y'know, what you said there made me think that this update really does put Ansom in a pretty good light. I dunno if I was reading things wrong, but throughout book 1 I was thinking of Ansom as more of a ... well, not outright stupid
, but certainly not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed.
but then on reading this:
In war, things went terribly wrong all the time. You planned, and you planned contingencies, and you planned contingencies to the contingencies, and you set up reserves and fallbacks to those, et cetera. You thought as hard as you could, all the time, about what to do when your plans failed. Then you marched into battle, and the failures began, and you hoped to have planned for one more failure than actually occurred.
suddenly, my opinion of Ansom has completely changed. maybe he's not all that creative
, but he certainly doesn't appear to be incompetent.
I never thought of Ansom as dumb. For as much as the story of Book 1 relies on GK being badly outmatched, its worth remembering all the advantages Parson had over Ansom.
1.GK itself, one of the strongest defensive positions in the known world.
2.A full description of his opponent, including strengths, weaknesses, and past behaviors. Conversely, Parson was a complete unknown to Ansom.
3.3 to 5 skilled casters, versus the coalition's zero.
4.A much more powerful airforce than the coalition's and unrivaled intelligence (for the first half, anyway).
5.Foreknowledge of the Coalition's basic plan (what Wanda learned from Jillian).
6.Unity of command... kind of. Though Ansom in general got his way from Coalition commanders, a less respected figure might have had to deal with fall out much sooner. Indeed, Sofa King almost abandoned the alliance after the losses in the tunnel.
7.Parson's Bracer. Not only did it let Parson make decisions based on odds instead of false hopes, but it gave him a way to “cheaply” (so it seemed at the time) bargain with Charlie.
With all these points in mind, I find it hard to find any moment in which Ansom did something truly stupid. Unless, the reader inserts his (or her) own knowledge about the series into the equation. Was it stupid for Ansom to believe Parson was bluffing him about the walls? How would he know when he knows nothing of Parson?