Stanley the Tool
- 1 Canon
- 2 Proposed Canon
- 3 Speculation
- 4 Real World References
"Yeah, I hear you. We've had some setbacks. But the thing about a quest for the ultimate power in the world is that it's bound to turn out well."
Strengths: Giving Orders, Taming Dwagons, Knowing What He Wants
Weaknesses: Strategy, Critical Thinking, Human Resource Management
First Appearance: TBFGK 4
Toolism is the belief that Royals are clinging to a dead mandate and the true plan of the Titans is for the possessors of the Arkentools. Specifically, Stanley argues that the Titans have a plan for him, and maybe for the rest of the world too, who cares. His worldview is rather shaken when he discovers himself to be in command of a second Arkentool holder, Wanda.
Pop and early turns
Stanley is a nearly perfect example of the Peter Principle. Before the story started, Stanley started out as a piker-class infantry under the command of King Saline IV of the Plaid. He was probably a truly great Piker, because Saline promoted him to the rank of Warlord. He was probably an adequate Warlord, until he found the Arkenhammer, tamed Dwagons, and became an exceptional Warlord. He would probably have failed as a Chief Warlord, without the advice and support he received from Wanda, but with her aid he eventually became Heir Designate to Saline.Erf-b1-p079
Wanda contacted Stanley after hearing he found the Arkenhammer. Together they planned to attack Wanda's kingdom of Faq. Wanda had intended for Stanley to lose the battle so she could claim the Arkenhammer herself, but Stanley ultimately won and sacked the kingdom. Wanda and Faq's Foolamancer, Jack Snipe joined Stanley's side.Erf-b1-p147
At one point, Stanley took a number of the Plaid's casters, Sizemore Rockwell among them, on a special mission of undisclosed purpose; when Stanley's group returned to Gobwin Knob, they found that it had fallen to an attack from the Gobwins breaking their alliance. With the dwagons, casters, and the bonus from the Arkenhammer, Stanley easily retook the city and became the Ruler of Gobwin Knob.Erf-b1-p079 Ansom believed that Stanley orchestrated this rebellion to come to power.Erf-b1-p034
With Wanda's encouragement, Stanley decided to start a quest for the other Arkentools.Erf-b1-p147 The exact intention and course of this campaign is unknown, although it is mentioned that he attacked Transylvito faction, Elves and wiped out the Milquetoast Clan.Erf-b1-p034 He had at least one skirmish with Jetstone.
As a result of the campaign Stanley lost 10 of his 11 cities and all of his leadership corps.Erf-b1-p005
During the quest, an alliance formed with the aim to defeat Stanley, known as the Royal Crown Coalition.
Story: Chapter 1
Due to the croaking of Manpower the Temporary Stanley needed to choose a new chief warlord. His adviser, Wanda Firebaugh convinced him to summon the perfect warlordErf-b1-p005, who turned out to be Parson GottiErf-b1-p017.
- Stanley managed to make his way from common infantry to Overlord, a very rare career advancement
- He found one of the Arkentools, the Arkenhammer, and was attuned to it
- He used the Arkenhammer to tame dwagons (and crack nuts, which sometimes turned into pigeons)
- Since the events in Chapter 1, he has begun to rebuild his Dwagon army.
In Book One, Stanley is aware of Sizemore's existence, but cannot be bothered to remember his name. Sizemore seems completely resigned to Stanley's abuse as he is to everything else. He perks up even at the brief acknowledgment Stanley gives him when he returns to Gobwin Knob. Sizemore does give Stanley a much-needed morale boost when he and Maggie remake the city of Gobwin Knob with a heavy Stanley Is The Man influence. Obviously, Stanley has no idea of this.
Wanda generally believes Stanley to be a fool, but does believe that he has an important fate. She was subservient and loyal to him - In fact, Wanda was probably the creature Stanley trusted and respected most in the whole Erfworld - but secretly continued to play events to bring her closer to the Pliers.
Since Wanda's attunement to the Arkenpliers she seems to be happy to go along with Stanley's orders as long as she can play with her Pliers and her personal army. Stanley feels somewhat insecure about this new balance of power.
Stanley is aware that Parson is the "Perfect Warlord", and is therefore capable of defeating vastly superior armies by devising radically innovative strategies. But despite this fact, he is deeply ambivalent about allowing Parson to act as Gobwin Knob's Chief Warlord. He knows he can't predict what Parson will do if he gives him the authority to act, but he suspects that while Parson will achieve victory, that victory will come at a higher price than Stanley wishes to pay. He is deeply unhappy that Wanda became attuned to the Arkenpliers as a consequence of Parson's first victory, and is likely to be even more unhappy if Parson's second victory allows Wanda to take control of most of Stanley's Dwagons. Parson dislikes Stanley, who reminds him of every bad boss he ever had in his old life on Earth. He has almost no respect for Stanley beyond his ability to kill him/get him killed. It was recently revealed in LIAB Text 44 that while Stanley recognizes how good a warlord Parson is, he also believes that were he to recognize subordinates it would cause them to slack in their duties. He does have a few complaints such as how expensive Parson's plans tend to be and the occasional mistakes that result from his inexperience.
