Sunday, May 18, 2014

Defining Assassins

Since we’ll be discussing assassins and The Queen’s Blade, I thought it fitting to talk about what an assassin is, exactly. Let’s first take a look at the dictionary definitions:

Oxford Dictionaries: “A person who murders an important person for political or religious reasons.”

Merriam-Webster: “A person who commits murder; especially:  one who murders a politically important person either for hire or from fanatical motives.”

As far as I’m concerned, the word ‘assassin’ refers to anyone who is paid to kill another person. However, most of history’s famous assassins were not, in fact, paid to kill, but committed murder for personal reasons, be they political or otherwise. This confuses me – surely if you are not paid to kill, you are nothing but a common murderer? Yet these people go down in history, romanticised as assassins. For example, why is JW Booth an assassin just because he killed a president rather than Joe Soap on the street? It makes no sense to me.

In my opinion, someone who is paid to kill someone else is an assassin. If you are not paid to kill, you’re a murderer. Real assassins don’t have a personal agenda or anything to gain from the kill either, other than the payment. Blade, the master assassin in my fantasy series, The Queen’s Blade, would certainly agree with my definition. In fact, assassins in the series undergo intensive training and have strict rules to adhere to.

What do you think the dictionary and accepted definition of an assassin should be?

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