Discussion in 'Spoilers' started by kiara8, Apr 19, 2017.
We should all kick Airplane Towards the Sky for leaving so many plot holes.
I wanted to give a more detailed breakdown of SQQ's personality (especially his flaws), since IMO him being such a wonderfully characterized protagonist is the driving force behind the novel and one of the biggest reasons why I love it so much.
I've touched on this key idea before: SQQ's greatest strengths are also his greatest weaknesses. These characteristics especially hinder his understanding of romance, including how self-aware he is of his own emotions/feelings. Yes, this means SQQ is very much an unreliable narrator.
Here is the whopper, right off the bat: SQQ follows quite traditional definitions of masculinity. He is an extremely proud person who dislikes being seen as weak. In particular, he thinks showing emotion is a weakness and will do everything he can to avoid it!
To be honest, this is probably the biggest trait that he and Shen Jiu have in common!
On one hand, this personality trait is extremely helpful in that it lets SQQ hide his constant freak-outs behind a perfectly cool and composed facade. It means he can stay calm and come up with a clever plan even during horrible crises (and he goes through a lot of horrible crises in this story lol). It means he never shows signs of true fear, he can endure awful agony and pain, and he can keep moving forward through the worst situations. Heck, LBH fell in love with SQQ in the first place partly because he saw SQQ as an aloof, awe-inspiring, beautiful, and untouchable immortal. (yep LBH really digs that gap moe and to be honest, I do too)
On the other hand, just like with Shen Jiu and Yue Qi, this personality trait almost becomes SQQ's downfall.
Quite a few times when LBH tried to open up about his emotional struggles, SQQ brushes him off since he wants to "get down to business" instead. (ex: when the Heart Demon sword was taken by TLJ, SQQ and LBH met in a dream. LBH really wanted to properly confess to SQQ, but SQQ ignored him in favor of trying to come up with a plan to retrieve the sword.)
In the situations where SQQ is feeling powerful emotions, he tries his utmost to ignore it, make logical excuses for it, or otherwise treat it like it's no big deal.
After he had to push LBH down the abyss, do you really believe SQQ wasn't in a state of great grief? When he witnessed LBH's blackening firsthand, do you really believe SQQ didn't feel horrible guilt and responsibility (which he tried to rationalize away as fate)? When he was being completely brutalized in the mausoleum, do you really believe he wasn't frustrated, exhausted, sad, and yes, loving towards LBH?
SQQ is extremely good at self-denial and rationalizing away his own feelings.
Then if he finally can't ignore those emotions, SQQ's pride makes him feel extremely embarrassed and ashamed. He will even lash out at himself and others. ex: When LBH sees the evidence of SQQ having shed tears in the mausoleum, SQQ acts downright childish. He furiously denies he ever cried.
I'll put it this way: SQQ's cool facade is so good, not only does he trick the other characters in the story, he tricks the readers and even himself.
Let me elaborate further on SQQ's weak points by examining his unique personality traits in greater detail.
1) SQQ uses humor and sarcastic commentary as a defense mechanism. (Shen Jiu kind of had this trait too, though Shen Jiu's sarcasm was obviously on the cruel/mean side compared to SQQ's more lighthearted silent jokes.)
It's true that humor is a really powerful defense mechanism, one that keeps SQQ sane and keeps the novel humorous. But whenever SQQ starts to tsukkomi, he is not treating the current situation with seriousness--even when seriousness is truly warranted.
ex: In the Huan Hua water prison, when LBH throws his robe over to cover SQQ's whiplash wounds, SQQ can't help but draw a funny comparison with shoujo manga. While that comparison is hilariously accurate, it doesn't take into account LBH's very real and genuine feelings. Those real feelings get badly injured as a result.
2) SQQ uses his knowledge of the original novel as a defense mechanism. He doesn't want to acknowledge that the people around him are genuine humans with genuine emotions. It's so much easier for his logical manipulations/calculations if he just sees them as the 1-D original novel characters with fixed fates. He doesn't want to acknowledge that his actions have a very real impact on real people. The absolutely heartbroken LBH is the prime example of course, but SQQ's self-detonation also hurt the rest of the Cang Qiong Mountain Sect which he only realized and regretted later.
3) SQQ has a strong protective instinct towards those weaker than him, which translates into how he expresses love.
In the Airplane extras, Shang QingHua gives LBH love advice along the lines of "Woman's love is the desire to worship, while man's love is the desire to protect... SQQ is a teacher, so he naturally values obedience a lot."
While this is a really narrow and stereotypical view of gender differences, those words actually ring pretty damn true for SQQ as an individual.
