[LMB] What makes a character irredeemable?

Gwynne Powell gwynnepowell at hotmail.com
Fri Aug 2 04:37:20 BST 2019

From: "Tony Zbaraschuk" <tonyz at eskimo.com>

Horseriver certainly puts up a fine facade of "it's not my fault" ...
but just who agreed to bind his hallow kingship, and the souls of
all his followers, to the trees, holding them there away from the
gods, hmm?  He wanted his world the way it was, which is not in
itself a bad thing -- but the way he chose to try and get it had
horrible risks, and they fell due.  You don't get to claim total
innocence of the smash-up when you try drunk-riding a bicycle along
the edge of a cliff.

Gwynne: I felt very sorry for Horseriver at first. He was trying to
defend his people - and they didn't deserve to be invaded. It all
went wrong; that wasn't his fault either. And he was forced to move
from one heir to the next; also not his fault.

But then... he has a litany of horrible deaths, that sent him mad. So
why did he suffer so horribly? It came down to his next choices, he
kept on trying to get himself back into power. If he'd stayed quiet
he could have allowed his hosts to live a relatively happy life. Instead
he destroyed marriages and families, he took over his hosts and
brutalized them. There was no affection, no protection, no recognition
of their horror and misery. And he did all that quite deliberately, it
was his strategy. I'm not sure he was mad; he was obsessive, and
egotistical, vicious and calculating. He used his predicament and the
memories of those terrible deaths as his excuse and justification, but
they came from his own choices. He could have chosen differently;
it wouldn't have been the life he chose but he could have coped.

And he could have freed his warrior spirits; the fact that he didn't care
about them negates all his claims about having a right to hold power;
he lost his hallowed kingship when he betrayed his troops.

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