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Character Discussion: Aidan Bishop from The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

All the spoiler warnings! I will be discussing the plot of The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle in detail in order to discuss the main narrator and character. If you have not read the book, this post will absolutely spoil it for you!

To begin with, let me introduce Aidan Bishop. When we first meet him he is Dr. Sebastian Bell, and he has no memory of who he is or what he is doing. He awakens in a forest with only the memory of the name “Anna,” hears a woman’s cry for help and a gunshot, is given a compass, and staggers his way into Blackheath–the Hardcastle family home. There he is treated with care by the other guests of the Hardcastle family, and slowly his life is revealed to him. As well as the fact that he is not Sebastian Bell.

Aidan Bishop is a man who will live the same day over and over again through a series of eight hosts–the day that Evelyn Hardcastle is murdered. He is charged with discovering who murders Evelyn and reporting that information to a person dressed in a plague doctor costume, a person who also reveals to Aidan that he has rivals competing with him for an eventual escape from the time loop. If Aidan cannot complete his task, the loop will begin again and Aidan’s memories will once more be wiped.

Thus, Aidan is given one of his primary motivations: discover who kills Evelyn Hardcastle this day, discover it before anyone else does, and discover it without being killed (oh yeah, there’s someone trying to kill Aidan the whole time, that’s happening too). However, as Sebastian and afterwards Aidan develops one of his own motivations: keep Anna safe. He wakes up with only her name to remember, and despite constant warnings from the plague doctor who seems to be his guide through this situation, he continues to work with and seek Anna out.

Even in the brief moment where it appears Anna really did betray Aidan the way the plague doctor warned she would, Aidan holds out hope and sure enough it turns out the footman was behind it all. But Aidan honestly becomes his most interesting in these moments, where his loyalty to Anna is called into question. He isn’t sure how he can believe she’d work against him and is vindicated, despite the revelation that Anna is a terrible war criminal and the time loop is a prison for her.

Aidan ends up standing by Anna to the point of solving a mystery nobody else knew needed solving, to the point of defying prison and defying his own past for the loyalty he feels towards Anna now. Honestly, this was the most impressive turn around for a character whose true past we don’t even learn until the new development is made! A super creative piece of narrative for Aidan’s character arc.

By Catherine

I'm a lover of books, coffee, wine, and bees. Happy to join the ranks of book bloggers everywhere!

6 replies on “Character Discussion: Aidan Bishop from The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle”

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