mightthinkthat: Ian Richardson posing in front of parliament. (Default)
Francis Ewan Urquhart ([personal profile] mightthinkthat) wrote2014-01-13 04:21 pm
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Helpful Information for Wardens


Francis is hasn't been paired properly yet, so I’m not fussed if we have a perfect pairing or not. Train wrecks can be fun to begin with too.
But we will need a pairing where the dynamics would be interesting for both parties as I’ve had frustrating pairings that did little but stress both sides out. This does mean that if Francis does step on any buttons of yours or your characters, you should let me know before and after pairing. My PM box is open to anyone and I will respond as quickly as I can.
I’d like someone who’s quite active (at least enough that they’ll be able to catch Francis having a crisis, mentally or physically, in good time) and a warden who’s going to find Francis’ manipulation tactics manageable to deal with. This doesn’t mean that the warden can’t be manipulated or the warden can’t be savvy enough to deal with manipulation, but that they won’t take it as a reason to give up on Francis.


If you have pangs of pity, crush them now. Grind them under your heel like old cigar butts.

Francis is a man who thrives on challenge and getting power. He will use charm to get his way but knows when to stand firm and be cold. He is a man to be respected, either as someone accomplished or simply an enemy, it doesn’t matter. He never makes idle threats and doesn’t appreciate being messed about.
Everybody can be valuable. That’s my philosophy.
He does enjoy the challenge people represent, so although I've made him seem quite cold here, he's actually quite personable in front of the scenes. He likes to bring people along rather than reject them, particularly over their moral lines. He's quite impish and has a irreverent attitude that allows him to seem amusing even when he's being objectionable. He's attractive mostly thanks to this charisma.
A man of state needs helpers – little elves and sprites to do his bidding, even unwitting pawns who do not know who they serve.

This is what makes his anger such a shock because it's such a different aspect of him. All the warmth leaves him and he makes the atmosphere frigid. Angering him is not a good idea, though he might seem like he's gotten over it, that view might be deceptive, particularly if you're the warden in charge of him.


Nothing lasts forever. Even the longest, the most glittering reign must come to an end someday.

He's a murderer (numerous), a terrorist (using the IRA as a scapegoat), war crimes (causing innocent children to die as a result of his orders, but also murdering suspected terrorists without a trial), blackmail and extortion (his entire relationship with O'Neill but counts are numerous here as well. Treated it as essential part of the Chief Whip's job. He also used extortion to get the King to abdicate), also fraud (pretended to be Collingridge's brother while committing insider trading).


You might very well think that, but of course, I couldn’t possibly comment.

He was reasonably content to play the game: waiting for his prime minister to see his skills and promote him to Home Secretary but instead Collingridge refused to do so and, adding insult to injury, presumed that he could count on his loyalty from then on. In effect, he made it personal and underestimated him.
“If I can put it bluntly, you have a remarkable brain, and I should like to plunder it.

Naturally, his warden isn't about to make this mistake, so he shouldn't treat them as outright enemies - more like cabinet colleagues: not to be trusted but allowed time to prove themselves too. MPs frequently stab each other in the back, fail to act as upstanding citizens, can be aggressively opinionated, meekly accepting, cunning or naive. And they always, always want something from him: a leg up somehow. While he'll be uncertain of how he's supposed to 'rehabilitate' himself; he'll have no problem understanding the actual relationship between warden and inmate. The warden needs him and the warden has certain advantages he would like: so a relationship is quite logical and he won't contest otherwise, even if they'll undoubtedly find some other reason to pick at each other. He is unlikely to strike out at his warden unless provoked.
That woman said I should be Prime Minister... Glamis, and Cawdor, and King hereafter.

He is an accomplished politician, a man who has led an entire group of countries (Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) for years. If you call what happened a failure, it was due entirely to his views: that people should be expected to rise entirely of their own will and strength and failure to do so is a failure on their parts, not on the government's. As a government worker, he was efficient, determined and devoted. He knew how to handle his cabinet, deal with issues and implement policies. If he wasn't so aggressively callous, he'd have made an astonishing difference in people's lives and a warden should be able to point to his premiership as a testament to his abilities and address how even in the midst of governing a country, he managed to feel unchallenged and underwhelmed. 

His deepest need was that people should like him. An admirable trait, that... in a spaniel or a whore, not, I think, in a Prime Minister.

A warden can certainly address his policies and I do want them addressed eventually. After all, his policies include abolishing the Arts Council, outlawing vagrancy, reintroducing conscription and banning pensioners from National Health Service treatment unless they have paid for Age Insurance. Not the policies of a good man. Although he was unquestionably the head of all of Great Britain, he paid very little attention to Scotland and Wales (and only Ireland because of the IRA was a useful scapegoat: he certainly didn't do it any good). A warden can approach this through logical argument, perhaps instilling him an appreciation for art, pointing out that vagrancy is a sign of a sick nation and blaming the IRA for bombings he committed when he should be suing for peace. You don't have to turn him into a socialist or anything, but making him question them would be a good start.
So let's not involve ourselves in any squeamishness, all right? Because this... is just the start.

