River Crowley is the leader of the existentialist cult, Lea Monde. He’s a highly dualistic person. Kind, patient and forgiving, but also vengeful, ruthless and calculating. He believes in strategic Machiavellianism. In his view, sociopathy and manipulation are weapons just as soldiers wield guns in battle, to be unsheathed and directed at enemies when necessary.
Crowley is a person who’s tried to integrate both his light and dark sides, and he’s achieved it. He’s at once intergalactically inspirational and also peerlessly cutthroat. He has nobility and intelligence, but also intimidation and violence.
He has a humanitarian instinct and sees the plight of people, but sees the reality of the universe and the conflict between the major human factions as a chess game that needs to be won by cold strategy if any change is to occur.
Crowley was a young boy on Andromeda Prime, which was a free world where scarcity had been defeated by technology and individual choice was sacrosanct before the Andromedan Technocracy waged a revolution and deposed the Aristocracy, of which Crowley’s family was a part.
Crowley’s family was murdered and he was mutilated by revolutionaries and left for dead. He found his way into the refugee camps in Antares, broken, broke and an untreated amputee, before mysteriously reemerging 30 years later with a cult following that could threaten any of the three prominent intergalactic factions.
- Existentialism and Buddhism — Points of Linkage
- Nietzsche and Thus Spoke Zarathustra: The Last Man and The Superman
- The Punishment of Prometheus: The Creation of Humanity
- Kabbalah – Origins of the Sefirot and Tree of Life – Isaac the Blind Saggi Nehor & Azriel of Gerona
- Kierkegaard: Leap of Faith VS Camus: The Absurd | Philosophy & Existentialism
- Carl Jung, Archetypes and the Mystery of the Collective Unconscious
Crowley is the leader of Lea Monde, an existentialist cult that believes in eliminating scarcity from the universe through technology to free individuals to pursue their paths of meaning without reliance on a central authority.
Lea Monde’s agenda is often explained as the universe being built into a factory and a warzone, when it should be a theme park. Crowley thinks his vision will produce a better outcome for all people, but to accomplish it, he needs to win what he views as the grand chess game, which requires him to be as cutthroat and ruthless as his opponents, in his words, the warmongers and the slavers.
The first thing I’d say about River Crowley is his appearance is based on River Phoenix. For those who are younger, they might not know the story of River Phoenix. River Phoenix was the prince of Hollywood in the 90s — all these famous actors and celebrities you see today, from Johnny Depp to Keanu Reeves to his brother Joaquin, he was going to be more famous than all of them, but he died young before he was able to reach his potential.
So the idea for Crowley emerged from this idea of, what if you had this person who was this light of hope taken too soon kind of character, but what if he wasn’t taken, what if, instead, he was beaten, broken and put on death’s door in every way possible and moved from the life of a prince to the lowest, darkest reaches of human existence, and this person, by sheer will, strength of character and intelligence, crawled out from that spot all the way back to the top. What would that person be like? How insane and/or wise would that person have to have become after having their mettle and their spirit tested in such a way?
And so that’s what River Crowley is all about. Obviously the last name Crowley has a lot of connotations with Magick and Hermeticism, and he’s definitely got a lot of that in his theming. In the book, he’s an incredibly learned person, he’s magnificently well-read, including being familiar with texts and ideas that have been banned by the main authorities of the time and scrubbed from public access.
As for influences, they’re not really influences exactly, but he shares some similarities with V from V for Vendetta as well as David Haller from Legion. Magus from Chrono Trigger. He’s certainly based a lot on Colonel Kurtz from Apocalypse Now as that was kind of the cornerstone idea of the whole story, but he’s very different from Colonel Kurtz: where Colonel Kurtz represented a kind of regression to primal savagery, Crowley is almost the opposite, almost radically civil. His compound is not a primal village, it’s a thriving academy of free thought and high technology.
The more I think about it, Mystique from X-Men is also very Crowley.