Fa-Heir-ys Apparent

I know Christmas is almost here, because there was the first of many Christmas beetles harassing me here in sub-fucking-tropical Brisbane. They’re pretty – we had a yellow one and not a green one – but they’re noisy buggers flying around making it sound like your house is being broken into. They try to bash their brains out on any piece of glass, light coloured wall and light they can find. Sooner or later, they’ll fall prey to the asian house geckos currently infesting Australia – who have fights like cute little stop motion mini-monsters, and battle frequently over the territory behind the favoured picture. And everything smells nicely of peppermint, because Australia has one million ants per square fucking inch. I complain of ants a lot, and may someday soon surround my desk with a ring of talcum powder. So no bitching about snow. You will get no sympathy from me, sweating my arse off. Snow doesn’t sneak into your elbow crease and bite you like you are made of sugar.

So, one of the primary characters featured in the excerpt is Dermot, and this post was already half started – so that makes it easy for the Christmas season. For my part, I really enjoyed Dermot in Dead Reckoning, much like I enjoyed Jason in Dead in the Family. Whereas Jason was a stand-up guy (finally) for Sookie in DITF, Dermot gave off more dodgy vibes to lots of readers. I think what I liked about Dermot so much was that he was completely undemanding to Sookie, and was nice to her. That goes a long way in my book for liking a character. Sookie has enough arses in her life. After all, Eric is giving off dodgy vibes too (secret impending divorce and marriage to Queen of Oklahoma) and he’s actually been an arse to her (the hard bite). So Dermot’s already one ahead of Eric in my estimation.

So, firstly, there’s a theory floating around that Fintan is posing as Dermot. That Fintan isn’t dead, but instead re-named himself Dermot for some reason. Eh. I don’t see how that one is possible myself, nor, in view of the excerpt, with his own father staring him in the face.  Or why Fintan would try to hide as his father’s enemy, rather than his father’s favoured son. That seems a whole lot more dangerous, for no discernible reason, because Breandan hated Dermot too. But there’s canon rejection of that theory:

“The twins were not identical, you understand,” he said.
“Actually,” Claudine said, looking down intently at her chicken,
“your brother, Jason, is the spitting image of Dermot.”

Dead and Gone, p. 145

If the twins are fraternal, and Dermot looks different enough from Fintan that Jason is the spitting image of Dermot (and thus unliked by Niall) then Fintan can’t be posing as Dermot. Dermot – the Dermot we’ve met in the books – looks identical to Jason. Jason noticed it, Amelia noticed it, and Sookie noticed it. Dermot has to be the Dermot. Even if Niall hadn’t seen him, that one is scuppered, because Sookie mistook Dermot for Jason in Dead in the Family.

Nor do I think that Fintan has set his appearance to change to look like Dermot. If he could have passed as Dermot, then why not pass as an insignificant fairy no one wants to hurt? Niall wanted to hurt Dermot, and Breandan wanted to kill Fintan. It would be sensible to pass as another person no one wants to kill or hurt. In fact, Niall, knowledgeable in fairy magic and his sons tells us that there’s no changing appearance for long periods:

Fintan also found he wasn’t human enough to pass as human, at least not for more than a short time.
From Dead to Worse, p. 65

If it was easy to change appearance, then Fintan would have done that for some appreciable benefit. He would have passed for human, when his father says that he wanted to do so. Indeed, it is Dermot who tells us that Fintan often got things wrong when he would pose as Mitchell. And Fintan didn’t do so well at passing then – in that he didn’t kill Mitchell and take his place to stay with Adele forever; and that Dermot said he could tell because Fintan got stuff wrong. I’d also like to point out that it expends energy to hold an illusion – for a full fairy no less:

But he’d gotten his ears surgically altered to look human, so he wouldn’t
have to expend his energy perpetuating a human appearance.

Dead in the Family, p. 54

So even if it’s super easy to change your appearance, it drains you to keep that glamour going – to the extent that Claude doesn’t do it, but got a surgeon to fix it permanently. We have other fae too – like Bellenos, who says that he can’t pass for human. If it was as easy as pie to look like a human, and never a hassle, then none of the fairies would complain that they couldn’t do it, couldn’t pass, and wouldn’t make permanent changes with surgery.

