Greetings! I bring you a new analysis piece of Roman Torchwick and what I’ve seen in that amazing, majestic man.
Why can’t I do eyeliner like that
But I will inform you also that this is a baby analysis compared to my usual, mainly because there isn’t a wealth of canon material on Roman but I wanted to analyze him anyway. On we go!
SPOILER ALERT BELOW
First, the impression of Roman.
Here’s a man who exudes a powerful charisma even as he also shows that he’s not above using force. There’s a certain rough levity to the way he acts and speaks, reacting with phrases like, “that would be bad” when situations take a turn for the worse.
Were he a hero, he’d be considered playful and witty, but it’s his willingness to use violence that confirms him as definite villain. He’s no morally good but edgy bard using his silver tongue to gain the advantage. But! After all is said and done, I do believe he once was.
Let’s review his actions and demeanor throughout the series. He dresses and speaks very eloquently, which says he has both expensive tastes and a promising intellect.
Pair that with his ruthlessness, and a younger Roman has high standards and was intelligent, determined, and willing to go to any lengths to get what he wanted. He simply wanted different things (that I cannot determine because /someone/ didn’t have a backstory).
But if you listen to his final words, they are way too personal not to mean something. He’s beating Ruby, an actual child, with a cane and saying she has spirit, but the real world doesn’t care about spirit. The real world is cruel and cold, and she isn’t operating in this real world.
And as cold and cruel as Roman is, is he not a man with spirit? A broken one that never quite set right, but he has one nonetheless. He didn’t give in when he was imprisoned and interrogated by Ironwood, and he frequently brushes off hardship lightly.
Torchwick has spirit, but it’s changed with what he’s experienced in life.
Before that speech on the real world, he tells Ruby that she can’t beat his employer, he can’t beat them, so why not be on the right side? His exact response to her questions was, “You’re asking the wrong questions, Red! It’s not what I have to gain… It’s that I can’t afford to lose!”
This answer tells me about a boy who tried to fight for what was right, or loved someone who did, and he only lost everything. I think adult Roman has only Neo to hold dear, and when he lectured Ruby about the real world in his final moments, he was just as much speaking to his younger self as to her.
And when Neo is taken off the airship, he shows a moment of real concern for her before unleashing his cold anger on Ruby. He tells her that if she wants to be a hero, she should “play the part and die”.
In the real world as seen by Roman, all heroes die. Why would he want to be one after coming to see the world like that? (See the whole heart-wrenching scene here.)
I’m not pardoning him, that would honestly cheapen his character, but I am saying I see Roman as a man who tried to be the hero, who failed, and who lost all that he had fought for and more… And swore he’d never lose again no matter the cost.