Even an evil child has his own day – Yoruba Proverb.
Sometimes, the world does not need a hero. What it needs is a monster – Count Dracula.
Last week, I ticked another movie in my ‘Movies Watched’ checklist. The movie, Dracula Untold, chronicles how Count Vlad the Impaler, Son of the Dragon, became Count Dracula, son of the Devil, and leader and founder of #TeamVampire.
The movie reveals that Count Dracula turned to the evil power that turned him into a blood drinker, because he wanted to prevent his people from being taken as slaves by the Turks. Dracula himself had been a fierce and deadly warrior, who turned his back on his bloody past, and decided he wanted to be an honourable ruler to his people. After years of fighting and being treated as a slave, he wanted to be a hero.
But he soon discovers that sometimes, the world doesn’t need heroes. Sometimes what it needs are monsters. When his old adopted brother, Mehmet the Turkish king comes calling for Vlad’s son and a thousand Transylvanian men to be forcefully conscripted into his Turkish army, Dracula has no option but to seek an unspeakable evil being – an evil creature with demonic powers, forever fated to remain in darkness.When Dracula stepped into that cave, he knew what he was looking for and what it would cost him. He knew he would become like the monster he sought, a blight upon everything beautiful and good, and a creature of the dark fated to live out eternity among the hosts of darkness. Vlad knew he would become a monster, the son of the devil, his soul forever damned to an eternity in hell. Vlad knew the people he was trying to save would despise him. They would be afraid of him. They would even try to kill him.
But he knew he had to get that vile power, or his good people would perish by the sword of Mehmet the Turk. By turning himself to a lord of the night, he ensured that the good people of Transylvania were safe from the scourge of slavery forever.
This action reminds me of another fictional character – Lord Varys in George R.R. Martin’s Game Of Thrones. Varys is portrayed in the series as a slimy character, who has a huge network of spies, a man whom everybody feared and nobody trusted. Nobody ever knew what team Varys was playing for at any point in time. And so far in the series, he has remained a loner, nobody to love or trust. However, for all his bad qualities, it was Lord Varys’ double dealing that helped one of the good guys in the movie, Tyrion Lannister, to escape out of King’s Landing with his head, after he was condemned to death. Varys might be a two timing schemer, but it is enormous influence that allows him to succeed where noble heroes like Eddard Stark failed.Again this reminds me of a series of discussion I had with friends on the issue of the Nigerian army against Boko Haram. As a Nigerian who has witnessed firsthand the brutality and callousness of the Nigerian military, I rejoice in spite of myself when I see them getting their “comeuppance” from Boko Haram. But I keep getting reminded by friends that those soldiers, bad as they might have been, (or as they are, if you like) are the only reason why I’m only still reading about Boko Haram in the papers, instead of hearing their gunshots outside my door.
This piece does not seek to praise these lords of dark places. They do not deserve praise. Most of them have no honour, they have no courage. Most of them, like Dracula, are bloodthirsty and evil creatures. They don’t need our sympathy, because ultimately the path they took was by their own choice.
This piece is merely an acknowledgement of what they do. The world needs heroes as rulers, men like the honourable Eddard Stark who will not pervert justice, who will not soil their hands, whose work will stand against any scrutiny, who create just societies. But the world also needs monsters like Dracula, like Lord Varys, who will slither about in the dark, so that good people like the innocent Transylvanians will not die, and good people do not get stabbed in the back by evil people. In a world where #TeamBlack is forever battling #TeamWhite, people who are #TeamGrey are needed to even things up and maintain balance.
So here is to the Lords of Darkness, to the masters of disguise, the faceless men, the “bad” men with guns who patrol the streets . . . so that good people may sleep peacefully at night.
Written by Adebayo Adegbite, tweets @beebayuu