Hey all! First off, I apologize for this EXTREMELY late post, as well at the lack of a video this past Saturday. I was getting ready to go out of town and enjoy a bachelor party weekend for a very good friend of mine when I basically lost all power in my office, for no apparent reason, right in the middle of finishing up the Thursday post. I tried to fix it as quickly as possible but I couldn’t get it locked down before my ride left town, so unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to finish this post OR film/edit Saturday’s video. So, we’re going to finish up with Gabriel Belmont today, and then start with out next character tomorrow (as well as do our usual Q&A Tuesday video.) This means you can STILL vote for the next character I cover, if you haven’t already! Go do that here! Also make sure you get any questions you may have for Q&A Tuesday in, here!
Now, with all that out of the way, let’s get on to examining the mind of Gabriel Belmont, shall we?
Gabriel is obviously a pretty tortured character, by all accounts. Even as a child he typically has a darker, more sour demeanor, prone to being sulky and withdrawn. As an adult, pre-Dracula, he’s an incredibly accomplished fighter, who carries himself well but remains aloof, distance, and brooding. Only a select few people can bring him out of this mood throughout the entire series, and they are all family of his. This darkness threatens to consume him when he becomes Dracula, and eventually he must venture inside of himself and battle it in an actual, manifested form.
Gabriel obviously cares deeply for his family, and has somewhat of a begrudging sense of care for humanity (though not necessarily individual humans). This caring is both selfless and selfish. Selfless, in that he puts himself at great physical risk to protect those he loves. Selfish, in that he can disregard innocent lives, or even the wishes of his own loved ones, in his efforts to protect or save them (such as turning his son into Alucard.)
You can also throw into the mix the betrayal and deception that he has faced, through both mind control, and simple lies, which left lasting scars on his soul. That’s bound to leave anyone seriously messed up in the head.
So what can we take from all this? Obviously we want to avoid going through this kind of psychological hardship if we can, so we don’t really want to put ourselves in situations where our loved ones are in great peril, or where we can be betrayed by people we trust. We also probably shouldn’t be working towards turning into the cursed king of darkness himself, just for logistical reasons. Instead, let’s look at the recurring theme that literally manifests itself as a boss battle in the games: the idea of inner conflict with oneself.
If you’ve ever tried to make a significant change in your life, you’re probably familiar with inner conflict. When trying to excise or alter bad habits, we often encounter the greatest amount of resistance from ourselves. Even when we place ourselves on the correct path, our ego and our subconscious tendencies are always there trying to pull us back off again, before our new path becomes habit.
It’s dangerous to look at Gabriel’s inner battle as one between good and evil. After all, even as Dracula, he is still God’s chosen one, and if he really was evil, it’s doubtful that would be the case. Similarly, with our own internal conflicts, it can be harmful to look at your old habits as “evil.” Yes, if they are unhealthy, dangerous, toxic, or personally limiting, we definitely want to shift away from them. You need to remember, however, that in internal struggles, YOU are the battlefield AND the combatants. Branding some part or desire within yourself as “evil” can be psychologically damaging and self-destructive, which is basically the exact opposite of what we’re looking to foster when trying to improve ourselves.
Instead of thinking, “Man, I am such a gross person for eating so much food,” or “geez, I’m really lazy for not working out,” try shifting your inner dialogue to, “That’s one battle I may have lost, but it doesn’t mean I’m a bad person, it just means I’ll be a little bit stronger tomorrow.”
Trying to overcome your old habits can be a lot like working out. Some days you feel stronger than others, and some days your workouts don’t go as planned, but as long as you keep working out, you will get stronger, and improve. Developing new, healthy habits it a skill like any other, and it must be practiced before you’ll get good at it.
The danger in demonizing and ridiculing yourself for bad choices is that it can cause you to be discouraged, and make it harder for you to make better choices the next time. Gabriel makes selfish choices more and more often as he descends into his own personal darkness, and his bad decisions are also self perpetuating. It’s only after he faces his inner darkness and sees it for what it is, that he can defeat it. Since we can’t all physically enter our own psyche and do battle with our bad habits, instead we need to equip ourselves psychologically with the weapons necessary to remove them.
Remember, you need to make yourself an ally, not an enemy. You need to cheer yourself on, because you’re with yourself all the time. If you don’t like it when someone else chews you out for your mistakes, or rubs your nose in your poor decisions, then why would you do it to yourself? You’re blunting your own weapons by belittling yourself, and that is not at all what a Weapons Master like Gabriel would do. Focus, persistence, practice, and learning are your weapons of choice in this battle against toxic habits. Self-belittling is toxic, self-praise is constructive. Just make sure you’re praising yourself when you make the right decisions!
What bad habits are you trying to overcome? How do you help yourself in this internal struggle? Talk about it here!
That’s it for our time with Gabriel Belmont! I’ll see you all again tomorrow, with our next character spotlight, as well as our Q&A Tuesday video! As always, live boldly, change the world, and continue to be awesome.
Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace