The conclusion to Brent Weeks’ Lightbringer Series produced the perfect antagonist. In case you’ve read the books, I’m not referring to Andross Guile. Although he is one of my favorite characters in the series. This trilogy turned pentalogy will probably upset a lot of people – especially during the first few books. You’ll wonder why you enjoy reading it when it goes against what you believe in. Read all the way to the last book. It will be worth it.
The Everything Man
Gavin Guile is the everything man. Emperor of the seven satrapies and head of the church. He was the most powerful man in his world. But he was living a lie. Dazen Guile had killed his brother in their battle at Sundered Rock and stole his identity.
Dazen performed all his brother’s responsibilities. He murdered people in the name of the church though he knew it was wrong. He defended his kingdom with heroic deeds. His inventions advanced his men’s military might. He ruled with mercy and kindness. He became the most beloved of all Prisms.
As lofty as Dazen had risen, the fall his character was subjected to broke my heart. He had been handsome, so his enemy burned his eye out and cut off three of his fingers. As he was an emperor, so he became a slave who was manning the oars of a pirate ship. Because he had great power, he became as dependent on others as an infant.
The Unpromising Boy
Kip Guile was an unpromising boy from the small town of Reston. Fat, awkward and bullied – he was nonetheless the bastard son of Gavin Guile. Kip moved to his father’s castle and Dazen took him under his wing. Pulling strings to get him trained as an elite fighter, they discover that he is a full spectrum polychrome just as powerful as his uncle.
As Dazen fell, Kip rose in potential, power, and fortune. He made it into blackguard training. The bullied boy gained friends who would die to defend him. And people thought he was the Lightbringer who would save the kingdom. Through the manipulation of his grandfather, Andross, he married and fell in love with the beautiful and natural politician’s aide, Tysis Malagos.
The Apparent Antagonist
Andross Guile was the apparent antagonist of this tale. Gavin’s father was a powerful member of the council of the kingdom Dazen ruled. A brilliant manipulator, he chose his eldest son to be the next Prism and matched him with Kariss Whiteoak. When Kariss falls for his younger son, Dazen – the brothers inadvertently start the Fake Prism’s war that ends with Gavin’s death on Sundered Rock.
Throughout the series, it was hinted that Andross was actually Kip’s father, not grandfather. In the final book, flashbacks revealed that Andross thought that he was the Lightbringer. Everything he did: the murder of his youngest son, Sebastian, and Gavin’s installation as Prism was to fulfill his destiny.
Andross Guile had pride to spare. He was smarter than everyone else. Several steps ahead of everybody. When the prophecy did not seem to apply to him anymore, he despaired. He wanted to be the most important man in history. This was his antagonist. Although in the end, he was willing to step back for Kip. He recognized that it took all three of the Guiles, not just him, to fulfill the prophecy. And he didn’t like taking the glory undeserved. He was a little humbled – just a little.
Dazen’s folly was relying on himself too much. He lost his faith because of what the church made him do in Orholam’s name. But he lost faith in Orholam, not in the church who instilled practices to retain power. If God is with you, nothing is impossible. And when he accepted this, he was rewarded with everything he ever wished for. Healed completely and restored, free to live a full life with his beloved Kariss.
Kip’s failing was a lack of faith in himself. When everybody around him believed he is the Lightbringer. He still doubted himself. Even after all his heroic deeds, after becoming Satrap and offered a throne, he lacked confidence in himself.
The True Antagonists
Each of the Guile men were fighting with themselves. Their true antagonists were inside them. What amazed me about how these three characters were developed was that they all wanted to save the world. All three of them had good intentions. But because of their internal battles, they were prevented from doing so. Until they overcame what held them back. That was why mirrors were so important in this story. The symbolism of looking at one’s self was awesome.
I love this series. Although it got audaciously preachy in some parts, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I loved the ending. Mr. Weeks had been very kind to my beloved characters and I thank him for that. I would recommend these to readers of epic fantasies who appreciate well-thought out magic systems.