Saturday, June 1, 2013

Holding Out For A Hero...

I hope many of you will be enjoying summer weather now, but here on the 'far side of the world' winter is not only coming—in the best House of Stark and Games of Thrones style—but well and truly here. 

As a writer, I regard that as a good thing though, because there's nothing, simply nothing, quite like the bleak and the sleet, the hail and snow, or simply gray-as-iron days with the wind whining along the eaves, to lure an author into realms of darkness and mystery, magic and heroism, love and danger...

And as all of us who frequent the Supernatural Underground know, when venturing into realms of magic, mystery, and danger, then at some stage your story—if not your heroine, since heroines are a feisty and independent breed these days—will be holding out for hero...

So here's a few of the heroes from my books, Thornspell, The Heir Of Night and The Gathering Of The Lost. 

Thornspell is a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story from the perspective of the prince, Sigismund, who is—of course!—the principal hero:

"He turned and studied the Wood again, thinking about the castle that lay at its heart, and everything he knew about the hundred years’ sleep. “If I am the chosen prince,” he said, “then the Margravine will have to try and bring me under her power again. She won’t have any choice.” He shivered, frowning at the same time as he remembered her conversation with Flor. “And once she has what she wants, she’ll go after everyone who’s opposed her. Syrica and Rue. The sleeping princess. My father. People,” he added softly, “that I care about.”
Balisan’s answering tone was cool as the dream. “Then you will have to find a way to stop her.”
Sigismund laughed, short and hard. “I will,” he said grimly..."

The Heir Of Night has several point of view heroes, including Tarathan of Ar, a herald of the mysterious Guild:

"She must have turned to fight at the last, Tarathan decided, for she lay on her back with a lance impaled through her stomach.  It looked, from the limp twisted body, as though a horse or horses had trampled over her.  He could see the shadow of her blood, pooled on the ground, and he thought how sharp and clear her image looked, almost substantial for the world of dreams.  It was only when he knelt beside her that he realized that the guard called Lira was still alive.

Only just alive, Tarathan thought, looking at the slick of almost black blood that trailed from the corner of her mouth and the terrible wound in her stomach.  He knew that there was nothing, either in Jaransor or beyond the Gate of Dreams, that could be done.  But slowly, incredibly, her eyes opened; the herald watched them focus on his face. …   
Tarathan covered the shadow of her hands with his own.  "Be of good heart, Lira of the Derai," he said. "We will do all in our power to find your Heir and save her. … Is there anything else I can do for you?"

The ghost of a smile caught at Lira's lips, but he had to bend even closer now to hear her whisper.  " . . . kiss . . . farewell . . . "

"I would be honored," Tarathan replied softly, "to kiss one so valiant and so true."  The ghost smile deepened for a moment as he kissed her, very gently, on the shadow of her cold mouth.  Her lips parted as though to speak again, but no more words came."

The Gathering Of The Lost also has a number of point of view heroes, but Kalan is a major character: 

" “Let’s get the horses,” Kalan said to Jarna, as the others began collecting up saddlebags and armor. He had not really expected the horselines to be more private, but there were already knights drinking along the poplar row that separated the field from the camp. No chance to even snatch a kiss, Kalan thought regretfully, and could not help remembering stolen moments at Normarch and the sweetness of Jarna’s lips on his, unexpectedly soft in her sun-browned face. 
“Say hello to Audin for me,” she said, as they finished saddling up. “And keep Raher in line.”
Kalan grinned. “Impossible,” he replied, and fought back the impulse to kiss her anyway…”

And then, of course, there's Raven, who seems to be a favorite with many readers:

“The two remaining knots of beast-men had converged on Raven, their power blasting toward him like flame. Yet the knight appeared unaffected by the energy storm as his charger half reared, striking with its front hooves while his sword cut against snarling fangs and ripping talons. The foremost beast-man bayed defiance, a note that changed to something very like alarm in mid-attack—an instant before Raven’s blade sliced head from body.

Malisande, Carick saw, was watching the knight with narrowed eyes, but half smiling, too, as the other beast-men echoed their comrade's howl and fell away from him. The howl rose again, mournful across The Leas—and then all the beast-men broke off, racing for the river while the outlaws followed in a retreating straggle.

“Behold the Raven of Battle.” Solaan was somber.”

So there you are, a brief introduction to some of the heroes who've stepped into my storytelling, whether by firelight or moonshine, summer's warmth or winter's snap... What about you though, do you have a favorite fictional hero, particularly from Fantasy—if you do, then do share in the comments. :) 

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Kim Falconer said...

Behold the Raven of Battle!!! YES! Raven is a favorite of mine. :)

Great post, Helen. I love to reflect on our heroes and their journeys - so inspiring and heartening!

I'm going to come back with a list of some more of my favorites!

Helen Lowe said...

Next up a heroine's journey--I think we could both find some good examples to hold up from our respective stories!

Abhinav Jain said...

Favourite hero is a tough one to pick. I can think of three favourite heroines readily enough, but favourite hero? That's a headache.

But I would go with Pug of Crydee from Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar trilogy as one of my picks. Love the character and his journey from being a no-name kitchen servant to the greatest magician in two worlds.

Helen Lowe said...

Pug is a very good choice, Abhinav.

I wrote a series of posts on 'Fantasy heroes' on my own blog a while back:

The reasons why are in the post, but the short version of the list is:

Astrin Ymris from Patricia McKillip's "The Riddlemaster of Hed" trilogy

Coltaine from Steven Erikson's "Deadhouse Gates"

Druss the Legend (from David Gemmell's "Legend")

Elric of Melnibone (from Michael Moorcock’s Elric series)

Faramir, (from JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings)

John Aversin, (from Barbara Hambly’s Dragonsbane)

Tyrion Lannister (from George RR Martin’s 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series, beginning with 'A Game of Thrones')