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The Grimorum Arcanorum

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Chapter Three: Halcyon Renard - A Repentant Sinner

By Thomas M. Logan Forsyth

Many of the characters in the Gargoyles universe take a cliched role and add new life to it, like Demona, the tragic villainess-victim, or Angela, the Disney heroine. Another less discussed character is Halcyon Renard, the repentant sinner. In the four episodes featuring Halcyon, he progresses from a bitter old man, to a man who has sold his sold for a physical joy, and finally to a renewed man, ready to face his own mortality, and whatever may or may not lie ahead of it.

In "Outfoxed," his bitterness is evident in his dealings with Goliath. First, Halcyon accuses Goliath of attempting to destroy Air Fortress II, though it is later revealed that Halcyon is merely trying to coerce Goliath into admitting his responsibility for the destruction of the initial airship. At first, Goliath denies all responsibility for the destruction, claiming that it was "not [his] fault." Enraged, Halcyon goes into a rant about all the employees he has fired for not taking responsibility for their actions. As they talk, Goliath finally admits his part in the previous year's destruction of Air Fortress I. Next, Renard admits that he believes "Xanatos duped [Goliath]," but he wanted Goliath to take the final step in taking responsibility for his actions.

While Halcyon taught Goliath about the importance of integrity and admitting one's faults, Goliath taught Halcyon a valuable lesson about trust, friendship, and forgiveness. By the time he met Goliath, Halcyon had very little faith in humanity and his only friend was Preston Vogel. He equipped the second airship with all robot guards, because he blamed human error in part for the destruction of the first airship, as well as the theft of the three disks. Goliath first offers a chance to redeem himself by saving the airship. Halcyon does this not because he has faith in Goliath, but because he doubts freeing Goliath will make matters worse. His only comment is "Heaven help us both." After the ship is saved, Goliath has earned Halcyon's trust and respect and he confirms this by saying, "A ship for a ship. Now we are even." Goliath amends that by saying, "No, we are friends," to which Halcyon agrees. Halcyon then laments over the near destruction of his airship and his tower fortress and blames it on human error, primarily Vogel's. Goliath gives him another lesson and reminds him that "ultimately Vogel chose honor" when he could have escaped a very wealthy man. Halcyon was right about him and Goliath being even on one thing, valued lessons. Halcyon taught Goliath the importance of personal responsibility and Goliath reminded Halcyon of the values of trust and friendship.

Unfortunately, Halcyon seems to have forgotten the lesson he taught Goliath when they meet again in Prague. Halcyon suffers from a disease that has paralyzed the lower half of his body and has rendered him unable to feel anything. By "Golem," the disease has progressed. While it is evident Halcyon has forgiven Vogel by continuing his employment as aide-de-camp, that is the only lesson Halcyon remembers from his last meeting with Goliath. He has hired the local crime boss, Tomas Brode, to steal the Golem from a synagogue in Prague. Brode succeeds in his mission, and then, Preston Vogel performs the incantation to transfer Halcyon's soul to the Golem.

As Halcyon awakens in his new body, he rejoices that "[he] can feel again." During this process, Goliath watches, and then reminds Halcyon that "It is not too late to turn back." The Halcyon-possessed Golem returns to its synagogue to destroy the library, hoping to eliminate any counterspell in the process. Halcyon then goes on to destroy public property, until Elisa rebukes him, saying, "You're enjoying this!"

Halcyon's rebuttal is that it "is not [his] fault." Goliath reminds Halcyon that "A weak body is no excuse for a corrupt spirit," but Halcyon only responds by pinning Goliath to the wall, demanding how Goliath can judge him, "because his body has not betrayed [him]". Max counters the argument by saying, "Our judgments do not matter. You must live with yourself."

At the moment, Halcyon experiences an epiphany as he releases Goliath and realizes the damage he has caused and could have caused. He wonders how he could ever sink to such depths. Once Halcyon has returned to his senses the Golem is returned to Max Loew's guardianship. One final task remains; stop Brode. Max and the Golem do that with ease.

As the episode ends, Halcyon thanks Goliath for "saving [his] soul, if not [his] life" and offers the Avalon crew a trip back to Manhattan, though they politely decline, realizing the importance of their own mission. Goliath and company have reminded Halcyon of his own beliefs in personal integrity and responsibility; Halcyon now owes Goliath a lesson.

Halcyon's next and final appearance is in the Gathering mini-series. Here, he demonstrates that he still loves his ex-wife, and later how much he loves his grandson, Alex. He is first seen holding his ex-wife's hand, indicating his feelings for Anastasia as well as the continued friendship, if nothing else. When Oberon comes to claim Alex Xanatos, Halcyon and Vogel attack him with Air Fortress II and an army of robots, until Oberon puts them out of commission with an ice storm, while Halcyon's only response was "I failed my grandson; I failed him."

