Where Do Characters Come From?


Where Do Characters Come From?
Written works in the fantasy genre often depend on magical creatures, which drive their narratives and draw the reader into an otherworldly setting. Malevir: Dragons Return and its sequel Where Dragons Follow offer up dragons, sprites, goblins, giants, and powerful incarnate forces–either benevolent or malevolent—as well as animals that have magical abilities of their own.
Whenever an author in this genre creates an original world, she faces many challenges. Archetypes and subsequent variations on many magical and mythical creatures impose characteristics and behaviors to which a writer might feel obliged to defer. The collective imagination of every culture demands conformity. Hence, dragons are fierce, mercurial, fire-breathing, and dangerous in Western culture; yet, in contrast, dragons in Chinese culture symbolize power, strength and good fortune. The latter command respect while the former, like Smaug in The Hobbit are feared and antagonized. The dragons of the Veiled Valley meet neither criterion. They act rather as allies and benefactors, supporting the valley’s human settlers and their magical friends. They are the Malevir’s chief challengers and foes.
My sprites, whom I have dubbed Loblin (an individual sprite is a Lobli), are another example of breaking with tradition. They resemble brownies—helpful and performing chores for the humans to whom they are attached by affection as much as by duty—but I have given them unique powers, related to musical charms and to communication skills. Only 18 inches high, with speckled green skin and clothing in many shades of brown, Loblin pass unnoticed by humans if they so choose, but they remain alert to any call for help from their human charges. The Loblin, in turn, owe their lives and safety to a giant named Rocánonom whose magical powers and origins are the subject of another blog on www.malvir.com where I elaborate one of the three giants I have imagined for this series.
And what is the Malevir? The first novel of the Malevir trilogy might persuade the reader that this creature is a two-headed basilisk with frightening powers of its own. Where Dragons Follow will disabuse the reader of that concept. The Malevir will emerge as a greater foe than even the dragons could imagine. Only the power of the Mystic Scintilla, a radiant source of benevolence, might be able to oppose the Malevir and defeat it; and only much more tradition-flouting narrative from yours truly will reveal the outcome.