In "The King of the Klondike" (1993), chapter 8/12 of "The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck", there is half a page which frankly disturbs me, and it has bothered me since I first read it long ago. To me, that part is even worse than when he had a bunch of thugs destroy an African village after they humiliate him, which is the official "one dishonest deed" that Scrooge ever committed.

On the page, Scrooge sits in his secret valley, looking out over the beautiful scene of nature and quiet animals, thinking deep, sentimental, beautiful thoughts... only to then suddenly go into some kind of furious rage and claim that he will return after striking it rich and destroy the entire place just for profit, with big machines, literally shouting about "progress".

To me, this completely conflicts with how I view the character and how Don Rosa seemed to want to depict him (except in this instance). It almost seems like the scene is "reversed"; that he should have begun thinking about bringing large, polluting machines there, to then come to his senses and swear quietly to himself that he will keep the location a secret and never touch it or any other place of natural beauty.

Scrooge comes across as truly greedy and heartless in this moment, especially as his "final decision" is the destructive, soulless one, before he continues on with his lone mining. (Shortly afterwards, as we all know, he finds the huge golden "goose egg".)

I want to make it clear that words cannot describe how much I love this series (and all of Don Rosa's work), but I simply don't understand this part. Just knowing that this fictional character intends to destroy the valley (and supposedly any other place he finds in the future) just for money, rubs me the wrong way and makes me want him to succeed far less than would otherwise have been the case.

Nothing else about Scrooge's personality ever suggests that he actually would "put money first", except for trivial gags such as not wanting to "waste bullets" because "they cost too much" and things like that. He leaves that precious opal in Australia, for example. What I'm talking about in this question feels so completely out of character that I feel as if I've fundamentally missed something about Scrooge...

Yes, he does turn into a bitter loner later, but what I'm asking about happens before he is rich. To me, everything about him suggests that he values beautiful nature and animals and whatnot, and would never be dishonest or do any evil deeds to anyone. That's like the whole... point... of him? That he is the one honest and good-natured business man (or duck) in a world full of liars, thieves and cheaters?

So why did the author decide to show this very unsympathetic side of Scrooge, making the reader (at least me) strongly dislike him when all other actions and (displayed) thoughts suggest that, while certainly "cheap" (mostly as a device to enable humorous situations in the cartoon), he is still full of heart and soul, and would never do what is suggested on that page?

  • 1
    The commentary by Parks is helpful. This comic shows Scrooge at his best and worst, obsessed with money and conflicted about the adventure of getting his fortune (as opposed to having his fortune). Frankly I see the scene as merely one of pique. The valley is making his life a misery and he's fantasising about making the valley as miserable as he himself feels.
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 22, 2021 at 13:20
  • @Valorum Do you mean "The Commentary by Parks" or by "Barks"? Commented Feb 22, 2021 at 20:27
  • @B. Audley In my openion, doing something wrong is more evil and disgusting than thinking about doing something. I suspect that you have sometimes thought about lying, scheating, stealing, killing, etc. without actually doing it. And I suspect that if you had actually done some of the thinks you sometimes flet llike doing you would be a much worse person than you are. Commented Feb 22, 2021 at 21:19
  • @B. Audley Maybe you might want to find Don Rosa's email address and ask him about that scene and why he included it. And maybe get him to post his own answer here. Commented Feb 22, 2021 at 21:35
  • @M.A.Golding - Yes, apologies. That should read Don Rosa. I was referring to their commentary in The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck Vol. 2
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 22, 2021 at 22:01

1 Answer 1


No real human is all good or all evil. Everyone has inborn desires and drives and everyone is given new desires and drives by the experiences of their lives.

Any normal baby can been turned into a evil monster of cruelty by sufficiently bad and perveted life experiences, and any normal baby can be turned someone weonderfully kind and good by sufficiently good life experiences, but it takes extreme "perfect storm" experiences to turn a normal baby into one of those extremes. Most normal babies turn into somewhat mixed persons, somewhere on the wide spectrum between those extremes.

When Scrooge McDuck was introduced by Carl Barks in "A Christmas on Bear Mountain" in 1947 he was depicted as a bitter, hateful miser and hermit. Scrooge invited Donald and the boys to a dinner party only to play a nasty trick on his nephew and his nephew's adorable nephews - or at least as far as I know Scrooge didn't know what terrible brats they had been depicted as in some earlier stories, and should have assumed they were as adorable as Scrooge had been at their ages.

Barks used Scrooge in later Donald Duck stories and made him a bit nicer and more likeable, and even more so when Scrooge got his own comic book. That was necessary to make him a main character, and it can be explained plausibly by regaining contact with his family members and enjoying life with them, and so becoming happier and being influenced by their standards.

And after a few years of making Scrooge softer and nicer, Barks introduced the memorable antagonist and villain Flintheart Glomgold, as sort of a more evil twin of Scrooge.

In their conflicts Scrooge can be seen as sort of a "designated hero".

A Designated Hero is a character who, despite being presented as The Hero within a story, doesn't actually do anything heroic. Viewers may typically see this character as a Jerkass and, at worst, a villain. This is not the same as the deliberately morally ambiguous Anti-Hero. From the praise Designated Heroes receive from other characters, the narrative, and perhaps Word of God, it is plain that the audience is expected to like and root for them. Instead, many viewers have trouble liking the character and may even feel disgusted by them.


Barks certainly expected the readers to want Scrooge to win, since he was the protagonists of the comic book series. But Barks certainly didn't that Scrooge was a perfect or flawless person. Scrooge had the same goals as Glomgold, and their methods were similar, though Scrooge had stricter ethical standards. Flintheart Glomgold was created to show how Scrooge might be if he had not reunited with his family. Barks could show what he thought of Scrooge's worst charateristics through Glomgold, who had even more bad characteristics, without making the fans hate Scrooge himself.

Flintheart Glomgold is a cartoon character created in 1956 by Carl Barks. He is a South African Pekin Duck and the archenemy of Scrooge McDuck, usually portrayed as an ambitious, ruthless, and manipulative businessman who shares many of the same qualities as Scrooge—the drive for massive wealth, and the cunning and creativity to obtain the same—but he lacks any of Scrooge's tendencies towards generosity and compassion.1

Glomgold was originally created in 1956 by Scrooge McDuck artist and creator Carl Barks, the creator of much of the Duck universe. Characterized as an unrepentant miser, tycoon, plutocrat, and general villain, he rarely sees any problem with breaking the law, cheating, or using other unfair tactics in order to fulfill his goal of becoming the world's richest duck. That makes him a "broken mirror" of Scrooge McDuck, whose own avarice is usually tempered with kindness or charity.


Flintheart Glomgold seems to get more obessed with competing with Scrooge and more evil in each of his first three appearances, stooping to attempted murder in his third. He can be seen as a "there but for the grace of God" type warning to Scrooge.

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