SQQ loves being able to watch over and protect those below him. He is too proud to admit he actually does enjoy taking care of LBH. But let's be honest, SQQ really does cherish being the only one who can calm LBH down, heal his wounds, and wipe away his tears.
(TBH this factor is probably a huge reason why he and Liu Qingge aren't super compatible as a couple, as much as I like their dynamic together.)
4) As an extension of the above, SQQ hates when someone "lower" than him is pressuring him directly.
In general, Shen Yuan is definitely more easygoing than Shen Jiu. Shen Jiu would get really pissed even if the person pressuring him was legitimately better than him (cough Liu Qingge), while Shen Yuan is humble enough to take guidance from those above him. But SQQ still has the pride to dislike being belittled by those who should be below him.
There are lots of instances in the novel where LBH pressures SQQ the wrong way and injures SQQ's pride (whoops).
I'll take the water prison situation as an example yet again--probably the biggest reason that SQQ rejected LBH's clothing was because he resented LBH acting condescending from a position of power. SQQ really does not like being treated as a damsel.
For another example, when LBH sieges Cang Qiong mountain sect to force SQQ to come out, SQQ is utterly humiliated at having to follow/obey/entreat his own former disciple. He is understandably extremely bitter and angry as a result.
5) SQQ is a very private person. He dislikes public displays of affection, which exacerbates the climactic conflict with LBH. To be specific, LBH wanted to be lovey-dovey with SQQ in public before the final confrontation with TLJ. SQQ was extremely embarrassed and rejected his advances, which gave LBH the impression that SQQ doesn't care that much for him. On the contrary, SQQ does care a lot for LBH, he just does not feel comfortable showing that emotional side of himself around other people (again, he's a very proud person who values having a haughty and untouchable public image).
6) SQQ is honestly a bit of a prude and is just not a romantic person overall. Even when he thought he was entirely heterosexual, he was generally more curious ("Wow is Sha Hualing actually walking around barefoot?" "What does Liu MingYan actually look like?") as opposed to actually falling in love with girls. (Yeah he can attribute that to fear of interfering with LBH's harem, but how much of that was just an excuse? ) When he read the original novel, SQQ notes he didn't have much interest in the romantic subplots (he definitely remembered some key details, but he read the book for the worldbuilding/monsters/plot, not the romance LOL).
SQQ is so easygoing and oblivious that he would never pursue a romantic relationship on his own. When the Charm Demon tells his fortune, she mentions that his love interest "is always the one to chase after him when they are separated." That really does sum up SQQ's cautious and shy attitude towards relationships. If anyone wished to enter a relationship with him, they would have to pursue him with wholehearted determination (like LBH did).
In the extras, even if/when he did enjoy sex with LBH, SQQ would never admit it haha.
All in all, I just spent a lot of words to say one really simple thing: SQQ is really good at deluding himself that he doesn't feel certain emotions. But just because he doesn't acknowledge them, doesn't mean they do not exist.
Luckily, SQQ is not a static character. He's not like Shen Jiu, who refused to reconnect with Yue Qi and ends up in a self-inflicted hell forever.
SQQ grows over the course of the novel, especially when it comes to improving his ability to handle those emotional situations.
He basically goes through this progression:
"Hates showing emotion in public or private" --> "Okay with showing emotion in private but not public" --> "Okay with showing emotion in public"
He acknowledges he and LBH have messed up in communication, and he tries his best to fix the situation.
By the end of the novel, he has cut down quite a bit on his tsukkomi-ing. When LBH reveals how much he cherished his time at Qing Jing Peak, SQQ even acknowledges this is not something he can make fun of.
From the dream kiss, he cannot deny that LBH is no longer the original novel's stallion male lead, but is an entirely different person thanks to SQQ's own actions. After that, SQQ starts to legitimately take responsibility for LBH.
He accepts LBH's gestures of devotion and returns it with his own protective and comforting behavior. By the end of the novel, he is actively admitting he misses LBH instead of kicking him away.
He regrets not speaking up about his feelings earlier, and is able to finally say some really sappy and heartwarming dialogue to LBH in the climax.
He and LBH settle into the perfect routine of "SQQ spoiling LBH" lol. Both give the other party what they truly want.
