifying and ethereal even in human form as they understand that the progression of actions that happens when this certain someone is left to die is ultimately 'good'. Have them realize perhaps a little too late that they should tone it down some. You can have angels and demons come to an understanding of humanity, have them even be more human themselves than they realize, without shoving them into the ground with them.]

4. The Devil Has No Friends, Only Pawns. Even The Fallen Angels He Is Close To Are Pawns. (-3 points)

 

What Is This Feeling, So Sudden and New

1. The Devil falls in love. (+5 points)

1b. with an angel (+1 point)

1c. with a human (+3 points)

1d. with a non-human creature (+5 points) [
Where are my Devil/dragon romances and centaur or mermaid AUs??
This would be unique and interesting if nothing else
.]

1e. with one of his brothers (-5 points) [
Put this back in the unholy pit it came from, please
.]

2. The Devil falls in love but doesn't realize it because he doesn't understand the emotion, but you the reader/viewer know exactly what's going on. (+3 points)

2b. One of the characters has realized this and is slowly attempting to help him realize it, too. (+1 point)

3. The Devil has legitimate friendships with other people. (+3 points)

 

Final Countdown

1. The Devil has a mental illness. (+3 points)

1b. It's one of
those
stories, aka 'mentally ill people are dangerous and scary!'. (-15 points)

2. The Devil's name is not an obvious giveaway. The guy goes by Bill Door or something instead of Shadowe Darque or Felfrim Grace. (+3 points)

 

Okay, I think I'm done.

 

As a starter, I'll do Paradise Lost:

Total Score: 13

0

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DAMNIT I WAS GOING TO DO PARADISE LOST. YOU STOLE MY MILTON.

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