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Literature / Fool

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Fool is a novel by Christopher Moore, published in 2009. The story is essentially a retelling of King Lear from the perspective of Pocket, the fool of Lear's court.

Pocket has been in the employ of Lear since he was a boy, when he proved to be the only one who could make Cordelia, (Lear's youngest daughter, who was Dumb Struck at the time) laugh. When Lear prepares to marry Cordelia off, Pocket is horrified by the thought of never seeing her again and comes up with A Simple Plan to cause the engagement to fall through.

Naturally everything goes wrong, and Lear splits his realm between his daughters Regan and Goneril while disowning Cordelia. A frantic Pocket schemes furiously behind the scenes and tries to stay one step ahead of the many nobles that want to kill him as events unfold, but there are other issues, including a ghost hinting at the dark nature of Pocket's past, that will need to be dealt with as well.

For more, including plenty of spoilers, see here. Compare A Thousand Acres, another Perspective Flip adaptation of Lear that also has a Setting Update to 1979 Iowa.

Fool provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: Cordelia becomes this, and then some.
  • Anti-Hero: Pocket is a fairly wicked and devious character who has no problem committing all sorts of deeds that will result in harm to others.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: And how! Nearly everyone of noble rank is cruel or a self-centered asshat, or both.
  • The Beard: Cordelia to her husband, the King of France.
  • The Big Guy: Drool, a Natural and a fool-in-training, is quite big, and next to Pocket, looks enormous.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: Pocket claims he is much better endowed than most. Drool, on the other hand, is sporting rhinocerous equipment. The women love them for it.
    • Though at one point in the book it's pretty heavily implied Pocket is NOT all that well endowed, but is rather skilled thanks to his... backstory.
  • Black Comedy: Plenty of dark plots, ill treatment, murder, and cruel witticisms.
  • Catchphrase: "Fuckstockings!" by Pocket.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Edmund does this deliberately later in the play. His discussion of the trope is currently the page quote on the trope page.
  • Guile Hero: Pocket, who survives mainly on his wits, and with the occasional help of tricks like concealed daggers and such.
  • Hurricane of Euphemisms: For Pocket, it's a matter of professional pride that he is always able to deliver a stream of impromptu, witty, tailored euphemisms, insults, or innuendo on the spot.
  • Kissing Cousins: Turns out that Pocket is the bastard son of Lear's brother. He's also the lover, and in Cordelia's case eventually husband, of all three of Lear's daughters. Even when he finds out it doesn't stop him from marrying Cordelia. Whether she finds out is unrevealed.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Edmund, naturally.
  • One-Word Title
  • Perspective Flip: It's mostly Shakespeare's King Lear, but the fool tells it how it really happened.
  • Raised by Wolves: Drool was literally raised by wolves.
  • Voice Changeling: This is Drool's natural talent, which Pocket exploits for his own machinations.