Vlad's role in upcoming books (Was: Concerning Great Weapons & Baritt (no POTD spoilers))

Fri Mar 7 19:15:03 PST 2003

Spoilers for all books ahead...

> > Or in other words:  Vlad may live for a normal Easterner lifespan, for
> > another ~700 years, or indefinitely.  We don't know.  I wonder if
> > Steve knows?
>This is the basis for one of my too-oft-repeated snarks about Issola -
>Vlad is becoming too powerful to be interesting in non-comic-book

I have to respectfully disagree.  <disclaimer:  Issola is my favorite Vlad 
book and logic may not be in full force>  Just because you're powerful 
doesn't mean that you can't have interesting interactions with less 
powerful types.  Take what Vlad did when dealing with folks in Teckla, for 
example.  He could have just killed the movement's troublesome ringleaders 
(I actually think he considered it, if memory serves) but he chose not 
to.  It didn't matter if he were your ordinary assassin or a person with 
demi-godlike powers, Vlad could have done it in either case.  The 
interesting part of the story was how Vlad struggled with the issues, what 
choices he made (or didn't make).

More broadly, we've seen Vlad do all sorts of cool things as an 
assassin/Jhereg boss - take over territory, kill people, and generally do 
things that a skilled but fundamentally "normal" person could.  However, 
it's hard to advance the overall story arc (war with Jenoine, Vlad's 
estrangement with Cawti, struggling with the implications of his past life, 
etc) with Vlad on the run, in danger of being stomped on by any number of 

I think that there is an equally rich story to tell of Vlad as a Powerful 
Person, being a force to reckon with, rather than trying to avoid getting 
caught in the crossfire.   Now he can perhaps be more than just a tool for 
Sethra and really determine a direction for his own life, rather than just 
reacting to events.  (I'm thinking specifically of the scene early in 
Issola where it is remarked that Vlad, in this life and previous, was 
always happier just being told what to do than knowing why something needed 
doing.)   One example would be helping Easterners against the Empire, as he 
mentions in the end of Issola.

Further,given the high standards of characterization that Steve has, I 
would suspect that something big would have to happen to Vlad in order to 
for him to reconcile with Cawti.  Perhaps Lady Teldra's influence is a 
literary device that gets the ball rolling.

Anyway, the bottom line is that I have faith that, regardless of how 
powerful Vlad might be, Steve will make his adventures interesting.


Michael Mattoni
Ph.D. Candidate
Materials Department
University of California
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-5050

Phone:  (805) 893-8374
Fax:      (805) 893-8971