Mavolio Bent

From Discworld & Terry Pratchett Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Mr. Bent
Name Mavolio Bent, birthname Charlie Benito
Race suspected vampire, but probably just human. The real truth may be something more terrible and unspeakably spine-chilling than a mere vampire, though.
Age 47 at the time of Making Money
Occupation Chief Cashier at the Royal Bank of Ankh-Morpork, and clown
Physical appearance A fussy little man in impeccable black jacket and pinstripe trousers, and over-large impeccably shiny shoes. (Later wears a red clown nose.)
Residence He lodges at Mrs Evadne Cake's on Elm Street.
Parents Mother deceased, Father presumed deceased.
Relatives unknown
Children presumed none
Marital Status About to be married to Miss Drapes, who isn't likely to let go in a hurry.
Books Making Money

Mr Mavolio Bent is the Chief Cashier at the Royal Bank of Ankh-Morpork. He is a fussy little man in impeccable black jacket and pinstripe trousers. He has a peculiar way of walking that involves lifting his feet high and gently setting them down again, like a slow-motion goosestep. He also has no sense of humour – this is apparently due to Nichtlachen-Keinwortz Syndrome, but as if in compensation, is very good with numbers. He has the air about him of one who stands very quietly in a cupboard when not in use.

He is a ferociously good mathematician. He can run his eyes down an enormous list of numbers and add them together instantly. As such he has risen to a position of enormous power in the Bank. He sits on a mechanical platform in the centre of the office which he calls his "panopticon" so can treadle around to watch any of the junior clerks under his power as they beaver away. He is held in awe by all who work for him, such as Robert Spittle. And he inspires absolute devotion from his Senior Clerk, Miss Drapes.

Mavolio Bent was born Charlie Benito. His father was a renowned clown, his mother loved clowns – or at least loved a clown for a night. His mother brought him up to be normal, but he still ended up as a clown. He failed at the job (or rather, was too good at it in that he actually made others laugh), and while on the run he bumped into a group of travelling accountants. There he discovered his talent for numbers, started his career as a banker, until the events of Making Money led to the discovery of his hidden talents. His catch phrase, or at least the password to his magic locks and what he utters before attempted pie-ing of public authority, is "Here we are again!". This, of course, is an homage to the Victorian-era Payne Brothers.


"Mavolio Bent" works on three levels:

i) in the Shakespeare play "Twelfth Night", Malvolio is the humourless, conscientious, Pooterish steward who has a grey and austere, rather pompous, outer manner, the butt of the joke for other characters who possess a more rudimentary sense of humour; but who is shown to have a rich and very human fantasy life on the inside.

ii) A long-running children's animation on British TV is "Mr Benn."[1]. The star is a dapper well-dressed bank cashier, impeccably dressed in black jacket and pinstripe trousers, who has a most peculiar stiff-legged way of walking. Again he is a grey, mousy, individual on the surface, but the moment he walks into the mysterious shop that appears from nowhere, and dons a costume, he walks out onto an Adventure... For those of you who are British and have forgotten, and those of you from elsewhere who never got to see this show as a kid, here's a sample episode:."[2] and [3]

iii) In criminal parlance, a "Bent" clerk is one who has been corrupted, and will tell secret information or assist in stealing from the bank.

Bent's childhood story of running away from the life of a clown with the travelling accountants is a reversal of the Roundworld cliché of someone stuck in a monotonous job running away to join the circus.

Of course the greyest, blandest, dullest British Prime Minister of recent years was born to a circus family and did leave because he found Conservative politics (both small and large 'c') more to his taste. The idea of his leading a double life as a clown was explored by The Comic Strip, but this is probably a coincidence. Even though prior to entering politics, he trained as a bank manager, and after entering politics and attaining the rank of Chancellor of the Exchequer, he treated the British economy as if it were a delinquent (overdrawn) account on the grand scale. As Prime Minister, his refusal to abandon a flawed economic standard (the ERM, to which the pound, and his own financial reputation, was tied) precipitated a major economic collapse and recession.