"Mature" is probably one of the most abused words in the English language. In fact, when I say "mature", the first ideas in your head are probably Call of Duty or Mortal Combat, or on the television side of things, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, or The Walking Dead.
All this association is due to a rather prolific conflation- That "mature" means adult audiences can handle it, rather than that adult audiences will appreciate it and call it meaningful.
Hence The Blood King.
I doodled him once in my sketchbook to crack myself up, mostly, but I've been thinking about what he really represents.
Obviously the picture is pretty tame, but if I were playing him seriously instead of as a joke, he would BE a conflation of Maturity. An evil dictator perpetually coated in gore is something a child would not be able to handle, while an adult would, but the adult who appreciates real maturity would think the concept is not at all mature.
Coat him in cow pats instead and call him The Poopy King and the effect is little changed.
No, what The Blood King is, is in fact an immature understanding of maturity. It is grown up concepts put together without consideration for meaning, and it is precisely the sort of thing many young writers come up with.
Briefly, before finalizing VHV itself, I had a few concepts bumping around. I too, was a young writer.
So naturally, what VHV was at one point before it was VHV, was this.
(I was almost certain I lost this picture! Thank goodness I never clean my files...)
Young me thought it was great. It was serious, dark and gritty, and it meant something because I was starting to grow a cynicism gland.
That teenaged gland was also a bit out of control. Novel ideas often come to the forefront as they contrast others and are... Well... Novel. New ideas are always fascinating.
These days I see this idea for what it is- Apocalyptic, hopeless, hollow, and so dark I would not be able to care. It is, after all, contrast of any kind which helps build a story- Narrative, tonal, character, palette, settings and more and any combination of any of these.
Alas, too many these days never grow out of their Blood Kings. For whatever reason- People failing to count their blessings, a twisted love for horrible things, producing a work whose darkness morbidly fascinating and so being unable to stop writing, such works being what the audience wants for many of the same reasons- Darkness, especially about the future, is prolific now, and it is seldom mature.
It pretends to be, yes- and what young writer would not do so themselves?
People believe it is deep- Almost to justify their morbid fascination with these horrors.
But as opposed to the eternal story of good versus evil, when it comes to fiction, darkness without light does not stand a chance. Alone, darkness is simply inky, unclear and unpleasant.
It's not good for you, to be hopeless.
It's not good for you either, to consume only that which is hopeless. That dark, muddy, bloody, conflation of maturity.
So let me end on this: Do not forget to write good things.
Do not forget to read good things.
Dethrone your Blood Kings.