This is basically what everyone knows about Halcyon Renard just from watching the four episodes featuring him. Whatever he appears to be on the surface, there is a foundation for his actions and beliefs, as well as the way other people treat him. The first and foremost characteristic of Halcyon is his strong and somewhat preachy moral code. The foundation for such values is usually a religious one, and in Halcyon's case, it could be a Catholic background.

First of all, Halcyon's belief in an afterlife is revealed when he thanks Goliath for saving his soul. To narrow down the religious field a bit more, the theme of a repentant sinner as well as the theme of forgiveness are very common in the New Testament, especially the Gospel of St. Luke, which probably indicates that he is a Christian. To narrow the choices down further, he is of French descent, and the majority of French in and outside of France are Roman Catholic, at least in name.

The next step is to determine where Halcyon is from. Since he does not have a French accent, or really any accent at all, he would probably be American. Judging from the fact that his first name is based on a lesser Greek myth, it would be likely that his parents are scholarly or aristocratic, or both. In the United States, there is only one major city with an aristocratic class of people bearing French descent, as well as the diversity needed to fuse the regular French accent of these people with a number of other ethnic groups (Irish and German, mostly) creating a sort of Americanized non-accent, common in the upper class sections of several metropolitan areas. This city would be New Orleans, Louisiana, which is also one of the most Catholic cities in America, providing the right background for Halcyon's upbringing.

Another sign of Halcyon's religious beliefs relate to Fox's own rebelliousness. When a child is brought up in a strict religious environment, especially a Catholic one, the child will usually do one of two things: follow the faith as strictly as it was taught, or completely rebel. An additional potential cause for Fox's insouciant nature could be from attending Catholic school for most of her childhood and adolescence, which Halcyon would want Fox to attend if he himself is Catholic.

Since Fox's rebelliousness was mentioned, it would also be good to discuss her relationship with her father. Even though she attempted to take over Cyberbiotics and almost killed Halcyon in the process, she does not bear any truly ill will towards him. In fact, the money she paid Vogel would probably include enough for him to take care of Halcyon as well. In spite of her rebelliousness and near-attempt at murdering him, she still loves her father, even though she may not realize it that fully. Her original surname Renard is French for Fox, her new name. This shows that despite her insubordination and her attempt at severing family ties by changing her name, she still wants to be close to her father and her new name is just a variation of her father's surname. After her takeover attempt fails, she visits her father and even kisses him on the cheek as a sign of affection. Although she almost killed him, Halcyon still forgives Fox and only asks why she would try to take it, when he "would gladly give it to [her] if [she] only asked." Perhaps, that is why Fox still loves Halcyon. Even though he was strict and boring, which both Puck and Titania confirm, his strictness stems from the fact that he loves his daughter and wants her to do what is right.

While Fox's treatment of her father is fairly complex, Goliath and Vogel treat him much more simply. Preston Vogel is ultimately loyal to Halcyon. Even when he betrayed Halcyon, he could not let Halcyon die, and in the end, he chose to stay and save the airship, if for no other reason than to save Halcyon's life. In return, Halcyon forgives Vogel for his betrayal, and he still keeps him as his aide-de-camp. Goliath treats Halcyon as a friend. The only reason he was captured by Halcyon was for trying to protect Air Fortress II. In "Golem," Goliath puts his own safety at risk to persuade Halcyon not to go down a path of destruction that he may not be able to return from. In both "Outfoxed" and "Golem," Goliath acts as Halcyon's guardian angel, which gargoyles often prove to be.

In addition to Goliath, Halcyon's initial conscience plays a role in Halcyon's life, especially his profession as a scientist and a businessman. As a scientist, Halcyon would have a more logical perspective for his ethics than just his religious beliefs. At the same time, his religious foundation may also contribute to his scientific ethics, keeping him from using his mind for purposes more to the nature of Dr. Sevarius. The same could be said for the capitalistic morals (based on Adam Smith's invisible hand theory) he would develop as an ethical businessman.

While his moral foundation is based upon his upbringing, the main question would be what his religious views are now. Is he still a practicing Catholic? In "Golem," he participates in a magic spell to transfer his soul to the Golem, which is clearly forbidden by Catholic law and an additional sign of how far his soul has sunk by that time. When he discovers the true nature of his ex-wife and of Oberon, only Greg knows what effect that has on his beliefs, since Oberon's Children are not covered in the Baltimore Catechism. That discovery could make him doubt all he was raised to believe, or he could become more devout and pray the rosary every hour in hope that there is a supreme being far more powerful than Oberon. Since his remaining days are limited, he will soon find out how much his beliefs truly are worth.

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