[LMB] TSK - Echoes

Damien Sullivan phoenix at mindstalk.net
Tue Jul 23 02:52:35 BST 2019

On Mon, Jul 22, 2019 at 04:49:59AM +0000, Gwynne Powell wrote:
> From: John Lennard <john.c.lennard at gmail.com>

> 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.

Lord of the Rings itself is pretty obscure about Sauron's motivations,
but Tolkien writes elsewhere that he started with some sense of
'helping', of ordering the world and fixing the breakage.  Also that he
was initially attracted to Melkor by the latter's speed and
effectiveness in doing what he wanted.

Melkor/Morgoth himself slid from "I want to create things ex nihilo and
create intelligent life" (which only Eru, God, could do) to a petty
"I'll lash out and destroy everything that isn't Mine".  I imagine
Sauron may have had mixed feelings about his allegiance by the end,
though he was happy to use Morgoth-worship in later social engineering.

Gandalf with the One Ring would have been like Sauron but more so, using
the power of domination starting in pity to 'help', and in Tolkien's
words eventually making good seem evil.  I imagine Galadriel as Dark
Lady would have been similar.

Pratchett's _Witches Abroad_ had Granny's sister, purporting to be the
Good Witch, making everyone Happy.  And if you weren't Happy and
smiling, you'd be fixed until you were.

Glen Cook's Dominator sounds like your 'small' kind: a sadist and
power-hungry wizard who turned the world into a charnel house.  Hardly
small in effect and damage, though.  His wife, on her own later, seems
to have had an instinct for good governance, boasting of an empire where
naked virgins with sacks of gold could walk around safely.  (Not
literally true but I think the Annalist conceded she had a point.)
There are also hints that much of her dark turn was motivated by a
paranoid fear of weakness and death, though I may have built that up in
my mind.  Her sister, in her own turn as tyrant-Protector, was more
hedonistic and self-indulgent, though came down hard on corruption.
Longshadow was IIRC partly driven by power but also obsessed with
building a giant fortress against world-killing shadows outside a
magical barrier.

Hodgell's Gerridon is motivated by a desire to not die.  He made a deal
with the enemy and gained a form of psychic vampirism.  His race is
almost congenitally Lawful but he's flipped to the other side, breaking his
word with glee.  Rawneth is a wannabe Dark Lady, motivations beyond
power and sadism unclear.

> 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

If you do those things you may not qualify as a Dark Lord.

-xx- Damien X-)

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