Senne Venustas

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Senne Venustas

Post by Daisz on Wed Jun 22, 2016 3:25 pm

Buckle up. It's time to go on a massive analysis of Senne Venustas (my CQ Fairy Lord OC), or How Most of the Casual Roleplaying Fandom on Pokemon Showdown Gets Her Wrong. This is also incredibly long, clocking in at over 3,800 words.

Featuring!
The importance of warlordhood to Senne.
Her relationships with Kazz, Smog, and herself.
An explanation of her inner thought process.
Her real identity.
And so much more!

If I miss anything let me know!

Here's something that's funny about Senne and her character arc. She has this really vain, really self-centered, manipulative persona - and only a few people see through her from the start. (Really, who doesn't think she's being suspicious when all she seems to do is stare into a mirror all day?)
See, it's totally easy to write her off as that being really who she is, and leave it at that. But you're leaving a lot of questions unanswered, like why does she seem to care so much for Smog (her knight), why does she micromanage so much of her kingdom and brainwash her public, why does her entire character seem to revolve around her vanity? After everything that she does, can we really say that any of the behavior we see from her is genuine? What in fact, is the genuine Senne?
So, let's discuss what exactly 'genuine' means for a young girl trained by misogynistic beauty standards.


PART I: PRINCESS AND THE PAUPER

Okay, let's start by discussing Senne's childhood. Unlike what many people seem to think, she is not a rich, spoiled brat by nature, in fact, she grew up in the countryside of the fairy kingdom. She had no mother and her father worked late in the fields every day. She was alone, deprived of guidance and support, and I'd like to imply that she does hold some ill will against them, because they're probably either locked up in a cellar somewhere for that or dead, but really, it can't be that bad, because after all, she did have something else to cling onto.

Specifically, she latched onto the lives of beautiful, noble women: girls who seemed to have it all together, girls who had boyfriends to validate them, and lives ahead of them.... girls who, unlike her, seemed to be happy.

Let's humor an idea here for a sec: what would Senne be like if she wasn't so naturally pretty? She'd still probably fantasize about being some 'Senne Venustas' (note that isn't her real name), but her version would probably be a bit sweeter than the Queen of Lies that we know. The Senne we see in Conquest is someone who wears lolita fashion and adopts a queen-like persona 24-7 (more on that later), and why do people get interested in being a lifestyle lolita in the first place?

I don't mean to generalize the fashion culture as a whole - but there's this one movie, called Kamikaze Girls (it's good! watch it sometime), and in the first part of it the main character Momoko explains how she wishes she was born into the Rococo period... she dresses in full on Baby, the Stars Shine Bright on a daily basis, lives off nothing but sweets and tea, and fantasizes about being a princess, even though she lives in the middle of the countryside where everyone buys their clothes at the equivalent of Walmart. I'm bringing her up because... she sounds kind of like our young imagined Senne, actually.

But Senne does have a ticket out: her charm. And that's great, but it's also a lot of pressure. If your claim to fame was based purely around manipulating other people solely with your looks, wouldn't you want to do something to make that skill look more legitimate?
Wouldn't you want to learn about things like psychology and control and maintaining emotional responses, so that it would look like you were controlling others through something you were actually doing; instead of passively having?
And, beyond that, it's kind of just weird to have innate skill like that. It's an intoxicating taste of power for young Senne, but it's restricted to so small a world; if you were her, wouldn't you want more power?

What I'm saying here is this: Senne, before she discovered her innate ability to manipulate and decieve others through way of her looks, may have wanted to be "Senne Venustas" - a princess from a more ostentatious time, capable of pursuing more luxurious interests - very badly. But it was only when she usurped the throne as Queen of the Fairy Kingdom did "Senne Venustas" become something else: a ruthless Queen of Liars who could survive her seedy environment and destroy her opponents through her own intelligence, wit, and lies. She can't be satisfied with just being able to bat her eyes and get free things; no, that's weak, and Senne has always been one to dream big. She needs more power and more control.




PART II: NAME IN BOLD, IN LIGHTS, IN BLOOD

Senne usurps the throne by way of elaborate murder plans and manipulation. Remember that she's still young here: by the time she's of (present-day middle school age, 13-14?) she is already a famous person worthy of several royal titles attached to her name. Let's be generous and assume she achieved that sort of fame after only a year of being the ruler of the Fairy Kingdom.
I want you to imagine an 11-year old Senne, already deeply invested in idolizing beautiful people. I want you to imagine the performances she watched, the lives she must have obsessively followed, the pictures that she took... I want you to imagine exactly how she must have conceptualized female identity as a whole, when the only female figures she had in her life were the beautifully rich and noble 'older sisters' across the river of the countryside. I want you to imagine how big a shock it was for her, when she finally became a beautifully rich and noble herself, and stepped behind the curtain to see the pressure and stress that it took.

