This post is part of a series of blog posts I’m calling What’s in a Name? which aspires to enlighten not the famous question itself, whether a rose would by any other name smell as sweet (I’ll leave that up to those with special semantics skills), but to shed light upon the characters of The Landskapë Saga and, thus, illuminate the stories, the energy and, in some cases, the conflict behind their named existence.
NB! These posts include some spoilers.
( /ˈɒtəʊ/ )
Otto Evenson, the father of our heroine Freja, is more of a fickle creature than meets the eye at first glance. Don’t let his handsome exterior and kind eyes fool you. Instead, let your eye linger a moment longer, let it not stray when most eyes would, and you’ll find that Otto is just waiting for the hot steam from his freshly baked goods to distract his observer before he reveals his true colours …
The Good and Evil Angels by William Blake
“Otto” is of course a palindrome, a word that reads the exact same way backwards as forwards – and in this exact fact we find some important clues to Otto’s character. Towards the end of Bell Eleven we find out that he is not who he seems to be. Don’t worry, I won’t spoil with exact details.
The point is that the palindrome he bears reflects his existence. As “Otto” reverses identically on its own axis, Otto Evenson is one character with two directions. Neither aspect of his character is absolute, both strings of his being equal in building his character from two directions. From the O’s supporting the T’s forming the middle on each side, his conflicting persons battling within support and shape the character that he is.
Given the consequences of this revelation, to himself and to those around him, we may be quick in concluding that it’s a flaw in his character, but is this really true? Isn’t it a strength to have the two parts of him, provided that he can reconcile them? Does it not bless him with a unique point of view, particularly important in the times of turmoil we see in The Landskapë Saga?
Whether Otto is good or evil, or both, or neither, I leave up to you to decide for yourselves. Rest assure though that like the good angel in Blake’s painting, Otto will always protect his daughter no matter the price. But like the evil angel he is forever chained to his unchangeable nature and it is a burden he must carry, whatever consequences may rust those chains.