Psychological Character Study: Fenrir de Trenton
Fenrir de Trenton, from my Pandemonium Rising series, is kind of a dick and he is not unaware of the fact. But he is a skilled rationalizer. “If her husband was more attentive, she wouldn’t be in bed with me.” “If I wasn’t maiming this guy, someone else would be. I might as well get paid.”
This rationalization is a powerful defense mechanism, and one that Fenrir is pretty good at. Sigmund Freud would say that he is using logic to fool himself into believing that his unethical behavior is acceptable. He is avoiding facing the truth, of course, and more importantly, avoiding looking inward. Most people are fully prepared to belief the lies they tell themselves, and we are all guilty of that to some extent.
Defense mechanisms are often how people can justify unethical and even evil acts, and you will see that in villains and morally-grey protagonists in novels. Does Joe Abercrombie’s Logen Nine Fingers think he’s a bad guy? Not really; he runs from his past or represses (quite overly) the terrible things he’s done. Does Cersei Lannister see her motives as evil, or does she rationalize her actions as attempts to protect her children?
This is one piece I emphasized while writing Fenrir. Throughout, you will see him do the wrong thing, be aware that is is wrong, but tell himself a story to protect his ego. You will notice other characters do the same, but none quite as overly, or skillfully, as Fenrir.