Friday, September 9, 2011

Abeloth: the antithesis of a good villain

Palpatine was cunning, sinister, manipulative and a servant to the Dark Side.

Thrawn was a military genius who studied his enemies to know how defeat them effectively them.

The Yuuzhan Vong slaughtered billions of innocent lives in the name of their gods.

Abeloth throws temper tantrums.

And she's considered a villain?

Random House recently released the blurb for Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse by Troy Denning.

But victory against the cunning and savage Abeloth, and the terrifying endgame she has planned, is anything but certain.

Doubtful. She’s as terrifying as a butterfly.

Abeloth’s general lack of being an effective villain hurts the Fate of the Jedi series. Based on the little we know about her, her only motivation for her acts are being crazy, destruction and wanting someone to love her. None of these characteristic is used in a way to make her a solid villain. The desire to destroy is not engaging when there is no concrete reason as to why.

Abeloth had some potential. With the ability to control minds, she could have been an interesting threat. Aaron Allston was the only author who used her ability to make the young Jedi snap in a productive way with Jysella and Valin Horn in Conviction. What was the point of making a bunch of wacko Jedi if only two did anything? Yes, I understand that they created upheaval, hurt the Jedi’s reputation and pushed Luke and Ben towards the “Lost” Tribe of the Sith, but so much more could have been done with them. While she does use her mind to conduct some manipulation, forcing the Sith to do what she wants or taking control of a government (been there, done that) is hardly as shocking as turning Jedi the Maw Jedi into her uncover agents.

Abeloth’s appearance also destroys her chances of being a memorable or capable villain. When she falls into her temper-tantrum episodes, her face melts like wax. You know, like the Nazis at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. In addition, she has tentacles, star-like eyes and a mouth wide enough to rival Pac-Man.

What the hell?

While her appearance does allude to her “unknown” aspect, it makes it difficult for readers to envision her scenes. When I read, I imagine what I’m reading. I can’t make a clear picture of Abeloth in my head. It’s distracting.

It’s difficult to explain Abeloth to someone who hasn’t read the series. She’s an usual being, but not trans-dimensional like the infamous Waru. She can do something to a being’s mind, but hasn’t exploited this characteristic to the fullest. Her motive seems to be only destruction. There's nothing about her that makes you want to know why she exists.

And she looks like someone partially melted the Kraken and threw two large shiny diamonds in the mess.

She’s certainly no Thrawn.

1 comment:

  1. The greatest enemy is the one who could so easily be one's best ally, if only you became as he is...