Q: What’s the Governor’s origin?
A: Provincial Governor Anton Rieflin originally started out in The Phoenix Effect as more of an obstacle for Caren and Alec, as he’d originally been slated to be the token ‘guy in charge who obviously doesn’t know what’s really going on.’ That kind of character frustrated me, however, because it could be so predictable. His character expanded significantly when I started A Division of Souls, when I decided he’d be a lot smarter than he let on. I also gave him his own subplot, having to deal with the frustrations of city politics while something completely non-political was affecting his city.
Q: How is he connected to the Mendaihu Universe?
A: As soon as Nehalé Usarai’s mas awakening ritual calmed down, I started to think: the governor’s not going to like this. This kind of ties in with things I notice with this kind of story: something huge happens that affects thousands of people…and either the government is nonexistent, or they’re the stubborn wrench in the works that keeps our heroes from getting things done. I chose to play it a little more realistically: the government is well aware of what just happened and want to do something about it. Rieflin’s conflict is that his councilors have stalemated: half want to follow the Mendaihu request of remaining hands-off for now, but the other half want to get involved and stop it by force if they have to.
As far as he knows, he’s neither Mendaihu nor Shenaihu, so he has the added conflict of not exactly understanding what’s going on in the spiritual realm…but he’s open minded and willing to learn.
Q: Is he based on anyone in particular?
A: No, just someone who makes an impression on you partly because of his size (he’s quite tall at nearly seven feet, and is often mistaken for being Meraladian, which he’s not), and partly because of his personality. He honestly does have the best of intentions, and is well aware of the intentions of the citizens he governs. He’s just an all around nice guy, even despite what the naysayers and the cynics say. His name is a Tuckerization of two drummers: Anton Fig (David Letterman’s house band) and Bill Rieflin (Ministry, KMFDM, etc). In my head, his last name is pronounced RYE-flinn.
Q: Even though he’s the province’s leader, he defers quite often to Nandahya Mirades, his Meraladian second in command. Is that regular protocol?
A: Yes, it is. The Provincial Governor’s Council is set up with a certain amount of balance: each councilor represents a specific department, and there is also a corresponding councilor for a related department. For instance, we have Commissioner Allen Tatreaux of the Alien Relations Unit balancing out General Stephen Phillips of the Special Forces Guard. Nandahya Mirades [Nahn-DAH-yah MEE-rah-dees] is considered Rieflin’s balance, so whenever a deciding vote is needed from the leader, it must come from both of them.
Q: Anything else?
A: As Provincial Governor, he has living quarters in the Mirades Tower, not far from his offices, but he also owns a house on Sachers Island. He’s single and has no children at this time, but his parents and siblings live across the river in the suburbs. He’s a very intelligent and curious person; he holds degrees in business, political theory and history, all acquired at Bridgetown University. He’s well aware that some citizens view him as a puppet and/or an idiot, and he likes to use that to his advantage…that way he will often surprise them by doing exactly the right thing at the right time. He likes to be able to trust those he works with, without needing to constantly monitor them or question their motives. He has a very low tolerance level for bullshit and will call people on it without holding back. He has a very high appreciation for art, and isn’t so bad an artist himself. Among the few paintings he has hung in his Tower office, he also has a framed painting he did himself, of Bridgetown as seen from the Crest at Breed’s Hill.