waterlilyvioletfog said: Hi Cassie! In your most recent Q&A you said that Annabel is the villain of QoAaD, rather than the person we would expect, the Seelie Queen. I had assumed in LoS and LM that Annabel was the victim of all of this, that her lashing out at the end of LoS was her reaction to being grilled under the Mortal Sword. Did I read the scene wrong, or is there more to it? Was Annabel manipulating Malcolm or something? I’m a bit confused. Thanks!
Annabel is a complicated character, and I agree that it’s reductive to call her a villain and leave it at that. One of the interesting things about Malcom and Annabel is that they were once good people who have been twisted and turned by the tragic circumstances of their lives into something else, something dangerous. But the terrible things that happened to Malcolm don’t justify all the murders he committed, and likewise, the trials Annabel lived through (and died from) don’t excuse the fact that she murdered Livvy and Robert. That’s the type of action that is very, very hard to come back from. Will Annabel do anything in Queen of Air and Darkness that would move her towards some form of redemption? You’ll have to wait and see. What I will say is that Annabel has her own motivations and priorities that are quite different from those of any other character in the series, and in QuAD you’ll get to see more of what those motivations are.
One could make the same arguments for the Seelie Queen really, in terms of villainy — she does what she thinks is right for her people, she is working to free a captive from the King. It’s not as if she never does anything understandable or with an understandable motivation; while it doesn’t excuse her actions, she’s as complex as Annabel in her way. It’s true that the Seelie Queen is a type of villain who tends to manipulate people from the shadows, which is very different than lashing out the way Annabel did at the end of Lord of Shadows. The Queen would never get blood on her own hands; she prefers to manipulate other people into doing her dirty work for her. She and Annabel are examples of two types of antagonists; which one you think is “more” villainous is subjective.
I understand your question, in the sense that it has not seemed like Annabel is the main villain of TDA. That’s because she isn’t. TDA is a story that doesn’t have one main villain, unlike TID and TMI, where we had Mortmain, Valentine, and Sebastian neatly taking center stage as the primary villain for three books each. TDA is structured differently— it’s a story that has several villains: Malcolm, The Cohort, The Unseelie King, The Seelie Queen, and yes, Annabel.
Annabel’s primacy on the cover has a lot to do with her importance to the Blackthorns and her significance to the themes of the books. Annabel and Malcolm have been there from the beginning, modeling a relationship that mirrors Emma and Julian’s. They were in love, but that love was forbidden and had terrible consequences. Grief drove both of them to do extreme things. That’s Julian and Emma’s potential story, depending on how they react to the end of Lord of Shadows, and depending on how the curse plays out. The Seelie Queen is no more a villain here that she has been before: she meddles, she messes things up for our characters, she gets them in danger, she has her own agenda. She is not, however, a thematic mirror for our protagonists — only Annabel is that.