All this character development is really really hard for SQQ. He has to go against his own nature, exposing his soft and weak belly to LBH. He has to trust that LBH won't take advantage and cheat him during those moments of weakness. He has to have faith that LBH will support him and protect those weak spots. But that's love for you <3
EDIT: One last funny thought--sometimes, reading Scum Villain is like reading a romance story from the perspective of the Tsundere Love Interest. SQQ has that classic Tsundere pride and refusal to acknowledge his affection. While LBH finally discovers the best way to woo a Tsundere--being honest about his feelings and showing his weakness in front of them, so they are motivated to protect him in turn.
Your analysis is so perfect I think I might link to it (but with a spoiler warning).
I'd like to add that the other reason why I love this novel so much is because LBH also grows as a character (just like SQQ/SY).
He goes from white bun --> blackened Bing-ge phase --> Bing-mei. This is a very stupidly brief chart of his developments lol, but I gotta go sleep soon. I might edit this later.
Best trait: LBH is not afraid to love and not afraid to pursue with everything he's got.
Worst trait: He tends to go to extremes, almost to insanity in some cases.
White bun: He is a pure cinnamon roll too good for this world. He's so pure that he can 'forget' a lot of past wrongs in exchange for current and continuing kindnesses to him. This doesn't mean he's an idiot though; he's just extremely pure-hearted and earnest. If SQQ were SJ still, it's easy to see why he'd be blackened so terribly. His white bun character's perfect for sly people to hurt him, tbh.
Bing-ge phase: Blackened; need I say more? The downside of being blackened/yandere is that he doesn't treat even the people who matter to him as really people. He thinks that the world's his oyster and that if he has enough power, he can get what he wants. End of Magic Prison arc proves to him that power's obviously not the point, not if his goal's getting what he really wants: SQQ's genuine affection.
Bing-mei phase: Still blackened, but he realizes now that all that power does nothing for him in getting SQQ's love. He has also been continuously frightened (by SQQ's various 'deaths') into dropping that arrogant Bing-ge facade and straight out almost begging SQQ to accept him and not scare him anymore like that, please. He realizes that he's got to use himself to persuade SQQ, not his power or any external factors. This is what I think finally gets through to SQQ.
On a side note, this is also another reason why I think that SQQ is so against Bing-ge in that extra. Bing-ge very obviously treats the people around him as 'things' rather than real people. At least in SQQ's development, he compartmentalizes for the greater good -- to get things done -- and because he's afraid to get attached. It's not because he simply has the power to, not like Bing-ge.
I 'm really interested in reading love story involving SQQ and Bing-ge or something like that. You guys read any?
I’ve seen a couple. Only SQQ frantically running away or getting his mind broken though (because Bing-ge killed Bing-mei).
Actually, the more I think about it, the more SQQ really does seem like a Tsundere, especially in the middle-late sections of the novel.
All you have to do is add "baka" to his dialogue/thoughts, and the mental image of Tsundere SQQ instantly becomes hilariously crystal clear.
Let's try it out:
"I only gave you that medicine because I don't want other people to think my Qing Jing Peak bullies its disciples, b-baka!"
"I only let you on my horse carriage because NYY begged me. I-it's not because I felt sorry for you or anything, baka!"
"I never said you weren't still a Qing Jing Peak disciple, hmph baka!"
"I don't want your stupid outer robe, stop treating me like a damsel, baka!"
"I only felt sorry for you because you threw away a perfectly good harem, b-baka!"
"I only let you hug me because you were too pathetic to be a stallion male protagonist otherwise, baka!"
"I only blocked blade and knife for you in the Holy Mausoleum because no one else was around who could do it for you, baka!"
"I only defended you from the whole world's mistrust and slander because their suspicions were stupid and illogical, baka!"
*chokes on tea*
I never tried adding ‘baka’ at the end, but yeah, SQQ does get quite tsundere......plus that gap moe.........
No wonder LBH fell so hard and fast lol
From the perspective of a tsundere indeed... What a marvelous novel.
> will post it tomorrow
> No updated chapter
I understand you gotta take care of your health but you should try and make your actions consistent with what you say, otherwise people may not be able to take your words seriously or think that you're just making excuses.
But to put something Scum System related, I admire this kind of dense MC. He's one of the few BL MC's that appear very mature in certain situations, and also very adaptable.
What! Bing-mei died!? Can you give me the links?
I know (it's why I keep doing apologizing). But that's RL for you, nothing goes to plan. ;-;
I generally drop sad fics like that lol, so I don't have links to it. I just remember it was a really old fic and a oneshot I think.
Still, even with real life problems, it's good practice to try and fulfill what your words than not. At least inform the change in plans rather than ignoring it, it helps to show you were being serious on actually updating translated chapters.
Good point. Guess I better add to post that my RL is a mess and that I can't guarantee updates for a while.
