This post is part of a series of posts discussing characters and events in WARRIOR WITCH. They will all contain serious spoilers, so if you haven’t read the book, I’d suggest holding off on reading them. I’m even sticking a giant image of the cover below so that you don’t accidentally see anything you don’t want to.
Unlike previous posts in this series, I’m going to try to keep this one short!
Anyone who has been following me for a long time knows that I have a fondness for villains, which is probably why this series has so many of them! I generally like to give my antagonists backstories to justify their villainy, because I find characters who are evil for evil’s sake aren’t horribly compelling. Throughout all three books, I reveal details about Anushka, King Thibault, Lessa, and (to a certain extent) Roland that explain their path into villainy – what made them they way they are.
The Duke d’Angoulême is a bit of a different circumstance, which is why his backstory is light. Yes, he is from a family with a long-standing rivalry with the Montignys, he desires power and the crown, and his own upbringing (remember the Dowager Duchesse Damia!) didn’t exactly predispose him to being a nice guy. But there is no specific reason he followed the path of a villain. He is, for the most part, evil for evil’s sake. Which kinda seems like I’m breaking my own rules, right?
I did! But I had reasons.
Central to Tristan’s motivations in STOLEN SONGBIRD and HIDDEN HUNTRESS is his fear that the trolls are innately evil, dangerous, and destined to repeat their tyrannical history if released back into the world.
“I think it is in our nature to be selfish, and in our capacity to do a great many evil things.”
The Duke d’Angoulême is that fear personified. He represents all of Tristan’s nightmares: a power-hungry troll intent on subjugating or destroying all those he perceives as lesser. Who will not hesitate to reduce cities to rubble and slaughter all its inhabitants. Whose evil is innate to his character rather than the result of events or circumstances.
For the first two novels, that fear, more than Angoulême himself, is the antagonist. It’s a big part of what keeps Tristan and Cécile apart, and is the reason so much conflict exists within the choice to kill Anushka and free the trolls.
But in WARRIOR WITCH that fear becomes reality, which is why Angoulême steps forward as the true villain of the series: he represents the ultimate consequences of their actions.
“Not all of them are Angoulême!”
Defeating him not only represents triumph over a flesh and blood villain, but also triumph over the antagonistic belief/fear that all trolls are innately evil, which they prove is not the case when they fight to save the lives of the humans of Courville and Trianon.
Comments are open!
Next post will be on the twins!