For those reasons, it seems Dermot is Dermot, and Fintan was choppedintapieces just like Diantha said he was. The other part of why I think this theory has sprung up is because of this remark:

“Niall loved Fintan, but Dermot defied Niall at every turn. He openly rebelled
against our grandfather and pledged his loyalty to Breandan, though Breandan
despises him. In addition to Dermot’s resemblance to Jason, which is only a
quirk of genes, Dermot is an asshole like Jason.”

Dead and Gone, p. 145

Dermot is suspiciously un-arsehole like when we meet him. But the reality is that Claude’s view of things is shaped by Niall’s perception of things. Going to your enemy is an arsehole thing to do, and without regard for your family, no matter if it might be even slightly warranted. Sounds like Dermot just spurned his family, acted selfishly and didn’t take their feelings into consideration. That’s not evil as such, but it’s definitely a lot like Jason before he came good (which is after DAG). If Claude had used the word evil, that might be a stretch, but ignoring the needs of your family for your own selfishness is a pretty arsehole thing to do. In addition, Dermot spent many years being cursed. I’m sure like Jason he’s a lot more grateful for family now, after his own trials. So I definitely don’t buy that theory.

So firstly I want to look at what it’s like when there’s a fairy/human hybrid. I think that’s when Dermot and Fintan diverged in their viewpoints. Certainly it would have formed their characters:

“My son was remorseful that he’d condemned two children to the half-in,
half-out existence he’d experienced as a fairy who wasn’t truly a fairy.
I’m afraid the others of our race weren’t kind to him.”

From Dead to Worse, p. 65

I can understand that – combined with the above quote – that Fintan and Dermot weren’t really welcomed anywhere. Unlike someone like Eric, who can turn his lover to be like him, fairies can’t make their human lovers fairy…excepting in fanfic. A human does not and cannot become a fairy. While Sookie has a choice, Einin never had a choice to make. Maybe fanfic Eric who’ll meet the sun because Sookie got a head cold or something is more of a wuss than Doctor Who and Niall. But the relationship with Niall and Einin gives a little snapshot into Sookie’s future, because Einin couldn’t turn to be with her long-lived lover. I’m sure someone will write a fic someday about how much that hurt Niall, what with him not realising she was human from the get go….wait….

But being that they couldn’t pass in either community would have been tough for them. It seems to me that Fintan cleaved more to his father’s side than he did to his mother’s, at least in the earlier part of his life. It is Dermot who says that:

“I mistrusted my love for Niall. When I remembered my mother’s misery after
Niall stopped coming to visit her, I thought Breandan must be right and we
weren’t meant to mingle with humans. It never seems to turn out well for them.

Dead in the Family, p. 229

Since Dermot hasn’t seemed to be out there making more little hybrid fae-humans, and Fintan did, then I’d say that his mother’s loneliness struck him more deeply than it did Fintan. While Fintan seems to eventually come to the conclusion that making babies with humans is bad, it took him a while. He didn’t look at his mother – he only saw it through the prism of his children – and way after he’d had the first one:

“My son was remorseful that he’d condemned two children to the half-in,
half-out existence he’d experienced as a fairy who wasn’t truly a fairy.”

From Dead to Worse, p. 65

Fintan made children who’d have to live under the same conditions as he did. That was part of his promise to Adele – and what she wanted out of their relationship. Unlike Niall – who doesn’t quite comprehend the sorts of prejudice a mixed race child can face because he’s a ‘pure’ race parent, Fintan understood that, and agreed to what Adele wanted anyway. So that suggests to me that his attack of conscience came on him later. After all – Linda and Corbett weren’t twins – he had two years or so to consider the fate he was visiting on his children.

