Which is the more powerful as a driver of plot: power or desire?
Thank you all, as usually, for your comments and especially for the recent ones on the wonder of light sabres and human weapons. But now to move on to something completely different ...
... now, I realise that power and desire are often mistaken for one another and/or conflated into being the same thing - but as far as I'm concerned, they are in fact quite distinct. Certainly, if someone with power can lack desire whereas someone with great desire can lack power, then clearly the two are not the same. So ... which do you think has been the greatest driver of plots in SFF?
My vote would be for desire. A desire for survival. For a special someone. For an item or article. I find desire more interesting than power.
I'd assume for the protagonist it's desire; for the antagonist it's power.
This is from George Orwell, 1984. The desire for power. It's both.
"Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.”
― George Orwell, 1984
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