Senne probably didn't take it too well, obviously. But what choice did she have? There's no indication she had anything else in her life at that point, probably having burned several bridges and sacrificed her family ties to come to that point, not to mention probably having done several other bad things (queen is a pretty lofty title). So what were her interactions with other people her age, if the concept of abandoning others and manipulating them to benefit herself were so familiar? What was her life, if the idea of someone helping another for no apparent personal gain was so foreign to her?

So what we've established is.... Senne grows up all alone save for beauty, she aspires to be beauty, she becomes beauty ... which is bad. One day she stepped on a stage, put on a mask, and never took it off, and there is nothing under it aside from this girl desperately trying to hold on.



PART III: ME MYSELF & I

Let's talk about that mask, in fact. Her earlier interactions come off as kind of... stilted, at second glance, in my opinion. She uses the same sort of persona that would immediately establish her superiority if she was being filmed at the exact moment... there's the regal manner of speech, the endearing modesty, her good-natured confidence.
Senne acts like a really perfect, confident princess ("Of course I won't lose")... someone who is effortlessly beautiful, someone who is quick to prove herself better than others right off the bat, someone who appears generally nonthreatening, someone who has a few quirks above her celebrity flourish, someone who loves you and her subjects, someone who needs you and her kingdom... she's a very carefully constructed persona, in other words.
You can just imagine her bashfuly admitting that she, in fact... likes sweets a little too much to stick to her diet, oops, to the backdrop of audience laughter. (That wouldn't really matter, though, because as mentioned before, she pretends to be effortlessly beautiful.)

And she does, to an extend, love and understand her people, even if that's riddled with disgust and apathy from time to time. But I'm afraid the case is not mutual: there are really no people who understand what Senne is going through, since she's a master of lying and keeping her emotions under wraps. This is pretty significant, especially for someone who didn't really have family before. What I'm saying here is that this is the reason Senne only cares for herself: she doesn't want to violate her own privacy, because nobody understands her, and nobody could ever understand - that's only their own conceited ego, although Senne might pretend that they can understand her, even if just for a split second; just to manipulate them even more.

You see? That's what her character interactions are like. That's how she interacts with other people and how other people interact with her, through this thick veil of celebrity. And there is not one person who truly sees past it. That's the reason why she's so self centered - for her, she's the only person in her heart who can really understand her - that's why she's so vain and appears to love herself so much.

To recap: because she's thrown all of her real connections with any other human beings, Senne became simultaneously starved for attention but also terrified of becoming dependent upon anyone. As a result, Senne focuses her efforts on becoming akin to adult. Let's say that at this point in her life she's around fifteen or sixteen, not much time from her rise to queen.

Because society is screwed up, Senne interprets growing up (for a woman) as being recognized as an adult by others. She also internalises this by staking all of her worth as on her power and skills at being a ruler of a nation. To graze on a previous point, it's already been established she wears her persona and also wears lolita fashion on a daily basis, going so far to sleep in lolita clothing at night to retain her queenly fashion status. More than that, though: she always wears her tiny coronet, to the point where she'd bathe with it on. Senne stakes her entire self worth on her title at this unparalleled visual intensity, and quite honestly, it's scary.

Now, I want to get a common misconception out of the way. Contrary to how quite a few people would 'diagnose' her, Senne is not a narcissist. She has narcissistic elements in her personality, yes, but it's a little bit of the opposite, in fact: Senne suffers from histrionic personality disorder, which can better be likened to dependent personality disorder in terms of root cause.

Let's take a quick look at the symptoms and behaviours associated with HPD. For this, I'm going to use Wikipedia, since we only need a basic overview (since we're not actually diagnosing so much as comparing a fictional character's personality):

Provocative (or seductive) behavior
Relationships are considered more intimate than they actually are
Attention-seeking
Influenced easily
Speech (style) wants to impress; lacks detail
Emotional liability, shallowness
Make-up; physical appearance is used to draw attention to self
Exaggerated emotions, theatrical

Using the mnemonic (taking one letter from the above symptoms) PRAISE ME, we can examine some of the common elements of HPD. To generalize and paraphrase, whereas someone suffering from narcissistic personality disorder would actually believe themself to be better than anyone else, someone with histrionic personality disorder would only present themself as being better than anyone else, while actually, internally having somewhat of an inferiority complex and so on and so forth.

