An Honest Coward

"The real hero is always a hero by mistake.  
He dreams of being an honest coward like everybody else."
Umberto Eco

I said "Let them ask!" and you did.  Some of your questions will take some delicate answering to not give anything away, and some of your questions were ones I had been subconsciously avoiding and now I have no choice but to address them.  Good on you.

rachel asked
Who is the most likeable character in Gingerune?


anne-girl asked
Do you have a hero or an anti-hero?

I've more or less lumped these two questions in together because the answer falls out much the same for both of them.  And the truth is, you two have pretty well hit upon the hinge-pin of Gingerune: the human aspect.  You all watched me blaze through Plenilune, wherein the characters strode about, looking, as they walked, "larger than human on the frozen hills."  Thunderous stuff.  It was like spinning fabric out of a lightning storm.  But Gingerune, while sporting my flare for the eye-boggling fantastic, is much more earthy, with characters not unlike you and me: full of petty passions and divided loyalties, acute love and hatred, spirits at once clinging to and at war with their bodies.  The characters of Gingerune are far more of the ordinary human stuff than many of the characters which populate my other novels.  In juxtaposition, of course, this earthy ordinariness makes the splendour of a boisterous, unshackled human spirit that much grander, but, as in all good stories, such things are a time coming.

Who is the most likeable?  Truth to tell, I'm not done introducing the cast, but I am willing to bet a reader's favourite at this juncture would be Mazelin.  He's big (for a Theran), kindly, always ready with a show of friendliness for anyone who is friendly, and quick to come to the defense of any and all who suffer oppression.  He is a great idealist - and, as such, I am find him beneath his strong, weathered body to be very brittle indeed.

Heroes and anti-heroes...  The tricky thing about characters is that they all think they are protagonists. Everyone thinks he is doing the right thing, even - well, but that would be telling.  I'm willing to bet everyone fantasizes himself in a heroic role to some extent: everyone likes to be the knight in shining armour - or the bronzed warrior stripped for war, as the case may be.  But when push comes to shove and the stakes are raised, as they must be in every good novel, cloud-spun towers crumble and very few people want to really put their life on the line to be the hero.  Being a hero is dangerous.  Being a hero means making the choice between life and death for people who have absolutely no say in their own destiny, and no one wants that responsibility.  Most people would rather save their own skin and spend most of their time justifying the obvious selfishness of their instinctive self-preservation.  In this way Gingerune has both heroic and anti-heroic sensibilities in the same characters. 

"You know what the definition of a hero is?  Someone who gets other people killed."
zoe washburne

3 ripostes:

  1. "Being a hero is dangerous. Being a hero means making the choice between life and death for people who have absolutely no say in their own destiny, and no one wants that responsibility."

    Thanks you Jenny. Why is it that you can say in two sentences what takes me two pages? I suppose practice will help. That sentence reminds me of Indi, he did not seem to want to be a hero.

  2. I haven't read enough of your blog yet to be well acquainted with any of your stories, but I am intrigued and will now have to read through back posts to find out more about Plenilune and Gingerune.

    'like spinning fabric out of a lightning storm'- I know the feeling! And I love how you put it into words- it is beautiful mental imagery.

    I agree, being a hero is hard. You have so much responsibility resting on our shoulders.

    Anti-heroes... one of my favorite quotes to remember when writing villains is: "Every villain is a hero in his own mind.'

  3. Those kinds of heroes - they can be the best! I am SO EXCITED and impatient about reading Gingerune and Adamantine and Plenilune - more than ever! Ohhhhhh, Jenny! May the road ever rise before your face of thought and the sunlight on your flowing pen! I really loved how you described the weaving of your characters such as they are both in Plenilune and now in Gingerune - 'tis truly heart-throbbingly real.