Not only that, but when Fintan was making those babies, he decided to give them a little extra something-something in the form of Mr. Cataliades blood fed to Adele. Giving someone the gift of telepathy would make them able to defend themselves, but it’s not exactly about fitting in with humans. After all – it means that you definitely can’t fit in with humans. Having telepathy sets one apart from the crowd – that’s what it was designed to do. So I think that unlike Dermot, who took note of his mother’s pain, Fintan didn’t really think all that deeply about it for a while.

It’s possible that the ramping up of hostilities in the Fae world lead to Fintan considering that he wasn’t just bringing human-fairy hybrids into the world, but rather mostly human targets. It’s one thing to consign a child to some racial hatred – and Fintan was innoculating them against that by not taking them into the Fae world. But to condemn them to have assassins before they leave the womb – like Jason and Crystal’s baby – is a whole other deal. It’s possible that that was what motivated his thinking on giving the telepathy to those descendants who would catch the attention of Niall, and thus catch the attention of the Fae who wanted to use that descendant to prove a point.

Sookie is really the first descendant of Fintan – the beloved half-human son of Niall – to catch his attention, and lo and behold, finally war was fomented:

“This is why Fintan guarded you from the fae. He didn’t want his father interfering
in your lives the way he had interfered in his own. But Niall had his ways, and
nonetheless, he found that the essential spark had passed Jason by.
He became…uninterested.”

Dead Reckoning, p. 93

Fintan’s descendants are all relatively safe until Niall decides to focus on a special one. Yes – certainly, Sookie’s parents were killed – but they weren’t hunted the way Sookie was. Her parents drove through water, and the water fairies took the opportunity to drown them. But that’s not the same sort of deal they pulled out for Sookie – they went to war, and Neave and Lochlan stalked her for days. They removed the were and vampire impediment that would stop them; and they tortured her in an attempt to get Niall to do what he was told. Sookie’s torture was deliberated, pre-meditated, and she was in constant danger that only would have ended how it did – it was only a matter of waiting for their opportunity to get at her. Her parents didn’t have any threat over their heads until they were vulnerable. Much like Lochlan and Neave took the opportunity to kill Crystal, but hadn’t been stalking Jason for days, like they did Sookie. Sookie was their target – and they were persistent enough to pursue her for days.

Of course, Fintan doesn’t seem to have any problem with the human side of him – he made human descendants and we’re told that he loved human women, and especially human women with the essential spark. Dermot doesn’t seem to have liked the human part of himself:

“And I hated what I was, half-human. I was never at home anywhere.”
“So, are you feeling better now? About being a little bit human?”
“I’ve come to terms with it.”

Dead in the Family, p. 229

Whereas Fintan has embraced humans – that suggests that he didn’t hate his human half. I’m sure that if he hated human domesticity, he wouldn’t have masqueraded as Mitchell quite so often, but used enchantment to bring Adele to him with Fae conveniences. Dermot on the other hand seems to have cleaved more to the Fae side of himself. He resents not that he can’t pass for human for long, but rather that he can’t pass for Fae. Fintan was the other way around.

Dermot seems to have yearned for his Fae kin to accept him – and never quite finding it. It seems that while the Fae might want to make their way into the human world and breed with humans, they’re not so crash hot on humans in general. Niall says that the treatment Fintan endured was quite bad – and one can only presume that Dermot experienced the same:

“I’m afraid the others of our race weren’t kind to him.”
“I did my best to defend him, but it wasn’t enough.”
From Dead to Worse, p. 65

Fintan seems to have made friends with other part Fae – Mr. Cataliades for example – and tried to spend his time in the human world with human women. Dermot seems to have rejected the human part of him, and made more friendly with other Fae. Either way, both of them were destined for failure on being accepted either place. It seems too that Fintan would have endured worse treatment for appreciating his human side too:

“…and Claude, if you cause any trouble with your human ways…”
Deadlocked Excerpt, p. 4

The Fae don’t seem to take too kindly to those human types round there. While Dermot might have tried to reject his human half in order to find approval with other fairies – one can see why he might do that. I can’t for the life of me figure out what the hell “human ways” are. But then, I don’t know what the Fae world looks like, or what they consider human ways. It would be more difficult for a half-human to eschew human ways – some of those things are ingrained. But apparently being human-like in Fae – even if you’re a pure bred fairy – causes troubles. To the point that Niall, notorious lover of humans doesn’t want Claude to start trouble by having “human ways”.