Senne very visibly and obviously refers to herself as the most beautiful person, and she takes sincere pride in that distinction. Likewise, she takes pride in the distinction of herself as the most beautiful person out of all the warlords, and she notably thinks of herself as so (not really caring for the steel warlord (played by Basylia! #shoutout), in one of her first alliances).

Yet, as something that is not typically reflected by her external behavior (like... ever) Senne in reality hates herself, beyond the obvious fact that she appreciates herself for being the only one who has ever understood her, and having the body and face that's taken her to this point in her life. But before we start a case by case analysis of HPD, let's go back to her backstory.

Before we do, though, I want to touch on something here: how Senne thinks of her own behavior. In short: she justifies it- it's okay, because, remember, Senne's already done bad things to become a warlord. Why should she stop now? Her identity's been split since the day she became queen, between "Senne the Happy Beautiful Idol I Always Wanted to Be" and "Senne the Girl who Does Bad Things".



PART IV: OTHER INTROSPECTION

And back to program one. Just kidding! Flashback time: let's elaborate on her childhood a bit, and the reason why she wants to become queen. I said she had no mother growing up. That would be because her mother is deceased. More specifically, her mother decided to commit suicide. In her final, chilling moments, Senne did something that altered the course of her lifestyle and behavior beyond the fact she became queen when she was like ten, and that was agreeing to commit suicide with her mother as long as she would not abandon her. While Senne didn't actually end up committing suicide, the experience shocks her to the core: she was perfectly and completely willing to die for the sake of someone else.

At the funeral, Senne tells herself that she will now become an adult so that she never has to depend on anyone, ever again. Being neglected as a child is one of the theorised causes for histrionic personality disorder. In order to compensate for the attention that she never received as a child, Senne says that she's going to become an independent adult, and yet she decides to become an adult via external validation and rise to power (biased note here: external validation will never actually assist you in attaining your own happiness, validation and love must be built internally up, in the entire idea of learning to love yourself before you can love others, but that's another can of worms for another time.)

There's a twofold issue with her reasoning: first, she considers adulthood as romantic maturity. Herein lies a major crux of the issue, especially in regards to her 'relationships' with, dare I say, Smog (Daniel)and Kazz. Senne can't wait to be recognized as even more of a beautiful, romanticized version of herself than she already is. In her impatience she intends to validate her attainment of adulthood via the validation of people around her, because such is what society taught her, and such is what her experiences with her father disrespecting her deceased mother and remarrying taught her.

Actually, this is a really important point. I've said this several times openly as a part of her analysis as a tiny sliver of information about Senne, and to restate it again, Senne's a sucker for one-sided relationships. She brainwashes her kingdom and leads them like a cult because she herself wants to be validated, not to bring good to her actual kingdom itself. She wants people to pay attention to her and for her to not care about them, in essence. She wants to be 'needed', in a way, but in a manner that causes people to pay attention to her without her having to 'need' them back. Senne wants a one-way street and when that still doesn't make her happy, maybe because that doesn't exist, she can't handle it.

On the flipside: Senne's current character development. As established prior (several times already), in the start of the events of the first time I ever used her in Conquest, it's still about her, her, her and nobody else, because she feels that she is the only one who understands her. And as also established prior, she lusts for power, and she often uses other people to give her that power.
Unlike the random people whom Senne ensnares and who would probably go for anyone as long as they're as beautiful as she is, Smog has no attraction towards her, in fact, it's been said that primarily a lot of his misanthropy is directed towards Senne. He doesn't seem to like her, or want anything to do with her really. He's a trained knight, he can fight, he carries a sword and could probably kick anyone's ass if he tried hard enough, and if he is interested in Senne, then surely Senne'll become the True Adult.

To reiterate: Senne doesn't actually love anyone, not even Smog, more than she loves herself (which is actually not very much). Well, actually, I lie: she probably does have some form of a crush on him, in the manner of fawning girls to cool, desirable guys (and, arguably, she definitely cares for him more than she cares for Kazz). Nonetheless, even if that's enough to attract her to him, their relationship is largely treated by Senne as far more intimate than it actually is (a thing that's common in histrionic personality disorder, actually.)
So here's the set-up: Senne seeks validation for her becoming an 'adult', so that she can be independent and never have to depend on anyone ever again. This is what she tells herself on the outside. In reality, she craves attention. And this is why she hates herself, because of the paradox between her inherent hate of humanity and her desperate need for people to look at her because of the attention that she never recieved as a child.

