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The crazy twist in real life in George Orwell’s ‘1984’

O’Brien, the main antagonist of this famous book Everyone lies about readingcould be the best non-pig character George Orwell has ever written. As a ruthless sociopath, master of the triple cross and inventor of the stylish rat helmet, O’Brien embodies the greatest fears of all of living in an authoritarian dystopia. But, as with any great spy master, there are elements in O’Brien’s identity that even his superiors didn’t know about. And that includes the man who made him.

Author George Orwell, a card-wearing member of Antifa, took inspiration 1984 during the fight against fascists during the Spanish Civil War of 1

934-1939. Unfortunately, he took inspiration from watching his own side, where communists led by Stalin terrorized and spied on Trotskyists to find out what they viewed as traitors to the ideology. One of those targets was Orwell himself, who was watched over by a British compatriot and pre-KGB spy David Crook. Crook was trained in espionage by none other than Ramon Mercader, the assassin of Leon Trotsky. But apparently Mercader was better at it Buried ice ax in people than to sniff them, since the biggest shit Crook could dig up on Orwell was that he was “95% sure” that his wife Eileen was cheating on him with “some strange Belgian adventurer”.

Eileen Maud Blair
To be betrayed by Poirot would shake anyone’s beliefs to the core.

But Orwell’s sinister Spanish Soviet surveillance found its way into it 1984 in more than even the author knew. For the spy master who hired Crook to report on Orwell’s every move, Hugh O’Donnell was, Code name: O’Brien. That’s true; a decade before the release of 1984Orwell was being pursued by an avid spy master who had exactly the same name as the like-minded villain in his novel. And there was no way he could have known that he was accidentally paying homage to his personal Soviet snoop. This information did not become known until 2003 in the Orwell biography of historian (and Starbucks co-founder) Gordon Bowker, who obtained the information from still classified KGB documents.

But wait! As with any ridiculously convoluted espionage story, there is a little twist. Orwell geeks will know that he likely named O’Brien as a reference to his future boss, Brendan Bracker. He was the Irish-born head of the UK Department of Information, the government’s secret propaganda wing, the one Gestapo-like reputation for spying on their own people. So if there was someone who could have dug deep enough to find the random code name of Orwell’s spy, that was the intended target of this literary burn. This means that Bracker may have been the only person who ever had a good laugh while reading 1984.

Follow Cedric for more weird tangents and literary conspiracy theories Twitter.

Top picture: Wikimedia Commons / MGM

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