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Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Day for the Heart

I consider myself a moderately romantic person. So why can't your heroes and heroines catch a break in the intimacy department, you might ask. Well, of course, because I'm writing heroic fantasy and I must make my protagonists work and suffer to do their great deeds. And, indeed, I view romance in a literary sense - what the dictionary refers to as "an exciting and mysterious or exotic quality found in heroic literature" that can elicit sympathetic emotions on the part of a reader. I love tropes like [identify the book!] amnesia, telepathy, two souls in one body, love that transcends death, the forced cooperation of people entirely unsuited, enslaved or otherwise imprisoned heroes, the doubting hero, the hero/heroine who gets shafted by the gods, etc. etc. These are storylines that have intrigued us humans since we began telling stories. I like to think I give a different spin on them, of course.

As for the nitty gritty of romantic love in my books, there are two questions I get asked a lot.

  1. What about Seyonne and Aleksander?
  2. Which is your favorite romance in your books?
To avoid public SPOILERS for the rai-kirah books and several others, I'm going to duck behind the "Read more" label now. Don't go there if you haven't read all of the books...

1. Yes, I considered having Seyonne and Aleksander be physically attracted to each other. But then I decided that that was not the story I was trying to tell. Their relationship was a deep and abiding love and respect that could not be categorized as brotherly, father/son, romantic, or even exceptional friendship. I can't ever picture them as casual buddies. Though they shared an intimacy that no one in their world would ever match, there is a reason that Seyonne persisted in called Aleksander "my lord" all the way to the end of the books. And Aleksander didn't fight him on it.

2. As for which romantic relationship I like the best? That's a much harder question. Seri and Karon are obvious, and yet, I think that Jen and Gerick in Daughter of Ancients might be the romantic relationship I had the most fun with. They each had so far to come. You can't give yourself to someone else fully until you see yourself as a worthy gift [Carol's pop psychology for the day]. And it was the relationship that I gave myself the leisure to develop through lots of story time. I regret that I just didn't have the time to develop Valen and Saverian's relationship more fully. I think they will be very much fun, and...who knows? I just couldn't take up more pages with it - I was pushing page limits in Breath and Bone as it was. And then there's Aleksander and Lydia. Another reason Seyonne didn't have a chance, even if he'd been interested. I went looking for a perfect foil for Aleksander, and again, despite the lack of page space for her, I was delighted with the woman that stepped forward.

As for Aidan and Lara...their relationship was not about romantic love at all. Maybe it could be, maybe not. [I do know this answer, but I'm not telling.] You'll have to decide it for yourself. Or, if I ever get the chance and the inspiration to write more... So many books.

Happy Valentine's Day!


Unknown said...

Ah, the tension in the Valen and Saverian relationship is so delicious! There is so much you could explore yet with this couple and the changing world of Navaronne. (Hint, hint, beg.) =)

carolwriter said...

Hi Deb,

I'll say that as of right now, Valen is the one of all my characters who's nibbling at my ear, saying, "More books...we'll have such fun..." But I'm not good at time sharing, so Portier, Ilario, and Dante (and the other delicious characters in the wings) must have their day in the light first.

Lady Kailen said...

For absolute true-love, soul-mate, love-beyond-death stuff, you cannot beat Seri and Karon. But for me, the relationship that I loved the most (and being able to watch it develop) was Gerick and Jen's. That was just...wonderful. But, on the other hand, I haven't read the Lighthouse books yet, so maybe I should reserve judgement until then...

Anonymous said...

I cannot imagine liking Zander and Seyonne together. Huge power disparities in a physical relationship trigger an ick factor for me. It is hard to eliminate undertones of either manipulation or rape. Also, with all the abuse done to Seyonne in the past, there would be a lot of baggage in that relationship. I think Zander is perseptive enough and cares enough for Seyonne that he would never pursue him that way (or encourage Seyonne if Seyonne were to pursue him).

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy to see you address the question of Aleksander and Seyonne. I have to admit that I wouldn't mind seeing them as a romantic couple, for it would seem like a natural progression of their love. But maybe that opinion is colored by my personal views on "love." Please pardon a fangirl moment here, but I absolutely love the master/slave dynamic and I really enjoy stories (like Transformation) that have completely opposite characters/enemies that come to understand and love each other (be it friendship or romantic). These rough beginnings add more depth to their relationship.

Anyway, I understand that it's best to leave it the way you have, because what is between them is so special that to label it may not do it justice. I also enjoy Lydia's character, and I'm happy that she's with Alek. So really, no complaints, but happy to hear that you have once considered a romantic angle for Alek/Sey =P

I have a quick question, you said in your post:

Though they shared an intimacy that no one in their world would ever match, there is a reason that Seyonne persisted in called Aleksander "my lord" all the way to the end of the books.

I have always liked the way Seyonne addresses Alek as "my lord" or "my prince" and how Alek calls Sey "my guardian" but...forgive me if I'm slow to catch on to your meaning, could you clarify the reason you mentioned? did you mean that Sey calls Alek that -because- they've shared an intimacy that no one in the world could match? or he calls him that to keep a respectable distance despite that intimacy.

Sorry for the long comment, I just recently finished Restoration (and loved it! thank you for such a wonderful trilogy!) so all of this is still fresh on my mind =D

carolwriter said...

I don't know that Seyonne could articulate the reason. But it is certainly more along the line of "You have a destiny that is wholly different from mine, something ordained at your creation. Our paths have crossed and I'll never share with anyone the kind of friendship I've shared with you, but our worlds are wholly different." Yes, a respectful distance, though in no way subservient. Well something along that line, I think.

Anonymous said...

ahh I see, thanks for sharing Seyonne's thoughts with us! =)