I had business in Riverwood. This was a town with which I was most familiar. In my first day of arrival I helped a fledgling couple continue their romance undisturbed by another suitor, later I would return a stolen gold claw to the rightful owners. The people of Riverwood knew me. This was the town where I felt most at home.
This was the town where I first met Alvor.
Alvor made his trade in Riverwood as a Smith. His wages helped care for his daughter Dorthe along with the help of his wife Sigrid. Alvor was a generous man. Without even considering the notion of payment he taught me the basics of Armour and Weapon Crafting. From then, whenever I would return my first stop was with Alvor. He would help me unload trinkets that I had amassed during my travels. I could have gone to the Riverwood Trader, they had a larger amount of coin available, but the proprietor Lucan Valerius was not nearly as much of a friend. Alvor and I had history. Under his watch I became better at creating new items, my skill increasing with each attempt; it’s with his help that I now adventure in Elven armour made by my own hand. When I would run low on crafting supplies I would buy them from him, when I could not afford them I would steal what I needed from the workshop and he would never note that anything had gone missing. Even when I would sell back items crafted with his personal iron bars, he would not ask me the origin of the materials. It seemed that my studies were more important.
Alvor was a good man.
My business in Riverwood had me visiting the Sleeping Giant Inn, I needed to have a private conversation with one of the owners. My return was not the pleasant affair I had anticipated. I considered sweetrolls and blackbriar mead; A collection of my friends that had been eagerly anticipating my homecoming.
The town was being besieged by a Dragon. Riverwood was not prepared. Children remained in the street; too few with combat experience were present to guard. Alvor met my side without a word brandishing an incredible sword. Valiantly, together, we tried to hold the dragon’s attention while the rest of the town got to safety. Everyone rushed to their houses and locked the doors.
We were the Dragon’s targets now. His frosty breath cooled the air and made attacking that much harder, that much more of a struggle. Ater a fierce battle I landed a final blow and the Dragon keeled over as its flesh burned away. The Dragon was reduced to Bone, I was overcome with joy. I called out in triumph. I was not met with an answer.
Alvor’s corpse lay hardly any distance from the Dragon’s. He had used his life to ensure the safety of his family’s. His memory will be celebrated by those who knew him and shared with those that did not. Songs will be crafted by bards and glasses will be lifted in his honour.
Perhaps it’s cheating to scribble down an essay about the industry’s arguably most developed character; when you consider the level of storytelling sophistication were used to, anyone else’s morality seems to be governed by an irrational need to be evil Because Motives.
Andrew Ryan’s villainy stems from his genuine desire to make the world a better place; his ultimate goal is to offer fairness in profit to the humanity’s most creative and to ensure that there are no limitations to their work. His selflessness and determination make it possible for him to not only set up a closed off and largely self sustaining underwater city, but he does so without immediately seeming like a Fucking Nutcase. The true testament to his success is how no one turned to him and said “What would you like to do after you take us all scuba diving for the rest of our lives? Carve a talking leopard of Plasticine?”
At no point is he swayed from doing what he thinks is best for Rapture’s culture and ongoing development, any action that he takes is to ensure the safety of the world he’s created. Certainly, he makes some massive mistakes in this attempt, but he doesn’t do anything bad because he’s “evil”, only because he sees it as a necessity.
So good is Bioshock’s storytelling that this is pretty much in parallel to the game’s player morality system; the choices you make in dealing with Rapture’s Little Sisters.
If you’re killing a little sister it’s probably not because you’re a Total Douchebag -though we won’t rule that out- in my case it was because I truly believed that doing so would benefit my goal more than leaving them alive. I wasn’t sucking the life out of little girls because I liked doing it, I hated doing it, but there were more important things at stake.
Gosh. I guess this actually became “Why I Wank My Dick Off To Bioshock So Much, By Pillowfort Age TwentySomething and a Half”. To close, I guess, Andrew Ryan is my favourite villain because he’s the only one that’s actually written well enough.