As part of the Independent Christian Book Black Friday Sale Blog Tour (you can read my previous post here,) I had the chance to interview Grace Bridges, author of RotoVegas, which is the first book of her EarthCore series. Urban fantasy is a bit of an unusual genre, with fantasy elements in an urban setting; it tends to be grittier than classic fantasy, which can be a fun twist. I was also fascinated, as if you look through most “Christian fiction” sections in a bookstore or magazine, most of what you will see is romance or bonnet-and-buggy fiction, and then a few Ted Dekker thrillers, and that’s normally it. Don’t ask me why the “Christian fiction” label is so limited when Christian fiction really has the potential to be so all-encompassing, but it is.
On to the interview!
First of all, what inspired you to write urban fantasy? It seems like an unusual sub-genre.
Actually I didn’t realise its genre until long after it was written. I wanted to write something with superpowers resulting from New Zealand’s geothermal sources, and initially that suggested science fiction as most superhero stories tend to be. However, as I wrote, cultural elements fitted in so naturally that it was no longer simply a matter of science. It became more about the powerful invisible dragons who live in and around each geothermal site – this is a well-known aspect of local Māori lore. With the addition of dragons, it became fantasy; with the location in a small city, it became urban.
One-sentence summary. Go!
Superpowers from hot springs – who knew? Creatures making their homes in the untamed thermal sources of New Zealand have a job for Anira to do.
What do you think is unique about your book?
It’s set in New Zealand, my home. Ever heard of a story set in the city of Rotorua? Me either. So I thought it was about time.
What real-world inspirations and influences fed into your book?
All of the settings and city locations are real. In Rotorua, geothermal activity is a fact of daily life. Steam rises from drains and yards. Unstable geysers appear and disappear around the tumultuous lake edge and city park, while stable ones have erupted every hour for as long as people have lived in the area. Isn’t it the perfect environment to add fantasy creatures and supernatural powers?
I saw this on Tumblr–describe your writing process in three words or less.
Subscene (once I’ve planned to scene level, I divide each scene into bite-sized subsections immediately before writing it)
Neo (I use a typewriter-like distraction-free Alphasmart Neo device for the actual writing)
Steampunk, cyberpunk, high or dark fantasy and urban fantasy appear to be part of a trend of aesthetic fiction–e.g., fiction with strong visuals or visual inspirations. How did visuals and aesthetic shape “RotoVegas”?
Rotorua, nicknamed RotoVegas for its cute little tourist strip, is a city with a completely unique aesthetic. Ancient volcanic craters form the lake and its island, the surrounding hills of the caldera, the looming Mt. Tarawera nearby with its fearsome crater from end to end. To say nothing of the mineral steam that permeates its atmosphere from the many thermal vents, hot streams, and so on. This is a place I know well. I have been careful to describe it in accurate detail, and I can’t wait to take you along for the journey!
What do you want readers to take home with them after reading “RotoVegas”?
A sense of wonder at the very real forces in the Earth’s crust and what they can do; a fun and satisfying adventure beyond reality into the realm of what-if and imagination.
As part of this year’s Black Friday Christian Book Sale Blog Tour, I had the opportunity to read Implant by J. Grace Pennington to review it. When reading it, I couldn’t put it down–it was a fast read, not too in-depth but engaging all the same.
The book’s concept–a medical miracle implant which can cure cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and practically all other diseases, but which has been turned into a way to control people–is what drew me to the story.
The main strength of this book is certainly its characters. Gordon Harding just wants to be a nice person–he doesn’t want to fight, but he ultimately has to take a stand. Neil Crater, an intelligent man trapped in a nightmare world, unsure of who to trust. Doc, who doesn’t want anyone to know his real name.
However, outside of those main three, there are only a few other characters who are fully fleshed-out. I wish they had all gotten more development.
Secondly, the setting. When I was reading the main action of the book, I saw a bombed-out Wild West town surrounded by tents in my mind’s eye. Post-apocalyptic and similar genres aren’t often setting-rich, focusing on characters instead.
And finally, the main premise. Gordon Harding is someone who wants to live. By the end of the book, he becomes someone willing to sacrifice his life, and someone who is willing to avert the future he’s been a part of.
