I mentioned earlier that Savasi culture was changing and uncertain after its years under Iver the war-loving warlord. As it is growing recognized that the Savasi have taken many casualties and must breed aggressively to survive, Iver can paint abstinence and homosexuality as betrayals of one’s duty to society. What the last generation might’ve called hedonism and promiscuity is now what Iver can claim is good and normal. (Again, some of this has its roots in the early Bible, which has plenty of its own reproductive obsessions.) I’m obviously not endorsing “monogamy for all” as the only sexual morality worth having—you’ve met Frigg, right?—but the point is that Iver can ride that cultural shift and bend it toward his own ends, while indulging his own homophobia at the same time.

Would this mudslinging have worked out for Iver if not for Gravedust’s intervention? At this point, I honestly don’t know. In the short term, Harky and Penk are getting politically blitzkrieged: neither of them was remotely prepared for this sort of attack on their character. They’re paralyzed by outrage and amazement. On the other hand, insulting two warrior trolls to their face right when they’re both already primed to kill somebody is a course of action with a few obvious drawbacks. Iver’s anticipated a bit of that, bringing Magda in to act as his bodyguard, but Magda’s as likely to turn on him as help him at this point.

Iver is, I think, best understood as a middling politician with ambitions beyond his abilities and a talent for gaining power by betrayal, a bit like Taro, or like Scar in The Lion King. He’s not savvy enough or emotionally balanced enough to found a lasting empire. But such people can still do a lot of damage before their downfall, so it’s important that Gravedust makes this coup attempt a short one.

FB: Iver won’t rest until he’s been heterosexual with ALL the she-dwarves of the Savasi! Truly, there are few who love their country quite as he does.