Grabiner Comeuppance?

Female protagonist, in the hall for adventurous girls.
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Wyllow
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Grabiner Comeuppance?

#1 Post by Wyllow » Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:16 am

This post will have spoilers for Grabby & Damien's paths.

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I have some questions and comments.

My first play through my character totally fell for Donald, but ended up married to Grabiner. The thought of ending up with a teacher freaked me a bit. But I figured maybe I'd make it to the friend ending, see how that went or something.

And then the secret gets out, and he takes my char (your char) into an empty classroom, livid with rage, uses forceful magic on her, pressing her to the wall in total utter violence - in what to me seemed terrifyingly abusive. And I never came across an option to cuss him out for that.


He finds out the truth, comes and apologies makes a milkwater excuse about how he's 'always apologising' but there's no chance to tell him 'You were violent. You scared/terrified/frightened me. You threatened to lock me away and you think I'll actually accept your apology?!'

If there's a chance suggestions for updates will be listened to? I'd would like a chance to play that again and get to shout at him. Or if not shout, whisper that he was terrifying.

It feels like he just gets this excuse to have been violent with no consequences. Which feels really odd when afterwards I ended up playing through with a different character who matched up with Damien and even in a circumstance where she liked the guy before things went very wrong - she gets to point out repeatedly that he hurt her, lied to her, tricked her and TRIED TO KILL HER. That it makes him untrustworthy.

And he ends up doing some groveling and reflection. At the very least.

But a grown man who threatens to lock a young girl away, doesn't get told his behavior was as unacceptable?

And that's not counting not having any faith in her or her own want and need for privacy. However you want his suspicions or conceptions to play out - where are the repercussions for being violently angry?


What did I miss?

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#2 Post by Wraith_Magus » Fri Jun 15, 2012 3:34 pm

Haha! But that's supposed to be one of his charms, if you go down his path.

Sue says it herself: He's apparently into bondage, so if you want to go down his path, you'll just have to like it, too. It's one of those "diversity of romantic option" things.

At least, I presume that's why he's so popular. That "50 Shades of Gray" thing is going around...

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hanako
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#3 Post by hanako » Fri Jun 15, 2012 6:48 pm

The apology he makes to you when he first comes to your room is pretty pitiful, yes.

(Skip this if you want as I don't want people to feel forced to read the character's intentions this way if they don't wish to. But this is how it was for him.)

While his initial apology is pretty pathetic, from his perspective his explanation that comes a bit further down the line IS groveling. Not only does he apologise to you repeatedly, but he 'disarms' himself to you, making it clear to you that he cannot harm you and giving up any ability to control you later.

For him, that's a very big deal.

An ordinary student who failed to follow the rules would be mind-wiped and sent home. You, as his wife, cannot be. The only thing he can do if you push him far enough is a terrible thing that he really does not want to do. Locking you up in the dungeon is a horrible thing and he absolutely doesn't want to do it.

Terrifying you is the only thing he can think of to turn you away from that fate. It was the only weapon he thought he had. In general, he scares the crap out of students to try and protect them, because he knows how easy it is for young witches and wizards to do something stupid and lose their magic, their souls, or their lives.

He treated you like a young child too stupid to know that running into the road will get you killed.

Explaining all this to you is, from his perspective, giving you power over him and acknowledging you as a full adult.


As for why there's no option to yell at him - mostly because I can't see it going any other way than this:

Mary Sue: You were violent. You scared/terrified/frightened me. You threatened to lock me away and you think I'll actually accept your apology?!

Grabiner: No. I do not.

... and him then walking away and keeping his distance from you for the entire rest of the game, because he knows he's done wrong and doesn't think he should be forgiven. Which would mean that anyone romancing him would have to actively avoid choosing that option. And that, in my opinion, would be worse than not having the option at all.

I'm definitely willing to add another option for how to respond to him when he shows up with his pathetic apology that first morning, if you have suggestions for ways Mary Sue can respond without breaking the fragile connection between them.

A threeway choice of "Okay" "You scared me" "I will never forgive you" would make it obvious that the last choice will kill the relationship... would that be enough, or would it still feel frustrating that you could not yell at him properly?

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#4 Post by Wyllow » Fri Jun 15, 2012 7:28 pm

Hanako,

1. At least your explanation doesn't involve 'bondage' for which I was quite, ticked off. As nothing about what he does is safe, sane or consensual. And whether the character is his wife, or an underage/young girl (and both just makes it worse to me) - I'm terrifying to you (potentially abusive) in order to protect you - is, frankly, an abusers excuse. Second under 'If you didn't make me so mad....'


