Bringing Humphrey back was a big deal, so I wanted to make people wait to find out how he survived. I wanted to get right into the action, so I had to have Humphrey give some exposition on Viggo and give people a reason to be worried about him getting involved. Then right after, I had him attack, and for the next couple of chapters, it would be very touch-and-go so that the readers would see how powerful Viggo is, and still have the question on how Humphrey survived in the back of their minds.
I wanted to establish early on the already existing relationship between Humphrey and Viggo, primarily to create a sense of mystery in the audience because to them, Humphrey literally just got back and now it turns out he and Viggo know each other pretty well. Not to mention the fact that Viggo can understand the wolves, which I did because it opened up the possibility of creating a great relationship and rivalry between him and Humphrey, which it did.
Showing how dangerous Viggo was from the start was important to make him seem like an actual threat which is why the group faces their first devastating loss right at the beginning. Killing Winston, Eve, and Tony along with destroying Kate and Humphrey’s den and losing the pack again seemed like a good way to do that, but this time, the whole pack wouldn’t be able to escape.
I included the flamethrowers because I wanted to drive home the point that, unlike Robert, Viggo will go to extreme measures and use unconventional tactics to get the job done. I also wanted to show off his cleverness and deceitfulness by having him lure Humphrey away and pretend to be Kenya to get him alone, only for the entire thing to be a distraction itself, so he could get them away from the pack.
In reality, he couldn’t have cared less about capturing Kenya, but in doing so, he was able to lure his most important targets away from the pack so that he could then take it over and use it as leverage. And once again, his annoyance with Robert is on display when he tells Robert to stop thinking. He doesn’t want Robert to do anything except what he’s told or else he might screw something up. The original idea for the destruction of Kate and Humphrey’s den was to have Viggo blow it up with a tank, but that felt way too extreme, so I greatly sized it down to a rocket launcher.
There’s not much to be said about chapter four. I wanted to show how Viggo affected Humphrey which is why I added that beginning part with Humphrey giving that frustrated yell. And of course, bringing Martin back to the center of attention. At first in the script for The Final War, he wasn’t mentioned all that much, so over the course of the story, I occasionally brought him back up to keep him on the reader’s minds.
Chapter five is where I started to do the thing all final stories do and bring back old characters or locations. In this case I did both. Going all the way back to A Hero’s Past, I brought Gerald back into the mix and used him as a way to give the group a place to rest and for Humphrey to tell his story. I thought it would be a fun idea to have him being chased by the bear be a thing that happens now as a result of the prank Arnold and Humphrey pulled on him. Looking back, they lived fairly close to each other in A Hero’s Past so I figured a territorial dispute would be a good way to incite these chases. And it would make for a fun callback since this is the last story.
I wanted to have a short chapter, again showing Viggo’s intelligence, this time with chess. Just to further create that divide between him and Robert, by giving Viggo the line, “pieces, as with people, are expendable. No one is irreplaceable”, something that would ironically come back to bite him. I also thought playing chess without check was a cool idea because, as stated, you do have to pay more attention to what’s going on. As for the Art of War reference, I’ve always been kind of interested in that and I feel like it’s something Viggo definitely would’ve read.