(Spoilers for His Fair Assassin book one and two, Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph, to follow)
I have always felt somewhat undecided when people start talking or commenting about the death penalty. I can see both sides of the debate, and while there are good arguments everywhere, I remain unconvinced either way.
But while I find it very difficult to agree to a standard of capital punishment, I do believe there are some offenses that go beyond what can be forgiven or atoned for.
Ripping a newborn from his mother’s arms and murdering it in cold blood… That is as bad as it gets.
Dark Triumph has one of those bad guys that you can freely hate, all while making him feel viable, d’Albret.
Yes, he was monstrous. He hit his children, abused his wives, raped his servants; he murdered by sword and by fire… Without regard for anything nor anyone, with only himself and his ambitions in mind. But, sadly, he never felt unreal.
This man, at least for me, represented every depravity mankind is capable of.
And one of the things that I found the most realistic, as depressing as it sounds, is that his mere presence and position of power, attracted others of the same kind to him. I think that is as true as it gets, this sort of human monstrosity brings out the worst in others as well.
But, what to do with them? How can you really punish justly someone like this? Without it turning into vengeance, without falling to the same lows. Without making yourself a monster in the process…
And here is where divine intervention played my favorite role in this book.
Sybella, the second of Death’s handmaidens that we get to know, struggles with this all along. And I thought that it was necessary for her not to be the ultimate instrument of d’Albret‘s death. Not just for her sanity, but also for a sense of justice.
What can be a worst punishment than to watch your body rot while you’re still in it? What better punishment can the God of Death offer, but nothing at all?
He is to be so repudiated that Death himself won’t welcome it into his house!
And after his body become inhabitable, and his souls is finally free of it… He will still wander the world, funding no peace not rest.
Talk about divine punishment!