2. I had no problem prior to him being part disgruntled teacher, part 'these young people will get themselves in trouble'. Not every teacher has to actively enjoy teaching, or seem like they even like the students or teach for the same reasons, etc...etc... It's the whole 'pushed against the wall, anger seeming out of control, anger at NOT being able to control someone else'. It doesn't come across protective to me at all. I kept thinking 'omg, I didn't do anything and he's gonna strangle her half to death - wtf bad ending?'

Especially with one of the first questions people asked is 'Does he hurt you?' And that seems ridiculous cause it all happened to protect you. And then.. he DOES hurt you.

See, if the rumors were (and that's another thing that makes it seem abusive. This is all based on RUMORS) that you summoned a being or something. Or that you were messing around with his bound creature. That's a reckless kind of 'What do you think you're doing?!!!'. Heck, if you were doing Damien's and Grabiner's paths somehow at the same time? It'd make sense for him to have a freak out, if you just almost got eaten and talk about locking you away for your own good! That would seem protective and 'you silly, unknowing child!'.

The accusations of 'you feel you're special - know you're not, you just want to impress people, you're abusing my patience and 'good nature'? That's bits and pieces of an abuser's spiel.

I'll have to think about how to phrase an option, I guess. Because I'm not quite sure a) what you want b) what would be too much work for you and I didn't get a further explanation, since I didn't want anything further to do with him at, all. And I just paused to look up the walkthrough, and it doesn't go into detail.

Off the top of my head, however? Options would be to say how before he had his tantrum, that people were asking if he'd hurt you, and you didn't have to lie. Or you can flinch from his presence. Or point out that he scared you more than the magical being, because he has more control over your life. Or can you just not speak to him then? If Damien can write you an apology note, why not put Grabiner in the same position of having to slip one under your door, so you can get more of his inner thoughts? Maybe include an option of going into his class, thinking you can handle it, and having to walk back out again because you're still upset, before that note happens. Hell, why not threaten to tell his father how he's treating his new wife - though that one seems less romance indusing.

Cause seriously, to me there's a huge difference between grumbly teacher who buys you a hot tea when you wear yourself out / wants to make sure he's not thought of as a 'friend' but an authority figure. And 'I am your husband. And I can twist the concept of protection into locking you away from your family, light, air and the world and you little missy can do nothing to stop me'.

Heck, what about an option to talk to Postdam about what he just did?

I don't know. I'll think about it more, maybe I need distance to not think how weird it is that wrestling with forgiving Damien seems quite fine, but there isn't a similar option with Grabiner and I'm being told to 'just accept that's the way he is'; He's more of an ___hole than a demon who'd planned to eat your soul.

ETA:

I seem to have missed your threeway choice, apologies. 'You scared me' seems like the start of a conversation, at least. Or 'You hurt me'. Though I suppose it was more terror than physical stuff.

PS: In case it's not clear? I do enjoy your game, very much. I enjoy the writing. I especially enjoy the chance to create a character that's close to my ethnicity or those within my family. And Donald's path is wonderful and first rate and I was happily surprised at Damien's (that's the one I expected to be far more abusive). I'm even having patience to see if there are aspects to Minnie and Kyo I miss (since I haven't gotten a different ending with them - is that even possible?). But oh! Speaking of. Perhaps an option to point out that Grabiner is acting like Kyo (squared)? Cause he seemed to have a clue when my char went to tell him what was happening.

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#5 Post by hanako » Fri Jun 15, 2012 7:51 pm

I agree that what he does is pretty unpleasant and not part of a healthy relationship.

I hesitate to quite call it an abusive relationship because of my understanding of the character. He did his best to scare the living daylights out of her for a reason. He did not physically harm the progatonist and would never do such a thing. He wasn't making use of her for his own pleasure, like Damien was. He did do something wrong under pressure, but he doesn't act like that regularly and has tried to take steps to see that it couldn't happen again. Imperfect people make mistakes; yelling at someone in a scary way does not make you irredeemable.

However, I have no problem with a player feeling that it's way too far over the line for them and not wanting to go on with him.

Quite honestly the man needs therapy, and probably a new job.


