SPOILERS AHEAD as the author commentary of The Medusa Coin continues!
The Face of Evil
I spend way too much time thinking about the antagonist for each story being told. It probably says something about me that when it comes to plotting and motivation the villain of the piece gets more play than anyone else.
I blame Signs of Portents.
Some readers mentioned – rightfully, so – that Nathaniel Evans fell flat in terms of depth. He was evil personified, that was his role, but he could have had a little more going on behind the scenes, for sure. Knowing that criticism, hearing those thoughts from readers, opened my eyes to the issue going forward.
Henry Erikson was born out of that discussion.
I fell on Henry’s motivation pretty early on. Control. That was the key for him. To the extreme. Not just in life but in what followed – and for him what must be avoided.
With that in place, piecing together the saga of the seven sons – his victims – made narrative sense.
But what about his actions? Was he justified in this course? Of course not, but was there some gray area to play with there?
That was where the church scene came from and where the grocery story scene became a necessity. Henry questions his actions in these moments – he has legitimate concerns over the Charon’s wanton murdering.
But his need for control wins out.
In the first draft, neither scene existed. In fact, during the early plotting of this novel Henry murders a man right out of the gate to explain how he learned about his six siblings.
Definitely the wrong move there!
The eventual turn…
Henry, in fact, never murders anyone himself. There is a question whether or not he kills his aide after pummeling Pratchett at the university. You could read his comments with murderous intent but there is also the possibility the boy ran off in terror and that was Henry’s intention all along.
But when it comes to Jeremy Bennett, this final obstacle in his path, he goes out of his way to make sure it happens. He brings a gun to the party, knowing he will have to pull the trigger.
Desperation in his struggle for survival has pushed him over the edge. I liked that slow burn toward this moment.
Justifying the moment.
He does. Right there at the second of his victory Henry feels he has to justify it to Jeremy. He can contribute more to society than his brothers ever could. Henry Erikson means more to the world than his brothers.
He believes it, he has forced himself to believe it over the course of his questioning, that it has become his truth in this act.
That sold me on him as the face of evil for this novel. His plummet from knowing the Charon’s actions are wrong to finding a way to tell someone that he is more important than his last living sibling.
Henry’s journey made The Medusa Coin a treat to write. If I could have stayed with him more during the narrative I would have, but that wasn’t meant to be.
His closing line is still one of my favorites from the series – “You call this living?”
He has set a high standard for the threats to come.
One of the toughest sequences ever constructed – the blood samples!!
Thanks for reading.