I read today on Reddit that George RR Martin considers Walter White more of a monster than anyone in the game of thrones universe. I don’t believe that myself, Ramsay Snow alone is far more evil than Walter White could ever be.
But playing devils advocate, what has WW dones that was so evil? I haven’t seen the show in years so I probably forgot a lot of things.
Had a bunch of people in prison killed
Forced Jesse to shoot a chemist
Other than that, it seems a lot of his crimes were directed at fairly scummy people. Running over drug dealers selling in a park, killing Hector, etc. really isn’t that evil. He tried really hard to save Hanks life for example. And in the end he tried to get his wife exonerated.
Well, there’s the fact that he produced hundreds of pounds of high-grade methamphetamines, that led to untold misery and death. There’s his culpability for the plane crash. Lots of things, in other words.
Presumably, making money and impoverishing the society he lives in with mass production of a drug product could top the list. YMMV, particularly if you relive that people are going to do what they want to do. Still, he got quite rich in the process – able to just buy the demo condo in his new complex. He could have just gotten any unit and furnished it himself, but he got off on saying, “Everything has a price.”
He let Jane die. Actually, it was written that Walter was supposed to flip her over and kill her, but AMC balked. This is another YMMV. We’re not obligated to save everyone we meet casually. But not many of us have made a decision, “I can help right here … right now … I can help … well … oops, too late. I guess that was fate.”
Shrader isn’t the easiest character to identify with, he’s boorish, racist, and has more of a horse sense with regards to police work than actual detective work. Again, not many people are neutral to manipulating family member’s stupidity for their own benefit.
And had he just said “Thanks for the job offer, guys, and the money, and the insurance” instead of making meth, Hank would be alive and Skylar and Walt Jr wouldn’t be living in a shitty apartment trying to get away from him.
Remind yourself why Hank was shot the first time and why he was killed at the end. Neither of those incidences would have happened if it wasn’t for Walt.
That’s tangential, at best. Walter White refused to save Jesse’s junkie GF, Jane, as she asphyxiated on her own vomit. Jane’s father, when he returns to work in Air Traffic Control, screws up causing the crash. Walter’s guilt over this, IMO, is more due to his guilt overall of being a meth dealer and of not saving Jane.
Jesse’s issue with Walt is not that’s he’s done bad things, but that his actions lead to bad things happening around him constantly. It’s always ‘the last time’ something awful happens, until it happens again.
A good person would have gotten out of Walt’s situation many many times and been better off. The show is HOW even a good person breaks bad.
I don’t think it is, or rather I don’t think Walt ever was a good person.
Rather, Walt was always a giant dick with an ego the size of a planet. Even before he broke bad he was bitter at being “just” a chem teacher, and bitter about working in a car wash taking orders from a man he deemed inferior. And of course, super extra bitter over having left Grey Matter just before it took off, which he did because he was bitter Gretchen didn’t stay with him…
Walt’s life has *always *been about selfishness, pride and a sense of entitlement. It’s always everybody else’s fault, and it’s always less than he “deserves”.
Jane’s death was always the turning point for me. That was when he revealed he was willing to kill someone because it was more convenient. It should also be pointed out that she wouldn’t have died if he hadn’t been there. When Walt showed up Jane was sleeping properly, but his presence caused her to shift to her position, which killed her. That shifts it from being merely monstrous to unambiguously monstrous in my estimation.
I don’t pin the plane crash on him, that was not a reasonably foreseeable outcome.
Walt’s mere association with the types of criminals he worked with put everyone around him in danger. He knew damn well his family would always be potential leverage to be used against him, but he didn’t care as long as they thought of him as the great provider. Whether the cartel, Fring, or just low level street punks, he knew damn well it was a business where violence was the established means of getting rid of competition and it was only luck his family stayed out of it as long as they did.
Looking at this question from a different perspective, it could be because Martin is the creator of the characters in Game of Thrones. As such, he has to understand the inner reasons and motivations of these characters - he sees these characters as they would see themselves. But he views the character of Walter White from an outsider’s perspective and is therefore less empathetic to him.
I think if they had cut the Walt-gives-the-most-akward-speech-ever-to-the-shcool scene, I might agree with you. But that speech scene, how he rationalizes it all away into a footnote, is a pretty clear indication (to me anyway) of the guilt and responsibility he feels personally and specifically for the crash.
Which is just to say that even if viewers feel Walt isn’t responsible for the crash, he feels he is.
Perhaps, but that doesn’t mean you’re evil. Just selfish. Evil appears when bad things happen and it doesn’t change your behavior. There was no exact moment when Walt became evil, it happened slowly and the only ones who even noticed where the ones still living and still affected by him.
Walt was supremely arrogant and thought he could maintain control of everything, right up until the shootout in “Ozymandias.” When he told Skyler she and the family would never be in danger, he wasn’t bullshitting them — he fully believed he was smart enough to keep his family out of the fray, well past the point when a less arrogant person would have learned otherwise.
Sure, but the absence of evil is not “good”. It’s “not evil”. Good goes above and beyond “not evil” IMO.
Evil, on the other hand, is an expected or at least predictable escalation of being a generally shit person over a very long time frame :).
But it does make for a great Coen brothers film or a cracking game of Fiasco.
From a Freudian standpoint (if there is any ground there on which to stand) Walter White is a study in the suppression of super-ego by the ego, and expression of unabashed id. Once he discovers his mortality, whatever restraints or affectations he had that were covering up his bitter insecurities went out the window, and he started doing whatever he pleased to do under the rationale that it was all “for the family”. Never mind that he raped his wife, kidnapped his infant daughter, concealed the murder of another child by Psycho Fascist Matt Damon, blew up a retirement home, et cetera, all in pursuit of acquiring such a vast sum of cash even his wife couldn’t count it all. The show is ultimately about his denial of his own failures as a father, husband, scientist, and human being. He has a total lack of empathy, which is what makes him “evil”, regardless of his actions. Walter White is basically a supervillian. Like all supervillians, he’s actually a pathetic, friendless loser.
This should be tatooed onto critics arms. He did not begin cooking meth to get money for his treatments. He had been told the tumour was inoperable.He did it to leave money for his family after he had kicked the bucket.
I don’t think we actually disagree. I just think Walt made a willful choice to indulge his own arrogance. He always had the knowledge, awareness, and intellect to evaluate the dangers to the people around him but chose to dismiss them because they threatened what really mattered to him.
I don’t think Walt was a good man who became bad, I think his descent into villainy was embracing his true self. But what’s so fascinating about the character to me is that if he had never been diagnosed with cancer he would likely have lived a life largely indistinguishable from that of a typical family man. The capacity for evil that rests within “normal” people is a timeless theme.