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Author Topic: Character Study of the Week: Isis Marik  (Read 3946 times)

Grey

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Character Study of the Week: Isis Marik
« on: 05 December 2015, 12:23:15 »
Character Study of the Week: Isis Marik
Who: Isis Marik
What: Heir to the Free Worlds League
   ???
When: 3034 - ?? ?? ??
Weapon of Choice: None by technicality

The second of three requests by Wrangler, this week’s subject is a nice follow on from the previous due to some interesting factors.

Isis Marik is introduced to us at the same time as a great many other young heirs, at the Outreach conference in the second Blood of Kerensky trilogy book, Blood Legacy.

It is here that the major powers come together under the auspices of Wolf’s Dragoons to strategize and deal makers in order to combat the newly invading Clans, as well as be educated about them.

The latter largely falls to, as we see it, the young nobles of the FedCom, Draconis Combine, St Ives, Capellan Confederation and the Rasalhague Republic. All but St Ives and the Confederation face immediate threat of the Clans, St Ives is strongly allied to one that does, and Sun-Tzu is there to be a jerk.

Seriously. While there is some wisdom in educating as many of the heirs as possible and Sun-Tzu is there because he has received at least a token military education his sole purpose in the training sessions from a writing perspective is to be continuously antagonistic.

There’s some ill feeling between the FedCom and Combine factions already, but working past that is a plot point, leaving Sun-Tzu free to just simply be a jerk.

Why wax on about this? It leads to the obvious question of where is Isis?

It speaks of several things. First off it speaks of the League’s general disinterest in the issue of the Clans. They’re on the opposite side of things watching hated enemies get stomped, why get involved? This is a future plot point.

Secondly it speaks of Isis’ relative lack of importance. No one cares if she’s there or not. Not the heirs, not the Dragoons, not the readers really, bigger fish are in play.

Next it would be an indicator that despite being heir to what is, realistically, a military position, she has no significant military training. I may be wrong, but this is something about her that has been largely glossed over and would also speak of a long term plan on the part of someone (go on, guess who) for her to not be an heir.

Finally it’s another aspect of side-lining the Free Worlds League, though at this early stage it is quite reasonable since, as I said, all action is on the other side of the known universe.

Strange as it may seem she genuinely loved Sun-Tzu, which could have led to an interesting dynamic with Victor and Omi’s relationship at the time. However such was not to be, and we’ll get to the bones of why later, but in and of itself the love speaks a great deal about Isis, namely that she is somewhat idealistic and even perhaps a decent human being.

But it’s pretty obvious from the beginning that it’s a one sided romance. Sun-Tzu’s political motivations are obvious, as is Isis’ glances his way at the Outreach conference.

The latter has to be obvious because there isn’t much time or space for long, elaborate courting procedures between the two.

Thomas’ gains are more nebulous, strengthening a tenuous alliance with a historical enemy that is, by treaty, an ally of convenience and necessity.

More accurately for Thomas he’s getting her out of the way, the reasons why become obvious later, but immediately still make sense since, well, Isis is illegitimate and Thomas puts quite a bit of effort into producing legitimate heirs, which from the outside seems quite logical in a cold, dynastic sense.

Naturally it all ends in tears as Sun-Tzu grows tired of the lengthy engagement, something that is Thomas’ doing apparently, and Thomas grows increasingly indifferent towards his purported daughter as a slew of new, young heirs are produced.

Isis becomes increasingly irrelevant, her last real use in the alliance being as a catspaw against the St Ives Compact, and while her life is genuinely in danger Sun-Tzu sees opportunity in her death, capture or eventual survival, in that order.

And as coldly delivered as it is Sun-Tzu makes a string of very good points when dumping Isis, all of which feed into the way she’s been written, or the way she hasn’t been written, really. In fact he is hardly being cruel, he is being bluntly open and honest with her, possibly the first person to do so in a very long time if at all.

He quite accurately tells her to leave Sian, lists a string of places she could go, acknowledging as she realises that she has no place at any of them, and so she takes the metaphorical third option and holes up with Victor and Omi.

She bonds with people, grows, develops real friendships, and nearly gets killed saving Omi and realises that no one will ever try to kill her because she’s not important enough.

It’s an interesting bridge she builds though, Victor has few close friends, Omi has question marks, Isis fits in with them due to a large number of social rank factors and due to her lack of personification earlier fits the buddy role quite easily.

So when Omi dies she’s a natural choice for kicking Victor out of his self-indulgent wallowing in much the same way Galen Cox did when they thought Kai was dead.

From there their relationship grew and romance developed, off screen since there really hasn’t been much written about Victor outside of major events during the Jihad and it is somewhat perfunctory, we know she and Victor have children together, why go into details? That’s the stuff of novels and none are being written about him in that time and we’ve seen it happen before.

Exactly what she gets up to during the Republic Age is unknown. Aside from raising children she most likely got up to something, and presumably died, while a support character her influence in the life of a much large character would necessitate some mention, for the longevity alone one would hope.

Of course what we don’t know is the interesting conversation that most likely happened at some point where Isis and Victor discus her prior knowledge of Thomas Halas’ genetic truth. Not inevitable, Victor doesn’t have to reveal that he knew, unfortunately Victor is rather dim and would likely have broached the subject at some point. Considering what her true father was up to it’s hard to see how things could have become more difficult for her regardless.

If we were given a view into this period of her life we would likely see a continuation of the same steep learning curve she was already on. It has to be acknowledged that Isis was put in a position to grow up quickly, something of a necessity for an otherwise vapid, naive character thrust into elevated plot levels previously beyond her.

In truth she, like many other Mariks, was underutilised and thus never fully fleshed out or challenged as say many a Liao, Steiner, Davion or Kurita.

If she had received proper seasoning in the fiction then she possibly would have at least understood the minefield she walked into with Sun-Tzu during their last conversation.

But in a way he succinctly summed her up, for all that Isis could look the part of a good noble, a future Capellan wife or even a future Captain-General she lacked the necessary . . . everything really.

No military talent, no diplomatic skill, no political seasoning. She may have been educated in all of these and more however she never really shows any of it.

A brief burst of self-defence, a bit of positioning at state events, but nothing of consequence.

In fact the most important things she does is exist, thereby providing evidence to Victor that Thomas Marik is not Thomas Marik, get engaged to Sun-Tzu, which gives him an odd sort of alliance with said Thomas Marik which never bears the weight such a marriage should, and give birth to Victor’s children.

Looking at that list it’s far less impressive than what Omi managed to do, she at least had a few diplomatic victories under her belt.

Isis is, unfortunately, something of a flat character.

This isn’t to say she’s boring or unimportant, or that she isn’t given personality or development, but compared to so many others in similar positions it’s minimal.

Just the period from the Jihad to the founding of the Republic begs certain questions. Did he and Victor ever love each other to the same degree as their previous loves? Did she feel the need to redeem her family, or was this a reason to shun the limelight? This isn’t even a partial list because there is so much of her life left blank.

The truth is Isis is important to the plot as a device, and as a support character, and is used quite well in those capacities by existing without doing anything of consequence. Very little of what she did after giving Victor support was important to the progression of the plot. Any focus on her would have distracted from unfolding events, in good part just because the Jihad is presented to us in sourcebooks rather than novels.

Could she have done something genuinely important? Yes, but it’s a crowded setting as it is, and unfortunately, as I’ve mentioned in other articles about Marik characters, too much action in and around that faction risks uncovering what’s going on with the Blakists too soon.

As it is Isis’ parentage reveals quite a bit already, stirring the pot, hinting at conspiracies to come. Again, very useful, but to have her haring off on adventures of her own taxes the attention of the original novel line, taxes the real world authors behind the scenes people as well, and would inevitably, because of the level she exists at, lead to some sort of uncovering.

