raisindot wrote:I think the key scene in Moist's transformation is the restaurant scene where he meets Gilt for the first time. Until that point, he's mostly playing the grifter's role in a legitimate setting, and his one-upmanship games with Gilt are more about ego than morality. But when he looks into Gilt's eye and see that Gilt has achieved his mastery of the game by abandoning any sense of morality (which Moist hasn't done; he doesn't fleece the poor), he realizes that becoming someone like Gilt is a path he can no longer take--there's too much 'good' in him to succeed. He's not averse to using Gilt's methods; he simply no longer is willing to do this solely for the joy of the game. Remember that this scene occurs before he learns that his actions resulted in Adorabelle's firing; he's already embarked on a new path; the fire at the post office, Groat's maiming, and his learning of Adorabelle's firing trigger the emotions of anger, guilt and righteous revenge that lead him to his final actions.
Yes, that was the beginning of his major drive to defeat Gilt. Moist had already learned that he was the reason her family lost the Clacks; if I recall correctly, the dinner was part of the hand-delivering of his letter to her. He felt the fire, which showed that he was actually linked to the post office by then. He was still playing the role when he rescued Groat and the cat, but that itself shows that his adrenaline addiction was part of a role-playing addiction. I think the role became real when he realized that the postmen were betting their life's savings on him, and he wasn't thinking only in terms of the role, he was thinking only in terms of wanting to find a way to win, not just to destroy Gilt or make up with Adorabelle, but also to prevent financial ruin for the postmen (and other people betting on him).