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Nerd Culture Moms on the D&D Alignment Spectrum

Remember when pop culture moms fit neatly in the same box with pearl necklaces and beautiful home cooked meals that look like they’ve popped out of a magazine onto the table? Me either. I’m happy to say that those portrayals have faded away as  they failed to capture the nuance, challenges, and excitement of motherhood and the many different types of mothers that have shaped us. In our current era of story-telling there are all kinds of mom’s in the nerdy IP we consume. You’re just as likely to get a villainous mom as you would a virtuous one and this got my nerd brain spinning. What would various mom’s look like on the D&D alignment spectrum?

I started thinking about my mom first and realized she’d fit nicely in the Neutral Good box. She wants to be a good mom and encourages us to do the same but she isn’t afraid of breaking a rule here or there, especially if it’s unfair. I remember her “blessing” a dad at a pinewood derby because he laughed at the car my brother and I made. Come to think of it, I wonder if she’d fit better in the Chaotic Good? ANYWAY! Where would your mom fit on the spectrum? To help you decide I’ve picked some examples from Sci-Fi and Fantasy franchises to give us some guidelines.

Lawful Good – Dr. Beverly Crusher (Star Trek the Next Generation) – Lawful good characters follow a strict code and believe that code benefits society. Their code is to help others and to bring about general good in their world. Dr. Beverly Crusher is the Chief Medical Officer on the Starship Enterprise and she is very comfortable following protocols and sticking with the plan. Throughout her tenure on the show there are only a few instances where she disobeyed the prime directive but before you cry out “NEUTRAL GOOD!” in each instance she was upholding the Hippocratic Oath over the prime directive showing us that first and foremost she is a Doctor and SECOND a Starfleet Officer. Overall she’s an even keeled rule follower. Poor Wesley…

Neutral Good – Maureen Robinson (Lost in Space) – Another Doctor, but this time in engineering. Maureen follows the rules except when the rules mean something terrible happening to her family. In that case it’s much more “do as I say not as I do”. The most glaring examples are her altering her sons’ test scores so that he could partake in the Jupiter mission and lead a mutiny against Captain Kamal.

This ties in well with the Neutral Good alignment. While their driving force is to bring good into the world they are fine breaking protocols or laws but not as a standard practice, only in certain circumstances. For Dr. Robinson it seems the moral code is more like guidelines.

Chaotic Good – Sarah Connor (Terminator 2) – The quintessential example of a Mama Bear! Sarah Connor does whatever it takes to prevent judgment day and give her son a life free from the robot apocalypse. Even if it means assault, battery, breaking and entering, illegal weapons trading, attempted murder, arson, etc. I think even Batman would think she’s gone a little far.

Even though Mama Bear has a cute name the picture is definitely one of Chaos. Chaotic good characters don’t act without a set of rules, they just aren’t society’s rules. Sarah Connor had a clear mission and directives but the way she pursued it was by marching to the beat of her own drum.

Lawful Neutral – Moya (Farscape) – As we shift from good to neutral the change that takes place is moving away from an altruistic-others focused mindset. Neutral characters will at times act in favor of others and at other times they will cause harm in order to serve themselves.

Moya (Yes the ship) from Farscape is a Leviathan, a living vessel capable of giving birth to other living vessels. Once Moya births her son, Talon, she adheres to a strict code of protecting him sometimes at the detriment of her allies. It’s this code that makes her Lawful Neutral.

True Neutral – Lorraine McFly (Back to the Future) – True Neutral characters are, in my opinion, the most unpredictable characters. They may act selflessly or SELFISHly. They may side with the law or start a rebellion. These characters are “thinking outside the bun” when it comes to standard development.

 This may be an unfair choice because we’re incorporating multiple timelines to show that she’s a true chameleon, but Lorraine does what Lorraine wants when Lorraine wants it! Despite her “prudish” standards she sets for her kids in the prime-timeline, when we see her in 1955 she’s walking a different walk. In the alternate 1985 from the ending of the first movie she’s softened on all those standards possibly because she’s so happy with George. Then when she loses George in the second movie she completely changes again to keep Biff happy. And what’s with that bad Irish accent in the third movie? Okay that was a different character….but even still she’s a hard woman to figure out! Will the real Lorraine please stand up?

Chaotic Neutral – Mal Cobb (Inception) – Chaotic is a perfect word to describe Cobb’s wife from Inception. In order to prove she’s right (and that they are stuck in limbo and fooled into thinking it’s the real world, Mal ends up killing herself and leaving her kids without a mother. She even takes away their father as she framed him for what looked like her murder.

I don’t think that she’s trying to cause harm, she’s not malicious (despite her nickname) she’s just doing what seems right to her. Maybe in her mind she thinks she’s doing it for the good of her family but based on Cobb’s construct of her in his mind that wasn’t how HE perceived her. If we just look at the construct she seems to be a woman who is trying to prove a point no matter the collateral damage.

Lawful Evil – Mother (I Am Mother) – Lawful doesn’t mean following good laws, just that there is strict adherence to a code. On the evil side of the lawful spectrum these characters are following a code or law that in the end will cause much more harm to others than Good. In Mother’s case the code she’s following is literal code. It’s similar to Mother Gothel from Rapunzel in that she’s driven by a singular objective. In order to protect her “daughter”, Mother will murder innocents who get in the way and oppress her child for “her own good”. Not even her own daughter feels safe. The only one who could “feel” good about carrying out the mission doesn’t even have feelings.

Neutral Evil – Cersei Lannister (Game of Thrones) – Like chaff tossed in the wind is Cersei’s moral compass. Whoever is going to give her the most benefit at any time, that’s who she chooses. Her morals are centered on her and occasionally her son. It’s those brief moments that save her from being at the bottom of the alignment spectrum. What keeps her from being absolute neutral is that a significant number of her actions cause pain and sorrow rather than anything of moral merit.

Chaotic Evil – Queen Bavmorda (Willow) – Evil, evil, evil….how else to describe this wicked witch? Her quest for power is stopped by no one, including her own daughter. She’s willing to fight against kings, armies and even Fin Raziel, the Glinda to her Elphaba.  There are no redeeming qualities to her behavior and no code that she lives by. Rotten to the core….

Who did I miss? Who would have been a better choice? Comment below and be heard!


CJ Burroughs is a husband, dad, and pastor from North Central Florida. His favorite nerd interests are Star Wars, superheroes, and video games. CJ is also the host of the NextGen Nerd Podcast at nextgennerd.com.

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