So outside of Battlecorps fiction Isis simply can’t grow, it’s outside of the capacity required of her.

Is Isis then a wasted character? Certainly she has potential to be more than what she is, which is basically an accessory to other characters.

The truth is in any setting, be it a novel, a series or a universe at large, not every character introduced and playing a part can be fully developed, Isis is a grand example of that.

While she does provide solid service as a character she is always going to seem somewhat underdone compared to ingrained veterans of the Battletech Universe.

Next week: Anastasia Kerensky

roosterboy

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Isis Marik
« Reply #1 on: 05 December 2015, 12:56:38 »
When: 3034 - ?? ?? ??

ca 3116.

We know two things about the date of her death: 1) it's "in relatively short order" after Burton's in 3113, and 2) Mason Dunne first meets Victor "shortly after" Isis died (src: Ghost War, 89, 95). From Mason's MWDA dossier, we know the latter event occurred in 3117.

Frabby

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Isis Marik
« Reply #2 on: 05 December 2015, 13:09:01 »
Funny that you should mention character development in BattleCorps, because BattleCorps gave us the novella The Art of War, Isis' tale in the chaos on Hustaing when it dawns on her that Sun Tzu set her up for being killed for his own political gain.
It's a watershed for her.
Prior to Hustaing, she's just a trophy wife/princess/political pawn. She outgrows it very quickly there and emerges a stronger, fundamentally changed person.
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Stormlion1

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Isis Marik
« Reply #3 on: 05 December 2015, 14:36:55 »
It always struck me as odd that during the Jihad that Isis wasn't called back to Atreus as the legal heir to the Captain-Generalship no matter what she might have been doing at the time. She was the legal heir once the truth about the False Thomas came out or the fact she was still alive and running about. You would have thought WoB would have decided to get rid of the loose end that was Isis or the Master didn't have her brought to him for a little brainwashing at any point.
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Lord greystroke

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Isis Marik
« Reply #4 on: 05 December 2015, 15:05:28 »
@ Stormlion1 I think that further adds to the fact the poor girl doesn't matter to anyone in the universe

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Isis Marik
« Reply #5 on: 05 December 2015, 15:20:44 »
It always struck me as odd that during the Jihad that Isis wasn't called back to Atreus as the legal heir to the Captain-Generalship no matter what she might have been doing at the time. She was the legal heir once the truth about the False Thomas came out or the fact she was still alive and running about. You would have thought WoB would have decided to get rid of the loose end that was Isis or the Master didn't have her brought to him for a little brainwashing at any point.

i think by that point the FWL pretty much no longer existed as a functional entity. heavily infiltrated by the WOB during the early bits, and shattered and self destructing by the latter parts.

that said, it may be that she could have served to help reunify it.. but i think at that time she'd have been less than effective at it. she was the true heir sure, but she was raised by the False Marik. which would be a mark against her at the time. plus she wasn't a military leader or a major political mover and shaker. which would make it harder for people to rally behind her. and if she got support able to overcome that, she'd have ended up more of a figure head.

and to be honest, by the end of the Jihad, when the Master's identity became known, she gained another mark agaisnt her in the public image. Raised by the false marik, and the father the real marik was a fanatical maniac.

fairly terrible pedigree for statesmanship at the time.


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Re: Character Study of the Week: Isis Marik
« Reply #6 on: 05 December 2015, 16:16:15 »
Actually, House Marik gets together to decide which of them gets to be the next Captain-General; that's what led to the famous duel between Peter and Micaela over who would get to actually take command.  Granted, Captains-General have tried to set their heirs -- thus why Thomas was such a threat to Duncan -- but by law, Parliament is actually the body that requests a particular person to be Captain-General.  So "Captain-General Isis Marik" wasn't going to be a thing anyway because Parliament wouldn't want her (lack of expertise) and the family wouldn't put her on that pedestal (not enough sway with the likes of Paul, Therese, or Corrine).

