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Character Analysis : Alastor (Hazbin Hotel)

crossposting this from my Tumblr, to share it with more people hopefully.

somewhat an analysis of Alastor

I've been going over this multiple times while it was just some rambles in my notes, but I finally decided it might as well see the light of day. if you do read this all, thank you. if not,,, understandable. it's a lot.

if this whole thing is not coherent at all and does some weird jumps, I'm sorry. I took multiple breaks writing this over the whole day. it was even more of a mess, I promise this is the slightly cleaned-up version.

especially the later parts get less cohesive in my eyes since I had to take longer breaks in between them. they also might jump around more. but now, in case you do want to read this; enjoy.

obvious spoilers ahead

let's start with the most interesting aspect for me: we barely know Alastor. sure, we know a little about his backstory, and get snippets of interactions here and there, but it wasn't until well into the show that we got to know his character better. ep.5 was where we see something deeper than the shallow persona he puts on for everyone. he's been more of a helping hand to make the plot progress in an interesting direction than a character with obvious deeper meaning. I don't mean to say that he was not well-written, quite the contrary, I mean to point out that he seemed more like a tool in the story than a character we are supposed to connect with on deeper levels.

we all as viewers had no idea why exactly he was there, to begin with, he said it was for his own entertainment but even then, this seemed like an awful lot of work for him to come out more or less empty-handed most of the time. it's an unfair deal for Alastor if you ask me. and honestly, he does bring little less than "entertainment" to the table until then. being used to show that he is helping yes, but mostly doing it so he can pull someone else down with his help. double-sided blade. he loses, but whoever he helps also doesn't win.

let's talk about ep.5 though. in this episode it's the first time someone truly irritates him. he didn't really care much for Vox - seemingly finding his entire obsession rather funny and never seeing him as a true threat. and Sir Pentious he didn't even truly remember. but with Lucifer that changes. Alastor doesn't just see him as bothersome, he sees him as important enough to go out of his way to prove he is better than the literal king of hell himself. at first, you could argue that he's once again doing it for his entertainment. seeing how much he can push before he needs to get back in line. but looking closer, his body language betrays him.

the way Alastor holds himself shows a true disdain for Lucifer that is, from a viewer's perspective, totally unjustified. Lucifer did not start their weird rival dynamic, it was Alastor who from the beginning on looked down on the king. maybe it's a personal reason, maybe it's just the fact that Alastor is more than well aware that no matter how much power he gets, there's no way to get above Lucifer. his omnipresence might simply be an annoyance to Alastor because he knows as well as Lucifer that the king hasn't shown his face in a long time and his reputation and power over all of the pride ring, over all of hell, still stays in place. no real threat could shake Lucifer's power into crumpling and this thought alone might bother Alastor because he had to fight for his power, to keep his power. (see Vox having presumably more power with the modern media and all that before Alastor disappeared)

and there's also of course the whole bantering going on in Hell's greatest Dad. Are Alastor's words genuine when he speaks to Charlie, or is it just a tactic to get under Lucifer's skin, maybe not seeing his powers crumble but seeing the king's nerves being reduced to nothing by his hands.

I personally don't think he was being entirely truthful. he might not have straight-up lied about everything, but I don't think he truly wishes Charlie to be his daughter. Charlie herself is more than a little surprised by how Alastor suddenly treats her, and that alone is proof enough for me that he wasn't being honest in his words. if it were true, wouldn't he have at least a slight fatherly touch towards her all the time? Later on, Angel Dust even somewhat points out that Alastor has never acted like this by asking what his [Alastor's] deal is. It shows me that no matter how badly he tries to make it seem real for Lucifer, it's not real for anyone else simply because they all know how he normally acts around them.

continuing to Mimzy for a short moment; she is proven to not be a reliable narrator at all so I don't want to really take what she tells about Alastor all too seriously. she even concludes her little tale about the radio demon with "That's the story most people know." which does not make it any true. something I thought is very interesting is that the only two people who might have any idea of how truthful Mimzy is in her story are both gone. Niffty, though she also does not seem like the most reliable narrator, is not part of this conversation, and Hus kates himself out of the scene almost in the same moment Mimzy starts talking about. Husk leaving is more important since he obviously knows more about not only Alastor but also the deal Alastor is bound to. Husk and Alastor might equally hate it, but Husk does seem to care about Alastor at least a little. warning the overlord about Mimzy and how she is known for only showing up when she needs something, and I'm sure Alastor is more than aware that Mimzy wouldn't show up simply to catch up with old friends, but still. the sentiment of Husk seeking Alastor out to warn him, and even mentioning how he [Alastor] has been gone for a while now, is in itself caring, especially when moments later the viewers find out how much more Husk seems to know about Alastor. it even seems as if he is aware of limitations, mentioning how it's "Big talk for someone who's also on a leash." coming from Alastor's deal, even if Alastor himself is ignoring them [see the line "Who in their right mind would cross me?"]

