Why are we so fascinated by assassins?
Is it their nifty wardrobe filled with dark, mysterious cloaks?
Or perhaps it’s the magnetic allure of living life on the edge, just one slip away from ending up six feet under.
In any case, the psychology of assassins in fantasy literature is a topic as complex as trying to explain why cats hate water.
So, grab your favourite cloak and let’s plunge into the shadowy depths of the assassin’s psyche.
The Allure of the Outsider
Assassins typically don’t fit into societal norms.
They’re the ultimate rebels, the James Deans of the fantasy world, if James Dean could decapitate you with a flick of his wrist.
This outsider status is alluring because it speaks to the part of us that feels overlooked, misunderstood, or different.
It’s why you get emo when you listen to “Bohemian Rhapsody”—you see a bit of yourself in the unconventional.
The Duality of Human Nature
Ah, the age-old battle between good and evil that rages within us all, often surfacing when deciding whether or not to nick that hotel towel.
Assassins embody this internal conflict in an amplified manner.
They kill, which is generally frowned upon, but often their motivations are rooted in something relatable, like justice or revenge.
It’s a bit like when you eat your flatmate’s food and then justify it because they never clean the bathroom.
The Power of Agency
Let’s be honest, the 9-to-5 grind doesn’t exactly allow for a wealth of life-altering choices.
Assassins, however, are the epitome of agency. They live by their choices—usually deadly ones—and bear the consequences with a steely gaze and a quip.
This sense of control is intoxicating, mainly because our most consequential choice often involves deciding what to binge-watch next.
The Dance with Death
Freud would have a field day with this one.
Assassins are intimately acquainted with death, not just as an outcome but as a process.
The constant dance with the Grim Reaper creates a palpable tension that reminds readers of their own mortality.
It’s like skydiving, but the parachute is a narrative twist that may or may not open.
A Mirror to Society
More often than not, the existence of assassins is a symptom of a flawed system.
Whether they’re serving as agents of a corrupt regime or fighting against it, they reflect the societal ills that birthed them.
Much like a graffiti artist tagging a rundown building, the assassin marks the failures of their world in the blood of its inhabitants.
The Quest for Redemption
Everyone loves a comeback story.
The assassin’s often perilous journey towards redemption serves as a metaphor for the human condition, filled with mistakes and second chances.
It’s Rocky, but with fewer boxing gloves and more throwing knives.
Beneath the literal armour—usually made of some unbreakable, mythical material—is an emotional shield.
This emotional detachment is a survival mechanism, and yet, it’s usually their ‘soft spot’ that makes them relatable.
Yes, they can kill you, but they also have feelings, making them as paradoxically human as a vegan at a barbecue.
So, the psychology of assassins in fantasy literature taps into several layers of the human psyche: the allure of the outsider, the moral duality we all grapple with, and the undeniable need for agency.
They reflect our societal shortcomings and inner conflicts, all while keeping us enthralled with their high-stakes adventures.
So, the next time you find yourself rooting for an assassin, remember that you’re not just indulging in a thrilling narrative—you’re engaging in a complex psychological experience, proving that sometimes the pen is indeed mightier than the sword.
Or, in this case, the dagger.