As for the writing problem I'm facing:
Options would be to say how before he had his tantrum, that people were asking if he'd hurt you, and you didn't have to lie. Or you can flinch from his presence. Or point out that he scared you more than the magical being, because he has more control over your life. Or can you just not speak to him then? If Damien can write you an apology note, why not put Grabiner in the same position of having to slip one under your door, so you can get more of his inner thoughts?
Grabiner would never do a thing like that. He would not pursue her, because he doesn't *want* her. He's not in love with her, he's not trying to use her, and he's completely okay with her staying away from him for the next year. He's not like Damien.

If she makes it clear that he's done something irreparable, he will nod, accept that, and withdraw. Forever.

Which is fine if that's what the player wants. If his behavior crossed a line for you and you never want to see him privately again, telling him off and getting that reaction is fine.

The thing is that many players go through this and do still want to continue the romance. I don't want to put in a 'yell at him' option and make them have to actively choose not to yell at him in order to continue the romance. The way it's written, the impression I'm trying to give is that Mary Sue was so overwhelmed by what happened that she couldn't manage to put her feelings into words. So she could still BE very angry or very scared, she just wasn't able to express those things.

Having a choice of "be angry" or "Be okay with it" means that to continue the romance you have to state that your character isn't angry... and I don't think that's appropriate. She should be angry!

Do you see what I'm getting at? I don't want people who DO want to continue Grabiner's story forced to become complicit in his behavior.
And 'I am your husband. And I can twist the concept of protection into locking you away from your family, light, air and the world and you little missy can do nothing to stop me'

Heck, what about an option to talk to Postdam about what he just did?
It's not him twisting the concept into that. Under the magical legal system, that is what would actually have to happen if Mary Sue pushed things far enough that she was no longer able to continue as a student.

Expelled students get mind-wiped and sent home. But she can't be mind-wiped and sent home until after the divorce, or Grabiner would lose his magic. Professor Potsdam would enforce putting her in the dungeon for that year.

He isn't inventing this threat - he's trying to avoid it.

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#6 Post by hanako » Fri Jun 15, 2012 7:53 pm

(And in case it's not clear, I do appreciate the feedback! :) )

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#7 Post by Wyllow » Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:26 pm

hanako wrote:
I hesitate to quite call it an abusive relationship because of my understanding of the character. He did his best to scare the living daylights out of her for a reason.
See, I don't think I ever got the reason. Which might be just me. But flipping out over suspecting but not having facts that she did anything and his prejudice at seeming to think wildseeds get into trouble more than those born to magic -- I didn't see the reason as to why he behaved the way he did.

So maybe, 'You scared me' and 'Why?' - Whether it's; why did you think I would do that, why did you react like that...

Or maybe nothing about Grabiner will satisfy me and I should just do my best to avoid him completely in the game all the time.

I know you aren't telling me that, but I'm kind feeling that 15% a bit that you're saying 'maybe this kind of romance isn't part of the game you'll enjoy'. It's great you want to leave options open for others - I just wish there was a way it could be explored, with her being angry/upset, etc...

And it feels frustrating since you did do it for Damien. And because you keep mentioning that you know what's going through his (Grabiner's) head. Which is great, for you. But your writing has been set off into the universe. I'm not you. I can only interpret what I'm given from what's provided.

So now via conversation here I find out Potsdam would have backed him up in locking Sue away, etc. And she's got no recourse if he ever loses his temper like that again - she's just got to figure out magical society on her own and the rules and take his reactions. Which is how it feels.

Edit: Maybe that's what's bothering me the most. It (perhaps unknowingly) mimics abusive situations where you end up walking on eggshells, not sure what will set someone off, and in a situation where you're dependent and have no options. I don't find that romantic.

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#8 Post by hanako » Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:10 pm

But your writing has been set off into the universe. I'm not you. I can only interpret what I'm given from what's provided.
I know, that's why I'm spoil-marking that stuff and saying you don't have to take it into account. On the other hand, he *does* explain the majority of what I've said here but you have to keep talking to him in order for him to do it.
So now via conversation here I find out Potsdam would have backed him up in locking Sue away, etc. And she's got no recourse if he ever loses his temper like that again - she's just got to figure out magical society on her own and the rules and take his reactions. Which is how it feels.
Sorry, I'm apparently not being clear. Potsdam would not have approved him throwing Mary Sue into the dungeon for accidentally revealing their marriage - but he would never have done it for such a reason anyway. And he explains that in the later conversation. He cannot and would not expel you simply for embarrassing him. He is bound by the rules even more than you are. Once he's explained in great detail that the threat was a bluff, he cannot try to scare you in that same way again.

