Limyaael

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11:04 am: Rant on anti-heroes

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From:[info]arterialspray
Date:December 13th, 2007 07:02 pm (UTC)

Kellhus

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Anasurimbor Kellhus, from the Prince of Nothing series, is in many respects the ultimate anti-hero (and he's not the only one populating the pages of that trilogy -- Cnaiur is also a rather nasty anti-hero). Kellhus is a master manipulator, an adherent of an utterly ruthless rationality that is devoid of human sentiment, and that transcends all human customs, conventions, and morality.

While he is emotionally stunted (except in the sense that he purposefully fakes emotional responses as a means to manipulate those around him), I am not certain that "less introspective" is really a correct description of Kellhus. He does seem to _doubt himself_ less than Drusus Achamian (who is arguably the 'hero' of the story), except towards the very end when he rejects the Thousandfold Thought thingy. But doubting/questioning oneself and introspection are not quite the same thing.
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From:[info]limyaael
Date:December 15th, 2007 03:57 pm (UTC)

Re: Kellhus

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I've heard that one problem with those books is that there's not really enough distinction between anti-heroes and heroes, so you can't tell whether you're meant to approve of the characters or not. I've held off on reading them because of that.
From:[info]merditha
Date:December 15th, 2007 05:57 pm (UTC)

Re: Kellhus

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so you can't tell whether you're meant to approve of the characters or not

*tilts head* This is a compliment, surely? It means the author's opinions are being firmly hidden. (I bought the first one and got bored and distracted halfway through, which may or may not be a symptom of a similar issue, but I suspect is more a symptom of the fact that MOST writing doesn't grab me, nowadays)
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From:[info]limyaael
Date:December 16th, 2007 03:59 am (UTC)

Re: Kellhus

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Not if the character is meant to be an anti-hero or a hero- and that's what I'm talking about here, rather than characters that are meant to be just people. (They are the ones that I prefer, but it's less relevant in this discussion). If there's no context of morals that the character acts against, either inherent in the narrative or given through the invented cultures, then the character can't be an anti-hero. My impression of the books, through admittedly second-hand information, is that characters go around doing "shocking" things all the time, but the weight of the "shocking" things is simply lost because people in the book do not act sufficiently different.
From:[info]arterialspray
Date:December 16th, 2007 09:46 am (UTC)

Re: Kellhus

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Well, many of the characters are total bastards, and the world as a whole is rather depressingly violent, ignorant and backwards (sort of like the 10th century Earth it was based on). However, some of the protagonists (like the sorcerer Drusas Achamian or the prostitute Esmenet) are actually fairly good people. As for whether you are 'meant' to approve of characters or not, the author is a philosopher, and he draws heavily on (and is perhaps subtly critiquing) the ideas of Nietzsche, so moralistic approval (or the lack thereof) of characters is probably something he is trying to consciously play with.
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