Wednesday 3 September 2014

The End Times: Character death and product

(Page 190 now, I'm not usually this slow a reader but this is a book I really want to take in rather than rush through and forget. This post, as the title suggests, is about character death so beware THE MOST SERIOUS SPOILERS THIS WEEK though certainly don't expect an exhaustive list because that isn't what this is.)

Even if you set aside the wholesale annihilation of the Border Princes, Estalia, most of Kislev and everything Tilean north of Sartosa, The End Times: Nagash still has an absolutely epic amount of significant deaths in it. I've already held forth on the rubbing out of Heinrich Kemmler but by this point I have to concede that Warhammer's most vintage villain dying is small potatoes.

In a moment of mild cynicism my friend Matt and I wondered how many of these deaths would match up to old or out-of-production models but I'm... not exactly “happy” but shall we say “reassured” that this hasn't been the case. Yes, Kemmler's sculpt is ancient and all the Bretonnian special characters are either dead, missing or so transformed you'd expect a new model when the time comes around. Now I like the Fay Enchantress, King Leoun Leonceour and the Green Knight but they all have chunky, blunt swords and suffer various scaling issues, not least of which is Leoncoeur's Hyppogryph which is minute by the standards of modern monstrous mounts.

Yes, I can see why GW would perhaps want to shift them off the board or relaunch them with new concepts. Yet there are characters who've died that I can't account for with that: Volkmar received a new model two years ago and whilst Thorek and his Anvil Of Doom are old you'd think they'd want to keep the thing around to make a fantastic new centrepiece model someday.

So what I'm saying is that these are not totally cynical deaths motivated by cutting outdated product from the webstore. Some may serve that purpose, might even have been written in for that very reason, but there are others which appear to exist for purely creative reasons. It's a good sign, I feel.

Which all brings us the upcoming Gotrek & Felix novel Kinslayer, which promises to be “Book One of the Doom of Gotrek Gurnisson” and I only have this to say on the subject:

Please, Black Library, please kill him! I like the Gotrek & Felix novels as much as the next fan but this series needs to end. I remember the scene in Shamanslayer where Nathan Long was clearly angling to kill Gotrek and it would have been a fantastic scene, it was so well set up to serve all the characters perfectly. Frankly, the odds that any other death would match up is slim but the time has come to bite the damn bullet and put this franchise to sleep especially as by this point the series timeline is so screwed up in relation to the rest of the Warhammer world.

Gotrek's death is, actually, something to look forward to and since he is a fictional character with a twenty year time jump in his story he can prance forever through the Elysian fields of short stories and nostalgia novels if you so wish.

I am not one to cry “cash grab” at Games Workshop because I'm an adult with some understanding of economics but I do have a problem with marketing through false hope and if I'm promised doom I expect some bloody doom. 

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