the whole fact that Husk even seems to know so much about Alastor's deal is confusing in a way. I can't see Alastor willingly going to Husk and telling him about not only the deal he made with someone above himself but also about the limitations of said deal, it just doesn't make sense for the character we know Alastor to be, and even when finishing the show my opinion doesn't change. it's even more prominent how he later hides away.

after this scene, Alastor isn't seen catching back up to Charlie, Vaggie, and Lucifer to continue annoying him simply by his presence. his outburst having left him apparently on edge - showing that he isn't as calm and calculated as he likes to pretend. he obviously struggles with his own anger, be it at Husk for bringing up that he knows about Alastor's deal, or himself for ever getting into the situation in the first place.

later we see Alastor taking care of Mimzy's problem -the loan sharks. he's not seen using his powers like he did when Sir Pentious attacked though, he willingly transforms into something eldritch to devour the threat instead of simply using the tentacles, which would've been just as easy for Alastor. in my eyes that's him getting rid of the last restlessness about his outburst at Husk. choosing to do it himself, showing he still has free will over what he does and doesn't do. if not proving it to Husk then proving it to himself that he can choose to do this. he goes all out, he even comments on it himself how he needs to let off steam and later on how he's important here and willingly choosing to be here, helping ["It's time to remind everyone [Husk] why I'm here."] Alastor needs Husk to know what happens when you cross him, and when you doubt him. because he took the comments about how long he's been gone and that he's also on a leash personally. I don't even think it's necessarily because Husk said it, it's that someone in hell said it. not a soul in hell is allowed to think that Alastor, the radio demon, is not strong enough to win every fight he chooses to start.

let me come back to Mimzy once more, as if this one scene scratching the surface of what lies underneath his smile-bright persona revealed by Husk wasn't enough we get Alastor being all buddy-buddy with Mimzy, who is not only acting like a friend to him but is also introduced as such. a normal friend to someone who is so obviously not normal.

but even with his more friendly behavior towards her, he ends up sending her away after the hotel has to suffer under the problem she brought along. ["I can't have that here."] If he was genuine with what he said then, why did he phrase it like that? I might be reading too much into it, but Alastor normally picks his words wisely enough to not let too much slip, and the sentence "I don't want this here." would've been better fitting for the situation, but he says can't have that here. new question, what can't he have here? Mimzy herself? someone who knows him better than the residence with maybe a habit of blabbering? or was it just the fact that it's her problems that he needs to fix? that he can't have her bringing more work than there already is at the hotel?

now making a bit of a jump, going from ep.5 to ep.7 this episode makes me mostly wonder about what Alastor could ask from Charlie later on based on the deal the two of them made. in terms of character, it gave us little besides his dynamic with Rosie and the entirety of cannibal city. though this was also not really anything new, more just what we already knew about Alastor in a new dynamic

there is one scene I do want to talk about though. his whole little speech around smiling. him actually standing by and admitting that he is hiding behind his smile did take me a second to actually realize what just happened, I did skip back to it because I was a little stunned by the absurdity of it all. after some thought it made sense that he might not mind it, Charlie does not know him well enough for this off-hand comment to truly affect anything for him, still it made me wonder. why would he reveal it to her? was he simply so sure that she wouldn't use it against him or did he think she wouldn't even think of using anything against him in this kind of way?

so it confirms that yes; Alastor uses his smile as a facade and also as a way to show he is above others who cannot hide behind a smile like he can. his smile means indifference to himself, neutrality. for him showing anything but the indifference that his smile represents is vulnerability. weakness.

let's move on to the actual "highlight" episode of "What We Learn about Alastor" ep.8

this surely was not the first time he got humbled badly by someone in a fight. it's what he wants to avoid most, the mask slipping, everyone seeing that he can be defeated, that he is not this otherworldly powerful being that not a soul in hell [or heaven] can touch. there had to be at least one very significant moment where he was powerless in a way. where he had to strike up a deal with someone higher, the one now binding him, now having him on a leash.

