Thursday, December 1, 2022

What Makes A Hero #10 -- Camaraderie & Characters



Well, here we are, at the conclusion for the What Makes A Hero? in Fantasy series – but I’m also delighted to be welcoming my friend and fellow Supernatural Underground author, Kim Falconer (currently writing as AK Wilder) to ensure this final post rocks. J


AK Wilder @ the Amassia series

In addition to last month’s Calm and Chaos post (What Makes A Hero #9) I also featured a post from another series (Having Fun With Epic Fantasy) that highlighted the Band of Brothers in myth, legend – and, of course, Fantasy fiction!

Last Kingdom: an archetypal "band of brothers"

Camaraderie and a diverse cast of characters are key to any band of comrades-in-arms – but I also really value the camaraderie of our “happy…band” of fellow authors here on Supernatural Underground.

And characters, of course, lie at the very core of our authorial wheelhouse – so I could see no better way of concluding the series than having Kim join me to discuss our characters and the qualities that lead them to answer the heroic Call.

Answering the Call...

So welcome, Kim – with Curse of Shadows (AMASSIA #2) on the very cusp of being released (December 6 is the hot-hot-hot date, folks!) I’m really looking forward to hearing more about your wonderful characters today!

AK Wilder & Characters from the "Amassia" Series

Helen, I am so happy to be included in the final “What Makes a Hero” post. It’s an honour to contribute my thoughts on this most engaging topic.

Ash, a hero of the Amassia series

I love how, through the course of your blog series, you’ve covered so many aspects of the Hero and how these qualities might be expressed, subtly, consistently, sporadically, aggressively. There are a multitude of heroic styles out there in the Fantasy genre and I am fascinated by each one!

As a writer, I have created different kinds of heroes, those with flaming swords and egos to match, all the way to the unsung, undervalued, and shy. In the Amassia series, (Crown of Bones and Curse of Shadows) diverse heroes have emerged, and as you say, Helen, they are born out of circumstances, upbringing, personality, necessity and, well, magic. 

The most obvious of my Amassia series heroes is Marcus Adicio who was raised for the task. He readily answers the call, facing enemies and rallying his companions at every turn. But on the inside, Marcus struggles with a darkness he is in no way prepared to face. And because of all that is expected of him, he finds it near impossible to ask for help. 

And then there is Ash, not trained to be brave or wield charisma like a weapon, but to listen. She is a recorder whose ideas are often passed over for her lack of status and magical prowess. But because she won’t give up—though like Myr in Daughter of Blood, she is often terrified—Ash finds the courage to act on her convictions, and convince others to do the same. She is the moral compass of the group, at least thus far.

Ash & Kaylin (Ooh-la-la...)

Kaylin, the mysterious sailor, demonstrates all the outward qualities of heroism, fearlessness in the face of untenable odds, superior skills and strength, but what is he hiding? With all his secrets, it’s hard at times to know whose side he is actually on!

And I must mention my favorite character to write, Salila, who, truth be told, is an anti-hero for most of the story, serving her own needs and desires with guile and subterfuge, until she finds something worth fighting for. Something of the heart. There is nothing more glorious than to watch a hero be born. 


Helen Lowe & Characters from "The Wall Of Night" Series

Ash, Marcus, Kaylin, & Salila – they’re a great band, Kim—together with sidekicks such as the healer, Piper, and (the underestimated, I suspect) Tyche in Aku. I think we’re all looking forward to rejoining their adventures!

Epic or High Fantasy is often termed Heroic as well, and The Wall of Night series is firmly in that quadrant of the Fantasy ’verse. Malian, the central protagonist, is very like Marcus in that she has been raised to shoulder her duty, to lead, and to answer the heroic Call without complaint. She is coolheaded, clever, and unquestionably courageous. Or as Faro, one of the younger characters in Daughter of Blood expressed it:

“She was full of cleverness and secrets…Twisty, he thought.”


Unlike Marcus, the challenges Malian must overcome arise less from internal darkness as from the war-without-end she’s fighting, and the dysfunction of her own society – although both present plenty of ethical dilemmas she must overcome, along with smiting the various “big bads” that haunt her path.

Arguably, "Daughter of Blood" is Kalan's book

It would also be fair to say that circumstances make opting out difficult for either Malian or Kalan, the series’ second lead. Although not raised to lead, like Malian, he’s always aspired to be a champion—and where Malian sometimes struggles with ethical dilemmas, Kalan—like Ash, but also Myr in Daughter of Blood—has a strong moral compass. He’s also kind and naturally chivalrous, and no less smart, or brave, than Malian, but in a much more openhearted way.

As Faro reflects, he “is always bright, like the sun.”


The second post in the Heroes series addressed the part circumstances play in making a hero—and this is very true of Orth, who plays a heroic part in the defense of a bridal cavalcade in Daughter of Blood. Orth is a physical giant and able warrior, but his part in The Gathering Of The Lost (WALL #2) and earlier in Daughter, make it pretty clear he’s also cruel and a bully. He also hates Kalan.

Yet when the chips are down for the camp, it’s Orth who turns the tide against capitulation—because he knows what he would do once an enemy surrendered—and is in the forefront when holding the final breach. He’s unquestionably brave, and entirely because of circumstances and the survival imperative, answers the Call and rises to the Challenge.

Or as Kalan puts it:

He…could and would acknowledge that Orth had fought ferociously to the end—”


For his deeds, if not his motivation, Orth would be remembered as a hero in the songs and stories of the cavalcade’s defense.

The WALL series has a large cast of point-of-view characters, from Raven, whom one reader dubbed an “international man of mystery”, to Asantir (“Kickass-antir” according to another reader), and including Faro, our embedded observer quoted above, and Myr, whom Kim likened to her own Ash – definitely the “crown of good company” for both characters. 

There’s Rowan Birchmoon, who has left home and people for love, but also to save her world; and a herald pair that have answered the Call long before the story opens and sacrificed almost everything to do so. So, too, has a ghost, keeping watch over a Cave of Sleepers—because as it tells a young Malian:

“My dear…it is not that I am old. I am dead. I died a long time ago, so that they might live.”


All “sorts and conditions” of heroes, whom we hope readers will enjoy reading about as much as we enjoy recording their adventures – but I’m going to close with Kim’s words, which I feel encapsulate our post today, and the series. J


Be it the call, courage, circumstance, challenge, charisma—all the qualities that go into a hero—each can be mixed in an infinite variety of ways, creating someone unique and engaging to lead us on our next step of the journey. ~ Kim Falconer


About the Authors

Kim Falconer:

Kim Falconer, currently writing as A K Wilder, has released Crown of Bones, a YA Epic Fantasy with Curse of Shadows coming out December 6, 2022.

Kim can be found on  AKWilder TwitterFacebook and Instagram

Throw the bones, read your horoscopes or Raise Your Phantom on the site

Helen Lowe:

Helen Lowe is an award-winning novelist, poet, and lover of story. With four books published to date, she is currently completing the final instalment in The Wall Of Night series.

Helen posts regularly on her “…on Anything, Really” blog, monthly on the Supernatural Underground, and tweets @helenl0we.