Time Is of the Essence

The Saxon is not like us Normans.
His manners are not so polite.
But he never means anything serious
Till he talks about justice and right.
When he stands like an ox in the furrow
With his sullen set eyes on your own,
And grumbles, "This isn't fair dealing,"
My son, leave the Saxon alone.
Norman and Saxon, Rudyard Kipling

Gwyn: what is the time period [of the novel]? Even if it is fantasy, what era is it most like?

I wonder sometimes (though I don't envy the position) what it must be like for an individual, a single person, to be so influential, so important, so looked-up-to and regarded, for better or for worse, by so many that the individual's name becomes identified with an entire block of time in history. So many of us, some of us important, some of us influential, blink through this tiny span of time God has given us, many of us leaving behind only the mark of a gravestone - and even nature works to scrub away the writing on our stones. The weight of carrying so many years seems crushing to me. Times and epochs are frequently carried on the shoulders of states and nations: how many single persons had to carry all that weight themselves?

Plenilune begins in the Year of Our Lord (he carries all time, and what a weight that must be!) 1844, on an October afternoon. Despite the specificity of the date, the decision to write during the Victorian era was rather arbitrary. It was decided while I was writing Adamantine, and I chose it only because of a reference to a literary work that was published the year before. You might say I chose the Victorian era because the Georgian one (Regency) seems so very belaboured among the scribbling womanish class these days, but I'm afraid that did not cross my mind until much later. While it has little to no influence on either work, I can at least admit to a partiality to Victorian dress which (when not ridiculously posh) can be quite beautiful and rather dashing. Pardon the idle whims of an author.

Gwyn, rather astutely (or by pure accident, I don't know) added the possibility of fantasy in her question. Both Adamantine and Plenilune are fantasy, but so widely divergent in their fantastical nature that don't suppose the exposition of one will suffice to explain the other.

The territories, or Honours, of Plenilune which Margaret has occasion to come into contact with are overseen by family houses. The Honours are generally divided into manors or villa estates which sons of the family or close friends of the family hold and oversee for the head of the Honour, who was generally the patriarch or, in some rare cases, a particularly strong widow. All Honours are held under a single Overlord (to be seen more like the ancient British king than the Latin rex) who is elected by the vote of the Lords of the Honours - his position was maintained for life. This position has been held by the men of Marenové for so long that it has become effectively hereditary in the minds of all.

The Honours and even individual manors are largely self-sufficient, agricultural-based, and have a high level of autonomy. They look to the Overlord for judgment and leadership in war, and while the Overlord is more than just first among equals and while he does technically hold absolute power over the Honours, the temperament of the people of Plenilune, including the temperament of the Overlords, does not tend toward this extreme.

So much for the political face! I dislike going into long monologues on clothing, but as I typically segment eras by what clothing was worn I suppose I shouldn't avoid mentioning it altogether. Broadcloth and linen are the staple fabrics used; nobility enjoy velvet; corduroy and cambric are enjoyed by all. Men wear trousers, and may wear either tunics or shirts and jackets as they please; women's wear tend to be layered single-piece dresses or frocks depending on the use. Outerwear can be either full-length coats or cloaks. Swords tend to be cruciform in shape and pattern welding is used almost universally.

the fork is used with relish

Thank you for this question, Gwyn. It helped me shake out a lot that was heretofore nebulous in my own mind.

2 ripostes:

  1. What are the general plot-shaping elements of Plenilune? (Adventure, mystery, journeying, war, tragedy, etc.)

    All in good company, and not giving too much away, of course. And may I say, the title Plenilune made my heart start tumbling such a joyous beat, even before I knew what it meant. It's a word simply made of blue and purple and silver.

  2. Fascinating! You're making me more and more curious about this -- and I agree with Sparrow on the title. :)