Sunday, 16 June 2013
Know Your Enemy
Flandry prolongs Technic civilization. Aycharaych preserves the Chereionite heritage. Both succeed, for a while. Flandry succeeds to the extent that the Terran Empire does not, we think, fall in his lifetime, which is the most that he can hope for. Aycharaych, unfortunately, lives to see Chereion destroyed and probably dies with it.
Aycharaych's exalted and exemplary end in no way justifies his manipulative and murderous means. What he does to living beings and planetary populations is inexcusable. I think that this character's tragedy is that he did not find any better way to achieve his aims.
But it gets worse. Perhaps he did not want to find a better way? I have not got the passage to hand but I am fairly certain that, in A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows, Flandry suspects that Aycharaych regards the fomenting of discord not as a necessary evil but as a work of art from which he derives aesthetic pleasure. This, if true, sounds like a refined form of sadism.
I would have liked to have read a novel in which Aycharaych, surviving the destruction of Chereion and without any input from Flandry, decided what to do next. Undoing some of the damage that he himself had caused would have been a good start.
Flandry has another recurring opponent who is closer to being an opposite number and, indeed, whose career exactly parallels Sir Dominic's. Further, Nicholas van Rijn has a "nemesis" although we have to reread carefully to extract this character from the texts of the trader team novels. Thus, there might be further "Know Your Enemy" posts.