Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A man of deepest gloom...

In the plotting/beginnings of writing Keeping Tryst, I have a clear idea of what I want my villain to be like, only I'm starting to see that Lord Peregrine Rouncewell and I will be going hammer-and-tongs to cooperate with one another. You see, he's rather a complicated beast.

In the land of Coombelynn there are two major ruling families: The House of Keeptryst and the House of Rouncewell. I'm still exploring back-story, but here's the main history of the whys and wherefores. The Keeptrysts and Rouncewells were once feuding families, but in an era of peace a new pattern of rule was set up: every three generations the ruling of the Coombelynn is transferred from one House to the other.
For the past two generations the ruling has been in the Keeptryst Seat. Lord Bretton Keeptryst is the First Lord of the House of Keeptryst and is currently the ruler of Coombelynn. As is tradition in this House, his reign and his fathers' has been one of merrymaking, pleasure, revelry, and ease. The land prospers under this gracious family, glad for a respite from the harsher, pious and legalistic rule of the Rouncewells.
But Lord Peregrine Rouncewell sees the country turning from the fearful, cowering holiness of his family's reign. He fears they are losing all touch with piety and holiness and the pursuit of such things. In addition, Lord Peregrine is in love with Bretton Keeptryst's pledged bride, the Lady Merewald. He is tempted to kill Bretton himself to keep the land from falling to further ruin and to make reparation for all the revelry and loosening in the land with a strict regime of militarily enforced piety:

Were Bretton Keeptryst not the First Lord of the Coombelynn, Lord Peregrine himself might have taken his chance with the pricking of him. He’d like to see a bit of that proud red blood flowing outside of that proud red body. “You may keep the Lady Merewald,” Lord Peregrine said, bending low over his mount’s neck so Bretton mightn’t see his scowl. “She will prove witching enough, I have no doubt, to ruin the whole of the Coombelynn.”
-Keeping Tryst

So when a certain catastrophic something happens to Bretton while on a hunt, Lord Rouncewell sees it as fair judgement from the Lord on Bretton's pleasure-filled existence. He does nothing to save this young man and instead returns to the house, feeling avenged. He demands the Lady Merewald do her duty by her countrymen and marry him, that they might repair the country.

There is more. Much more. But I have fallen into a quandary that I'm sure will prove quite interesting in the formation of the plot.

Y'see, Lord Peregrine is not intentionally a villain. He is bound up in generations of tradition, legalism, fear, and desperation. He sees the Keeptryst family as a genuine threat to the inhabitants of Coombelynn--the people he desires to protect and lead. So in leaving Bretton to die in the forest Lord Peregrine truly believes he has done the right, just thing in ridding his land of the House of Keeptryst. After all, there are no male heirs since Bretton had not wed Lady Merewald yet, and now the House of Rouncewell can tighten the reigns again and return Coombelynn to the sorrowing, straining land it was two generations back.

There are two sides to Lord Peregrine that--I believe--make him quite an interesting villain. He murders a man (for all intents and purposes, that's what he does) while believing he is behaving righteously. He forces a land into misery, poverty, fear and trembling--and believes he acts aright. He forces a woman who does not love him to marry him, believing he has rescued her from a life as the wife of a reveler and a fool. And yet for all these things, Lord Peregrine is becoming the villain of this book.

...rather sad and interesting, I think. I've always liked a villain I can sympathize with! :P


ashley tahg said...

Poor interesting fellow. I like him already.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I'm terribly afraid I have no sympathy for him. He seems unfortunately deluded and if he were just able to step back from himself would realize it. But, I make a point to try not to feel to much for the villain. Of course this is a knee jerk reaction based on very minimal information as to why he is the way he is. Perhaps I shall be forced to change my position and "eat crow" later.:-)
Wyatt Fairlead

Horse Lover said...

oooh, sounds like it's going to be an intersting story.
I tend to agree with Wyatt that I don't feel much sympahty -yet- for this fellow; I don't like him. But not because I make it a rule not to feel for the villian-there are a great many villians I feel for and actually like, albeit I want them to change their ways.
Take Robert Louis Stevenson's, Long John Silver. He's horrible! But . . . I feel for him the entire story, I actually LIKE him and I'm glad when he escapes in the end. Alright so now I know there's a shocked silence from everyone who reads this comment . .. . *sheepish smile*

Miss Dashwood said...

I have to admit, I harbor a dreadful soft spot for villains (Chauvelin from Scarlet Pimpernel, anyone? *ducks*) So I think I'm going to like Lord Rouncewell... or at least pity him. And I definitely want to read more!!

Rachel Heffington said...

Well yes, of course Rouncewell is a disagreeable fellow, and meant to be so. ;) I do not like him either, though I pity him, being able to imagine the terrible burden it would be to feel under condemnation and legalism one's entire life. I think my pity us more if a compassionate disgust, if I may make so bold as to use an oxymoron. :D

Anonymous said...

Alright, I must admit, I'm certainly not throwing any tomatoes at Miss Dashwood. I really like Chauvelin, and think he is my classic villain. I suppose that it is also possible to pity someone without feeling sympathy. For instance I pity murderers, because they are condemned but I certainly don't sympathize with them.
Wyatt Fairlead