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Todd Jensen writes...

Since you and Entity recently (as of July 20th) had a brief exchange about Xanatos's characterization, I thought that I'd give a thought of my own about him.

One thing that has occurred to me is that there was an intriguing paradox about Xanatos in his "feud" with the gargoyles. One advantage that Xanatos had over the conventional "cartoon super-villain" was that he was a level-headed, practical man who wasn't interested in revenge or pointless vendettas. And this, on one level, made him potentially a more challenging adversary for the gargoyles. Because as a result, he wasn't likely to get so distracted in carrying out his personal score with the clan that he'd make foolish mistakes which they could take advantage of and thereby win, the way that more conventional "master-villains" in animated series do (and which, elsewhere in "Gargoyles", the Archmage himself fell prey to, when he kept on making strategic and tactical errors in "Avalon" - such as not waiting until dawn to attack or in magically tormenting Goliath when he could just as easily have simply zapped him into a pile of dust). It removed the leading source of "mistakes that antagonists make" which can save the day for the protagonists.

But, ironically enough, this very trait of Xanatos's also may have helped the gargoyles in a way. For, since Xanatos wasn't a revenge-crazed man, he wouldn't be likely to be constantly pursuing the gargoyles obssessively in "conventional cartoon super-villain" style, and indeed, he didn't. He went after them because he had specific plans about what to do with them (using them as his agents for such operations as stealing the disks from Cyberbiotics). But that motive didn't take too long to be discarded, as it became increasingly aware to Xanatos that he couldn't make use of the gargoyles in that way ever again; in fact, I recently noticed, upon examining his actions closer, that in Season Two, despite his continued clashes with the clan, he had stopped attempting to actually capture and dominate them (the one exception being his capture of Hudson in "The Price", and then there was a different reason for that - the need to use Hudson as a guinea pig for the Cauldron of Life). So he no longer had a serious reason for capturing them, and consequently, didn't see the need to make those efforts. The only possible reason left for going after the gargoyles was that of revenge, and that obviously didn't interest him. So he had no reason to pursue them (and indeed, seems to have even been aware, as the ending of "City of Stone" makes clear, that leaving them more or less at liberty could be much more advantageous to him anyway). He could afford to leave them alone.

So I find it an amusing paradox that the very factor which could have made Xanatos a serious threat to the gargoyles actually helped to make him less of a threat than he might have been. He wasn't obssessively pursuing them on the basis of a pointless grudge. He went after them only when he saw a genuine need to, and there was increasingly less reason for him to capture or destroy the whole clan as the series went on (and good reason, on the other hand, to let them be).

Greg responds...

Sound analysis. I've said it before, I think as villains go, David and Demona are too fairly original characters. I'm proud of all my babies, so to speak, but I'm particularly proud of these two and how different they are from each other and yet how they both constantly presented us not merely with 'evil plot of the week' material but with challenging character work. They wrote themselves.

Response recorded on September 06, 2001