All that being said, as a Marik fan, I always wanted to see Isis take a bigger role.  But as you said, she simply didn't have any skills relevant to the setting to begin with.  Shattered Sphere described her as having matured, but she never really developed beyond being a supporting character who shows up in an episode or two during the season.  Unfortunate, but that's the reality of the Free Worlds: they were the sideshow during the game's heyday.
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Re: Character Study of the Week: Isis Marik
« Reply #7 on: 05 December 2015, 16:45:09 »
plus by then she was dating Victor, and they may not have wanted a Steiner-Davion-Marik on the throne for the next generation.

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Isis Marik
« Reply #8 on: 05 December 2015, 17:05:21 »
Isis? Boooo!

Ahem. Sorry.

What I meant to say is that Isis, if nothing else, drives home how feudalism plays out in the Great Houses. She actually is a good example of a dynastic trophy, a political currency between the movers and shakers of the Inner Sphere. The same story could have (and probably did) taken place countless times (if not on that scale) in all feudal influenced societies.

Spouses used as bargaining chip in a political game, free to be traded, evaluated, cast off (sometimes murdered) or dug out as political convenience and necessity of power politics dictate is an essential part of feudalism. The obvious example is her bethroal to Sun-Tsu to create an alliance, but not to commit to one indefinately. That she later hooks up with the Davion imp might at first seem like breaking with the topic somewhat. It could seem that she breaks out of her destined role and that this is the first thing she does on her own, as a person. But that is not quite true. Consider that she was only available, that she only got into the vicinity of Victor, because of her name. By then she was actually living the life of the courtier. Basically hanging out near the people of importance, living of their generosity and hoping his/her talents (ha!), personality (also, ha!), lineage or looks are in demand at some point.
Which then, happened.

Since I do not know the story Frabby mentioned I can´t say much more about her. The only role she seems to fill is that of exemplifying how the life of many other (mostly minor) nobles go.

That´s not much, but helps rounding out a setting.
« Last Edit: 05 December 2015, 17:11:16 by Molossian Dog IIC »

Dragon Cat

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Isis Marik
« Reply #9 on: 05 December 2015, 18:07:28 »
I liked how she ended up with Victor although she was likely the only logical choice unless the found a character from Terra for Victor so his children were born of Terran blood further linking him to the Republic it had to be Isis

I just actually thought of this but the case of Isis is maybe unique in that she was the only noble to have an arranged marriage of the current generation.  Of course Hanse and Melissa were the big two but Victor, Kai, Hohiro, Katherine were all allowed to go their own ways relationship wise.  A little strange considering how Hanse and Melissa got together none of their children had the same type of marriage that said we don't need another FedCom

I hope since we've now got novels returning we get one that covers Victor and Isis maybe at different points during the Jihad with Isis his sounding board or maybe showing if she did get up to anything other than being Victors wife and mother to his children

Good thing about the new novels there's tons of material to create stories
« Last Edit: 05 December 2015, 18:15:31 by Dragon Cat »

Grey

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Isis Marik
« Reply #10 on: 07 December 2015, 05:36:25 »
Frabby makes an interesting point, in that through BattleCorps, or even the reemerging novels, back dated sourcebooks, or any back tracking materials, Isis can be fleshed out.

Unfortunately it all comes after what her character has already done, and thus any future development has to be restrained by that.

She can mature slightly, figuring out Sun-Tzu may have left her to be captured or die for the political leverage is a good example, but it still has to mesh with her continued, whole hearted and somewhat naive love of him.

This isn't unique to Isis, or even Battletech fiction, Star Wars, Star Trek, any rich universe with a large number of characters, or even potential characters, have the same problem of trying to wedge exciting stories and character developments in a protagonist or antagonist's past between previously established events.

And unfortunately for Isis it means that she is unlikely to get a lot of new development prior to the Jihad.

