Since The Blood Confession was published, I’ve received emails inquiring about the nature of the character Sinestra. He’s a mysterious presence in the life of Erzebet, the main character of the book, who is so desparate to retain her youth and beauty that she descends into madness and murder.
I’ve been overwhelmed with the number of questions about Sinestra: “Was he really the devil? I mean, I think he is, but I just want to be sure.”
To be blunt, yes, to me he is the devil. I’ve heard other interesting theories, and I’m certainly willing to entertain them. In fact, I welcome other interpretations of the book. But for me, when I was writing it, Sinestra was the devil. He was the fallen angel–the star falling from the sky on the day of Erzebet’s birth. And he’s the one who tempts her (though it doesn’t take much cajoling) to create hell on earth.
But isn’t he physically present? Doesn’t she see him, touch him? Doesn’t he leave her presents? Yes, yes, and yes. But can’t the devil do all of that? If there were an evil power in the world like the devil (and I’m not saying I actually believe this, but for the purpose of fiction, lets suppose) wouldn’t he be capable of having a corporeal body if that is what is required to tempt a soul to evil? Wouldn’t he be capable of leaving gifts that may intrigue his victim/protege further, leading her thoughts to him and to her own dark desires? If there was an evil such as this, walking the earth, I think he or she would use every trick in the book to dupe us, seduce us, trick us into committing acts of evil, ourselves.
As for Erzebet…devil or no, she made a choice to commit evil, to commit murder, and should be held accountable. Throughout writing the book I was anxious to avoid a “devil made her do it” feeling, as if the influence of the devil would somehow release her of the responsibility from her own actions. She allowed herself to be seduced, and she acted of her own free will.