Stanley is also struggling with his position. He has often commented that he was happiest when he could go out to tame dwagons, fight battles, rock out, and generally be an active part in the dangers of his side. As an Overlord he must avoid any dangerous active role while his subordinates do all the things he wishes he could do.
In Book One, Stanley valued Jack only as a foolamancer but could not be bothered to remember his name. When Stanley attempted to flee to Faq he took Jack to aid in his escape. Stanley became irritated when Jack failed to function properly as a foolamancer. For some reason, Jack seems intensely loyal to Stanley, refusing to turn sides when Jillian attacked Stanley.
Following the battle, Stanley seems to value Jack more, possibly because Jack saved his life in the conflict with Jillian and the ten Warlords of Transylvito. Stanley noted that he was "trying to get better about names", presumably as a result of the problems with Jack, and Jack saving his life in that battle. Stanley now attempts to refer to other units by their names and not their function.
During Ansom's life the two despised each other. They were ideological opposites. Stanley had respect for Ansom's command ability. Ansom had no kind of respect for Stanley.
After decryption they share an ideology (Stanley's). Stanley seems to genuinely like Ansom now and has great respect for his tactical mind. Ansom is devoted to Stanley, but finds him irritating and can't help, despite his feelings of loyalty, seeing a lot of evidence that suggests that Stanley is an incompetent strategist.
The name of the Plaid tribe seems to be purposefully homophonic to "played", which would make Stanley's (and his tribe) original name an indicator of how much of a tool he really is.
The background behind Stanley's rise to power is unclear. At some point, he was appointed heir designate by King Saline IV. Some time after that Stanley left on a special mission taking some casters with him and King Saline IV was croaked by a Gobwin rebellion. The question is why did the Gobwins rebel? Either Stanley orchestrated the rebellion himself or it was planned by someone else. Stanley's lack of strategic thinking make it less likely he worked alone. It is possible that Wanda desired a more easily manipulated ruler and placed Stanley on the throne, perhaps acting in concert with Jack. It is possible that Stanley is actually innocent and had nothing to do with King Saline IV's death. This is admittedly just speculation and we will have to wait for more details to emerge.
Stanley's preferred style is Rocking Out. He has for this purpose an order of knights who also can dance fight, the Knights in Stanley's Service, who wear makeup and armor reminiscent of real life band [KISS], and so far the only song they have been seen rocking out to is indeed a KISS song. This is a well known fact even in the alliance, and the forces of Transylvito prepared themselves for this tactic when they planned the trap in the choke point to FAQ, donning costumes reminiscent of the musical West Side Story and dance fighting to a modified version of the Jet theme song and the song "Cool".
Stanley's attunement to the Arkenhammer is what allows him to Rock Out, a style considered Titanic and superior to mere Dance-Fighting. Before he became Overlord, Stanley won many battles for King Saline I.V. and is likely a powerful warlord. He defeated Caesar and his stack with a single swing of the Arkenhammer.
Possible Character Development
Stanley has shown some instances of character growth through the story. He may have been humbled somewhat by the events of Book One. His series of defeats and nearly being killed himself seem to have shaken him. Upon his return to Gobwin Knob, Stanley mentioned that he was trying to get better with names. He even acknowledged Sizemore which he had never done before apparently. Stanley surprised Parson when he uncharacteristically apologized and admitted that he had been wrong to flee with the dwagons.
Stanley became very insecure after the Battle for Gobwin Knob. He seemed suspicious and jealous of Wanda and her new decrypted army. He seemed to miss the days when he could lead armies, fight battles and tame dwagons but now he was stuck in the capital while he watched the action from the sidelines.
Real World References
Stanley Hand Tools are a fairly widely known company of toolmakers ... albeit better known for knives than hammers...
His name could be a reference to the crown prince of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee.
His name could be a reference to Sir Thomas Stanley, Lord Stanley and King of Mann who famously betrayed the English king Richard III at Bosworth Field (1485) - he was created 1st Earl of Derby (and is the ancestor of current 19th Earl of Derby). It is certainly a reference to Paul Stanley, singer/guitarist of KISS, whose make-up he wears for rocking-out with the Arkenhammer.
In the "Dead Poets' Society", Keating mentions "Stanley 'The Tool' Wilson".
Erfworld launched during the Bush administration when the debate over the Iraq war was reaching its climax. It is possible that Stanley - a militarily ambitious but not intellectually gifted overlord - is in part a satire of George W. Bush.
There is also the actor Stanley Laurel who oddly enough gradually worked his way up the ladder of supporting roles until he became the featured comedian, as well as an understudy to Charlie Chaplin in Fred Karno's comedy company. Now wether this could be a future tie in with Charlie remains to be seen.
King Saline IV
|Ruler of Gobwin Knob||Succeeded by:|
|Chief Warlord of Gobwin Knob||Succeeded by:|