What bothered me about this book was I didn’t feel very connected to anyone outside of the three main characters. Also, I began to see the main major plot twist coming from about 50 pages in, though maybe that’s because I read so much fiction. When a character’s real name is not revealed, there’s always a reason for it. (Unless you’re watching Doctor Who. Then it’s just artistic choice.)
One thing I was relieved about, reading the book: this book does not involve mind control. I feel that mind control and other forms of zombie-ism are overused in fiction–I much prefer when the characters have the free will to make their own (right or wrong) choices. There’s something powerful in that–perhaps more powerful than the pedantic trope of “oh, he did it against his own will!”
I do feel that the ending may have been a bit of a cop-out. However, as that same cop-out was very much a part of making everything worse before the climax, I can excuse it.
Another thing I would have liked to see more of would be Gordon trying to rejoin society after his big adventure. After all, you’ve just had a life-changing experience. What do you do now?
All in all, I would give this book 3.7 out of five stars.
What is it about historical weaponry that draws the minds and captures the imaginations of readers and writers alike?
Historical weapons are a stable of urban fantasy and the superhero genre, as well as historical fiction and fantasy, where they find a more predictable home. Over the years, swords, bows, maces, and battleaxes have been–understandably–superseded by firearms. So why the lingering attraction, when firearms have superior rate of fire, force, and accuracy? Is it the elegance of the weapons (now lost in an era of mass manufacture) which were once lovingly handcrafted, delicately inlaid or inscribed, and bound by hand? Or is it the appeal of an era when war held more honor and less horror, when, to kill a man, you first had to look him in the face? Is it the superiority of the skill required?
This series of articles will examine historical weapons of mass destruction, legendary sword-making techniques of both the East and the West, and address common misconceptions about modern weaponry. As the sword is, without rival, the weapon of choice in fantasy, I will publish the article on historical sword-making first.
Katana. Damascus steel blades. Legendary names for weapons created using strikingly similar techniques, creating a similar product–a high-carbon steel edge over a softer iron core.
The techniques used to create Damascus steel were once thought lost to time. Only recently have they been recreated, following the discovery of carbon nanotubes hiding underneath the iridescent sheen and wood-grained appearance of the surface.
The steel in Damascus blades and katana–called “Damascus steel” in the West and “tamahagane” in Japan–is smelted in a remarkably similar way. Broken iron ore (or iron sand, called “satetsu” in Japan) is heated with plant material–wood or bamboo for Damascus steel, charcoal in Japan–which then infuses the metal with carbon. In Damascus steel, this has the added benefit of transferring carbon nanotubes from the plant matter into the steel itself, rendering the steel remarkably hard.
However, high-carbon steel is brittle, easily broken, and this process leaves a steel-iron amalgam that is high in both metallic and organic impurities.
This is where the second major technique involved in making these legendary blades comes in. It’s called pattern welding. Steel is heated, folded on itself, beaten until the layers merge, shedding impurities and excess carbon in the process. This creates a more homogeneous steel, varying layers of harder and more brittle steel with softer layers of less brittle iron, creating a tough final product. The metallic trace impurities merge with the blade, creating a better end product than pure steel alone. However, the process must be carefully monitored, as higher temperatures can cause the iron to separate from the carbon, and, if folded too many times, the steel loses the advantage of strength and flexibility as the layers merge entirely. The folding pattern is dependent on the part of the blade the steel will form.
In Japan, the art of sword-making was historically considered a sacred ritual, and may take weeks to complete. In Japanese sword-making, a low-carbon steel/iron amalgam is used to create the core of the blade, a slightly-harder but still resilient steel to form the skin, and the high-carbon tamahagane for the edge. This results in a hard-edged blade which holds an edge well while still being springy and flexible enough to resist breakage. The steel must also be protected between foldings by a layer of wet clay and straw ash, to prevent the iron from oxidizing and help remove impurities. Due to the loss of impurities, the iron may be reduced to as little as 1/10 of its initial weight.
Finally, katanas and other Japanese swords are heat-treated, rather than quenched like European-made blades are. Before the swords are heated, a thin layer of clay is added around the edge so that it cools more quickly than the thickly-coated back edge. This results in a harder edge and a springier spine, as well as bending the sword into its signature curve.
