“When people live in fear, they hardly live at all.”
– Gabriel Epiman Banksy, Hero in a Halfling
By William Tyler Davis
It would be so much more heartening if this were coming from a hero, rather than a particularly practical villain.
Skating around spoilers for this book, I shall simply say that this is a man who wears many faces and engages in many plots and does much harm. His goal is simple: to become king. But he understands that ruling in tyranny and fear is flawed to the point of stupidity. He wants his subjects happy, and therefore docile, not shivering in fear and ready to erupt on him at any given moment. That what most tyrants fail to understand: just how many shadows there are for their enslaved people to hide their daggers in. But this one, he does understand, so he does things differently, by making them happy and safe, as they see it.
The exact source notwithstanding, however, there’s a great deal of truth to what he says.
Absolutely nobody in their right mind thinks, “I want to live in fear all of the time.”
No, they think, “I just want to live in peace and safety.”
Because you can’t just do things when you are afraid. Going out for a random evening stroll, laughing at any little thing, going to a dance or a movie, dancing anywhere you like, having long talks under the stars, or whatever else takes our fancy (like sharing random thoughts online about entertainment), these are all things that no one can do while huddled in a corner trying to avoid the notice of the powers that be.
Fear kills a joyful life, and a life without joy is hardly life at all.