As I'm writing this very opening, I know this will be my hardest PG proposal I have done so far. After much consideration for this character, I think he deserves a proper consideration, regardless of the critical conception, and quality of the film he appears in.
What's the work?
Tales from Earthsea(2006) is an animated film by Studio Ghibli loosely based on the book of the same name. It focuses on Prince Arren, as he was controlled by dark forces that made him kill his father.
Who is he?
Arren is the prince of Enlad, a kingdom which is in decay because the wizard Cob is bringing imbalance to the world by opening the door that separates life and death. After darkness gets a hold of him, he kills his father due to being semi controlled by Cob. Then he flles to the desert and meets the Archmage Sparrowhawk, with Sparrowhawk as his mentor he goes on a quest to defeat Cob and restore balance to the world.
What has he done?
- He saved Therru from Cob's enforcer Hare. Despite being under Cob's dark influence.
- When Sparrowhawk introduced Arren to Tenar, he helped farm.
- He tries to open up to Therru, and he wants her to do the same with him. He even apologized for his nihilistic-ish moment when saving her.
- He later confessed to Therru that he killed his father, and that he felt as though something else was inside him.
- When he sees the shadow of himself, he runs away from Tenar and Therru to protect them from it, as the shadow resembles him when he killed his father. And the shadow was constantly chasing him.
- His shadow tells Therru his true name so that Therru could release him, from his enslavement from Cob.
- He eventually becomes worthy to unsheathe his father's sword.
- He saves Sparrowhawk and Tenar with Therru.
- He cuts off Cob's hand separating him from his staff, which causes him to start dying.
- He chases Cob around his crumbling castle to rescue Therru.
- He tries to reason with Cob and convince Cob to not unlock the door between life and death.
- He thanked Therru for saving them both from Cob.
- He goes back to his Homeland to pay for his patricide.
He has a clear moral agency as he is a human, and not a made of good or evil character. He shows remorse for killing his father, and stops Cob because he knows that opening the door between life and death would imbalance the world. And that taking away the ability to die devalues life. Therefore he shows from his actions and words that he has a clear moral agency. Sparrowhawk even states that while he may have “crazy eyes” at times, he still has a good heart.
There are a few people who he can be compared to:
- Tenar: She doesn't rescue anyone in the film, she does give lodging to Therru, Sparrowhawk, and Arren. But she doesn't really encourage him to do good like, Sparrowhawk and Therru.
- Sparrowhawk: Sparrowhawk is possibly as admirable as Arren and deserves his own proposal for some other day, but that is not today. He advised Arren to be as good as he is, he helped break Arren out of his controlled state. And attempts to save Tenar, and the world from Cob. His actions are comparable, I would say. But I think Arren does quite a bit despite being semi-controlled by Cob. Sparrowhawk is also a powerful magician, so Arren actually has arguably less resources than Sparrowhawk.
- Therru: She does nurse a farm animal back to being healthy. As well as this, she tells Sparrowhawk to go to Cob's castle to rescue Arren. She also brought Arren his sword, completely freed him from Cob's controls. And she killed Cob once and for all. She does a fair bit. But she still acted wrongly towards Arren even though he saved her from Cob's men.
The director of this film said that one of the themes of the film is conquering one's self, I think Arren does this by going back to his Homeland to repent for his crime of patricide. He also does whatever he believes to be the right thing. He crossed the goodness zone when he tried to redeem Lord Cob, and ultimately saves Sparrowhawk and the world. This is very admirable, considering that Cob is Pure Evil.
He is noticeably very noble, when he is freed from Cob. The truth is one of the main factors for the admirable standard, is why the hero does their noble actions. His actions aren't anything dishonorable. In fact when writing this proposal, I realized that one of the reasons why I proposed Umi Matsuzaki for the category was because she did represent one of the core themes of her film, which was the remembrance and cherishment of the past. Which is shown when she saved the Latin Quarter clubhouse, which was very old. Arren fulfills this too by going back to his hometown to repent for his crime, also various other acts like being worthy of his father's sword show that he did conquer himself.
- He does commit patricide in the beginning of the film. But he was being semi controlled by Cob throughout the film. He later felt great remorse for this and went back to his home to own up to his actions. I think if Cob wasn't controlling him he would not have committed patricide.
- Although he is currently listed under Lethal, he only killed his father when he was controlled. Even when he was influenced by Cob when fighting Cob's enforcer, he never killed anyone he only broke the swords of the enforcer's men. Arren only sliced off Cob's hand out of necessity as Cob was bringing imbalance to the world. And holding Sparrowhawk and Tenar hostage. He also didn't kill Cob, since Therru did.
- His nihilistic feeling moments are very temporary and only happen under Cob's influence, he later fully admits that life has meaning when convinced by Therru.
- Early on in the film, he was tempted by a square faced man to eat a berry that would separate his spirit from his body. He was about to before Sparrowhawk stopped him. I think this isn't corrupting as the merchant said they were free and the merchant was doing his best to trick him. While he later drank Cob's drink which further made Cob control him, he did it because he genuinely trusted Cob.
By the end of the film, he is not controlled by Cob and tries to do his best to save the universe from Cob unbalancing it. And he does succeed at it. He showed no signs of corruption as well.
Like all my proposals it's really up to you all. I really think we should give Arren a chance, though who knows. I may be wrong about him, and he may not qualify after all, he may be the very first character to be rejected from the category. I thought that about Soos as well. Anyways, if you have any questions feel free to comment them. I frequently check the comments on these proposals to see what you guys think. And I have streched this part surprisingly long.
A huge shout out to Wikipedia and the Studio Ghibli wiki for their information which helped me write this proposal.