And a word about the so-called “blood channel” or fuller: the purpose of the fuller is not to allow blood to flow more freely and allow the sword to be more easily withdrawn from the wound, but to make the blade lighter without sacrificing its structural integrity.
The blade is then polished, which takes easily as much skill to complete, since a bad polishing job can damage a sword, while a good one can render it mirror-like and perfectly smooth.
In my next article, I will talk about crossbows–a weapon so deadly that their use was banned in warfare by the Pope.
In honor of the first day of winter, I bring you this small offering. Enjoy!
“What are we investigating again, Miss?” Benton asked, stumbling awkwardly on his snowshoes.
“Nothing much, Sergeant,” Jo replied, trying to steady him. “Frankly, I think the Brigadier just wanted us out of headquarters.”
“We can be a bit of a rowdy lot,” Benton admitted, laughing wryly.
“Except the Doctor, of course,” Jo said. “He takes everything too seriously!”
“We’re opposite ends of the spectrum,” Benton agreed thoughtfully. Jo shoved him playfully.
“There, all the science is rubbing off on you!”
“No, it’s just something I heard the Doctor say,” Benton said placidly. Jo giggled.
“Wait a minute, Sergeant—I’ve got an idea!”
“Are you two going to dawdle all day?” the Doctor called from up ahead. Jo squished snow in between her gloves.
“Not really, Doctor!”
The snowball smacked the Doctor squarely in the back of the head. He whirled around, brushing snow out of his hair and looking a little bit annoyed. “Really, Jo!”
Benton’s snowball hit the Doctor in the face. The Doctor spluttered, spitting out dog- and leather-flavored snow. Jo broke into a fit of laughter. The Doctor drew himself up.
“I can see I have no choice,” he said, and hefted a large chunk of snow from the side of the road at them. Jo and Benton dived in different directions and the game was on. They slid and scrambled around in the snow, ducking out of cover to fire off volleys at each other.
There was a brief ceasefire as a UNIT truck pulled up on the road. “You three were supposed to report in a half hour ago!” exclaimed Captain Yates. Four well-aimed snowballs knocked him flat on his backside, the Doctor making good use of both his hands ambidextrously.
Howling bloody murder, Yates dived into the fray.
Another fifteen minutes later, the Brigadier drove up on a motorcycle. Alstair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart had seen quite a few strange things in his time, but never anything quite so strange as UNIT’s scientific adviser holding a sergeant in a headlock, with his assistant clinging to his back shoving snow down the back of his neck, and a captain yelling like a banshee and pelting all three of them with snowballs.
Years later, Lethbridge-Stewart would remember the look on the Doctor’s face as the one and only guilty expression he had ever surprised out of the Time Lord.
This November, ill-advised or not, I am participating in NaNoWriMo. Since I am currently waiting for my next class (6:30 to 9:10 pm, I am gonna die if I don’t get out early), I thought I might as well take the time to introduce you to my project and the two main characters.
The Gentlemen Adventurers’ Society is a historical fantasy (pssst, it’s steampunk) novel set in the later years of the Victorian era and follows the adventures of Maeghan LeClere and James Pennon as they try to avert the annexation of a small German princedom by the growing empire of Kaiser Wilhelm I (I haven’t technically fact-checked it yet, fact-checking can wait until the end of NaNo!), an event which might catapult the world with its growing system of alliances into a vicious war (as in, World War I, if it started early.)
Maeghan is a young American woman, orphaned and out to make her way in the world, even if it’s an ultimately unremarkable one. She’s very good at organization, but balks at the idea of being put in charge of things. (I think we already know how we’re going to force some character development, guys.) She’s never done anything notable in her life, but that’s about to change.
James is English nobility–a youngest son, insignificant by birth, practically penniless, and yet too determined a personality to fade into mediocrity or to take a minor government position. Intelligent (perhaps too intelligent for his own good) and with a startling streak of fire in his character, he’s never failed to get anything he’s ever fought for, but he doesn’t quite live in the real world; he’s been sheltered his entire life. He’s never been burned before, and while he knows on a cognitive level that he could get hurt, he hasn’t quite realized it on an emotional one. He’s also a bit oblivious to when people are hitting on him, and it’s a rather unpleasant shock for him to be reminded that some people consider him a marriage prospect. His worst fear–the secret fear that he himself isn’t even really aware of–is failure.
