Inside the mind of a Bond supervillain: Psychotic, autistic - or neither?

Also - 007's Dr Who style differing personalities


Men only

Renard:

“A psychopath who can't feel pain - a double hit. I think I like Renard the best. He was kicked out of the KGB for being too mental, and then he became a terrorist. There's no better CV for a hardcore psychopath, is there? There's an idea that Renard feels 'depressed' about not being able to feel physically, but I don't think his behaviour can be explained by this injury - it happens after he gets sacked from the KGB. I remember watching this at the cinema being totally impressed at this portrayal of someone who doesn't really seem to feel anything. How do you empathise with a psychopath like this?”

(c) Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. TM Danjaq, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Kind to animals - not always a good sign

Scaramanga:

“A gun for hire. His early life is interesting - a trick shot with the circus, killing a policeman who shoots a rampaging elephant. Perhaps this suggests a human side to him, but I wonder whether this was a child who didn't get much pleasure and friendship from humans, preferring animals instead. He's another ex-KGB type - this time one who got bored. He's motivated by money, uncaring about the humans he's hired to kill, and doesn't seem to care much for human company.”

We searched in vain for any really good female Bond villain examples.

“Rosa Klebb is a bit of caricature, and Miranda Frost’s just a boring honey-trap double agent. Elektra King is the closest thing to a proper female villain, but I think she's outdone by Renard, who did kidnap her in the first place. Bond thinks she has Stockholm Syndrome, and maybe this is sensible, but I think it's clear that she is a pretty cold-blooded individual. I guess a proper villain should be seen as pretty psychopathic - you don't want your audience to start feeling sorry for them."

Finally, what about Bond? What kind of troubled mind becomes the perfect secret agent?

Credit: Sony/Eon/MGM

What madness can we expect from this fellow?

“I think that you can take two perspectives on this. You could argue first that he's a narcissist with psychopathic type personality traits - but a very British kind - he doesn't need to commit crimes to get his fill of danger, excitement and status - the British government is paying him for that. This Bond is quite low in emotional empathy, he's loyal to those he believes in, but not so far as to let it cloud his judgement. He's very low-anxious, with a very high opinion of himself. In this view, Bond really fulfills the personality characteristics desirable in fighter pilots: importantly, he does what he's told by his superiors.

(c) Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. TM Danjaq, LLC. All Rights Reserved

The most emotionless killer of them all?

“The second view you can take is that 'Bond' is as much a code-name as 007. If you take this view, then you can see that not every Bond copes well with the demands of the job. In this scenario, George Lazenby's Bond only lasts one outing - the death of his wife was clearly too much for him. After that, Bonds become a little tougher in character. Dalton's, particularly, tried to get closer to Fleming's idea of a darker, more conflicted man.

“Compare this to someone like Brosnan or Connery, who seem to relish their jobs with much less personal darkness. It's then not so much of a surprise that these Bonds lasted longest. Daniel Craig's Bond appears to be coldest yet. This is my favourite view - I like the idea that each Bond is individual. It also allows you to deal with inconsistencies in behaviour.”

On that basis, the most well-balanced Bond is Sir Roger Moore. Unruffled to the last, he met triumph and adversity each with the same wry lift of an eyebrow.

As a method of coping with the stress of a modern, high-pressure work environment the Roger Moore method just can’t be beat. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Prisons transcribe private phone calls with inmates using speech-to-text AI

    Plus: A drug designed by machine learning algorithms to treat liver disease reaches human clinical trials and more

    In brief Prisons around the US are installing AI speech-to-text models to automatically transcribe conversations with inmates during their phone calls.

    A series of contracts and emails from eight different states revealed how Verus, an AI application developed by LEO Technologies and based on a speech-to-text system offered by Amazon, was used to eavesdrop on prisoners’ phone calls.

    In a sales pitch, LEO’s CEO James Sexton told officials working for a jail in Cook County, Illinois, that one of its customers in Calhoun County, Alabama, uses the software to protect prisons from getting sued, according to an investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Continue reading
  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021