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Old 02-21-2010, 05:00 AM   #2
AndreaDraco83
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Since we just finished our Sins of the Fathers playthrough, I won't bother you with a recap of the story so far like I did with Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned, and instead I will focus on the time span between the first adventure and The Beast Within. In fact, while the charming Pause [Note: the site is back online. Sorry for the inconvenience] focus on a single elegiac moment in the life of Gabriel Knight, almost two entire years pass from the end of Sins of the Fathers (June 1993) to the beginning of The Beast Within (Spring 1995).


What did Gabriel do in these two years? For sure, he wrote a somewhat autobiographic horror-pulp novel entitled The Voodoo Murders and clearly inspired by his real-life (mis)adventures with the New Orleans Voodoo cartel. The novel stars Blake Backlash, a tiny-veiled caricature of Gabriel himself, a long-lost uncle named Daemon, a Japanese-American assistant named Fujitsu and even a German maid named Brunhilde (as per the novelization). There is even an order of men dedicated to battle the forces of evil, the "Guardians of Truth and Light". Since the novel contains so many real-life references, perhaps is safe to assume that Gabriel spent the two year between his last case and this new one doing what Blake Backlash did:

The most exciting development of the past year involved building plaster and a lot of hammering. It was enough to drive a scion to seek out the highest ramparts and throw himself over. Still, he reasoned, things could be worse. If it wasn't for all the money he'd stolen from the voodoo hounfour before it went up into flames, he'd still be reading by candlelight and freezing his balls off in this Bavarian refrigerator.

So life hasn't exactly been exciting or remotely interesting for our heroes (yes, I'm counting Blake Backlash too), as Gabriel spent a lot of his time renovating the castle thanks to the money taken from the security vault in the underground hounfour. He might not have needed it at all, though, since, as Grace informs him in her first letter, his "US bank account his blossoming - not unlike the desert after a fluke storm." The Voodoo Murders, in fact, has make the New York Times best-seller list and Gabriel seems to finally have found his block-buster (after, as you may recall, many unsuccessful and critically-bashed novels like Fire in the Hills).

But wasn't Grace supposed to return to school after the summer in New Orleans? Yes. But she decided against it, and - "excited by some Chandleresque vision" - she has asked Gabriel to stay and help him with all the Schattenjager business. Surprisingly enough, Gabriel has accepted her request:

She'd practically taken over the grunt work of the shop that summer, and she'd done a lot of research for the case as well. Besides, he liked her. She had a funny, sarcastic kind of charm that suited him, a New York bluntness that made him laugh.

As it is, though, Gabriel comes later to regret such a decision, because there hasn't been another case for more than a year, and he's starting to feel a weary lot of responsibility toward Grace and her decision to drop off school. Although he really intented to write her and urge her to go back to Harvard, he didn't, mainly because "he did kind miss her."

I'll spare you the legal details concerning the Ritter's estate and the relationship between the Ritter family and Ubergrau, Hoffen & Schnell, and I'll point out that this kind of behaviour - dropping off the map in a secluded location on the Bavarian Alps, doing menial works of repair to the manor, working hard on his career - isn't oddly peculiar for our charming womanizer, Gabriel. We didn't expect this sudden turn of events. But, really, can you blame him?

He'd come to Germany a few months after the death of Malia and the destruction of the voodoo hounfour. Part of it had been to settle Wolfgang's estate, but mostly he'd wanted to get away from New Orleans, from the memory of the dark-skinned womand who had been the first true love of his life, the woman he'd pretty much murdered. [...] He found he needed to be in Schloss Ritter, to be surrounded by the very real evidence of the Schattenjager past in order for him to retain any belief in it at all. So he'd stayed at the castle and worked - [...] yet another form of catharsis

It's evident from this passage that Gabriel still blames himself for the death of Malia, despite atoning from Gunter's sins and actively trying to save his beloved. And it's also evident that he tried hard to atone for her death by sublimating the experience through his art, since Grace also notes, later in the novel, that The Voodoo Murders was born after a frantic three-day marathon during which Gabriel barely left his bedroom/studio.

Anyway, it's coscience-striken Gabriel the one we found desperately trying to write a new Blake Backlash novel at the beginning of The Beast Within, a man that is harshly trying to convince himself that there is a meaning to all those things that happened to him and trying hard not to think about the implications and consequences of his present actions; a man that has gone back to his rocking-chair mentality, while still unable to reconquer his ease of spirit and love for life. It will take this new case to make him the better man and finally ferry him from adolescence to maturity.

Note: all the passages above are taken from Jane Jensen, The Beast Within, ROC 1998, pp. 11-30
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Top Ten Adventures: Gabriel Knight Series, King's Quest VI, Conquests of the Longbow, Quest for Glory II, Police Quest III, Gold Rush!, Leisure Suit Larry III, Under a Killing Moon, Conquests of Camelot, Freddy Pharkas Frontier Pharmacist.

Now Playing: Neverwinter Nights, Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box

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