Both of Niall’s sons seemed to feel that they had to pick a side and stick with it. I don’t think there’s anything more inherently dodgy about Dermot because he chose his Fae side, when he was socialising with Fae, and saw how broken down his mother got in the face of Niall’s abandonment. Fintan instead tried to infuse lots of human women with his fairy self, and pursued those with the essential spark. Niall seems to have favoured Fintan over Dermot – and I think that’s because of Niall’s love for humans himself. Niall has a very selective way he chooses to love his children – he mostly honoured Fintan’s wishes not to let his family be exposed to Niall and his ways, yet he resents Dermot for being an arsehole. Seems both of those things are different kinds of arseholery, but Niall seems to have most respected Fintan’s wishes, while actively railing against Dermot’s choices. Considering that the way Dermot chose saved him from this:

“I saw parts of Fintan’s body. Neave and Lochlan had torn him limb from limb.”
Dead in the Family, p. 228

Then maybe choosing to go with the side that would dismember their enemies – and what’s more had the power to do so – was the more sensible option. Fintan and Dermot show a contrast of the racial themes so prevalent in the series, in that they chose differently, even thought they were from the same family and had the same upbringing. We see that with Sookie and Jason – Sookie wants desperately to be normal, yet Jason yearns to be more supernatural. Sookie is sad that Jason will be a werepanther, Hadley is over the moon to be a vampire (until she actually becomes a vampire) while Jason gets excited about running in the woods every month. In that way, CH tries to mirror the plethora of racial issues in the South, without the loaded racial terms, but rather with supernatural creatures.

Dermot chose to emphasise his Fae qualities, rather than his human qualities. He chose to construct himself that way – and I don’t think we can look at those that choose that way as inherently evil. After all, Dermot didn’t feel any special reason to ally himself with radicals like Breandan until this:

“So how come you ended up siding with Breandan’s forces in the war?”
“He told me my father killed my brother,” Dermot said bleakly.

Dead in the Family, p. 229

It would seem to Dermot that human-hybrids got a truly raw deal if not only would they have to face the hatred of the Fae who disagreed with their existence, but then to be killed by those who profess to love humans is a real problem for Dermot. I can see this radicalising Dermot – not towards humans so much as towards Niall. He would have found any way he could have to oppose Niall, and rage at the unfairness of his brother’s life and death.

But, I think there is one particular quote that underpins – for me at least – Dermot’s character set:

“I can’t seem to achieve any sense of purpose, of what I want to be doing with the rest of my life.”
Dead Reckoning, p. 212

Dermot hasn’t done anything for say a few years or more, since he was cursed, except wander around and align himself with his father’s enemies. For me, this statement frames how he is. Dermot is still trying to frame a purpose for his life. He’s got no clue what he should be doing – and that’s completely normal, since it’s almost like he’s just been released from prison.

Now, one of the problems with identifying a motive for Dermot is the fact that he hasn’t come up with a purpose really – that means that it could go either way. Based on the way that he was behaving in the excerpt, I don’t think his purpose is going to be sheer evil. It might be selfish – like Jason would tend to do – but it won’t be malicious. I’m inclined to think that if Claude can’t show off his human ways, Dermot would set the entire Fae world off if he tried to go there.

And to take it further into my personal speculation – and this is in no way reliable, and based on the smallest amount of logic – that it seems that a faction of the Fae may have decided to take out the rest of the hybrids left behind. The last time we saw Mr. Cataliades, he was being chased by grey blurs. I still have no clue what those blurs are – but since they’re chasing him for months, I’d say that they have to want to catch and rend him. I can’t think of anything from this world that would fit – but the fairies do love their hunting, and there are growls from inside the portal.

