The Progress of Error

By what unseen and unsuspected arts
The serpent Error twines round human hearts;
Tell where she lurks, beneath what flowery shades,
That not a glimpse of genuine light pervades,
The poisonous, black, insinuating worm
Successfully conceals her loathsome form.


William Cowper




The Chancellor


The very wonderful Shere Khan in Disney’s Jungle Book is the best bad guy in town. The claws and that wonderful, suave, mellifluous voice from George Sanders. That’s what makes a real bad guy. He must be the template followed by Hollywood for British evil geniuses. Strangely, they drive Jaguars and have nothing to do with tigers any more.

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The Warlord and his Dudes


…the Warlord decided that the debt gave him a claim to the whole kingdom…as legitimate as any of the other princes, dukes and minor chieftains who also thought that they should be king.

His plan was simple, he would put a stranglehold on Alliance trade routes and give them a bloody nose when they came after him.

His army moved quickly, laying siege to any city that refused to surrender…Men, women, children, animals were wiped off the map as a warning to his enemies…whole regions surrendered to him and he became the most feared man on earth.


The Warlord needed his men to concentrate on his goal, nothing else mattered, so he offered them an incentive; he would give them the riches of the city, everything inside the walls as a reward for their loyalty and hard work. It was quite a prize, the wealth of the city merchants was legendary and their luxurious palaces would provide rich pickings. This made the army move much faster, every man wanting to get there first. They could smell the gold, taste it.


The Duke again…


Turns out that he’d be a shoo-in for my Warrior, too.

So versatile and incredibly believable as Ghenghis Khan.

“I fight. I love. I conquer like…a Barbarian!”

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The Conqueror is a 1956 CinemaScope epic film produced by Howard Hughes and starring John Wayne as the Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan – one of ‘The 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made’ (Wikipedia).

The Return of the Thin White Duke


Some casting for my bad guy. Should he come staight from Central Casting? I imagine a real smoothy, George Sanders’ voice (remember Shere Khan in the Jungle Book?) and Errol Flynn charm (something nasty under the surface?) and a dash of megalomania for good measure. So hard to break the cliches, this is one time where the Alan Rickman, Jeremy Irons, ‘Hollywood English’ template is just right, I think.


Frans Snyders