Ethandune: the Narrator

Who is the narrator of Ethandune?
Allow me to introduce you to Simon.
Not in great depth, of course - because then where would the point of Ethandune be?  But after posting my read-aloud for Ethandune, which is written in the first person, I was asked who the narrator was - because it certainly wasn't me!  

The narrator of Ethandune is Simon, a lad of fourteen at this juncture.  He is Goddgofang's manservant, and in appearance is dramatically overshadowed by his master: he is prone to be tall (he may or may not have another growth spurt in him), mousy-haired and hazel-eyed, and since he has frequent opportunity to be in the sun he tends to stay tan, but his tan is usually of a dusty colour, never any kind of magnificent bronze.  He still has that long, leggy, coltish aspect common in almost all teenage boys, but since his voice has broken it has become remarkably deep for someone of his size, possessing a rich nutty tone that is very pleasant to listen to - although, he does not know this - and that is his greatest physical asset.  He is not ugly by any means, but he is not the sort of figure which would catch anyone's eye.  He is very quietly, contentedly plain.
"I am a gypsy by birth, sir.  I came into Goddgofang's service four years ago."
Simon began as Goddgofang's manservant at the competent but still pliable age of ten.  Goddgofang is the sort of young man that boys will practically worship, and Simon was no exception.  Thankfully for Simon, Goddgofang is no Steerforth (spoiler!), and over the course of four years Simon, still adoring Goddgofang, has developed into a young man in his own right, perfectly willing to cross opinions with his master for the sake of his master's betterment.  He's a very quiet-mannered young man, but he knows how to put back his ears and dig in his heels when he has to. 

Writing in the first person, and writing from Simon's point of view, has created a very different feel from such stories as my crowning three (Adamantine, Plenilune, and Gingerune) where are all written in the third person and from a woman's perspective.  Being a manservant, Simon has a critical eye for detail and has a naturally tender disposition, but he is still very different from any of the main characters of my other novels.  He lends a decidedly masculine aspect to the story, and being written in the first person I am also able to acknowledge the absurdities of life, which I am not always able to do in the third person. This also makes for an interesting exploration of his character.  In the third person, the reader is discovering the character while the story progresses: but in the first person, the character already knows what he is like and does not always feel the need to "discover himself" to the reader.  Simon's personality is shown up when juxtaposed to others', and his character is revealed in the circumstances of the story, which is a new and fun style for me to explore!

To be truthful, I absolutely adore Simon - he makes me laugh (and making me laugh is a great way to get me to like you) and he gives me the opportunity to explore a relationship which was prematurely terminated twenty-eight years earlier in the timeline. 
He smiled at me, and I think for some time afterward I wore that smile like a wreath of olive.

4 ripostes:

  1. Ooh, I like Simon! He seems to be a good stable chap to relay the story to the reader. :)
    I really like the relatable aspect of first-person narration, but it certainly takes a balanced hand to execute properly. (Which is always something I hope I manage by the time I publish Psithurism. Nothing's more sour than a whiny first-person-narrative.) And like you said, the narrator shouldn't feel the need to learn himself for the reader, which I think I something I definitely struggle with. Ah well, such is life, no?

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  2. Thanks for this post! I loved the read aloud you did, but the whole time I was trying to figure out who was narrating. Simon is a wonderful name! Fits him so well.

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  3. Bree - I find first person narration to be most challenging in the area of making sure the character's voice is not one's own. Simon and I have a lot in common, but our characteristics diverge pretty quickly after a few shared opinions. :P

    Orc Blogger - I'm glad you liked both my read-aloud and my post here on Simon! I'm glad, too, that you like the name "Simon." It actually isn't one of my favourites, but this character demanded it, and who was I to argue? And now he is Simon through and through and no name would fit him half so well. :)

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  4. Simon! Oh yes, I like the sound of his character, very much indeed. A steady chap such as he is just the thing for a tale with meaty characters like Goddgofang or Jennalaide; now that I know WHO this narrator is, the seemingly puzzling manner of your 'voice' of that read-aloud snippet of Ethandune, makes perfect sense! Perhaps because all your previous MC have been female women in growing maturity, I didn't expect that he'd be a fourteen year old servant-lad. But he's perfect, <3.

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