I’ve also been considering the Fae that are at Hooligan’s. Again, this is personal speculation – and I might be way off. It’s not well grounded in proof but basically a bloody good go at guessing. So no relying on it. But the Fae at Hooligan’s are fearful of attack – even though they’re not all fairy and they’re not a target specifically of the local Area Sheriff (or at least Eric hasn’t mentioned the genocide of Sookie’s family as part of his agenda) who wants to eat them:

You only needed a night watchman if you were afraid of an attack.
More trouble.
I could hardly stand the prospect of it.

Dead Reckoning, p. 53

The only one who isn’t at Hooligans – that we’ve heard about is Mr. Cataliades. It’s entirely possible that there are factions of Fae not content with the idea that there are all these hybrids out there gathering together and trying to campaign to get back into Faery. Apart from fairies – who should all be inside the portal, and vampires – again, Eric hasn’t specifically said “Yummy Hooligans fae snacks for the picking…do you mind if I eat your extended possible family, lover” and humans don’t know about them, it has to be whatever’s chasing Mr. Cataliades. Weres don’t involve themselves in other supe business, and a were would need the packs permission to hunt on their land. I can’t see any were being paid to chase down the Fae. But maybe some of those who don’t like “human ways” feel so strongly that they don’t even want a possibility of the hybrids coming back, and have sent the Fae cleanup hounds to get rid of the problem.

So I don’t think that Dermot has the same plan to go home – I don’t think it would be allowed. Things are starting to settle there – which is why Niall closed the portals – all but one closest to the only human hybrid he gives a shit about, and still sends letters to. He’s obviously ignoring Claude, as I’ve spoken about before. But Claude knows that Niall wants to do stuff for Sookie – and thus she is their leverage. Niall doesn’t seem to care much about Dermot’s pain in the excerpt, but he responds to Sookie and her wants. Without Sookie’s pressure, Niall probably wouldn’t have interacted with Dermot at all.

Now, one of the newer conundrums with the new book – thanks to the excerpt – is that if Niall didn’t curse Dermot, who did? I have a prime suspect – Dillon. For a start, he appeared without any good reason in Dead and Gone – in that he was surplus to requirements at the time. That scene would have worked well with only Niall showing up, but Dillon came along too. I think that’s to give us a feel for him – the fairy heir apparent. CH usually has a purpose for putting a character on the page. She doesn’t even thoughtlessly include Holly and Andy without making it a thematic thing about age differences. It’s one of the things I admire about her writing actually.

But as well, Niall gives a hint that he does in fact, suspect Dillon himself, by singling him out in this statement:

“Claude, come with me,” Niall said, after a moment’s fraught silence.
“We will talk to your father and to the rest of our people.”

Deadlocked Excerpt, p. 4

Let me tell you, if I suspect my kids of dastardly deeds, I suggest it when I say “Let’s go talk to Son1 and see if he did this to piss you off.” Before you question – Son1’s part time hobby is annoying the living shit out of people. He’s very skilful and inherits that quality from me – so I’m not singling him out as the “bad one”…just the one like me. 😀 So I think that Niall is tipping his hand, and already suspects his son. Otherwise he wouldn’t bother to single Dillon out for talks – it would just be a matter of “We will talk to our people”.

Of course, then it comes to motive – what is Dillon’s motive for cursing Dermot? Apart from the mischievous nature of fairies, there’s also a whole heap of resentment that Niall builds up with his very selective loving. Consider just how selective his love is:

“What’s wrong, dearest one?” 
Deadlocked Excerpt, p. 1

Here, he’s talking to Sookie…with Claude and Dermot in the same room. It’s clear that he knows they’re in the room – which means that he doesn’t give two shits if they know he loves Sookie best. As I pointed out above, Niall seems to have favoured Fintan when he was alive – and here he’s completely ignoring his own son and grandson – both of whom he’s known for far longer than Sookie’s been alive. And she’s the dearest one? That sort of favouritism cuts kids to the quick, and definitely builds up resentment. I’m not saying that Dillon was absolutely right and justified, but merely that out of all the fairies, Dillon has adequate reason to hate and resent his father, and by default his brothers for the love they received in his stead.

We also have this from Claudine:

“Niall didn’t live happily with Branna, and it took him a long time to
love our father, Dillon. Niall preferred his half-human sons.”