James is a member of the mysterious, prestigious organization known as “The Gentlemen Adventurers’ Society,” a group for upper-class people (men and with some restrictions, women) who don’t settle down easily. Occasionally, they will provide some services–guides, detectives, scientists, students and so forth–on the condition that whatever payment is made is made to the Society, in the place of dues (and the surplus goes to make up pensions for some members who, like James, are sophisticated enough to belong but who don’t have livings of their own.)
Maeghan is travelling to Europe, by coincidence aboard the same airship as James. Working together, they manage to save the airship, and James invites Maeghan to join the Society as his protege. (Don’t look at me like that. Read it and weep, romance fans–there’s not really going to be any in this book.)
However, that’s really only the beginning for the two of them.
Hopefully you all enjoy my recaps of their misadventures throughout the month.
(Rosalie, did I mention that James is redecorating the mind palace for Christmas? Already? And the Doctor is aiding and abetting. Those two are terrible. It was a bad idea to have the Doctor and Charley stand in for James and Maeghan, since they get up to twice as much trouble after discovering their sympathies.)
Lately, I’ve been watching Daredevil on a free trial of Netflix that I was forced to get in order to complete a different class. I might as well milk it for all it’s worth while I’ve got it.
It’s pretty different, watching Netflix shows. They tend to be written much more tightly and be more hard-hitting than TV shows. Since it’s sort of a “view at your own discretion” situation, they can also deal with things that most channels would shy away from discussing.
I love the way Daredevil is written. The dialogue is tight and loaded. Not a single word is wasted. Each character has a distinct voice, or even multiple voices–Matt has his “lawyer” voice, which is reasoned and comes across as almost stilted but very well put-together; his “informal” voice–his natural way of talking; and his “Daredevil” voice, which is much more terse than either of the others. The very choice of words builds into the characters.
At one point, Matt asks Karen if she believes; she replies that she doesn’t. In return, she asks him if he does. He replies “Catholic.” The reply is so textured, so many-faceted, not least because of his word choice.
It implies so much. Matt sees his faith as part of who he is, fundamentally; to him, it’s the thing that motivates him to take a stand and not back down; to get up again when he gets knocked down. It’s both a motivation and an example. For him, his faith is something concrete.
But it’s not just part of Matt’s identity that his word choice hints at.
It implies that Matt also believes that it doesn’t just matter that you believe; your exact beliefs matter too. That’s rather an unpopular opinion to hold in these days of watered-down Christianity, where hounded Christians greet any fellow Christian of any denomination as a friend in a world that seems to hate their guts. But that’s just a symptom–a welcome one, though–of a bigger problem.
A lot of people seem to think that it doesn’t matter what you believe, just that you do. Still more appear to be of the opinion that you can believe whatever you like, so long as you follow the nebulous call of “the right thing”–but no one seems to quite know what the right thing is.
But you see… people with all their beliefs laid out clearly on the table do.
The modern school of thought on “the right thing” grows out of a set of damaging beliefs from religions that people don’t dare to call out individually. And thus, they water down beliefs that common thought understands to be hurtful. Christianity gets watered down right along with them, even though it shouldn’t.
As a result, we get a series of feel-good philosophies that are, once you’ve lived them out for a while, hollow and dingy, and when they don’t feel fulfilled people just move on and try the next one, or they throw their hopes into exercise or yoga or things that have much more potential for harm.
That is not what religion is meant to be.
Let me repeat myself: that is not what religion is meant to be!
Religion is hard-hitting. It doesn’t pull its punches. As G.K. Chesterton once said, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.”
Either you believe it all, or you put your faith in nothing. It’s as simple as that.
Personally, I believe that there is God and the devil. I believe in Heaven and Hell; I believe in the Bible, and I believe in the Savior. I can’t compromise. This is, as it is for Matt Murdoch, part of who I am.
I won’t apologize (as in, say I’m sorry.) But I will apologize (as in, live out my faith for everyone to see, and defend it if it’s attacked.)
