In The Keys to the Kingdom, each of the trustees have a specific character trait based on the Seven Deadly Sins: (Wikipedia)

The Lower House — Ruled by Mister Monday who is afflicted by Sloth

The Far Reaches — Ruled by Grim Tuesday who is afflicted by Greed

The Border Sea — Ruled by Drowned Wednesday who is afflicted by Gluttony

The Great Maze — Ruled by Sir Thursday who is afflicted by Wrath

The Middle House — Ruled by Lady Friday who is afflicted by Lust

The Upper House — Ruled by Superior Saturday who is afflicted by Envy

The Incomparable Gardens — Ruled by Lord Sunday who is afflicted by Pride

However, I noticed that all of The Will's seven parts have specific character traits as well. For example, in Grim Tuesday, The Bear is very lazy. In Wednesday, The Fish is a cult leader. Do these traits correspond to anything?

  • They're clearly the seven cardinal virtues. The bear is Prudence. The fish is Faith. – Adamant Aug 2 '19 at 4:46
  • @Adamant I was unfamiliar with that (I am not a Christian). Is there a list with the parallels? – TheAsh Aug 2 '19 at 4:48
  • They aren't matched up to their respective sin. Temperance should be opposed to Gluttony for instance. – Adamant Aug 2 '19 at 4:49
  • @Adamant No, I meant in which book was the WIll which, like the Wikipidia list. – TheAsh Aug 2 '19 at 4:50
  • It's a bit tricky because I'm not sure which virtues he's using. Prudence, Temperance, Justice, and Faith are dead giveaways, which means its probably the four worldly virtues plus the three theological virtues. – Adamant Aug 2 '19 at 6:09

Just as the Trustees are afflicted by the seven deadly sins, the parts of the Will each represent one of the seven cardinal virtues, in opposition to the sins. Since Prudence, Temperance, Justice, and Faith are extremely obvious, this means it's probably the four worldly virtues plus the three theological virtues; the later are the famous pistis, elpis, and agape: the faith, hope and love mentioned in the New Testament.

In keeping with the somewhat cynical nature of the House, these virtues are, at least in isolation, nearly as debilitating as the sins. Most of the parts of the will tell us their nature outright.

  • The Frog, represents courage or fortitude. In reality, this simply means overconfidence and an eagerness to charge into danger.

    "You are a Rightful Heir!" bellowed the Will. Then a little more quietly it added, "You are the only one on hand, that is, whether you like it or not. We shall prevail!"

    Mister Monday

  • The Sun Bear represents prudence. In this case, that implies a complete lack of urgency:

    "The outbreak of Nothing is not my concern," continued the Will. "I shall establish an inquiry into the Rightful Heir, and once I have examined all the relevant documents and heard from material witnesses, whoever is granted the Second Key, whether it is returned to your trust or not, shall deal with the Nothing. We must not be too hasty. Prudence is a virtue, as I always say."

    Grim Tuesday

  • The Carp represents faith. This manifests as complete confidence that things will turn out all right.

    "You must have faith," intoned the Carp.

    Drowned Wednesday

  • The Serpent represents justice. In this case, it manifests as an obsession with punishing Sir Thursday:

    Make him angry? Arthur thought back. Are you as crazy as he is? I don't want to make him angry. I don't know how I'm going to survive as it is.
    It is the only form of distraction that will work on Sir Thursday, replied the Will. Distract him, and I will free myself and deliver the Fourth Key to you, Lord Arthur. Then he may be brought to justice.

    Sir Thursday

  • The Beast represents temperance. "Everything in moderation."

    "I wasn't going to," protested the Beast. It had a curiously high-pitched voice that made it sound a bit like a small child. "I never do. Though I must say I like the wrappers. Still, everything in moderation."

    Lady Friday

    And of course:

    "Knowledge, like all things, is best in moderation," intoned the Will. "Knowing everything means you don't need to think, and that is very dangerous."

    Lady Friday

    Interestingly, this part of the Will doesn't seem to be as dysfunctional as the others, at least not that I can detect. It seems to be full of platitudes, but that's irritating at best, and it's neither too eager to get into a fight (like the Snake) nor unwilling to do so without extensive forethought (the Sun Bear). One might imagine that moderation would lead it to always take the middle road when an extreme would be better. Its main weakness seems to be that it's incapable of being anything but bland, and so it can't really inspire anyone to action.

    "This is all rather tedious and besides the point," said the Will. "That isn't the Key, you know. Moreover, it is almost certainly a trap of a very nasty kind. We would all do better to leave and carry on whatever we must discuss outside."

    The Piper ignored the Will.

    Lady Friday

    Thus, no matter how sensible its advice may be, it's prone to being ineffectual.

  • The Raven represents Love (Agape), but seemingly more Charity than Agape. It's the nicest part of the Will by far, and it specifically says it's charitable.

    Part Six of the Will looked at her with one beady eye. “I will be charitable and presume you have good intentions,” it said. “But you be careful, Suzy Blue.”

    Lord Sunday

    It's certainly the only part nice enough to consider the feelings of others.

    ‘Then we should put them back in the water,’ said the Will. ‘To respect his dying wish.’ ‘What?’ asked Arthur. This wasn’t the kind of behaviour he was used to from any part of the Will. ‘We should put them back in,’ the Will repeated. ‘As a matter of respect. Ah, the text for one of my tail feathers has just dropped in. Back in a moment.’

    Superior Saturday

    What this actually means is that it will give people the benefit of the doubt no matter how obviously sinister they are, which in this case led to letting the Piper into the Upper House. This presumably is related to it being bad at planning, although I can't see how.

  • The Apple Tree represents hope. What this actually means is that it can't do anything wait for its chance to be rescued.

    There is always hope, said the Will. As I said, only the Seventh Key can turn the lock, but—

    Lord Sunday

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