Dead and Gone, p. 144

So on the totem pole of children Niall values, he chooses Dermot the arsehole half-human hybrid over his pure fairy child. He might not have liked his fairy wife, but Niall also seems to have shown his half-human sons more love. That’s even more emphasised by the fact that Niall is a Prince of the Fae. He should by rights put more time, love and energy into training the child that will take over for him – but instead he ignores them for basically his human by-blows.

It’s entirely possible that Niall’s love for his half-human sons – the care and consideration he took for them rather than for his rightful fairy heir was what created a lot of the anti-human sentiments. After all – he might be favouring them because he loves them, or he might be favouring them because he hopes that one day they will rule in his stead. The anti-human sentiments seem to have grown over time too:

“Consorting with humans will kill us off even faster than we are dying already.
Breandan will seal us off. We’ll be safe. Niall is out of date.”
Dead and Gone, p. 274

The intolerance is new if Niall is out of date. This is a rising sentiment – not an old sentiment that’s dying down. As the fairies die out over time, they become more anti-human. Even though Neave and Lochlan are extremists, it’s not as if Niall said to Sookie “It’s cool – the bad ones are dead – let’s leave the portal wide open, eh?” because the reality is that while there are extremists, you’re not either wanting to torture humans or loving them with all your heart. Breandan didn’t intend to massacre the rest of the Fae so only he and his cronies were left alive, so there are fairies who maybe don’t care for humans, but just don’t care to go out and murder them.

This is of course, part of my reasoning that it was Dillon who cursed Dermot. As mentioned above, Fintan wanted to be more human, and he wanted to spend his time with human women, and human women with the essential spark. Dermot on the other hand wanted to be Fae. While Fintan wanted to keep his father out of his family’s lives, and try to pass as human, Dermot didn’t. He wanted to be more fairy. That means that out of his two human sons, Dermot would be the one most likely to inherit the Prince title from Niall, rather than Dillon. Dillon not only has his personal resentment, but possibly being cheated out of something he probably sees as his birthright. Fintan didn’t want to be in the Fae world, so even if Niall offered it, Fintan would be unlikely to accept. But Dermot might say yes – and as you can see above, Niall loved both of his half-human sons over Dillon.

So it makes sense that Dillon would curse Dermot crazy, make his father think he’d murdered Fintan’s descendants. That would kill two birds with one stone – leaving Dermot too batshit crazy to actually steal Dillon’s place, and force Niall to choose him, since Fintan wouldn’t want his position. Fintan would undoubtedly be too busy taking care of his human family and guarding them too, just in case he was tempted to seize power.

As you can see from my cobbled together timeline, Sookie’s parents died before Fintan did – so Dermot couldn’t have killed them. He didn’t ally with Breandan’s forces until after he was told that Niall had killed Fintan, as quoted above. Considering we know that like Eric, fairies can’t lie, but they can omit, then Dermot must be telling the truth about not killing them. Of course, that lends extra credence to the theory that Dermot is Dermot and Fintan is choppedintapieces too – because saying he saw Fintan’s body would be an actual lie. If he said “I saw his body” that would be possible, with the omission of who “his” is – but it’s almost certain that Dermot is Dermot.

Fintan, Dermot and Dillon provide a good look inside the racial tensions in a way that Sookie, Jason and Hadley do. All of this is without dealing with colour, but with supernatural races, where colour is not a concern. Like Jason, Dermot chose to embrace the non-human part of him, even if he wasn’t a full panther or a full fairy. Choosing one part of himself to love over another part is a matter of mindset and preferences. It doesn’t make Dermot any more evil than Jason. It shapes his behaviour, but that’s all it does.

I think we’ll see Dermot staying with Sookie – at the very least in the human world. He might eventually move on, but he’s not going to be welcome in Faery for a while. While racial tensions are still so high, and one of the fairy heirs apparent has a vendetta on you just in case you try to take his birthright, Dermot is safest in the human world. When Dermot finds his feet, he’ll be great member of the SVM family.