Another thing about the zeitgeist; anything is permissible as long as “it’s just who I am!” Well, this is just who I am. Are you offended?
If you are, I recommend that you look really closely at the reasons why.
(I also recommend that you watch Daredevil. There’s some language, and it’s very violent, graphic and even gory in parts, but it’s also a very good show, both writing and morality-wise.)
Call this a tribute to all my favorite characters–I was thinking back on all my favorites and I noticed that my very favorite characters all tried and failed at some point, but kept on trying. Their victories were by no means constant, and their successes were not always total.
So here is my tribute to Horatio Hornblower, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Martin the Warrior, the Doctor (though this sounds much more like Eight than like Eleven), Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee, Charles Wallace Murray, Meg Murray, Sydney Cotton, and all my other favorite characters.
They all pity me. I can tell.
I’ve got all the scars and bruises and broken bones I earned by my trouble, I skirt the edge of madness, and sometimes I seem to be invisible.
Sometimes, they ask me why I’m like this.
“It couldn’t be helped,” I say.
After all, if I told them the full truth, they wouldn’t stop to listen.
Sometimes, when you reach out to touch the stars, you fall and fall hard. Not all your leaps of faith will be successes.
Of course, since they pity me, they’d never see the truth. The truth is this: I tried. I did my best and sometimes it just wasn’t enough. Reduced to this shell of a man as I am in their eyes, they would only see the futility of the struggle. Never its nobility.
The very core of the truth, condensed and concentrated, is that I do not regret one moment.
I do not grudge one bruise, one scar; not the shattered bones or the bleeding knuckles or broken skin. If I had my live to live all over, I’d do it all again. I’d risk it all. I’d step out without knowing if I had a safety net. I’d run farther and fight harder without knowing if I’d win or not. I would seize every chance, take every risk in hope.
I have lived more fully than any of them. The path of least resistance is not one that is by any means enviable. It’s safe, certainly—but it is not satisfying. Not to me, in any case.
I would not give up one second of this. I do not regret one moment of this.
Hey, everyone! It’s been a while since I posted, so I thought I’d give you all a sneak peak of what I’ve been working on! 😉
The hatch that sealed off the bridge was locked. Meghan was a little bit shocked to see Pennon take out a series of lock picks and try them on the lock, then select one and proceed to work on the lock more intently. He nodded to Meghan, who readied her strikers. Pennon threw open the door and rushed into the room.
It was a fairly typical bridge with a cluster of instruments and controls. However, at the far end of the room, grouped around the wheel, stood a group of strange figures with their backs to them. They somehow struck Meghan as strange and unnatural, their bearing awkward and stiff. Pennon somehow didn’t seem fazed. He walked forward and whirled one of the strange figures around. “Excuse me…”
Meghan cried out in fear and surprise. The face was distorted, immobile. A moment later, she realized it was a mask. She swallowed hard. Clockwork automatons. Pennon frowned.
The automatons turned around slowly, gears clicking. One of them stepped forward, the movement bizarre and unnatural. Pennon unsheathed his rigging knife and held it in one hand, his strikers in the other. Long, jagged blades, whirling gears rolling their centers, jutted away from the automatons’ hands. Pennon dropped into a crouch, beckoning with the blade. Meghan swallowed. The automatons stepped forward, hesitantly, their cogs grinding. “Use your knife to keep them away from you, and your strikers to disable them,” Pennon instructed. “Aim for the head, neck, joints. If you can hit them square in the center of the chest, that disables the spring mechanism, but you have to be quick and hit hard.”
“Right,” Meghan said, her voice high, frightened. Pennon glanced halfway round and gave her a quick smile.
“I didn’t intend to drop you into the deep quite so soon. I’m sorry.” Meghan swallowed.
“I’ll do my best to keep them away from you.” With that, Pennon leaped forward, dealing the first automaton a rapid uppercut that sent it staggering back without coordination.
In other news, classes start on Monday and I feel not at all ready. *sigh* It’s hard to believe that summer is over already.
Recently, WriteFury and I were talking about Type Four in the Character Profiles series which she is currently working on. Basically, Type Four is the fun guys who are always smiling, really fun to be around.
