It’s been a fun path for Clyde, which comes to an end in War of Nytefall: Eulogy. It hasn’t always been clear and the lines have been muddled between the various hats he has worn. Probably a good thing since I think it makes him a more fluid character. You don’t have him abruptly switching roles and jarring the audience. So, what are the hats he’s been wearing?
At the very beginning of the series, Clyde was established as a thief. This is what got him into trouble too. He was caught trying to steal a holy relic and was in the process of being executed when the Great Cataclysm struck. This is why he became a Dawn Fang, so you can see why this role is at his core. If he was never a thief, he would never have been put in this position. For most of the series, he even considers himself a thief before anything else because that’s what he was at the start.
I tried to keep him with thief-like abilities and habits too. This didn’t always come about because he was too busy to pull off heists. You see the thief role turning up primarily when he is using emotions and doing anything sneaky. This is when you can see that he’s cunning and knows how to trick people. A perfect skill for a thief who was a burglar similar to Mab. I considered giving him lockpicks at times, but his strength and bluntness made those pointless. Of course, that’s also why a reader could forget that he had this role or the associated abilities.
I kept trying to steer clear of this one, but Clyde had that battle lust. It was actually similar to what happened when I played him in roleplaying games. I’d want to be more thief and sneaky, but events would force me to fight. Clyde would have to get stronger and more vicious to survive what was thrown his way. This carried over to the books because his savagery in combat was just part of him by this point. Ignoring it felt like I was working with either a different character or a prequel version of Clyde.
To be fair, Titus and Decker are better examples of warriors. Clyde fights, but I would say he’s more of a brawler. There isn’t any training or strategy behind him most times. He barrels into a fight, starts swinging, and only thinks if his enemy manages to survive the first assault. This comes from a sense of superiority that he typically keeps in check, but it isn’t like there were many who could go toe-to-toe with him. This is why Alastyre was such a shock to his system.
You kind of get a sense of how Clyde was in this role since he’s trying to maintain it throughout the series. It’s explained that most of the gang were autonomous, but they all shared some of their spoils to maintain a base and supplies. Titus ran the mercenary side of things and Chastity was the blackmailer. Clyde was their leader, but he was very hands off. He would do jobs with Mab or by himself then return to the lair to hang around if anyone needed him. Most times, they didn’t want to bother him. Perhaps the main reason for this organization was to seem more professional for any nobles who hired them to do jobs. Just professional enough to seem serious.
Clyde really did try to run Nytefall in this way, but it didn’t work at all. From the beginning, you had characters reminding him that things are different. He really did try to deny that for a few volumes. Kept going back to wanting to be a simple gang leader until the very end too. It kind of made Clyde a little immature, but I couldn’t bring him to a point where he would proudly accept this. He had so much in his life change, so he was clinging to whatever old pieces he could find. Being a laidback gang leader was one that he saw as appealing when compared with . . .
This was the final hat that Clyde had to put on and it came with the biggest headache imaginable. Even when he was given the title, he didn’t know what to do with it or if he would keep it. I played around with the idea of him trying to resign immediately, but knew Xavier would swoop in. That’s the only reason Clyde accepted. He knew him being the Vampire King made his rival angry. He’d already waged a war over a grudge and out of spite, so this shouldn’t surprise anyone.
It was difficult to imagine Clyde as a true king given his personality. I think that was why it was appealing to put him there. Xavier wanted the power and title so badly that you knew he shouldn’t have it. Clyde didn’t want it, so it felt like he would be a better person to have in that role. Writing that out is difficult because a resistant ruler can be hard to wrangle for plot purposes. I’d say how it all turned out, but that’s a key part of the book. Feel free to read it and see how things turned out.
Clyde has definitely had an interesting evolution. The aspect of kingship–someone who desperately wants it versus someone who never asked for it–makes for an interesting conflict. I can’t help thinking of Aragorn who didn’t exactly seek the throne versus the steward Denethor who felt he was entitled to the power.
I think we can see it in the real world too. Many who would make great leaders gravitate towards paths where they can help, but not have power. Those who want power seem to go right for the throne without a second thought.
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Very true! Good point!
This was an enjoyable discussion of Clyde’s persona and how he evolved through the series.
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I keep finding the lyrics of, “You can’t always get what you want,” in most of my own writing. Seems like Clyde got what he needed.
At least he thinks he did. Finale brings that into question.
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