Lucinda Elliot

Kenrick – a blood sucking Heathcliff with a less dashing appearance

I loved creating the villain of the piece, Kenrick. His lank hair, his glassy eyes, his florid complexion, his habit of drooling on pretty young woman’s hands, his dirty mind, his loud guffaws at the jokes he tells that nobody else finds funny.

He was a delight to write about. I don’t think many other vampires are greedy about trifle and insist on wearing glasses because they have the sentimental attachment to them that they don’t have for any living human.

Sometimes he giggles – as when he nips at Sophie’s hand ‘like a playful, unattractive puppy…giggling almost coyly’.
He’s pretty nasty altogether – when he’s taunting Emile outside Plas Cyfeillgar he repeats the inevitable rumours about Sophie’s hasty marriage to her grand relative; – ‘Is there really to be a premature heir? Did you pull up her skirts by way of diversion in this out-of-the-way place?’

Worse, he mistakenly assumes the worst of Emile’s taking young Katarina from Kenrick’s own, dismal household, and though he knows her to be barely in her teens, dismisses this; – ‘I would not fall out with one who may be so useful to me over a scullion.’

Emile takes the view that Kenrick, whom he and his cousin Lord Ynyr knew in childhood was ‘Ever a cold fish’. Lord Ynyr remembers him as ‘comparatively jolly’.
All agree that he was been devastated by the death of his wife over in Transylvania – though the lusty Emile of course, own mouth waters at the thought of his new one, Ceridwen.

I also thought it would be intriguing to create a sort of totally unattractive Heathcliff who obsessively mourns the loss of his true love and cannot reconcile himself to life without her.

Kenrick, with his interest in what we call science, and what at that time was called ‘Natural Philosophy’ is determined to reverse the natural passage of time if need be in order to achieve this reunion.

That is some obsession, love – whatever one cares to call it, but it is hard to symptathise with a character quite as unappealing as Kenrick (only one reader has, so far).

He doesn’t have the looks to be seen as a ‘Byronic Anti Hero’ and has even called into question the forcefulness of his passion for his first wife by marrying Ceridwen,having first got rid of her first rakish husband in the time honoured manner…

If he ever felt passion for her, he doesn’t now, and Ceridwen clearly finds him unappealing. Now a Woman Vampire herself (a vampire who likes a nice drink of blood but doesn’t have to sleep in a coffin, etc pleases herself with a whole string of hunks – the dark, dashing heroic naval Captain Alek MacKenzie, her footman, Arthur Williams, and Emile. But she is useful for his plans, able to draw in accomplices as she is.

2 Responses

  1. I suppose, Lucinda, even villains must fall in love. Mafia mobsters have their wives and families, after all. I like the idea of Kenrick being an unattractive Heathcliff. When I read the book, I saw Kenrick as a sort of mad amateur scientist tormented by the loss of his beloved first wife. This understandable obsession with recovering his lost love gives him so much more weight as a villain than would an unappetizing criminal fixation of some kind. The way you embellish your own characters with elements drawn from the dramatis personae of classic authors gives your creations pleasing depths and subtleties that add greatly to the story.

    1. I’m glad you liked the motivation I gave him, Thomas! Of course, Kenrick would dispute that he is a ‘villain’ in the sense that Emile and Georges are, he thinks he is infinitely morally superior to those law breakers, though for sure he is the villain of the piece! Emile and Georges, of course, see in turn themselves as being ‘nice villains’ with a code of honour, and invariably gallant to the ladies…

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