Bond as strategic thinker

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I’ve been re-reading Ian Fleming’s first novel, Casino Royale, for research. Something leapt out at me. James Bond is not the best strategic thinker.

Bond, thanks to Felix Leither providing much-needed funds from the U.S., bests a Communist operative, LeChiffe at the gaming tables. After winning, Bond drinks a lot of champagne while LeChiffre prepares a counter-attack. Bond eventually is captured.

Too late, it occurs to Bond he should have been more prepared.

He squirmed at the thought of himself washing down champagne at the Roi Gallant while the enemy was busy preparing the counterstroke. He cursed himself and cursed the hubris which had made him so sure that the battle was won and the enemy was in flight.

Chapter 16, The Crawling of the Skin

The thing is, Bond never really learns that lesson. In the novel From Russia With Love, Bond knows the situation is a trap but decides to ride the train to the end. In Dr. No (both novel and film), Bond travels to Crab Key with basically no plan, just bringing a gun with him.

Both the literary and cinema Bond doesn’t do much in the way of planning. In Quantum of Solace, Bond bounces from one situation to another. In the film Skyfall, Bond sort of, kind of, has a plan but M still gets killed.

Bond, of course, is a blunt instrument. On some occasions, he’s the dull instrument who nevertheless comes out on top. In Casino Royale (both novel and 2006 film), he’s been taken in by Vesper. In the film, he even loses all the money.

4 Responses

  1. Interesting. Never thought about his tactics.

  2. He is a “blunt instrument” who is smart enough to realize how repugnant his line of work is. Bond has a subconscious desire to die. That’s my reading but then again, I see death everywhere these days.

  3. Fleming wrote without doing much advance plotting, hence Bond’s inability to plan for a future even Fleming didn’t know about. One on hand, this is why the plotting in the books is simple to the point of crudity; on the other, this helps accounts for their wonderfully dreamlike feel and headlong pace.

  4. Bond made events happen most times …Especially when he would bait the villain to illicit a vindictive response by dropping references into the conversation about their activities and plans.

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