David M. Ewalt

is an American journalist. He is currently deputy editor of special projects at Forbes.

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utherdoul320 karma

They say that Tywin Lannister shits gold.

utherdoul249 karma

You're working on a whole different level here, and I salute you. On a related note, some people have made the argument that Smaug is far and away the richest character because he holds so much gold at a point in history where not that much gold has been mined and minted; that he holds a disproportionately large proportion of all the world's wealth during that period.

On the other hand, it's just a goofy list about dragons and talking ducks, we probably shouldn't overthink it.

utherdoul228 karma

Tony Stark has much better lawyers. Do you know how many DWI offenses they've had to get him out of?

utherdoul180 karma

Just don't be Pierce.

utherdoul178 karma

The Illusive Man from the Mass Effect series.

utherdoul177 karma

Nobody likes Zoidberg.

utherdoul117 karma

Always be Batman, no matter what the situation.

utherdoul116 karma

From last year's edition of the list: "Scottish-South African diamond mining magnate successfully steals the title of “world’s ­richest duck” from archnemesis Scrooge ­McDuck after winning controversial round-the-world race."

I wouldn't count Scrooge out though -- he's been #1 many times in the past, and you can't keep a good duck down.

utherdoul111 karma

We start by making a long list of candidates, which consists of all the characters that have ever been on the list in the past, plus any good suggestions we've gotten over the last twelve months. We always try to see if there were any new big books, tv shows or movies that came out since the last list that had rich fictional characters --it keeps the list fresh.

Then we go down the list and remove characters who don't meet a few key criteria. One of the first is that each character on the list must be from an authored work of fiction; generally speaking, we don't want mythological figures or folk heroes, because they're too hard to analyze (how do you calculate the net worth of Zeus? Or King Midas? We also remove characters that aren't known within their fictional universe for being rich; we want their wealth to be a defining characteristic. Someone like Princess Ariel might be wealthy because she's a princess, but nobody thinks of her as a rich person.

Then once we have a few dozen good candidates, we look at where their wealth comes from, compare them to real-world analogues (like Charles Foster Kane to William Randolph Hearst), and value their possessions against real-world equity and commodity prices. This can sometimes get really complicated: for several years my co-editor Michael Noer has been trying to perfect a formula to calculate the value of all the stuff in Smaug's horde.

Finally, we exercise a certain amount of editorial judgement to keep the list fresh have 10-30% turnover each year; last year, for instance, we had Flintheart Glomgold "steal" Scrooge McDuck's gold --an event which actually occurred in the fictional universe-- just because Scrooge had been dominating the list for years, and we wanted to shake things up.