YMMV / The Player of Games

  • Complete Monster: Emperor-Regent Nicosar of Azad is a master player of the ruthless game of Azad that determines everything in the empire's society. A sadistic psychopath, Nicosar rules via torture, murder and brutality while broadcasting regular videos to the population with the "losers" facing mutilation, death or rape. Women are also seen as second-rate citizens, with abuse and violence towards them accepted, and any females who assault a male are summarily tortured to death. Despite his seemingly benevolent and passive fašade, Nicosar rules over the Empire with an iron fist, regularly executing any who would try to rebel against him, and subjecting his own men to terrible torments should they cross him. When Nicosar plays the novel's hero Gurgeh, Nicosar is bested in Azad and orders his guards to massacre all the spectators, deciding if he has to go down, he'll simply kill every single one of his own subjects in the process.
  • Magnificent Bastard: As ever, Special Circumstances, and especially their main agent. That drone? Yeah...the same drone that blackmailed "Morat", is also his helper in this...Special Circumstances planned the WHOLE thing.
    • Maybe even more than that. Contact have apparently known about the Empire for 73 years. Gurgeh is 60. He may have been specially genetically engineered and/or nurtured for the purpose of playing Azad. He mentions the possibility himself towards the end. SC deny it, naturally, and they may be telling the truth. But you have to wonder...