|Anonymous sent: Given all the development he went through and any lingering socipathic influence of Roodaka, do you think Vakama would be willing to kill people if needs be. He mentioned it casually in time trap. Although, it was part of a gambit to talk Makuta down, so... dunno.|
That’s a good question. Honestly, I don’t think he would.
As you mentioned, Vakama touches on this in his dialogue with Makuta: “Toa aren’t killers….If we were, we would have started with you.” But Makuta’s response (“Very noble. Perhaps that explains why there are so few Toa around these days.”) makes an excellent point, and I think Vakama understands that. If we zoom out a bit and take Vakama’s words into context, their meaning becomes clearer. Where the Makuta would kill without a second thought with no regard to what or who it was they were killing, Toa would only kill if a) the person they were killing deserved it, and b) there was no other choice and something greater was at stake. Vakama demonstrates this when he’s willing to destroy the Mask of Time and essentially annhiliate the universe to stop Makuta (who is, indeed, the embodiment of “evil”).
Now the above evidence doesn’t exactly support my opinion that Vakama would not kill, so I look deeper into both Vakama’s nature and that of Toa in general. Vakama holds Lhikan in high regard when it comes to what a true Toa should be. Lhikan is, in a way, a very pure heroic figure: he has not been shown to kill any enemy and is unafraid to confront the ugly truth. He doesn’t overreact with anger or hurt at the betrayals of Tuyet and Nidhiki (if anything, he seems more weary and resigned). He is so dedicated to the Toa code that he merely turns his back on his former teammates and leaves them to fate to suffer their consequences. Vakama’s ultimate goal as a Toa is to live up to what Lhikan was: honorable. We know his experiences don’t change this because he still tells stories about Lhikan after becoming a Turaga.
The journey of becoming a Hordika and coming back is more than a lesson in reconciling the raw animal with the civilized being. For Vakama especially, I see it as the reconciling of two parts of the self: the “ego” and the “super-ego”
shamelessly stealing these from Mr. Freud— that is, logic and practicality vs. morality and “rightness.” The ego component would dictate that killing an adversary is the most practical decision from a tactical and logical perspective — and if the adversary is morally depraved, killing them may even be a good thing that can be justified by law. But the super-ego has the chance to trump that with a higher level of thinking beyond the practicality of a solution and even the dictations of law: it factors absolute morality into account. You can think of it as a soldier disobeying their commander’s orders if the order was to kill innocent civilians.
If you believe in the “natural order” kind of thing, it can be argued that killing is not “bad” by nature. What makes killing an act of evil is when a higher level of thinking, the super-ego, defines killing as wrong, which gives us morality. We can go on to argue that morality is what sets humans and some other sentient species apart from others. The Toa code is a more extreme representation of this: a set of morals that can set a powerful being apart from others. Following it is what makes Toa “good.”
There’s not much in-depth evidence in canon, but we can safely assume that both Vakama and Lhikan have achieved this level of higher morality; maybe even progressed beyond it. Vakama’s decision to destory the Mask of Time and thus existence itself is not so much an act of desperation or defiance as it is a display of what he is compared to Makuta. Makuta is, of course, selfish, and that is what makes him evil. Had their positions been switched, Makuta would have just tried to find a way to kill Vakama and not have to deal with him anymore. Power differences aside, Vakama established in that earlier dialogue that yes, he is capable of killing and might even want to kill and not have an issue with it — but he won’t. In his eyes, the act killing in itself is wrong, even if the Toa code would make an exception or justify it in Makuta’s case. To refuse to kill even the most disgusting villain is, for Vakama, what it means to be a Toa: to make the conscious decision to preserve a higher level of morality in one’s self.
This is what sets Vakama apart from the likes of Makuta and even other Toa, as this kind of thinking is probably beyond what even the Toa code dictates. From his experiences as a Hordika, Vakama realizes that evil stems from one’s ego: the moment he forgets true morality and begins to do things for convenience or just to achieve is goal, no matter how “good” that goal is, is the moment he also becomes evil. Think of the saying “every villain is a hero in his own mind.” A percieved “evil” will always be justified in their own eyes because they fail to see a greater level of morality and only do what they personally believe to be “right.” Vakama has realized what few other Toa have learned, which is that morality goes beyond being a Toa. It’s more than simply following a set of “rules” that define a certain level of morality. To be a true hero, he must strive to be the purest good he can be. In this context, this understanding manifests itself in Vakama’s willingness to accept failure and destroy everything he has worked for up to that point instead of willingly kill. He will do everything he can to be a Toa — to be goodness, to be a true hero — or die trying.
That takes guts. And after all he’s been through, Vakama clearly has them.
So no, I don’t think Vakama would kill. Even if it’s the easiest solution, even if hewants to, he won’t. Because he has seen the root of evil in himself and he knows it exists in everyone both “good” and “bad,” and he will do everything he can to not be the very evil he must fight against as a Toa. Vakama did more than reconcile the good and evil within him — he decided to fight against that evil. That is what makes him a true hero.
tl;dr — Vakama’s been through some fucked up shit but that’s what makes him a good guy.
(Thanks for moving the “read more.” :D )