But, while we were talking, I identified a Type Five.
And since she wasn’t familiar with most of the characters I classed as part of the type, she asked me to write this post. So here goes!
These characters are defined mainly by their sheer complexity. They appear to share traits with both Type One and Type Two, and are almost always extremely intelligent.
They tend to also be perceived as quirky or eccentric, and can be much more emotional than Type Ones, or borderline-sociopathic. Their senses of humor vary between sarcastic, wry, witty, or they may not have an apparent sense of humor. Another trait that they share with Type Ones is situational humor–they may make a wry quip about the mess they’re in.
This may be due to the fact that they’ve had bad things happen to them in the past, and it’s their coping mechanism.
They may be quiet or talk a lot, but you will never get more information out of them than they intend to give you.
They’re very clever, and often pretend to be stupid or use their eccentricity to hide just how dangerous they truly are from their enemies, and sometimes their friends. They’re many-layered, using different “facets” of their personalities as a smoke screen, and often extremely private.
And last but not least, they tend to be extremely dedicated to one or more of the other characters, to the point that they would die for them–but not on the other character’s terms or on their enemies’ terms. Only on their own terms. They will risk everything they hold dear for that one special person. They are also the most likely to do things for the good of other characters without their consent or even knowledge, which makes them more than a little frightening.
This type, along with Type One, is the most likely to punish themselves over things that may or may not have been their fault, in ways that are subtle and not easy for others to notice, whereas Type Two may do dramatic or drastic things (such as attempting suicide, in extreme cases) and Type Four falls into a deep depression.
These are also the hardest characters (along with Type One) to kill. They simply can’t give up, and refuse to die. (Sometimes literally. *gives the Doctor a meaningful look*)
Type Five characters have a strong moral code, often in lieu of following their emotions, because they (sometimes) fear that emotions will lead them in the wrong direction. They tend to be logical, but will sometimes choose non-logical options, especially as they tend to be extremely loyal to their friends–and sometimes not merely their friends, but to their cause.
When a Type Five is a villain, they may still have this strong moral code, but in a corrupted form (I present Count Dooku for your inspection.)
Also, sometimes the line between a Type One and a Type Five may be so blurred that it’s difficult to tell where they should be classed–but if there’s any doubt, your character is probably complex enough to be a Type Five. (Case in point: Horatio Hornblower, who shares most of the traits on the list, only he doesn’t use different layers of his personality to maintain his privacy in quite the same way as most Type Fives.)
Here’s the list of common traits:
Strong-willed or stubborn
Does not trust him/herself to do the right thing much of the time
Planning ahead and/or last minute planning/split-second decisions
Dubious or dangerous history (VERY common!)
Extreme empathy bouncing to near-sociopathy (or one or the other)
Sarcasm/finds things that no one else gets ironic or funny
Self-hate (to an extent)/possible masochism (what? It’s true.)
Uses appearances to make others underestimate them
May make subtle into an art form (see above)
Can be unscrupulous or ruthless
Rigid moral code (especially the ones who don’t trust “feelings”)
Now for some examples!
Baker Street’s resident not-a-psychopath,-Anderson, Sherlock Holmes is most definitely a Type Five, wherever he is portrayed. Brilliant and often unfeeling, and holding a soft spot for Watson, Lestrade, Molly Hooper (in the BBC series) and Mrs. Hudson, Sherlock is among the most complex of literary characters. A rare hero, in that he doesn’t hesitate to pull a gun on the bad guys, Sherlock may be “on the side of the angels,” but if you mistake him for one of them, that will be the last mistake you ever make. Sherlock holds himself unflinchingly to his own code, knowing that if he ever steps over the line, that will make him no different from his worst enemies, and he is willing to sacrifice himself for both John (The Reichenbach Fall) and Mary (His Last Vow)–in one case, a physical death (though, again with the planning ahead, that didn’t actually happen) and in the other the death of his good name.
Rigid moral code? Absolutely. Obi-Wan’s code is probably the one thing that defines him most as a character. Take the loyalty and boost it by five hundred percent. Situational humor? Definitely.
