You just want to see me try and come up with five good qualities for Ashur. Let’s see if I can do it.
Do I like them: I like him as a villainous character and what Nick Tarabay does with him but do I like him? No. I think you’ve got problems if you like him as anything other than a villain character. Rather, you do have problems.
5 good qualities:
1. Clever. No one can argue this one. He outsmarts a lot of people. For bad reasons and to horrible results? Yeah. But he pulls it off.
2. He can read people very well and knows how to tap into that. So he’s got the social skills and the awareness of other people. (Just no empathy but we’ll get to that later.)
4. This is the point where I’m really struggling. He was able to deal with the pain of walking around on a leg that got cut open to the bone– and I think the bone got broken as well. Not going to check to confirm. So I’ll give him pain tolerance. Though I wouldn’t call someone weak or shit like that for having low pain tolerance so this is more “well good to be him.”
5. Patience. He’s in it for the long haul.
3 bad qualities:
1. Even writing out the good qualities, it came to mind how much of a narcissist he is. Narcissists can be smooth and charming on a superficial level and become skilled at working people (though not always). And the key here is they have no empathy. They don’t care about people. That’s Ashur. The only times he shows caring about people is when he’s trying to get an alliance, then will turn his back on them as needed. Note how in season two, the things he does to Lucretia, says to her, all display that while he was Batiatus’s man he held a great deal of resentment and struck back from the grave because he wasn’t able to do it while the guy was alive. Also just note every interaction he has. Every single one.
2. I know that in the series people talk about how loyal he is, but it’s really just a means of advancing further in each case. He makes a calculation on who to ally with. Teaming up with Solonius, even when offered money, was a bad move since Batiatus had a plan in progress to outmaneuver him. Becoming a fugitive and running off on his own to try and escape Rome instead of coming back to Glaber had a slim chance of working, given his brand. And as I said, the things he did to Lucretia. That’s not loyalty.
3. I feel like all of his flaws are really covered by no empathy there because his egregious crimes all stem from that. But a lot of narcissists aren’t sociopaths and revel in getting their enemies killed (doing other horrible things, yes, but there’s a spectrum of people there who get by just being nasty and horrible without murdering people). So that’s another level to it.
tl;dr I’ve been researching narcissists too much lately and Ashur fits the bill.
Favorite episode/etc: Edit: Damn. I missed this one again. When he gets Barca killed cause that was the first time I went “oh fuck” at him.
otp: Ashur/getting decapitated
brotp: I don’t think he’s capable of caring about people enough for a brotp.
ot3: Ashur/getting decapitated/getting his dick cut off too
best quote: “You fucking cunts.”
head canon: If for some reason, Nasir had shown up to the ludus, Ashur would have tried to sway him just by joke bonding over hey we’re both Syrians and then try other tactics and Nasir, who also reads people well (and identifies as Roman at that point) just hates him right from the start without anyone having to warn him.
That’ll actually happen in a fic if I ever get around to writing it. It’s just too long I keep putting it off. So I’ll leave you with that image of Nasir making the most disdainful looks at him while Ashur linefaces and then writes Nasir off with the rest of them.
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