Frabby

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Isis Marik
« Reply #11 on: 07 December 2015, 07:18:30 »
Frabby makes an interesting point, in that through BattleCorps, or even the reemerging novels, back dated sourcebooks, or any back tracking materials, Isis can be fleshed out.
Just in case I was misunderstood: She was fleshed out. She's the main character in The Art of War, where she actually begins to proactively do something. It's quite a good story imho, and novel size (roughly 70,000 words long).

She begins as a neatly dressed princess in distress when the Blackwind Lancers stop her escape vehicle at gunpoint, and ends up firing guns at people alongside Aris Sung. She happens to accidentially kill Jade Hollister, with whom she had formed a friendship, in the final shootout and in the end has something of a nervous breakdown on the outbound DropShip - but she emerges from the ordeal as an emotionally stronger character who has grown a spine and doesn't harbor any illusions about her betrothal to Sun-Tzu anymore.
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Re: Character Study of the Week: Isis Marik
« Reply #12 on: 07 December 2015, 12:12:00 »
That was the issue with Isis I think until Art of War. She was a prop up until that point. Content to be a political prize for the False Thomas to use. Her dismissal by Sun Tzu (and this is why I really dislike him, not for him being a cappie but his treatment of Isis.) actually broadened her mind that she needed to find her place in the Universe rather than being the Paris Hilton of Atreus. Makes you wonder if she had decided back at the Dragoon Conference what would have happened had she shown up with at least some training under her belt as a mechwarrior or a tanker rather than potential arm candy for a Successor Lord heir.
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Wrangler

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Isis Marik
« Reply #13 on: 07 December 2015, 23:27:18 »
With Shadows of Faith coming out, maybe we'll hear little more what she doing.

Once thing she can be credited to is she was the reason FedCom Civil War finally went to the end. Victor was defeated emotionally from Katherine's assassination of Omi.  She got in there kicked his behind and got him on his feet.

She is the last true blood-heir to "throne" of the original Free Worlds League.  She did have children with Victor, one grand son  which i believe could come up some day if anyone remembers him, Gavin Marik-Davion or to everyone Gavin Marik.  Working behind the scenes, curious enough we may never know what thou. :/
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Grey

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Isis Marik
« Reply #14 on: 08 December 2015, 02:10:29 »
What Isis lacks is something of a limelight moment, a time or event where only she, either by talent or by virtue of being who she is, can take an action in a manner that advances the plot.

Akin to Omi's request to Victor to rescue Hohiro, it doesn't necessarily have to be something beneficial, it can be a complete disaster, but one that only she could make.

It's one of the reasons why, even as a support character she feels like something of a placeholder even with so much happening around her.

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Isis Marik
« Reply #15 on: 08 December 2015, 02:58:18 »
She did have children with Victor, one grand son  which i believe could come up some day if anyone remembers him, Gavin Marik-Davion or to everyone Gavin Marik.  Working behind the scenes, curious enough we may never know what thou. :/

A couple of Granddaughters too, and at least one great grandson who was at Victor's funeral. Simone was the mother if I remember correctly, sitting with Kitsune. Whether they kept any of them besides Gavin kept any of the names was left rather up in the air I believe.

Grey

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Isis Marik
« Reply #16 on: 08 December 2015, 04:09:18 »
The surnames are a nightmare, and lead to all sorts of jokes and comments about Victor turning to dating in the Capellan Confederation after Isis dies.

Being strictly patrilineal then Davion is most appropriate, shorter, and technically least contentious. But there's no reason why Steiner, Steiner-Davion, Marik or some other hyphenated combination can't be used, it's just a matter of picking which combination of political battles you want to fight.

Actually that makes nothing simpler, does it?

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Isis Marik
« Reply #17 on: 08 December 2015, 08:00:26 »
What Isis lacks is something of a limelight moment, a time or event where only she, either by talent or by virtue of being who she is, can take an action in a manner that advances the plot.

Akin to Omi's request to Victor to rescue Hohiro, it doesn't necessarily have to be something beneficial, it can be a complete disaster, but one that only she could make.