While Obi-Wan is less extreme than most of the others on the list, he is absolutely entirely in the details. Subtlety is his other defining trait; sometimes he’s even so subtle that it meshes right into the other related item, using his appearance to fool others into underestimating him.
Obi-Wan is not above using Anakin’s attachment to him to manipulate Anakin for the sake of the greater good (Deception et al.) It would be safe to say that he’d do the same for and to Anakin for Anakin’s sake.
Obi-Wan’s least-Type-Five/most-Type-One characteristic is his extreme selflessness, but again, he’s certainly complex enough to warrant a spot on this list. Extremely empathetic and deeply passionate, Obi-Wan still does not trust his own emotions to guide him, relying on logic and intuition instead. He holds himself to a much higher standard than he does others and is somewhat disillusioned, but his honesty and kindness are strongly endearing. (The reason there are Obi-Wan haters in the world, in my opinion, is because Obi-Wan is so subtle at times that he even fools his fans!)
Another BBC favorite!
Merlin, also known as Emrys (which is, in case you were wondering, the Welsh equivalent of “Ambrose” and means “immortal”), is the protagonist of the BBC show of the same name (rather than having Arthur take the reins, as usual.) Merlin is, like many BBC characters, a very complex character, and might almost have been classed as Type Two or Type Three, except for his darker side. He is friendly, charming, a bit of a dork, and just generally the type of guy you want to have backing you up, but on the flip side he has an inner darkness that, fed by his magic tutor, the dragon Kilgarrah, SPOILERS eventually indirectly leads to the fall of Camelot. END SPOILERS However, under the guidance of mentor Gaius, he builds strong, lasting friendships with Arthur, Gwen, the knights, and fellow servants.
Merlin is brilliant with magic, but he doesn’t act like it. He’s sometimes clumsy but at other times he can be graceful. It’s mainly his ability to fool everyone (including Arthur–again, for Arthur’s own good and at the cost of wanting to tell him desperately about his secret) around him into underestimating him that has him here on this list.
Shut up, you’re adorable.
That is the Tenth Doctor, just to avoid confusion among non-Whovians. 😛
Anyway, the Doctor is the very definition of complex. With thirteen different incarnations, all played by different actors and each with different personalities, he sort of has to be. While all the different personalities tend to revolve around a theme and all involve some version of a few basic traits, each version of the Doctor is still entirely unique. And he tends to use his apparent clumsiness (recurring theme here) into fooling people that he’s stupid or doesn’t know what he’s doing. He’s got some pretty toxic guilt over something that I gather is still a spoiler (?!), and definitely does not trust himself.
While he is in an age group comparable to Yoda, it just feels as if he’s been much farther than Yoda has ever traveled and seen more messed-up stuff. While Yoda does the funny-old-guy routine, the Doctor takes a route that is a bit more logical, in my mind; that long lifespan has only gone to make him much more complex, and he’s probably the most experienced person in any field that you’re ever going to find.
He also tends to find jokes in things no one else gets, is brilliant to the extent that it’s possible that he’s the most intelligent of any person on this list, is on par with Steve Rogers at thinking on his feet, has phenomenal situational awareness (um, that has nothing to do with the list, more to do with him being good at split-second tactics), and is both extremely compassionate and utterly unfeeling at times.
And I can’t even begin to list how many times he’s done things for his companions that they would never have allowed him to do, if they knew what he was planning.
Gandalf the Gray, Frodo Baggins, Aragorn, Faramir
Boromir is a Type Two and Merry and Pippin are Type Four. What about the others?
Well, Sam Gamgee might be a type one, but Frodo is a Type Five. Almost everyone underestimates him, and rather than a hidden darkness, he has a hidden majesty–as does Aragorn. Faramir is conflicted (though not in quite the same way as he is in the movies). And Gandalf… well, when you’ve been around for about three thousand years, you’d expect a character to be a bit complex!
Now for my own characters!
Winter and Tairya
Winter has a personality somewhat similar to Merlin’s or the Doctor’s, except without the clumsiness, he is a bit more grim, and people underestimate him more because they don’t know him. However, he also has a sense of humor, is very loyal, especially to his mentor and friends among the Rangers, and has a kinder side that is rarely seen, except by his apprentice Elian. He is the bodyguard of the Princess and sworn to protect her.