Looking at her relationship with Kazz, actually, it's quite clear she doesn't really like him (her interactions with him are rather faked from the start, different from her somewhat-true affection for Smog) because he is her knight, and for no other reason: he's not a contender for validating Senne, purely because he actually seems to like her, and that is enough to bore Senne.
Afterwards after he fails to conquer a kingdom that Fairy is strong against, Senne is apparently convinced that she's going to dunk him in the trash. She barely gives him a second thought, instead mocking him about how he's useless, and of course, because she doesn't see him as worth her time. (I also take this opportunity to remind you of the man whom Senne truly cares about, being Smog and all.)

Now, let's think back to her character as a whole, more specifically, her insecurities. She doesn't have that many, or so it would appear, masked by her amazing ability to control her own emotional response to things that other people do or say, or other things in general, really. But one of these is of course, the person beyond the mask- rather, the lack of one.

That's one of the reasons why Senne creates her gorgeous outer persona, and develops the skills to manipulate others, and studies psychology, and does all these things that could be classified as prerequisites to becoming the most charming and deceitful warlords in the history of ever- it's her insistence that others not look deeper into her mind or dig deeper into her heart. She only wants others to see the outer shell, the perfect Senne. She is obsessed with the idea of projecting only the best to others.

Even though Senne wants nothing more than to be recognized as a beautiful, flawless leader, a Queen of Liars, an "idol", a "focus of a country's dreams", an "architect of a world's nightmares", if you will, she's basically still just a child (even if her age betrays such). She can't wait to 'grow up', but she cannot escape the sheer levels of dependency and need for attention that her childhood's lack of thereof left. Deep scars gouged into her psyche.

Her need for attention drives her, and it's a nail in her coffin, because it's one of the only ways that Senne tries to forget the past. Her childhood, how her mother used to always work and never have time for her, along with her father, how her mother finally became mother-like after being placed in psychiatric evaluation, how her father came to have an affair with her mother's doctor and also abandoned Senne, and how her mother abandoned her, too, and then how Senne agreed to die as long as her mother would not abandon her, how her mother actually comitted suicide, how Senne decided that she would never cry again. All of this, according to her, is something that she never wants to think about again.

And of course not. Senne's supposed to be perfect. She's not supposed to have a backstory like this, not supposed to suffer and cry like this, not supposed to be this wounded, attention-seeking child inside. Most horrifying of all, she's not supposed to be so hollow inside, she's supposed to be strong, she's supposed to be confident, she's supposed to be a powerful, sweet Queen of Liars, and a warlord of a nation, and more than that she's supposed to have an actual concept of identity. But she doesn't. She questions who she is every night like a mantra, repeats it to herself over and over, and it's one of the things that also drives her interaction with others, because it's one of the only thought processes that goes through her head not out of necessity.

Can you blame her? Really, who is Senne? The outer shell that she puts out (and that much of people seem to gobble up) or the broken Senne?

She knows this isn't the real her. And that's true, because it really isn't the real her. And, so, really:

Who is Senne?

Is Senne dependent upon her body (upon the pressure granted to her by her beauty and, by extension, the role of warlord that she's worked so hard for)? Is Senne dependent upon her soul (upon the pressure granted to her by her self-centered, vain nature, and by extension, the destiny assigned to her by an early event in her childhood)? Or is she capable of calling fate's bullshit, taking fate by the bull horns, and proceeding to become her own person, separate from her constant need for isolation and external validation from others? That's the question that she has to struggle with over the course of her entire character arc.

Let's take a moment to appreciate the Senne Venustas mask. Let's appreciate the sweet princess of the conquesting war-world who survives using her sheer intelligence and charm, who brings an air of sophistication to an otherwise bloody and unforgiving world, who truly understands what it takes to make it in the real world and who was clearly a cut above the other thugs who inhabit it (or so she might explain), and thinks for herself, lives for herself, and will likely die for herself.

But let's take a moment to appreciate the girl under that mask, too: the girl who's never once spoken of her real name in public, and who is unabashedly cruel to a world that was unabashedly cruel to her. She still has such a long way to go; even though she's come so far yet. And I personally can't wait to see that.

TL;DR: Let's give Senne a hand, everyone.  Very Happy
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Re: Senne Venustas

Post by Hydre(Hydreigon) on Wed Jun 22, 2016 4:43 pm

Gives Senne a hand

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Re: Senne Venustas

Post by Fraction on Fri Jun 24, 2016 12:57 am

Wow, beautiful review on her character. You did a wonderful job on it.

So, what I'm collecting from this is;

The mystery of who the person 'Senne' really is. Is it her true self, or her mask, her image? Is there a chance she'll finally settle on a mix of the two?

The difficulty of the path she's treading on, knowing that she can't mess it up.

The character development for Senne must be really hard since I myself do not know where that'll lead her. 

Good luck with this OC.
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