It's one of the reasons why, even as a support character she feels like something of a placeholder even with so much happening around her.

The closest she gets to a moment like this is during the FedCom Civil War, and it basically boils down to "I know you're sad that Omi died, but buck up Victor, you've got a fight to win!"

Which is rather unfortunate.

And with the lack of novels covering the Jihad and post-Jihad, Pre-Blackout era, since she's not a Warrior, she doesn't really get a chance to show up in any of the publications.

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Isis Marik
« Reply #18 on: 09 December 2015, 01:10:52 »
Don't known, I rather not have every noble heir in BT act as some sort of child of destiny. 
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Re: Character Study of the Week: Isis Marik
« Reply #19 on: 09 December 2015, 07:28:34 »
I dunno. I think there's room for her to do something without going "Child of Destiny." Right now as she is, you could pull her out of the universe and there wouldn't be much change.

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Isis Marik
« Reply #20 on: 09 December 2015, 12:42:43 »
I dunno. I think there's room for her to do something without going "Child of Destiny." Right now as she is, you could pull her out of the universe and there wouldn't be much change.

Too bad we can't make her as some sort of behind the scenes diplomat, where everyone else manages to 'conveniently' meet each other to agree to terms, and she is just sitting somewhere, smiling.  She appears to be the loving daughter of her father, or the fiance of Sun-Tzu, or something else.

Everyone figures her for some spoiled daughter trying to show up and be noticed at an important summit, as though just because a major treaty got arranged she should be noticed.

Write her as living the phrase "if you do things right".

Like Father, like daughter?

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Isis Marik
« Reply #21 on: 09 December 2015, 13:35:55 »
I kind of see her as the spoiled rich girl forced to grow up. Which is what she really was written as.
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Re: Character Study of the Week: Isis Marik
« Reply #22 on: 09 December 2015, 15:07:32 »
I've been pondering this, and it occurs to me that one of the reasons I quite like Isis Marik is because she _isn't_ a particularly noteworthy "operator" in any particular field. Not an "Angel of Death" like Kai, not a political mover and shaker like Katherine. Not a "leader of soldiers dragged out of his element" like Victor. She is just "the daughter of Thomas Marik" - something she never asked for and possibly wouldn't have wanted. In any hereditary monarchy there are going to be folk who are just "sort of there" and that, really is Isis.

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Isis Marik
« Reply #23 on: 20 December 2015, 11:41:48 »
Character Study of the Week: Isis Marik

Weapon of Choice: None by technicality

I don't know, I always felt her Weapon of Choice was Looks & Brains, we see her really young initially, but that falls away by the end of the FCCW.   I felt she had a lot more going on that we actually saw. 
After all, Daddy was "The Master",  I really doubt she was some "blonde airhead" upstairs like she was portrayed on outreach.
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Re: Character Study of the Week: Isis Marik
« Reply #24 on: 21 December 2015, 02:31:30 »
Her later appearances as fiance of Sun Tsu really do paint her as something of an airhead prior to his harsh dumping of her.
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Re: Character Study of the Week: Isis Marik
« Reply #25 on: 21 December 2015, 03:30:49 »
Think she was naive, kinda like Sansa Stark of GoT, sheltered and unprepared. Victor wasn't much better when we first met him, Peter and Yvonne didn't fair well at first ether.     
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Grey

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Isis Marik
« Reply #26 on: 22 December 2015, 05:50:51 »
Sansa is probably an apt analogy. Both characters were too caught up in the romance of their position (which Isis came lately to) and the events they were caught up in initially to see what was motivating things behind the scenes.

Both also get a rather rude and abrupt education on these matters.

It is hard to tell though, Isis was never the PoV character early on as Sansa was, in fact there is little told from Isis' perspective, and that can make judgment hard. Though personally I thought she showed some, if not intelligence, then at least awareness of politics on Outreach, even if it was mostly around looking like the healthy, vital heir compared to her 'brother'.

 

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