Sunday, 4 December 2016

The Psychology Of A Villain

We are used to evil men with evil motives although Aycharaych (not a man)'s motivation, to preserve the Chereionite heritage, is admirable enough. He is an exception.

Great Villains in Prose Fiction
Carl Peterson
Merau Varagan
Count Ignatieff
William Walker

There are others, the rest of Bond's Rogues Gallery for a kick-off, but let's stay with these eight. Two each from Poul Anderson and SM Stirling!

Walker has captured Ian Arnstein of Nantucket. Bad news! Doreen Arnstein reasons:

if Walker's sadistic sidekick Hong were torturing Ian, then she would boast about it, sending body parts or photographs - "'...she's incapable of acting otherwise.'" (On The Oceans Of Eternity, p. 393);

if Walker had killed Ian, then he would display his head - he also is incapable of anything else;

Walker is likely to keep his options open by holding a hostage unharmed for the time being;

also, he does not see other people, particularly not the "locals," as real so he might keep Ian as a more real person to boast to...

The indications so far are that Doreen is correct. So Ian can plausibly go into the lion's mouth without being, physically, harmed - and might even get under Walker's guard? Excellent characterization, Mr Stirling!

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

And Walker's apparent inability to see most others as REAL persons would be dangerous for him. Because it can lead him to misunderstanding other persons, of not being able to accurately calculate what they might or might not do.