A sceptic with a devious mind, turned sadist with a paranoid mind! I know that Patrick Cargill once said that the character of Thorpe of ‘Many Happy Returns’ is not supposed to be the character of No.2 in ‘Hammer Into Anvil,’ but fictionally speaking why not?
Thorpe is very sceptical about his ex-colleagues report regarding The Village, that seeing as The Village was deserted that perhaps everyone had gone on the annual democratic outing, and that seeing as how The Village is a far cry from Sing Sing, that he wouldn’t mind a fortnights leave there! But is there more to this man than first meets the eye? Is it possible that he already knows of the existence of The Village, if he didn’t he did then, after his ex-colleague had divulged the information about it to him and the Colonel. After seeing No.6 off on his journey back to The Village, might not Thorpe have made some discreet enquiries about it, perhaps from the Colonel? The Colonel may have known of the installation before his ex-colleagues report. After all he never once tried to stop No.6 from returning there!
It might be that Thorpe volunteered his services to The Village, or was recruited, either way it would have afforded him the opportunity to cross swords with his ex-colleague again. But perhaps The Village wasn’t quite what Thorpe had expected, and wasn’t “mentally” up to the challenge. He had become a weak link in the chain of command waiting to be broken. And for that reason perhaps that’s why No.1 hung Thorpe out to dry, preferring to leave No.2 to seal his own fate against No.6, rather than to become involved himself!
We know that Thorpe has a sceptical nature, but in ‘Hammer Into Anvil’ we see a darker side of his character, he’s a bully and a professional sadist! He drives No.73 to an attempted act of suicide, finally succeeding by hurling herself through a hospital window to her death. But like all bullies No.2 is afraid, he is afraid of failure, of what his master might do to him should he fail. Hence Thorpe managed to smuggle a sword shooting stick into The Village with him, possibly for self preservation. And it is with that sword that he enjoys taunting his adversary, No.6, you have to be hammer or anvil you see. But the trouble with hammers is, the more hammering they do, the more likely they are to break, unlike the anvil.
We talk of No.2 being able to leave The Village. I doubt very much that this particular No.2 would be allowed to leave The Village, besides he wouldn’t be in the right frame of mind to be able to do that. More likely he would be removed to the psychiatric ward of the hospital. Perhaps No.6 might care to visit, and take him a bunch of daffodils!
Be seeing you