Alastor went into the fight with Adam overly confident, underestimating Adam's powers to the point he barely got away. he is, after all this, still a mortal soul. a sinner. Adam on the other hand was the first man which gives him roughly the same power Lilith must have. that in itself makes me think Alastor lasted a good deal longer in the battle than I would've thought. pure angelic powers far surpassing his own and he still 1) got away in the end and 2) was able to get in a few hits.

let's quickly touch on the fact that when Adam broke his microphone he seemed to be completely stunned, apparently not having thought that he could easily break his possession without any real resistance. I personally don't think his power is necessarily in the microphone [the was the simply gave it away to Charlie in ep.7 being my proof for why it can't be. he would never abandon his power just for Charlie to sing a song for a few cannibals] but what if it maybe is some kind of amplifier for it? maybe it's also pure placebo and Alastor was simply too stunned that Adam would go for the piece of equipment instead of for a deadly blow right away. the microphone surely was a confidence boost, feeling of being 'on air' the feeling of having his broadcast behind him while doing his everyday tasks giving him the boost he sometimes needs, his ego being constantly stroked by the knowledge that there would be countless sinners bowing to him if he simply said the words into his microphone. no longer being able to do that made him stutter in more ways than one, being momentarily careless, not prepared for Adam to strike again, deadly this time. he lost where he was in his performance, in his own show, and it made him mess up.

one interesting sentence is when Adam comments on how Alastor is just a mortal soul. "You should know better than anyone what a soul can accomplish when they take charge of their own fate." which makes me want to believe that's exactly what Alastor did, taking charge of his own fate. but the thing is that we know he did not. he made a deal with someone, and he doesn't have the ability to take charge of anything about his own being anymore. he's as much on a leash as he has Husk on one. that would only mean that he isn't at his full potential, held back by the deal he so desperately wants to get out of, and is actively looking for a way to get out of it. which turns this line into something else completely. Alastor reveals that he knows what he is capable of, but cannot parade his power due to his deal.

another interesting detail is his ears before he dissolves into his shadow. they are pinned back, showing not only agitation or fear but disorientation. he opens his mouth for no sound to come out and it frightens him to have come into this situation at all.

a big part of his mental disintegration in this moment surely is also the fact that if he had died at this moment, if Adams's hit was slightly more fatal, he would've died bound to the deal still. Alastor would have gone without being able to fulfill his own goal - getting rid of the chain around his throat. getting control back over his own afterlife. if he had died at Adam's hands, he would have died being possessed by someone else which we can assume is what Alastor sees as the lowest he can fall. the people bound to him by a deal mean nothing to him as it seems, we only ever got to see those who were needed for the Hotel.

while also, dying in this moment would have proven to everyone that he stayed to protect the hotel, his friends, but retreating and not being killed in a heroic death-wish battle be had proven to especially the audience that Alastor is not ride or die for these people.

in his breakdown ballad, we can finally see where he went to to lick his wounds. his entire breakdown also shows once again how scared he truly is of being inadequate. this wasn't just a reminder from Husk that he is indeed also on a leash, being pulled to where whoever holding it wants him to go, this is a rendezvous with death, barely escaping the situation that would have proven that he is too weak, at least while being bound by this deal he is [no longer] profiting from.

the place not only reeks of death for him, like he says in his song, but it also reeks of shame at the fact that he had nearly not made it out alive. it would've been seen as a noble act had he truly died in this scene, he had not died protecting himself, he had died protecting others. it is worse than dying on a leash even since at least almost no one knows about that, it would allow him to save some face. but dying for these people? he cannot even stand the thought of it.

in his mind he needs to keep up the smiling facade, the indifference in this smile he holds obviously so dear, for eternity. him dying should not allow the indifference he stands for to evaporate, he needs to play the act even after being killed in his afterlife.

even if this now ends rather abruptly, my work here is done. see you next time I start writing and simply don't stop for a while.

it truly is "Good to be back on the Air." with a newly cleaned-up space to talk about fandoms

this might be edited later on, nothing major, maybe just to have some actual continuity in it.

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