The description of the woman who formed the Tentacle Queen (lucky for her, I don’t have her name) was someone who uses her own daughter, plus at least one other child, in adult mind-games. She’s also someone who uses her past to manipulate others (obviously that’s something that drives me absolutely insane in the rather literal sense) and form bonds with people based upon her own descriptions of her past trauma.
People like this are very subtle in real life. Covert narcissism (having been on the receiving end of it for so long, I’m pretty sensitive to the red flags) and it is trying to get that subtle level of manipulation carried over in fiction where everything is laid out for the reader. Trying to tone her down, like trying to tone down Faded Star’s goodness, is proving difficult. She has her minions (Joyce and Kord who she acts through) but she also has the Girls With Hooks Where Hands Should Be. I’m sure at the heart of a covert narcissist is pure evil, but their actions don’t speak that.
When I posted about Middle Age Rae of Fucking Sunshine the other day, I mentioned Era Two (Push the Button/Tainted Love) seemed like a way to rewrite Rae, Reptile and Night of the Penguins. I can see a lot of Reptile in the Tentacle Queen and Rae as well. Those two were written when I knew what a narcissist was but was so trapped within the trauma, I couldn’t describe it. In terms of Night of the Penguins, which I’ll try to remember to include when I post about it in a few days, I’m refining the witchcraft and ritual in it. The characters in Tainted Love/Push the Button don’t exactly have traditional jobs.