I always try to challenge myself to see new perspectives so I began to wonder what could have one end up in the kind of head space that Joko occupies.
The topic of immortality is interesting if it's limited to only yourself. It's all well and good to become an immortal lich by whatever means but then you have to face the notion of losing those who're important to you. At first you deal with it because there's so much loss in life, then you might begin to ask yourself why it has to be that way? Especially when you have the power to change it. You set about using your lichdom to raise your beloved friends from the dead, but it turns out that some of them aren't quite all there. That's problematic. What do you do?
Well, you'd have to be picky about your friends. You'd need to encourage them to have a strength of personality and identity, a life full of memories and experiences in order to retain their sapience after being woken. Well, that's all well and good but they have loved ones too. That's a tricky pickle. What of those loved ones who have other loved ones? You need to instill order to ensure that your current risen don't go crazy if you can't bring back everyone as some of them won't have the capacity for sapience. Well, you have to extend your culture out at that point. You need to encourage the kind of personal worth that would allow for sapience upon being risen. You'd need to co-opt local cultures and instill systems of belief and worth that make for the most ideal risen.
If you can do that then the maximum amount of people can get on your undead bus and experience life immortal, with perhaps the fewest number left behind. You make it clear constantly that you can't raise everyone but you're still doing your best to encourage your subjects to live lives that would allow your risen to have their family members risen. You want the greatest gains in immortality for everyone, and you want that without immortality being eternal suffering.
After a little while, you've got a good thing going on. You've rewritten history so that people value your word and because they value your word they also value your views as to what an ideal life lead is, this gives you a greater crop to be able to harvest from to ensure that even fewer people get left behind. You're slowly working your way towards an undead utopia, as more and more people aspire to be ideal risen you're having to leave less and less people out as fewer than ever before are ending up as near-mindless zombies. Gosh, you're going to have a marvellous, undead utopia soon!
Then Kralkatorrik and Balthazar turn up to throw a massive spanner in the works. There's a whole lot of death. Oh no! What do you do? You might panic. You might decide that okay, it's time for everyone to get on the undead bus now before they can be killed by branded or forged. You didn't want to play that hand but you don't have any other choice. You have to speed up your plans even if it creates a couple more mindless zombies than you would've liked. You were going to play the slow game and just shepherd everyone toward being in a state where they could be risen without losing their sapience but noooo, now you have to try and save everyone from imminent death as quickly as possible.
Which brings us to the Commander, the player character, who did indeed kill two dragons and sort of brought on this problem. I mean, not that they had much choice. After Orr sank itself Zhaitan had so much death energy to play with that things would've gone really badly had no one brought him low. Well, probably. Who knows?
I mean, we see cases of immortal characters going a bit bonkers all the time because they can't stand everyone being mortal around them. I think Joko is a clear case of that. He's absolutely a despot and he's certainly not good by any measure but at the same time I do feel a little sorry for him. I can see why in Joko's story he thinks of himself as the good guy as he's trying to halt death itself, while also going toe-to-toe with suffering. That is worthwhile. There are perhaps better paths to immortality for everyone though, or maybe Joko was right about everything and we killed our undead saviour.