One of the things I find fascinating about sports is how it’s completely goal oriented. Creativity is a means to an end, but it’s hardly a requirement. The great Yankees closer Mariano Rivera built his Hall of Fame career on one pitch. In his later years, Michael Jordan would make a living going into the post and executing a simple, turnaround fadeaway. Neither of these could be considered original or groundbreaking tactics, but nobody cares how the ball gets in the basket, or how the outs are made. The goal is to win. To win, you need but one, unimpeachable skill.
All you have to do is repeat it.
The same can’t be said for an artist. What comes next can’t be the same as what came before. While athletic skill is built upon repetition – training your muscles to reflexively perform the same task over and over again – for an artist there is no greater sin than imitation, even if the person you’re imitating is yourself. The goal isn’t just to make something interesting, but rather, to do it in a way that hasn’t been done before.
This neverending search for novelty is why I changed Marigoth to a Disney villain. It’s why Ignar the Lucky embraces his odd misfortune whereas Jade can only see it as a curse.
For the character Lundvar, it’s the entire reason he was created.
Whether it was Hjoromir bitching about his sister, or Ingarte being driven off by her father, some of the early NPCs didn’t always have the healthiest relationships with their family. With Lundvar, I set out to create someone who unequivocally loved his brother, and as such, the conflict was derived from losing him as opposed to wanting him gone.
Only Lundvar doesn’t love his sibling the way Zora loves hers. It isn’t complicated. It’s compulsory. His brother is blood, and that makes him infallible. No matter what you say, he lived a great life, and died a greater hero. Lundvar would rather stick a fork in his eye than see the truth. That makes him loyal, and to an extent, admirable. It also makes him blind.
Moreover, Lundvar’s devotion isn’t limited to his brother. He’s your classic jingoist, your banner-waving, axe-wielding, mead-blooded Nord. It’s what blinds him to the rampant corruption of the city, and what makes the narrative of his brother, Defender of the Reach, such an easy sell. You often hear about people altering the facts to fit their viewpoint. Lundvar is the same way. Nords are paragons of honor, and the guardsmen are true Nords.
So when confronted with Wuuthmar’s letter in The Raven of Anvil, it’s no surprise Lundvar struggles to grasp its inherent contradiction. The words are damning, and while he partially accepts them, he still insists on going through his superiors – despite the likelihood those are the very men who betrayed his brother. Ultimately, there is only one answer that will satisfy Lundvar. He wants his superiors to convince him the letter is fake. His goal is to seek the liar’s comfort, a place where the integrity of his misguided beliefs remain safe. For Lundvar, these lies can be true.
All he has to do is repeat them.