He still retained a childlike belief in magic, tempered by an
adult determination to exploit it. If there was anybody capable of relieving
the fairies of some of their magical gold, it was Artemis Fowl the Second.
Here's a crazy thought:
What if what it takes to be a criminal like Artemis is a willingness to exploit
other people <em>and</em>
yourself (i.e. your own beliefs and integrity)?
Gold, of course, was the objective. The acquisition of gold.
It seemed that the People were almost as fond of the precious metal as humans. (2.75)
It seems like every
fairy story has a line about them loving precious metals and gems, except there's
never any real bartering with gold between fairies—so why do we always imagine
they have to care about it like we do?
While it was true that LEP had a ransom fund, because of its
officers' high-risk occupation, no human had ever taken a chunk of it yet. This
didn't stop the Irish population in general from skulking around rainbows,
hoping to win the supernatural lottery. (4.47)
The myth of gold at the
end of the rainbow lasts because there's a certain charm to not having to work
for all those riches, and it's secret and magical in a way the lottery isn't.
Plus, no one ever thinks about something as mundane as paying taxes on
There were things to be done. Fairies to be extorted. He had
no time for his mother's fantasy world. (6.46)
You could argue that
extortion is a form of fantasy in its own right—it's just built on greed
instead of madness.
"There's more that one kind of hunger," noted Argon.
"Very true. Hunger to succeed. Hunger to dominate. Hunger
Could these things,
more so than Artemis's desire for wealth, better explain the reason the end
goal seems to be more about beating the fairies and taking away their only
advantages rather than acquiring a ton of gold?
The gold sat there, stacked in shining rows. It seemed to have
an aura, a warmth, but also an inherent danger. There were a lot of people
willing to die or kill for the unimaginable wealth this gold could bring.
This novel has a weird
way of talking about gold, like it's not wealth in itself but rather that
possessing it will breed more money and other kinds of wealth.
If Fowl's corpse was here, it would be with the gold, of that
she was certain. (9.313)
Even after witnessing
Artemis throughout her captivity, Holly still doesn't really understand him—how
would it alter the dynamic of the story if Holly thought of Artemis as more
than just a thief?
And humans will accept any story, however outlandish, when
there's something in it for them. Preferably something green that folds.
This is one of the only
mentions we get of actual paper money, and it's interesting that Mulch (of all
the characters) is the one who understands humans and their currency best, especially
since he worked in mines with precious metals.
"D'Klass [Santa Claus] thought that the greed of the Mud
People in his kingdom could be assuaged by distributing lavish gifts [...] Of
course, it didn't work. Human greed can never be assuaged, especially not by
Here Artemis gives a
subtle shout-out to greed not being satiated by materials things
("especially not by gifts")—it seems there are definitely things
worth more than gold to him.
He berated himself silently. Imagine parting with all those
millions for the promise of a wish. Oh, the gullibility. (9.385)
unbelievable that Artemis doesn't get some guarantee that his wish will be
fulfilled before releasing the gold. He calls himself <em>gullible </em>here, but it seems possible that he
actually was acting on another very human trait—trust.