fantasy · General · reading

K is for Kill

I finished reading The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley recently.

It got me thinking: A lot of books have characters who kill. Maybe not easily, maybe not often, but in the course of the book, they kill sooner or later. Some do kill easily.

Some of them take killing more seriously: Anita Blake, Dexter, Valyn from The Emperor’s Blades and a quite a few others in the same book. Quite a few from other grimdark fantasy, too. (I like that word: grimdark.)

Someone like Anita Blake only turned into a killer later in the series; she didn’t start out killing very easily.

Dexter has been a serial killer since early childhood. Maybe he had kind and gentle feelings when he was born, but maybe not.

Valyn is a soldier. And, yeah, soldiers of all ilk kill. That is their job. And he is not without the gentler feelings. But he kills when he must.

But I wonder if, after lots of betrayal and treachery, if he manages to keep any of his gentler feelings.

I am dreading that he won’t. I don’t want to watch turn him an emotionless killer. I don’t think he will ever turn into Dexter (he doesn’t have quite that much childhood trauma!) but still. I am sort of dreading reading the next book.


14 thoughts on “K is for Kill

  1. I never did have the stomach for Dexter. I assume you are referring to the series on the serial killer. Just too much gore and vigilante behaviour for me to stomach. It is interesting though that killing comes easier to some more than others. Wondering if that is the way the writer lives out his fanatasy.

  2. It’s always fascinating to see the motivations that lead to someone killing, especially if they try to justify to themselves that it’s the right thing to do. As writers, we explore the extremes of human behaviour so this will definitely come into that.

  3. I read a lot of nonfiction, and it is interesting how much of that involves people who kill as well – even when it is unexpected! I was reading a book last week on trauma in children, and one of them ended up killing two people (which I did not think would happen).

  4. This was an interesting post that I really enjoyed reading. Makes you think a lot about certain books you’ve read. BTW, did you enjoy The Emperor’s Blades? I have this book on my shelf and was wondering if it’s worth the read?

    1. I did! It was a lot of fun to read. I absolutely recommend it. It’s a bit grimdark type of fantasy, but not as dark Game of Thrones.

  5. My absolute favorite take on killing in fiction is from the manga/anime Trigun where the main character firmly believes that all killing is wrong and eventually gets in a position where he must either kill or allow someone he cares about to be killed. The choice nearly destroys him.

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