However, if you break enough school rules that Potsdam would ordinarily have to expel you, she would have to put you in the dungeons because she can't keep you as a student and she can't send you home.

Edit:

Anyway, the explanations are diverging a bit from the goal of looking at ways for MS to respond to the original limp apology. I'm thinking about it.

"Why would you do that?" is a question she could ask that would still leave avenues open. He probably wouldn't give much of an explanation at first, especially not standing in a hallway.
Mary Sue: Why? Why would you treat me - or anyone - that way?

Grabiner: To frighten you.

Mary Sue: (sulky) Well, it certainly did that.

Grabiner: As the lid is off the box, I will make the appropriate announcements.

Grabiner: Once it is clear that you are under my protection, fear of reprisals should discourage at least some of the attention.

Grabiner: It is... a useful tool.

I hope he doesn't expect me to thank him for being terrifying.
(so, the above as an option that does not break the romance, and then the 'Do you expect me to forgive you???' 'No." option that DOES end the romance. She can chew him out for a few more lines, and he'll stand there and let her, but he won't speak to her again in private after that.
Would that work?)

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#9 Post by Wyllow » Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:51 pm

hanako wrote:
Anyway, the explanations are diverging a bit from the goal of looking at ways for MS to respond to the original limp apology. I'm thinking about it.

"Why would you do that?" is a question she could ask that would still leave avenues open. He probably wouldn't give much of an explanation at first, especially not standing in a hallway.
Mary Sue: Why? Why would you treat me - or anyone - that way?

Grabiner: To frighten you.

Mary Sue: (sulky) Well, it certainly did that.

Grabiner: As the lid is off the box, I will make the appropriate announcements.

Grabiner: Once it is clear that you are under my protection, fear of reprisals should discourage at least some of the attention.

Grabiner: It is... a useful tool.

I hope he doesn't expect me to thank him for being terrifying.
(so, the above as an option that does not break the romance, and then the 'Do you expect me to forgive you???' 'No." option that DOES end the romance. She can chew him out for a few more lines, and he'll stand there and let her, but he won't speak to her again in private after that.
Would that work?)
Question - why sulky? Would emotional work? Leaving it up to the person playing if the emotion is upset, sadness, anger, terror, etc?

And does this mean there's something added to the later scenes? Is there text of those somewhere on the forums?

I ask because you mention there's more explanations to come, but having not experienced them, I do not know if they already relate to having the option to ask him why?

As in 'Why frighten me?' or 'Is frightening people always your first choice?'

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#10 Post by hanako » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:04 pm

I'm just adding a 'sulky' note there to make it clear that her facial expression changes, that's all. How you choose to interpret the expression is still as much up to you as it usually is.

Both of the next two conversations with Grabiner on his path include him apologising and explaining what happened. Trying to cut and paste large sections of script onto the forum would get messy!

If you talk to him later that same day, along with his apologies he admits that he shouldn't have leapt to conclusions about the rumor because you have always behaved in an honorable fashion (assuming that's true, of course. If you have behaved in ways he disapproves of, then you can't get into his room to have this conversation in the first place and the path ends here.) and that you deserve to be treated with respect.

The next conversation with you goes into detail about how and why he uses fear with people in general, why he was trying to scare you, how much of the threat was real, and so on.

Both of these conversations happen in private and are designed to show his growing trust of you and ability to relate to you as a person. He couldn't possibly tell you all these things in the corridor that morning

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#11 Post by Wraith_Magus » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:14 pm

While it might be a little past that, for the record, when I said "bondage", that was a joke. Like with the "spanking", that's just Sue's snarking. He's actually rather put off by those comments. I figured that would have been obvious, but...

And the point where Grabiner explains himself only happens at the very end if you are going for a romantic relationship (by emphasizing that you're his wife). I'm not sure if you actually saw that part, since it doesn't seem like you did.

For what it's worth, I can kind of understand where you're coming from on this, there are certainly people who aren't appreciative of being scared or powerless, and want to make some sort of action to try to claim back some sort of sense of control, no matter how ill-advised...

At the same time, well, that's kind of the way many of these Otome Game relationships tend to go - your character is typically a little fish around characters much more powerful than herself, and the relationships she forms may well be with people who are dominating in the relationship. Just look at the popularity poll, and you'll see Grabiner has a pretty clear lead.

