“Thrawn” is an archaic English word from one of our many wonderful Northern British dialects (my dictionary didn't specify which one!) meaning “twisted”. It was chosen to reflect Thrawn's role as a creature able to manipulate half-truths. When I posted the title page for Chapter 12 (the chapter in which Thrawn first appears), AzuJOD pointed out that there is also a Star Wars character called Thrawn (what are the odds?!) There's no relation between the two!
He's a demon. From the spirit world. Of course he looks mean and ‘ornery! From memory, I believe the only guidance I gave to the artist (E.C. Nickel) was to stipulate his height and the fact that he had to have tentacles to wrap around his victims while he was zapping them with his evil energies! Other than that, I think I just left it to Nickel to come up with something suitably demonic!
The only other feature of Thrawn’s appearance which is worth mentioning is that, when he first appears at the end of Chapter 12, he is not quite fully formed. There are patches of his flesh which have not yet grown a layer of skin and, in the centre of his chest, his heart is still on show. Eeeew!
Role within the story
As with most of the characters in Shades, Thrawn's role is tied up with the British national character. If good old British common sense relies on the ability to see the other side of an argument, Thrawn's “power” is a dark and twisted version of that. Once an enemy is caught in his tentacles, he will take one of that character's darker personality traits (or twist and distort one of which they are most proud) and turn it against them, thereby undermining their self-belief, destroying them from the inside.
For the purposes of the comic, this ability is represented by a spirit energy known as “phisma”, a word derived from sophism or sophistry (the art of using a “deliberately invalid, misleading or specious argument” - at least according to my dictionary!)
Character study - Thrawn
DAJB at 6:15AM, June 1, 2009
A WW2 fighter pilot, a First Century warrior queen and a prehistoric shaman. Oh, and their tailor. These are not your common-or-garden heroes!
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:23AM
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