Tairya, the woman Winter is sworn to guard, is probably the only villain on this list. Less blatant than most villains and completely without remorse, mercy, or compassion, Tairya is a Type Four gone horribly wrong. She is the archetype of everything any Type Four could slip into becoming. However, she does have a slightly lighter side; a soft spot for her husband and child–but this turns her even more sour when Winter, in an attempt to fulfill his oath in some way despite his failure to save her, kidnaps (or rescues) her son.
Winter and Tairya both appear in my unfinished novelLoyalties and are among my most complex characters ever.
More in the vein of Master Kenobi than any other character on this list, Connor’s personality is somewhat similar to that of a type two. He’s mild, clever, funny, and a good friend. However, under his mild, kind exterior, hidden so deep that even Connor himself is not aware of it, he has a secret:
Connor is a trained assassin, part of a failed conditioning experiment by a ruthless businessman, and his perceived colorblindness is psychosomatic–in rebelling against the conditioning, he effectively “made himself” colorblind. While he appears to fold to any situation, when he takes a stand it’s quite clear that he’s got some steel in his backbone, probably inherited from ancestors who fought in the American War for Independence. Connor stars in my unfinished novel Colorblind.
Wait… mild-mannered reporter living in a superhero world… Never mind. Connor’s only real “superpower” is the ability to see in the ultraviolet spectrum… which is pretty useless in a fight.
Nothing to see here, DC Comics.
If there’s another character who I missed who you think should be on this list, please tell me about them! I’d love to meet them. 🙂
This month’s prompt is to tell about my favorite place to write.
Well, now that I’ve got everything in order, probably my bedroom. 😉
I just moved from one of the intended bedrooms to an improvised room in the basement. One wall is made entirely out of carefully-arranged bookshelves, and the doorway is a tension rod with a curtain. My clothes hang on a series of kitchen storage racks (which, instead of the typical silver, are a dark brown bronzy color) and my desk is one of those really dark-wood affairs right up next to the window, which I can keep open whenever it’s warm as long as I like–it gets cold down here otherwise. 😉
All in all, it looks like something out of the Eighth Doctor’s TARDIS, which is absolutely fantastic, it’s probably my favorite of all the TARDIS interiors. Don’t get me wrong, I love Nine and Ten’s TARDIS, with its organic look and the feel that it’s a real living ship and entirely alien, and I like Eleven’s later TARDIS interior too; it looks really really Gallifreyan! but I really like Eight’s TARDIS the best. Books everywhere! The ordered chaos, clutter, armchairs, and candles that make it feel really lived-in. It just feels right for the Eighth Doctor, who is always wondering if he’s losing his mind or something else, misplacing things, and has nearly eight hundred years of clutter that seriously needs tidying up. He’s so scattered, it’s somewhat sad, but it’s also reassuring–that sense that the Doctor can be so human.
Sorry about the rant. I might be–just a teeny bit–obsessed.
Anyway, here, have some pictures:
Concept art. It looks like a gentleman scientist’s mausoleum, doesn’t it? Something out of the eighteenth century. 😉
This is the best view I could find of Eight’s TARDIS interior, showing the console very well, I think.
And here’s a little bit of a shot showing the bookshelves–not very well. Hey, he cleaned up! When did he clean up?!
Interestingly, I just discovered that Eight’s console looks a lot like Eleven’s, though the rest of the interior is totally different:
Here’s Eleven in his second TARDIS interior. Geronimo!
ANYWAYS. I also like to write and draw outdoors, but only when I’m not being bothered by big bad bugs. The patio is great for this–up until recently, there was moss all over the place. Then my little sister got into it. -_- Ruined the whole thing.
My mind palace is, inside, even more like Eight’s TARDIS, if that’s even possible, except that the decor is not just bronze but also owls and dragons as well. I tend to just write any old place there, so long as Anakin’s not around to bother me, but my favorites are the vault, the cathedral room, the gardens and the brook. Sometimes I even envision a replica of Eight’s TARDIS gardens because why not and also it annoys him. (One time I didn’t get anything done because Eight and I were chasing each other with dandelions and fake cabbages the whole time. For someone almost a thousand years old, he takes things way too seriously.)