He will be very impressed by a clever warden, though he will run rings around people who are book smart and not street smart, so someone who is solely book smart probably won’t be suitable, unless they’re terribly innocent and charming. Even Francis finds people cute. Street smart wardens are likely to engage him, either positively or negatively and by doing so, will gain a lot of influence over his time here. Whether that's good thing or not is entirely up the warden.

So hard to know who to trust in these suspicious days. Does passion engender trust? Not necessarily. And yet we all would wish to feed on certainties.

Someone who is solely in this for the deal would be suitable if they’re upfront about it. This whole making a deal with a mysterious unknowable figure is both foolhardy and admittedly a tempting prospect and Francis will be very fascinated by someone who would take that risk. It's the kind of risk he might have taken, considering he risked everything for his final legacy (which arguably failed, assuming one considers having to be assassinated constitutes a failure).
He’s become far too fond of the sound of his own voice. Unfortunately, other people are starting to like it, too.

Someone who’s doing this for the betterment of mankind is less interesting to him, but not so that they’re uninteresting. He’ll simply take that kind of warden less seriously because of it (and any moralising they might do as a result). This type of warden will not be able to immediately forge a connection with him and will be kept at a distance while Francis decides how to handle them. He'll assume they'll attempt to stop him and not understand him because he wouldn't really understand them. This type of warden may work as an example to Francis, or at the least, prompt some kind of loyalty out of him. Loyalty is something he values greatly and something either warden will be well served by giving it. Prepare to be compared to the King of England, if you're amused by that.

A pat on the head and a biscuit here; short, sharp shock there and a good boot up the backside where indicated.
As for what any warden has to know, Francis is a man who seeks power because he believes he has the right to have it. He’s right wing and that means he believes that fortune, good or bad, is entirely in the hands of the individual, not the society they’ve grown up in. Protestations to the contrary will be dismissed as socialism. 
But this is heavy political stuff, and a warden who isn’t savvy in political arguments would be better served by concentrating on Francis’ more personal dealings.

Mattie Storin was a reporter who approached him shortly after he was shafted by Collingridge. She was beautiful, but also keen and quite intelligent (but not overly so) so he decided to make her a kind of confidante. In fact, the relationship, fully supported by his wife, Elizabeth, had more to do with her connection with the paper and her willingness to print his leaks for him. He managed to entrance Mattie with his charisma and she charmed him with her rapture and so she was seduced by him.

Unfortunately, Mattie's curiosity and determination, both traits Francis considered attractive, became her undoing, as she uncovered the various misdeeds Francis was committing that was bringing him to the Premiership. They met for one final time on the roof and she asked him whether or not he'd acted as she suspected. He confessed to her, asking her if she could be trusted to keep the secret. She decided she could, but Francis decided that he couldn't afford to risk it and threw her off the roof.

It's clear that he has a lot of remorse about this because, unlike the murder of Roger O'Neill, Mattie's murder haunts him through flashbacks, not to mention her recording of it at the time.

The next two he feels less regret for but none the less feels shouldn’t have had to have happened where the murders of Tim Stamper (who only betrayed him because he wanted promotion and, much like the Collingridge did to him, was overlooked) and his other lover, Sarah, who only betrayed him because she’d found out about Mattie (through her tape that Stamper had copied) and thus had to do what she believed was only moral. 

There are other murders, notably that of Roger O'Neill, a cocaine-addled patsy, who was blackmailed into doing Francis' bidding until he became a liability and Francis spiked his cocaine with rat poison. But he feels little or no remorse for these, even believing he'd done the spiralling O'Neill a favour. (A warden may find his dismissal of addicts distasteful and if you want to deal with this, I'll be happy to.)
What a warden needs to do is earn Francis’ trust. He will appreciate honesty, even if he doesn’t return it. He will be happy to answer questions on his life off the Barge, if handled sensitively, and will be quite honest about that, especially if he knows the file will contradict him. Less so about things on the Barge, so a warden will have to figure it out themselves either by keeping a close eye on him or by dissecting what he says.
At first, in order to assimilate to this new culture, Francis will be a model inmate. He’ll try to avoid fights and want to contribute in a job and will do favours and kindnesses to others. A warden, by all means, should encourage this: he might just make a friend or two that’ll not take his manipulative ways.
And even once he gets comfortable, he’ll be all right. Up until he finds himself an enemy, of course, but hopefully by then his warden will have earned his ear and be able to guide him through his anger. (Something his wife used to do, only she’d guide him right into misadventures.)
I wouldn’t suggest that, despite his affairs and the fact that his wife was his enabler, that a warden try to suggest that he and his wife was anything other than loving. Elizabeth was a good, if not moral, wife to him, and they were always both fond and supportive of each other, even if the two of them slept with others for political gain. That said, he misses her, but he doesn't feel the need to go back to her. Ideally, he wants to move on, in one way or another and is looking for further challenges.

This is, of course, to the advantage to any warden, because redemption is a challenge and he'll be, more or less, on board with that. He may even, upon his graduation, become a warden himself. If only for his own amusement.
I think that gives you a good idea, but by all means ask if you’ve any questions and interest. I’m going to be GMT, but active.