[LMB] TSK - Echoes

Eric Oppen ravenclaweric at gmail.com
Mon Jul 22 07:42:46 BST 2019

The whole "Dark Lord" thing always reminds me of Zoroastrianism.  In
Zoroastrian belief, you have the good lord, Ahura Mazda (or Ormazd in
modern Persian) and the evil lord, Ahriman (I disremember his name in Old
Persian and am too lazy to look it up; it's late here.)  These two powers,
of equal power but opposite alignment and goals, strive endlessly for
victory and domination over the whole world.

For an interesting look at what happens when things get too far out of
balance, try* Villains by Necessity,* by Eve Forward.  In there, you have a
fairly-standard fantasy world, only one where Good has so thoroughly won
that the universe itself is going off-balance.  So a bunch of evil
characters (an assassin, a Dark Knight, and some others---I can't remember,
offhand, I haven't seen the book in years and wish they'd either reprint it
or make it available on Kindle) have to set out on a quest to restore evil
to the world before things go really unpleasant.

And in the *Warhammer Fantasy* and* 40,000* worlds, the Ruinous Powers of
Chaos themselves embody things that we can't do without.  Khorne is the
angry, murderous god of war and violence---but even the holiest paladin
powers him up a little every time he slays a monster.  Grandfather Nurgle
embodies decay and illness---but without those things, life itself would be
impossible.  Slaanesh, the hermaphroditic god of pleasures, has many
orgiastic followers in his cults---but even the most devoutly married
couple power him up a little when they're having relations, even for the
goal of having a baby.  And Tzeentch, the god of chaos and change, is also
necessary---without change, all would become stasis.

On Sun, Jul 21, 2019 at 11:50 PM Gwynne Powell <gwynnepowell at hotmail.com>

> From: John Lennard <john.c.lennard at gmail.com>
> Howard: So malices aren't evil [?]
> John: Correct, and the case comprehends Lois's stated intents as well as
> theology and philosophy.
> In TSK, Lois is systematically reworking tropes found in Tolkien and later
> debased by his less talented imitators, and one such is the Dark Lord, as a
> singular source of evil whose destruction means the End of Evil and a
> universal Happy Ever After.
> One major problem with this is why the Dark Lord is so invertedly wicked
> ("Evil, be thou my good.", as Shakespeare has it.) Why does Lucifer rebel?
> Why is Sauron bad? It's the Origin of Evil question, potent in theology as
> the Manichaean Heresy and Boethian orthodoxy. To choose to be bad, that is
> "Evil". But who does so choose?
> Gwynne: One thing that depresses me about most evil overlords is that
> they're
> so small, in their ambitions. Yes, they want to take over the world, etc
> etc, but...
> then what? They have no reason for doing it except to bounce around
> gloating.
> Now, I don't mind a good gloat, I've been known to do it myself. But they
> don't
> seem to plan beyond that.
> Surely it'd be a greater challenge, and achievement, to create something
> great?
> Make and maintain a wonderful society where people are happy and strong.
> Cure
> something; invent, or sponsor the inventors, of amazing things. Be a
> patron for
> artists, musicians and writers. Build a wonderful world and society. Set
> it up so that
> it will keep on going for a good long time.
> But no, they just want to grab and hold and destroy, leaving nothing of
> note behind
> them but ash and misery. All their power, all their ability and strength,
> and it's
> achieved nothing. Such sadly small ambitions, when they could have been
> truly great.
> --
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