The Importance of the Impossible
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In Which I Announce A Winner and Discuss Winning Villains

Posted by A.E. Marling in Quotes


As promised and foretold, I will now reveal the dark lords quoted in my most recent epic fantasy. Later in the book, I give due tribute to the most memorable villains who all in their own wicked ways made possible my favorite stories. Following this, I’ll announce the nefarious schemer who managed to guess more dark lords right than any other. The contest is over, but if you wish to test your villainous mastery, you can find the original post here.

1. “I have seen your heart and it is mine.”
voldemort
I would be foolhardy indeed to exclude Lord Voldemort, this slithery monster full of discrimination and venom. For a maniac so glowing with hatred, his quotes fit with surprising ease chapters of romance romantic. Well, as romantic as two engaged dark lords can be. Which is to say, deviously so.

2. “The fate of the weak”
could it be Bolas
I warned people in the contest that some dark lords would be more obscure than others. Few entrants knew of Nicol Bolas, the greatest villain in the Magic card Multiverse. To be fair, not all Magic players would know of this elder dragon either. Although he was ultimately responsible for releasing the Eldrazi titans, he works so far behind the scenes by manipulating the powerful that he’s never appeared in person in modern Magic storytelling. But his name is always whispered.

This villain has been around since the beginning of Magic itself, and his schemes span real-life decades. The full quote is below:

“Do the innocent pay for the crimes of the guilty? Of course they do. That’s the fate of the weak.”
—Nicol Bolas

3. “Gifts for mortal men doomed to die”
sauron
This is a reference to the godfather of dark lords, Sauron. He follows a similar hands-clean philosophy, preferring to execute his beautifully evil schemes through others he’s dominated through his rings of power. I’ll include the full quote below, and you’ll notice I’ve corrupted it somewhat to serve my own schemes.

“Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.”
—J.R.R. Tolkien, the Lord of the Rings

4. “Let’s put a smile on that face.”
the joker
Few villains have as much panache as the Joker. He even pulls off a purple suit. I believe he and Harley are such memorable characters because of their glee. They enjoy their work so much that we just have to watch. Or at least, that’s mostly true. His portrayal in Dark Knight had fewer chuckles and more shivers.

5. “It is unavoidable. It is your destiny.”
emperor palp
My parents did their due diligence bringing me up on the original Star Wars movies. What they failed to mention was that the Sith are wrongly discriminated against. Sure, they force choke a few incompetent bureaucrats, but the Jedi have as great a potential to be evil. Denying human emotions is ridiculous, wrong, and a tool to stifle anger in the repressed. Didn’t seeing any Jedi crying tears for all those innocents they blew up in the Death Stars.

6. “Cherish my ignorance.”
Lord_Vetinari
Of all the villains, Lord Vetinari may have been the most successful. This former-recent-maybe-still-practicing assassin governs the city of Ankh-Morpork as a tyrant, but like any true apathetic populace, people mainly want to get about their own business. They leave him in charge. Lord Vetinari is a master of control, ruling with “an iron fist in a velvet glove.”

That said, he was hard to quote. No one thing he says is particularly striking. He’s more of a mood than a sound bite. I’d like to have included his customary goodbye, “Don’t let me detain you,” but it didn’t fit any of my chapters.

7. “Beautiful Wickedness”
wicked
Though this quote is best known from the Wizard of Oz, the true tribute goes to Elphaba from the musical Wicked. The theatrical production features three characters with arcs of growth. Three! The lead witch faces discrimination for her green skin. People expect her to be evil, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, told with powerful music and smart dialog. I’m certain some of this comes through in the book too, but don’t be a fool, listen to the musical.

8. “Who is that man who lies submerged?”
comstock
Zachary Hale Comstock is the prophet of the flying utopia Columbia, and in Bioshock Infinite you bring his city crashing down. The game provides an unique experience in which all the citizens believe you’re the antichrist. As above, this prophecy becomes self-fulfilling, as you commit increasing insanity to counter Comstock’s madness. I chose a quote that made sense for a chapter, and here he is sounding his most reasonable:

“One man goes into the waters of baptism, a different man comes out, born again. But who is that man who lies submerged? Perhaps that swimmer is both sinner and saint, until he is revealed unto the eyes of man.”

For those who haven’t played the Bioshock games, know their plots get convoluted. For my money, Infinity grants the most epic progression with the least confubble. It’s the one I recommend.

9. “Your unworthy lips”

To my mind, this quote was another about Lord Voldemort, though it was spoken by Bellatrix Lestrange. I accepted either answer, but I’m not about to pass an opportunity to feature a picture of Helena Bonham Carter.
BellatrixLestrange
“You dare speak his name with your unworthy lips, you dare besmirch it with your half-blood’s tongue.”

10. “Hunger for his command.”
nicol bolas
If you thought I’d play fair and only feature one quote for each dark lord, you were very wrong. Contestants often missed this one as well. It could be because Nicol Bolas melted their minds. That’s what I do when I play him in Elder Dragon Highlander.
elder mastery
11. “Poor, Unfortunate Souls”
ursula
In hindsight, The Little Mermaid has the most disturbing gender themes of any Disney movie to date, but that’s fine for my evil purposes. And, hey, its songs are still catchy. The real reason I quoted it though was because when I was a child, Ursula terrified me in the theater. Perhaps this was the start of my deep appreciation for sea monsters. And by appreciation I mean terror. And by terror I mean love.

12. “The Precipice of Change”
Flemeth03
The Witch of the Wilds in Dragon Age may have done any number nefarious things. Some speculate she may have even pretended to be the prophet Andraste, inspiring a new religion as a side effect of her scheme. One of the greater secrets of the series is deciding who and what Flemoth is. But at the least, she’s sometimes a dragon. That’s good enough for me.

Dragon Age features many compelling characters and offers difficult role-play choices to the protagonist. DA 1 has the most difficult decisions. DA 2, the best combat system, and 3 is the best all around game.

“We stand on the precipice of change.”

13. “Never underestimate the power”
vader
A strong villain has elements of vulnerability, and for all the badassery, it’s the potential to be good that makes dark stars truly shine. When I write a villain, I give him or her similar strengths and weaknesses as the protagonist. The chief differences between them are that the antagonist starts off stronger, and he or she fails to change. For this reason, the villain ultimately falls while the hero grows and succeeds. By definition, every story is a tragedy from the villain’s point of view.

But Vader does change. Does that make him a hero? He’s mine, anyway.

14. “I shall be your companion, your provider, and your master.”
Guardian
I saved the trickiest and most obscure quote for last, the most disturbing and perhaps the most important to me as a person. Reading didn’t come naturally to me as a child. I still have problems remembering how to pronounce and spell words. What inspired me to delve into the realms of imagination found in books was in truth a computer game.

My father introduced me to Ultima Underworld II: Labyrinth of Worlds. The RPG involved pages upon pages of dialog, and I had to learn to read if I wanted to save the kingdom. I couldn’t let it fall into the all-too-benevolent hands of the Guardian, who gently smothers every world he conquers in his big red arms.

I replayed part of the game recently. The dialog was hilariously in old English. It’s a wonder I’m not still speaking in thou’s and ye’s to this day. The scope of the game still astounds me, though the combat system was unbalanced. And young-me, the power gamer, found all ways to dominate. Turns out, the most important one was learning to read.

But I’m not the only winner here. Nate of Commanderin, @misterplorg, best used his minions to collect the correct answers to all fourteen quotes. Congratulations! I will hand him a ripe paperback of Dark Lord’s Wedding when I see him next week at Grand Prix Los Angeles.
Click to secure your invitation

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