Time to take a look at another one of the bad guys from The Ministry of Thunder.
A very dangerous lady.
It’s time to talk about Elizabeth Kalaratri von Hungern Sternberg, Lady of Khrom, Warden of the Agarthi, Mistress of the Migoi, Mother of Destruction, She That Must Be Obeyed.
The evil lady with the airship.
Sabatini calls her Genghiz Kitty.
It’s faster like that.
Now, Kitty does have a reason for being so evil and vindictive – in the first draft of the story she was the main bad guy of my story, and was downgraded to associated bad guy in the final draft.
This meant cutting some of her scenes, and treat her pretty roughly.
She’s got a reason for being that angry.
Genghiz Kitty claims to be the daughter of Roman von Hungern Sternberg, the Mad Baron.
Sabatini is dubious – she’s too old, and then the Mad Baron was probably not really active in the reproductive department.
And indeed, Felix is right – I know who’s the real father of the self-proclaimed Avatara of Durga and Mother of Destruction.
And I’m saving that bit for a sequel, if ever it will happen1.
Genghiz Kitty is a femme fatale in the old pulp style – she’s the sort that wears silk and designer furs in the middle of combat, that smokes strange cigarettes with long cigarette-holders, and gives off a definite sado-masochistic vibe.
She has an automatic gun, an army of Mongol raiders, demon servants, an airship (wherever did she get one?!), a taste for drugs and illicit pleasures and a cunning plan.
Just add a scruffy hero and shake.
The character of Elizabeth is partially drawn on the basis of Kari von Fursten, the character played by Lauren Hutton (absolutely stunning) in the 1984 movie Lassiter.
Kari Von Fursten: Berlin… for me it is the only city. Well Shanghai can be pretty interesting.
Nick Lassiter: Intersting in what way?
Kari Von Fursten: In diversions. In amusements of a particular nature. Women with animals, drugs, little boys, pleasure… and pain.
Talk about a girl that knows how to party.
So yes, Genghiz Kitty is Kari, with the amp turned up to eleven.
She’s really as much depraved as Helena pretends to be – and lacks the humor, and the common sense.
This being my novel, I also threw in a Henry Rider Haggard reference.
When I wrote the character, both in the first draft and the final, I wanted to play the old cliché, but somehow save the dignity of Kitty.
I did not want to make her a caricature.
Granted, she’s completely bonkers, as mad as a hatter – and yet she’s smart, and somewhat driven.
She’s a twisted character, and she takes full responsibility for her own twisted ways.
So yes, I like her a bit.
I like Pat and Helena much more, maybe because they are not homicidal Nazis.
And the Nazi references are there on purpose. Genghiz Kitty is in part modeled on some of the women that were the most staunch supporters of Hitler‘s madness – and her character is certainly influenced by what I read in some published letters those enthusiastic Nazi mothers and daughters wrote to their leader.
I find the idea of women supporting the Nazi ideology particularly disquieting and sad.
Is there anything else we can say about her?
What’s that reference to the Migoi in her long list of titles and roles?
To meet the Migoi, I fear, you’ll have to read my novel.
And should you happen to read The Ministry of Thunder, please let me know what you think!
- and I really hope it does. ↩