I think we have enough votes to cut all the Death Note
examples now and the one from Berserk
. I'll also burn that Godzilla
entry, and start trying to figure out what exactly to do with the other bad film ones.
In the meantime, I have a new character I would like to suggest: Yuri Grigorivich from the Dan Smith novel The Child Thief
Who is Yuri? What has Yuri done?
The novel is set in 1930 in the Ukraine. Yuri is a veteran of WWI and the Russian Civil War. He misses the fighting, and so, in order to amuse himself, comes up with a way to get that rush back: he kidnaps a child or children from a village, and when the kid's friends and family come after him, he picks off the pursuers one at a time. It's a game he's played several times by his own admission, but the novel deals with a specific incident, so that's what I'll be describing.
Anyway, at the start of the book, the father of Yuri's two most recent kidnapees staggers into the village of Vyriv, dragging a sled on which are the corpses of his son and daughter, both killed and mutilated by Yuri. He himself has been shot by Yuri, and is near death. In the chaos that the man's arrival causes (the villagers think he
is the child killer and lynch him) Yuri slips into town and kidnaps Dariya, niece of the novel's protagonist, Luka. Luka, Dariya's father Dimitri, and Luka's sons Viktor and Petro set off after him.
Over the course of the novel, Yuri proceeds to gutshoot Dimitri, leaving him to die a slow, agonising death. Luka notes that had Yuri wanted to, he could have killed Dimitri instantly, but instead he makes his death as slow as possible. He also tries and fails to kill Luka and his sons. When Yuri and his pursuers run into a Red Army detachment, he loses Dariya and Luka retrieves her; we discover then that Yuri has sliced away most of her right thigh and smoked it for eating later on. When Luka escapes from the Red Army, Yuri pursues he and Dariya, planning to regain ownership of her. He kills Petro the same way that he killed Dimitri and tricks Luka into killing an innocent soldier named Anatoly, before Luka puts him down. He admits, as he is dying, that after killing Luka and Viktor he planned to cook and eat Dariya.
Are his actions heinous by the standards of the setting?
Yes. The Red Army soldiers that we encounter are bastards, but none of them are as sadistic as Yuri, and most of them are disgusted by the idea of cannibalism. When the Red Army catches Luka and Dariya, the local leader, Lemerentov believes that Luka is the one who has mutilated Dariya, and plans to hang him for it. Lemerentov and Luka actually have a very good conversation about war, and what it makes people do; both of them find what Yuri has done to be vile beyond belief.
Does he have any redeeming traits?
No. Yuri's only sympathetic moments (when he is pretending to be a fellow prisoner in order to screw with Luka) are revealed to be lies. Beyond that he never shows concern for another human being, has no family or friends to speak of, and treats other people as targets. This is again contrasted with Lemrentov, who actually has some redeeming traits, and hates himself for what he has done for Stalin.
None. Yuri's a veteran, but there is no evidence of shellshock, and any other excuse is absent. It's worth noting that Luka is a Shell-Shocked Veteran
for the Imperial, Red, and Black Armies, yet is nowhere close to the monster that Yuri is. Similarly, Lemrentov, who has Stalin in back of him, still has human feelings. Yuri has none of that.
Conclusion: I'd say add, but I'm curious as to the opinions of others.