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#12 Post by Wyllow » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:23 pm

hanako wrote:I
Both of these conversations happen in private and are designed to show his growing trust of you and ability to relate to you as a person. He couldn't possibly tell you all these things in the corridor that morning
Yes, I see. So the 'sulky' was the image expression, not the text. That's what I'd wondered about.

And explanations coming later make sense to me, if there's a chance when he makes that incredibly thrice used tea bag excuse - to point out that he'd done something alarming, seems very helpful. Thank you.

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#13 Post by Wyllow » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:36 pm

Wraith_Magus wrote:
At the same time, well, that's kind of the way many of these Otome Game relationships tend to go - your character is typically a little fish around characters much more powerful than herself, and the relationships she forms may well be with people who are dominating in the relationship. Just look at the popularity poll, and you'll see Grabiner has a pretty clear lead.

I don't care. I'm not being rude, or harsh, I don't care about his popularity. I'm not trying to fight the trope of lost girl and older man and domination, or relationship sim tropes, or bad boy tropes or the like - that'd be another conversation for another time, probably with different people.

I also don't care there are people who like 50 shades of whatever, and think that's an actual healthy BDSM relationship - at least I don't care past hoping they don't go looking for one, and find themselves used and abused and exploited because they think that's how it's supposed to go.

I'm grateful the creators are willing to put up an option that calls Grabiner's behavior inexcusable and unforgivable AND an option to at least say he scared/hurt you if you'd like to attempt the friendship ending (if there is one) or if you go for an actual romantic thing.

Magical Diary's managed to include and combine so much world, social, human awareness and at least touch upon so many complex things - I was surprised there wasn't a chance for the character to respond to Grabiner when his apology is so incredibly lacking.

People come to games for different things, enjoy them for different reasons. I found this game through a social awareness gaming blog and expected certain things from it, especially after playing it and having really wonderful moments I haven't had anywhere else.

I did not get or enjoy your joking.

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#14 Post by Wraith_Magus » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:49 pm

Wyllow wrote:
Wraith_Magus wrote:
At the same time, well, that's kind of the way many of these Otome Game relationships tend to go - your character is typically a little fish around characters much more powerful than herself, and the relationships she forms may well be with people who are dominating in the relationship. Just look at the popularity poll, and you'll see Grabiner has a pretty clear lead.

I don't care. I'm not being rude, or harsh, I don't care about his popularity. I'm not trying to fight the trope of lost girl and older man and domination, or relationship sim tropes, or bad boy tropes or the like - that'd be another conversation for another time, probably with different people.

I also don't care there are people who like 50 shades of whatever, and think that's an actual healthy BDSM relationship - at least I don't care past hoping they don't go looking for one, and find themselves used and abused and exploited because they think that's how it's supposed to go.

I'm grateful the creators are willing to put up an option that calls Grabiner's behavior inexcusable and unforgivable AND an option to at least say he scared/hurt you if you'd like to attempt the friendship ending (if there is one) or if you go for an actual romantic thing.

Magical Diary's managed to include and combine so much world, social, human awareness and at least touch upon so many complex things - I was surprised there wasn't a chance for the character to respond to Grabiner when his apology is so incredibly lacking.

People come to games for different things, enjoy them for different reasons. I found this game through a social awareness gaming blog and expected certain things from it, especially after playing it and having really wonderful moments I haven't had anywhere else.

I did not get or enjoy your joking.
Actually, you didn't really get much of what I said.

That thing that Grabiner did was what he did specifically because you aren't in a relationship, friendly or romantic. That's why he has to break down and explain himself if you actually do develop one.

There is no BDSM relationship, and I don't think anyone was asking for one.

Further, the extreme emotional need to react to a perceived loss of control is, ultimately self-destructive and abusive, as well. In fact, not "as well", that's basically the same thing you're angry at Grabiner for in the first place. :P

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#15 Post by Wyllow » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:51 pm

Wraith_Magus wrote:
Further, the extreme emotional need to react to a perceived loss of control is, ultimately self-destructive and abusive, as well. In fact, not "as well", that's basically the same thing you're angry at Grabiner for in the first place. :P
I have no idea what you're talking about here. But if you think speaking up for oneself, against someone being angry and physical with you, is equal to being angry and physical to someone. We have nothing further to talk about.

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