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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 75 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Watchmen ... what's up with the ending?  (Read 13341 times)
quozl
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« on: April 05, 2006, 08:31:34 AM »

So I finally got around to reading Watchmen and I don't get why everyone just agrees to not do anything at the end and then when Rorshach challenges them on it, they kill him instead of thinking about what they're doing.
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--- Jonathan N.
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joshua neff
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« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2006, 08:47:50 AM »

Well, what if you were in that situation, what would you have done? And how would you have succeeded?
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--josh

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Marhault
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« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2006, 09:38:29 AM »

Ozymandius actions, while heinous, stopped a war which would have had an even more heinous outcome.  If they'd let anyone find out the truth, it wouldn't have saved the people in New York, all it would have done is made their deaths meaningless.

There's no real choice there.
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Russell Collins
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« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2006, 09:44:34 AM »

Perfect reversal of the typical comic book in which the heroes save everything. That's exactly what Rorshach thinks will happen and he gets petulant when it doesn't meet his expectations (as did much of Moore's audience.) This is bigger than them, so they do nothing. What did you expect?
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Russell Collins
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Bankuei
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« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2006, 09:45:12 AM »

They kill Rorschach because they know he will never give in.  It was Rorschach's tenacity which pretty much set up the whole story, and, Rorschach is arguably just behind Veidt in terms of clever planning and maneuvering.  If anyone could find a way to break the story to the population at large, it would be him.

On a structure level, it also lends itself to a bit of irony, Dr. Manhattan who believes in an inevitble outcome to the universe is convinced to have a change of heart and believe in miracles, while Rorschach remains unchangable throughout it all.  The most powerful character is humbled, the most frail (emotionally, in a way) is unaffected. 

On another symbolic level, it's the destruction of the black & white viewpoint, which had brought them to the brink of nuclear war and had no way to avoid it.

Chris
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quozl
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« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2006, 10:01:55 AM »

On another symbolic level, it's the destruction of the black & white viewpoint, which had brought them to the brink of nuclear war and had no way to avoid it.

Chris

Let's talk about the symbolic level since what people should have or could have done doesn't interest me.

It is strongly hinted at the end that Rorschach does succeed after all and his story gets printed.  What is Moore trying to say there?  That while black & white views need to be broken down, the truth will still prevail?
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--- Jonathan N.
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Calithena
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2006, 10:45:28 AM »

I loved the ending, FWIW.

Dr. Manhattan decides to let Ozymandias get his way, but in the end the story's going to come out anyway due to Rorshcach, and knowledge of the faked invasion will become common, and Ozymandias' long-term plans for humanity will fail.

We should have a "Who's your favorite watchman?" poll. Rorshach's mine. I mean, Night Owl's the only guy I'd actually like to be friends with, but he's a nobody. As I see it Rorshach and Ozymandias are the only two menschen in the tale, and Ozymandias is such an insufferable prick that I'll take the crazy right-wing asshole over him any day of the week.
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KingstonC
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« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2006, 11:03:19 AM »

Yes, Rorschach gets his story printed....

In the equivalent of the John Birch Societies house organ.

It would be no more believable to the public at large than the "Bush planned 9/11" stories you read on the internet.

It's a testament to Rorchach's madness that he has all the goods, and then gives it away to the people least able to use it effectively
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Eric J-D
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« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2006, 11:05:23 AM »

Quote
We should have a "Who's your favorite watchman?" poll. Rorshach's mine. I mean, Night Owl's the only guy I'd actually like to be friends with, but he's a nobody. As I see it Rorshach and Ozymandias are the only two menschen in the tale, and Ozymandias is such an insufferable prick that I'll take the crazy right-wing asshole over him any day of the week.

And mine would be the pirate guy who sails on the raft constructed of bloated corpses. <wink>

Cheers,

Eric
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Calithena
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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aka Sean


« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2006, 11:12:28 AM »

I thought of that too, Kingston. That's the realistic outcome, sure, but the way the scene was presented, I felt strongly that the symbolic suggestion was that Rorschach gets the last laugh after all, especially because he died. But that may be my own projection...do you read that scene as ironic icing on Ozymandias' cake instead? Do you think Oz won?

Or, perhaps more significantly, are both readings equally warranted by the text? So that the tale is something of a Rorschach test that you can read either figure into the victorious role in?
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Brennan Taylor
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« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2006, 11:17:31 AM »

Because the assistant's hand is hovering over the slush pile with Roschach's journal in it, but he hasn't specifically picked it up, I think the ending is meant to be ambiguous. You don't know if the agitprop rag is going to print it or not, or if anyone will believe them if they do. I think that ambiguity is built in to the ending, and I like it that way. You can imagine several possible scenarios. I did get some satisfaction in Rorschach getting one over on Ozymandias by having sent his journal out to them, though, whether or not it gets published.
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quozl
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« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2006, 11:26:43 AM »

And mine would be the pirate guy who sails on the raft constructed of bloated corpses. <wink>

Cheers,

Eric

That reminds me: what was the point of those sequences?  Just to show how crazy Rorschach is?
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--- Jonathan N.
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Brennan Taylor
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« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2006, 11:28:18 AM »

And mine would be the pirate guy who sails on the raft constructed of bloated corpses. <wink>

Cheers,

Eric

That reminds me: what was the point of those sequences?  Just to show how crazy Rorschach is?

They dramatize the corruption of good intentions, which is the pretty much the theme of the entire book. Every character in the comic embodies this theme in some way, and the pirate story is a metaphorical exploration of it.
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Bankuei
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« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2006, 11:43:48 AM »

Quote
It is strongly hinted at the end that Rorschach does succeed after all and his story gets printed.  What is Moore trying to say there?  That while black & white views need to be broken down, the truth will still prevail?

Pretty much as everyone's said, it's ambigous and a trash paper who would be printing it...  Perhaps the message is that the truth is something that is only accepted by the insane or guised as insanity?  Moore at his best is multilayered and ambigious, open to interpretation.

Chris
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Thunder_God
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« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2006, 11:46:13 AM »

I love Rorschach. I adore him in the scene where he pours the oil in the other inmate's face.

I'm not locked in here with you, you're locked in here with me.

I have this thing for those who do not give in. Like Ghost Rider in the old book where he commands his bike to re-assemble, saying it will only be destroyed when he lets it be destroyed.
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Guy Shalev.

Cranium Rats Central, looking for playtesters for my various games.
CSI Games, my RPG Blog and Project. Last Updated on: January 29th 2010
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