Smoothing the edges...

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
WC2 doesn’t hint Tolwyn knew Blair. People who knew Blair didn't think he was a Traitor - Paladin flat out tells Tolwyn anyone who served with Blair in the Claw would tell the same.

Then, later, we find out Tolwyn served with Blair on the Claw, and actually knew his character well from WCA. Tolwyn choose to believe Blair was a traitor, just like Paladin chooses not to. Why? Well, Tolwyn didn’t like Blair and Paladin did, that’s pretty much why. The story of WC2 gets even more interesting when you input everything that happened on WCA and the WCM. To think Blair was a traitor, after all that?

In all fairness, no one believed the stories about ghost ships, and Blair's friends considered him merely incompetent. What was more or less what the court decided, since Blair was convicted of negligence, and demoted to Captain. It was Tolwyn who made the decision to end his career and put him on ISS, what was object of much delight for the Kilrathi imperial family.

Tolwyn took a personal interest in Blair's career early on - as far back as while he was still a cadet at the Academy (on Hilthros, that is, not the Wing Commander Academy). Blair was the son of an old comrade, and like his own mentor, Banbridge, Tolwyn firmly believed that the Navy looks after its own. Tolwyn did whatever he could for Blair's career, including grooming him for command and giving him choice assignments on the Tiger's Claw - Blair was learning command tactics from the Admiral himself while his friends were being used as combat ready fighter pilots.

Then Blair betrayed Tolwyn on a personal level - after Dolos he stood up and told Tolwyn off at the Cadet Wing Commander medal ceremony. Tolwyn, an experienced military commander, had no qualms about throwing lives away to achieve a goal... and he almost certainly thought he was doing Blair a great honor by awarding him that command position. In retrospect we can say that young Blair *was* very naive - of course Commodore Tolwyn was going to risk the lives of the men and women under his command to win the war... Colonel Blair would do the same thing many times in later years.

So, going into the destruction of the Tiger's Claw you have that rift. Several other stories also work hard to explain Tolwyn's psychology regarding the stealth fighters specifically. In both Wing Commander Academy and in the dialogue added to Super Wing Commander, we see Tolwyn insisting against all evidence that the Kilrathi can't have developed such a weapon. Why? He claims it's pride in Invisible Enemy. Perhaps he knows that technology is the sole advantage Earth has against the Kilrathi, and that if the Kilrathi deploy something so advanced as invisible ships than that one narrow path to victory is lost.

It might be even simpler than that - in Super Wing Commander he argues tooth and nail against Halcyon that stealth fighters simply don't exist... his pride in Academy (and WC2) may come from this argument alone. (In comparison, we know the military command *did* believe that stealth fighters were in development. The classified document on the Skipper missile in the Confederation Handbook contains a reference to a separate intelligence report on them.)

What makes me think about the ISS. Didn't anyone else who knew Blair - like Paladin - could've helped him? Or didn’t Blair even try?

As you yourself noted, one of the subtlties of Wing Commander II is that when pressed Blair's friends *did* actually believe him incompetant (and thus like the court, responsible in some way for the destruction of the Tiger's Claw). In all likelihood, Gwynedd is exactly where they thought he belonged...


Rear Admiral

Admiral Tolwyn is one of my favorite characters in the entire Wing Commander universe, exactly because he was complex (and I loved the way Malcolm McDowell portrayed him).

In a way, in WC2 he's paying Blair a complement by thinking him a traitor. Assuming you didn't believe in stealth fighters, then there were only three possibilities as to how an obviously large and powerful kilrathi strike force came through Blair's patrol zone with no warning and destroyed the Claw--either Blair was a traitor, a coward, or an incompetent idiot. I was always under the impression that the reason that Tolwyn was convinced that Blair was a traitor was because he respected Blair's courage and ability enough to rule out the other two possibilities.


212 Squadron - "The Old Man's Eyes And Ears"
Admiral Tolwyn is one of my favorite characters in the entire Wing Commander universe, exactly because he was complex (and I loved the way Malcolm McDowell portrayed him).

While I'll always think of Tolwyn as McDowell, I don't think Wing Commander III or IV did much to make Tolwyn an interesting or dimensional character. That doesn't mean that I expect Dostoyevsky from a video game nor do I suggest that the rest of the characters were better written in those games - but Tolwyn is certainly the most colorful and detailed character in the WC series.

To see the man brought so low by an "on the sleeve" plot twist for WC4 has never sat well with me - but I will say that it does make *sense*, considering situations brought to light in later WC material, especially False Colors.


Mpanty's bane
One big example is the number of engines - it changes between the WC1 cutscenes, the WC1 in-game model and the drawing in Claw Marks. It might not be obvious... but imagine the Star Trek Enterprise changing how many engines it has from scene to scene!

Ah yes, thanks.