Tale of Two Brothers/Character Study (DQ8)
I’m revisiting a game I’ve loved for a number of years now. It’s a Playstation 2 title called Dragon Quest VIII. I have several favorite characters from the game but I would like to talk about one of my favorites and his brother. My absolute favorite is Marcello, Captain of the Templars and one of the major antagonists. His brother is Angelo, one of the party members. Angelo is Marcello’s half-brother, sharing their father but with different mothers. Marcello, the elder, is the illegitimate son of a noble and a household maid while Angelo, the younger, is the noble’s son by his wife. I’m not going to go into huge detail about their role in the game but I’ll touch on it when detail is needed.
Let me give a little more background on Marcello. His father’s wife was having difficulty bearing a child so his father had an affair with a maid, leading to Marcello’s birth. He was to be the heir but things went downhill quickly when his father’s wife finally gave him a son, Angelo, when Marcello was a boy. He and his mother were thrown from the household with nothing to their names. His mother soon died and Marcello was taken in at Maella Abbey by the Abbot of the time, Francisco. Abbot Francisco helped raise the boy who was a very good student and became a Templar Knight. He lived a good life at the Abbey but his hatred for his father and his half-brother didn’t subside. Abbot Francisco was the only one keeping him in check until his death at the hands of the main antagonist (at the time), Dhoulmagus.
Marcello was an ambitious man and he made it his private mission to stick it to the nobility. Apparently, his common blood makes him somewhat of a black sheep in the game’s religion. I came to the conclusion that the Templars, at least, were mostly nobles in blood, if not the entire church heirarchy. High Priest Rolo mentions at the Holy Isle of Neos that Marcello never would’ve become Abbot at his age without his recommendation. He even made mention of Marcello’s common blood. The Captain wasn’t about stop his rise to the top with merely the title of Abbot. He was soon promoted to the Lord High Priest’s (think the Pope) guards as Commander.
After certain events, Marcello was able to frame High Priest Rolo for a crime he wasn’t responsible for; the death of the Lord High Priest. The whole point was for him to get Rolo out of the way, leaving him the only qualified individual in the church to take over. He immediately took the chance to force change on the world, wanting to do away with the nobility by proving that one could climb the social ladder without money or connections and on the sole virtue of merit. The party stops Marcello at his ascension ceremony which sets into motion the last bit of the game; going after the final boss and true antagonist.
Switching gears over to Angelo, this Templar was always getting into trouble. Angelo really stood out in the order. His uniform was red (all other Templars wore blue), he was a gambler, skirtchaser, all around pretty boy with a rebellious streak a mile long. Angelo’s parents died in a plague that swept through his hometown and he ended up at the abbey at around nine years old. The first person he spoke to was none other than Marcello, his elder brother. Angelo didn’t know it at the time but even after learning the truth, his path went in the opposite direction. He wasn’t nearly as dedicated to the Order as Marcello was but I think the entire reason Angelo acted out so much was because deep down, he wanted his older brother to acknowledge his existence. I think deep down, Angelo just wanted Marcello’s approval but when it became apparent that wasn’t going to happen, Angelo just started rebelling like it was going out of style. That is one way I think the two are similar because I think the reason behind Marcello’s schemes was because he was to trying to legitimize his own existence.
Marcello wasn’t without his good points. He was shown to be capable of great kindness. Like I wrote above, Marcello was the first person Angelo spoke to when he came to the abbey. Marcello didn’t know his name at the time and wanted to give him a hand because their situations were virtually the same. It wasn’t until he asked Angelo’s name that things did a complete 180 and he took on the cold personality we first meet him with. After Abbot Francisco’s murder, of which Marcello had accused the party of attempting before learning the truth behind Dhoulmagus, the Captain was humble enough to apologize for the misunderstanding and he’s the one who gives you the World Map. Nevertheless, he practically kicks Angelo out of the abbey, under the pretense of Angelo helping the party track down Dhoulmagus for the murder of the Abbot. Angelo saw through that but he welcomed the chance to escape the abbey at last. He never felt at home much there so it was no big deal that Marcello was throwing him out.
I once saw Marcello summarized thus: in a different world at a different time, he would’ve been a hero. His ambition and desire to tear down his world’s social conventions for the good of the common man seem almost democratic. He just went about it all the wrong ways. It was he that ended the Lord High Priest’s life and he tried to take over the church so he could possibly start an uprising against the nobility. Whatever noble desires he had as a younger man, I think he was twisted when he was blinded by ambition and hate for the noble class because of his misfortune. Another one of Marcello’s strong points is the fact that he resisted, and even subdued, the true antagonist’s influence. Dhoulmagus and two other bearers of a scepter containing the spirit of the main antagonist were mere puppets with no will of their own. The scepter had passed to Marcello after certain events and the main antagonist tried to take over his body. Marcello possesses a strong will which beat back the influence and allowed him to remain in control. That control was only broken when the party defeats him at Neos, turning him into the fourth and final puppet that led to the main antagonist getting his body back.
A major flaw to the Captain’s character is the fact that everything that happened because of him, he tried to pin the blame on someone else. When his plans fell apart after Neos, he tried to kill himself by falling to his death. Angelo, who I think had a change of heart between the party’s arrest and their victory over Marcello in battle, was able to save him. Angelo told his brother off, saying he would keep living knowing that the brother he hated his entire life took pity on him. Marcello disappeared afterward, giving his Captain’s Ring and a threat to Angelo. He’s never seen again in the game after that.
Marcello joins the ranks of personal favorites, Sephiroth and Sesshomaru. They all have similar flaws that make me fall in love with their characters. All qualify as jerks in some form or another and I seem to like jerky characters like them. Sephiroth, Sesshomaru, and Marcello definitely have shown they had kindness or compassion at some point in their lives. Sephiroth and Marcello showed such kindness or compassion when they were young men, with Sephiroth going nuts after learning half-truths about his origins when he was 25 and Marcello growing ambitious to the point of being just a couple steps short of being truly evil over the course of his life. Sesshomaru is the opposite. He starts off as a major jerk to his own half-brother, Inu-Yasha and slowly learns compassion over the course of the Inu-Yasha series. Sesshomaru’s first act of compassion was bringing a child named Rin back to life after she was killed bu wolves and it culminated to the point where he mastered a sword technique that was meant to be given to Inu-Yasha afterward. Sesshomaru, in his own way, was able to help his brother achieve mastery of his blade. He stopped being an antagonist some time before then, showing up to fight Inu-Yasha once in a while, but I think his desire to kill him died out somewhere along the way.
I love wonderfully flawed characters like Marcello. He was a very engaging character to me the very first time I set foot in Maella Abbey and came face to face with him. Having Dragon Quest VIII localized in and the voice actors from the UK was a bonus. Hope you enjoyed my little character study.