Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Sign me up for Team Evil!

I've got at least one book coming up, in the 'to be read' pile that goes along the familiar lines of ' someone is transported from our world to another where they become a knight, have a heroic quest, get married to a beautiful princess blah blah blah...' Yes, these stories still exist and this got me thinking. In fantasy literature pretty much everyone who finds themselves in a strange new world ends up doing pretty well out of the deal but what are the odds of that happening to everyone? Surely there's only so many castles, dragons and princesses to go round? The simple fact must be that for every single person who inherits a kingdom there must be dozens of people who find themselves trying to eke out a living in some hick town, they've got extensive knowledge of project management but that's not going to get the harvest in is it? It's a fairly safe bet then that if my wish to escape this life of office tedium ever came true that the odds are that I wouldn't end up ruling the land of Faerie, I'd probably be ploughing a small chunk of it. And this got me thinking... If you had to live the rest of your life in a 'Fantasy Realm' would you rather your life was governed by the 'good' or 'evil' archetypes that we so often find in fantasy literature? Think about it, your basic 'good' King doesn't have a clue what's going on with his populace. He's either being manipulated by his advisors or slowly being supplanted by a jealous sibling. He's got no idea about finance, he'll just raise taxes (or borrow more money) and expect the money to come from somewhere (I'm looking at you Robert Baratheon...) I could go on but I'm supposed to be working ;o) We would be up in arms if our political leaders did this in real life (it doesn't stop them though) and this is why, if I ever found myself in 'fantasy land' I would probably offer my services to the nearest evil overlord (until they started talking about human sacrifices that is). You know exactly where you are with your basic 'evil overlord'. They're ultimately far more honest than the forces of good, they want to rule the world and they don't care who knows it! Evil has a better line in innovation as well and I'm not just talking about torture devices. Saruman may not have been big on natural conservation but all those trees he cut down were helping to fuel industrial revolution! You know, things that could make life easier for the common man! But no, Tolkien had to go and get all pastoral and put a stop to progress...
The best thing about living under an 'evil overlord' is that they want all the power for themselves and have no time for politics or committee. They will defend your borders far more vigorously than a 'good' King for the simple reason that they know how much they have to lose. A King can always come back from exile but it's a definite 'one strike and you're out' policy for a Dark Lord...
Until someone is transported from our world and actually does a good job of ruling 'fantasy land', I'll be the guy peeling potatoes for the evil horde. I reckon I'll be having a better time than you! ;o)

5 comments:

Tia Nevitt said...

You've read, I take it, Machiavelli's The Prince? If not, you'd like it.

Glenda Larke said...

Raise horses. Everybody needs horses...especially for all those wars and quests and stuff. You might end up rich.

Peta said...

How about being a scribe? Of course, to be a success this does assume that there are low literacy rates in your kingdom.

John (Grasping for the Wind) said...

Serve the evil overlord..yes

Gain high rank in the evil overlord's empire...no

Chris, The Book Swede said...

LOL, this was a funny, cool post. I'd probably end up peeling potatoes, too. Or maybe musician if I was really lucky and crushed a jester as I appeared in Fantasyland! :)

~Chris