Ardyn is a psychopath

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Nov 8, 2014
The process of ostracism includes

1. The initial acts of being ignored or excluded.

2. Coping - Everyone has different ways of coping. Some will try to be re-included by the person or group ostracizing them, engaging in behaviors they think will improve chances of acceptance.

3. Resignation – This is a period of time when ostracized people are less helpful and more aggressive to others in general. There are often feelings of anger, sadness, alienation, depression, helplessness and feelings of unworthiness.

With this outside knowledge, we can fill in the context behind Ardyn’s moment of despair. Although we don’t get to see it develop his current need for control, his arrogant and confident sense of superiority and entitlement, his lack of fear, his callous use of lies, his neglect of empathy and sympathy, his cunning image management, and his no loyalty policy is it appropriate for him to engage in my aorementioned behaviors?

This is the psychopathic personality. Were some of these always in him or did they reveal themselves as a way to cope with being rejected by his own kind?

When we first meet him the man appears charismatic and empathetic, although it is really just an act. In truth he is emotionally shallow and far less sensitive than the party to signs of distress. After he drops his charade I realize he takes pleasure in the discomfort of foremost Noctis. Ardyn views the prince as a thing, never feeling empthay. More importantly this pleasure is based on achieving control over Nocti's fate rather than an emotion-inverting masochism.

He is NOT trying to inflate his sense of identity. Therefore he isn't a narcissist. He meets all the requirements for psychopathic personality and acts in a way that mirrors any real world one minus a few more details about the disorder.
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SeeD A-Class
Oct 30, 2016
Diagnosing fictional characters is always a tricky business, but I'm not sure we're meant to see Ardyn's behavior as the result of a personality disorder.

What we know of Ardyn's past is this -- he was chosen by the Astrals to deal with the Starscourge, and he decided to handle the situation by absorbing the Starscourge into himself in order to heal others. It's heavily implied that he really did want to heal people initially (which would further imply a capacity for empathy), even if his manner of doing so corrupted him.

Once he absorbed the Starscourge into himself, three things happened:
1) The Astrals declared him unclean, found him unworthy of the Crystal's light, and stranded him in Eos with no hope of ever reaching the afterlife;
2) A "jealous" king turned the people of Eos against him and ensured he would be treated as a pariah rather than a hero; and
3) He was filled with an enormous amount of hateful daemonic energy.

Or, in other words, he was given what must have felt like a very good reason to be bitter and left to stew in his bitterness for centuries, with whatever natural human empathy and inhibitions he had being eroded all the while.

Those aren't the sort of circumstances that one would use to designate a character as a psychopath, because psychopaths (or, well, people with Antisocial Personality Disorder, since psychopathy isn't a real diagnosis =P ) tend to follow a set pattern of behavior from a young age and don't stray from that. Rather, they're the sort of circumstances used to show how a good person can go horribly wrong under sufficient pressure.

It's entirely possible that Ardyn's bitterness with the Astrals is less justifiable than he lets on -- say, if absorbing the Starscourge was an explicit act of defiance after learning that the use of the Crystal's light would kill him -- but even in that case, it'd still be neurotypical motivations getting twisted into something awful due to unusual circumstances rather than the effects of a personality disorder.
Likes: Storm
Nov 8, 2014
Psychopathic Personalty is related to antisocial personality but is less emotional and so more controlled and controlling. It's an actual disorder. His behavior in the game exemplifies it to the fullest degree, therefore I diagnosis him as one. The APA does not recognize Psychopath or Sociopath anymore but the DSM-IV does include Psychopathic Personality and splits a line between the two. In America doctors can't diagnose adults off the back with antisocial personality. You must have a history of another symptom first called conduct disorder. I heard for children they can't diagnose any disorder equivalent to antisocial personality. You can have antisocial personality but not exhibit many of the psychopathic personality traits (they're extreme). You can have low empathy but it does not make a person psychopathic. You can empathize and still be psychopathic as noted by fMRI studies (conscious switch). Much like any disorder, the causes are genetic and/or social.

…social predators who charm, manipulate and ruthlessly plow their way through life … Completely lacking in conscience and feeling for others, they selfishly take what they want and do as they please, violating social norms and expectations without the slightest sense of guilt or regret. - Robert Hare

I believe Ardyn is a classical psychopath. We do not know Ardyn prior to Kingsglaive and we will truly never know beyond the game's surface details because he also has an unreliable voice. Good people don't turn into what Robert Hare describes on a whim after they're shunned. But this isn't reality. Under this fictional context that would mean it's very, very, very much forced (aka melodrama).

Ardyn tells Noctis he was a healer who took daemons into his body to save people from the Starscourge. He claims he was repaid for his efforts by being deemed impure by the Astrals and denied ascension, and ostracized by the people. However, Bahamut refers to Ardyn as the "Usurper", and others (himself included) refer to him as being utterly corrupted in mind, body and soul. Was Ardyn simply a tragic hero turned villain? Or was he warped before the Crystal and his people rejected him?

We will never see the "good" Ardyn who transitioned into the horrible person who raged against the heavens. But the Arydn we do see quickly grew a lack of concern for others and desire for control he obtains through violence and deception. He convinced himself he is superior to those who ostracized by controlling their fate. Ostracism was basically abuse. In that moment he resented Eos's protectors. All alone with this resentment he became colder and colder until he became the man he now is. Still... there's the chance he was a bit not right in the head beforehand since he plays the Fox cultural archetype and is litreallliy untrustworthy. His backstory isn't for sympathy because he doesn't care how people feel.

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Likes: Storm


Warrior of Light
Oct 7, 2016
I wouldn't call him a psychopath per se.

Psychopathy is something you're born with I think. It's just how you are, just like how your personality is the way it is.

There are some studies that show that the brain of a psychopath does not "activate" the areas in the brain needed for compassion and empathy during brain scans. This demonstrates that it's a biophysical cause, something that occurs naturally.

Ardyn started off as compassionate and caring to the point where he willingly took in the Starscourge to save others. Self sacrificing even.

He's someone who let his rage and bitterness warp him, and it's quite understandable. If I were him, alive for 2000 years and ostracised by the people I saved, I would've turned into a mega douche too. Not to mention being denied eternal rest. You can only be alive and alone for so long before you just say fuck it, I don't care anymore.

He was both a healer and the King, or soon to be King. So he was pretty high up there in the social ladder. Falling from grace and having all that taken away would've made anyone angry.

So no, I wouldn't call him a psychopath. Just a very angry man who wants revenge and eternal rest after being betrayed by literally everyone.
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