Hope RL goes better for you ! Thank you for already translating 30% of the novel and selecting this novel to translate. This is the only cultivation novel I read all the way to the end.
How about FoD???
I agree... It's kinda frustrating when that happens
The large cast of characters plus the constant back and forth between present and past made it hard to feel emotionally invested in the characters. Every time I was starting to get interested in the story, it would change to a different time or focus on different characters.
I do think it's a very well-written story, with interesting and well-developed characters.
Can you give me the spoilers for LBH's mom's extra?
The anime is out tomorrow though, maybe you can give it a try.
I can give it a try but my english isn’t good so please forgive all my grammar and vocabulary mistakes.
This extra is from ZZL’s side, mainly about his life. He’s a hybrid,half-snake,half-demon, so he starts as a ugly creature who can only crawl around and no one ever liked him. One day TLJ pay him a visit, telling him that his mother(TLJ’s sister) has died and as his only relative he has to come and see her son. TLJ offered ZZL hundreds of fearless warriors(kinda like robots according to the text) as his army and left. But ZZL remembered him as the only one who haven’t disliked him at first sight. So he crawled after TLJ and fight for him as much as he can. TLJ got moved by the stubbornness of his nephew and used magic to give ZZL a human- like body and his name(picked from a poem)
So ZZL served as TLJ’s loyal servant and witnessed his relationship with LBH’s mum Su Xiyan.
SXY was the head disciple of Huanhua palace and the old palace master send her to get close to TLJ and win his trust. But instead she fall in love with him and has got little LBH in her belly. She was caught by the old master and thrown into the water prison of the Huanhua Palace(the one shizun visited many years later)
The old Palace master is a bad guy and has disgusting emotions towards SXY. He send fake messages to TLJ, inviting him to a date at Bailu mountain in SXY’s name and gather all the famous cultivate sects to kill him. TLJ didn’t know the truth and has just ZZL beside him so he was defeated and imprisoned under the mountain. ZZL has returned into the deformed creature as he has no magic coming from TLJ but he’s still loyal to him and never left his side.
Meanwhile the old master told SXY as long as she’s willing to kill LBH by drinking some medicine which causes abortion he can release her. SXL chose to accept the medicine and left Huanhua Palace, only to the fact that her lover was defeated longtime ago and nearly killed. She used her spiritual power to put all the effects of the poison onto herself and went beside the Luo river with the help of a kind monk from Zhaohua temple. She give birth to little LBH there, put him in a basin to float down the river and died.
Both TLJ and ZZL were fooled, thinking that SXY betrayed them and led that siege and they never know she’s dead and has a son.
Many years later SQQ go to Bailu mountain to find that plant that can create a new body for himself with SQH. He left one plant to the deformed ZZL( SSQ has no idea this is most loyal servant of the former demon king and the former king is also imprisoned here because this part was never written in the novel)and he remembers him as another one whom he should thank with all he has.(ZZL can’t go for the plant himself because he’s afraid of the light of sun and moon in that form but the plant grows in a place where there’s always sun/ moon light)
And after TLJ escaped with a new plant body he was so angry by the betrayal and chose the dark side. ZZL saw LBH( who looks a lot like SXY) and was shocked so he come back to TLJ with new information about this half-human, half-demon young man and his relationship with SQQ.
TLJ want all human cultivation sects to vanish but ZZL own SQQ. So they tried to separate him from the righteous side( SQQ blamed it on LBH, thinking that the protagonist is seeking revenge as the original novel)SQQ died later and revived in his plant body.
ZZL still haven’t give up. He stole the body of SQQ and used some magic so pull his soul back forcefully, leading to the demon tomb arc. SQQ was quite unhappy with ZZL’s payback so he escaped with LBH.
The final arc is about TLJ trying to squash human and demon world together so every one got to that place to stop him. And after a fight, the demon side finally knows all the past from that monk and regret a lot. But the squashing is now led by a berserk LBH so they can do nothing. While SQQ and LBH are saving the world by having very painful smut, ZZL died in order to protect a half-dead TLJ.
As for the romantic relationship of ZZL, some people tend to think he’s in love with SQQ and some others want to ship him with TLJ because at the end of the extra TLJ was saying things like: ‘ Finally I still can’t hate human, but how can it be this hard to love a person.’
ZZL was in his snake form again, forming a circle to protect TLJ and about to die, so he can only agree to him in silence, and adding: ‘Yes it’s indeed hard to love someone.’
‘But hard as it may be, it can never be harder than to let a heart stop loving.’
Separate names with a comma.