The King's Stilts
by Dr. Seuss
Snooze. Geez, Lord Droon, could you be any more cliché?
This guy is like a walking, talking stereotype of a villain. He's a Bad Guy. A black hat.
Unconvinced that we've seen him before?
The resemblance is uncanny, which sets the reader up for a dastardly, dark, and kind of sneaky main character. Like Nosferatu, Lord Droon creeps around in a castle wearing dark clothes and a spooky expression. But unlike Nosferatu, he's not a vampire (and therefore loses the cool points that one acquires with supernatural powers).
An Advisor Who Gives Bad Advice
Let's face it. Lord Droon is a dirty, rotten, no-good, nasty man. But he has a lot of power, because he seems to be the King's most trusted advisor. The problem with that is, in addition to being a jerk, he's also incredibly out of touch with people's needs. When he steals the King's stilts, he doesn't take into consideration that it could have negative effects on everyone:
"Droon!... Droon!... They're gone! They're gone!" The King stood groping in the empty stilt closet, hopelessly searching for what wasn't there.
Lord Droon chuckled to himself. (49-50)
Well, that's not very nice, is it? He has just done something that has the potential to wreak havoc on just about everyone in Binn, and all he can do is chuckle? Lord Droon, operating under the guise of someone who "knows what is best" for the kingdom, actually almost destroys everything by blatantly ignoring the necessary balance that the kingdom and its inhabitants must preserve. Ugh.
The Blind Leading the Not-So Blind
Not even when the Dike Trees are in peril does Lord Droon recognize the magnitude of his evil-doing.
Here's poor Eric, racing through the streets, appalled at the water rushing in. Lord Droon and his dunderhead guards are going through these very same streets, and yet they don't seem to notice the fact that danger (and a watery grave) is moments away. Though he's the one who calls the king's stilts an "eyesore," in the end it is clear that he is the one who is blind to reality.
Sneaky, Droonish Tricks
Okay, so we know he gives bad advice, and he's not the nicest guy in the world. But what really makes this guy a villain, and not just a jerk?
We think it's that he's sneaky and deceitful. In contrast to King Birtram and Eric, who both act nobly when called upon, Lord Droon sneaks around and lies as much as he can. Let's take a look at the whopper that he tells when the king's stilts have initially gone missing:
"I have seen them every day, plotting behind the castle walls. 'A King,' they say, 'should behave like a King, and sit with pomp and dignity upon his royal throne. A King,' they say, 'should never walk on stilts!' It's too bad, Your Majesty, but you must try to do without them." (50)
Way to lie between your teeth, you sneaky Droon.
So he lies about where the king's stilts have gone, he lies about the townspeople hating them, and he even lies about Eric's supposed measles outbreak. It should be clear by this point that there's nothing trustworthy about Lord Droon's behavior.
The nice thing is, the more he lies, the more it becomes clear that King Birtram and Eric will come out on top thanks to their integrity. Also, how can you really win against someone who can run on stilts and has command of a thousand cats? We mean, really. Cut your losses and give up already, Droon.
Droon the Drone
No discussion of Lord Droon would be complete without a nod to that name of his. Droon sounds an awful lot like two very different words: doom and drone. Toss the two together, and you get something close to Droon.
Hmm. Maybe that's because if you behave like a drone, and work all the time without any fun-having, you'll be headed straight for doom.