Ser Bronn of the Blackwater
Like most people who enjoy TV, I’m following Game of Thrones.
Also like most people, I have my favourite Game of Thrones characters, many of whom have died horrible deaths.
Thankfully, I still have a couple of favourites left, one of whom is Tyrion Lannister’s sellsword bodyguard-turned-knight, the aptly-named Bronn.
Bronn is a secondary character in the series, yet one I’m always excited to watch. This despite the fact that the roguish soldier of fortune – a hard-drinking, womanizing, wry, cunning, yet still reasonably amiable mercenary – is a common high fantasy trope.
In My Head, by Vincent Bourilhon
Last week’s post about buying a female bike seat was a little more provocative than usual for me.
I meant every word, and was pleased by all the comments readers offered on their thoughts about colour-coding and gender stereotypes.
But I was angry when I wrote that post, and anger isn’t an emotion I’m used to associating with biking.
Because I love it. I love it for being green, fast, cheap, and good for me. Although not necessarily in that order.
I often tell people that unemployment and its resultant frugality made me a cyclist back in 2006, but impatience kept me doing it, and the environmental benefits are just one of several other bonuses that have made biking an important part of my life.
Back in the medieval times, blue was considered a colour for girls.
This is due to the shawl of the Virgin Mary having been that colour. Blue was considered to denote the womanly virtues of obedience, penitence, devotion, and grace.
Pink, meanwhile, in belonging to the red family, was viewed a colour most appropriate for boys, presumably due to the redness of all the blood they’d be spilling as future knights and fighting men.
I mention this not to argue that pink isn’t truly as feminine a colour as it’s portrayed present-day, but rather to demonstrate that the practice of colour-coding by gender is by no means a modern phenomenon.
Although perhaps the opposition some feel towards it is.
It sucks to be three out of four of these guys.
(The Bayeux Tapestry, 11th Century.)
I never set out to write a historical fiction novel.
If you go back far enough, it can be argued I never set out to write a novel period, for I never believed I’d be able to sustain a story for that length.
But once it did occur to me that I had a novel-length tale to tell, I didn’t expect for it to be a historical one.
As a result of this lack of foresight, the way I’ve gone about writing this novel (technically novels, for there’s two of them; so much for not thinking I could sustain a long story) is definitely not something I’d recommend.
There’s no one right way to write a novel, but what I’ve done may well be the one wrong way to write HF. Don’t believe me? Behold my list of what NOT to do, all of which I did, to my detriment.
I admit to having been a total kill-joy last Monday, writing about Lent on St. Patrick’s Day.
This week’s post will make up for that.
Even though St. Paddy’s Day isn’t a significant event in my life (likely because usually I’m in the throes of Lent at the time), the mystique of Ireland was a powerful inspiration for me in the early days of my novel-in-progress.
Not because the story itself has anything to do with Ireland (it’s set in medieval England), but instead due to some of the books I was reading and music I was listening to at the time: two fabulous works whose recommendation is a far more pleasant St. Patrick’s Day greeting (however overdue) than my blathering on about giving up indulgences and society falling apart.
So today, on St. Patrick’s Day – a day of parades, parties, and green beer in North America – I’ve decided to write about Lent.
I’m not Catholic, or even especially religious. Yet Lent is a ritual I practice regularly.
For those even less religious than I, Lent is the 40-day period preceding Easter and running roughshod right over St. Paddy’s Day during which, among other things, it’s customary for people to temporarily give up on indulgent habits.
It’s a period of penitence, self-denial, and reflection corresponding with the 40 days Jesus Christ spent alone in the desert prior to the start of his ministry, fasting and enduring temptation from the Devil.
The purpose of Lent is to prepare Christians to rejoice at the resurrection of Jesus at Easter.
As I mentioned above, I’m not especially religious.
And yet, in recent years, for Lent I’ve given up,
- All desserts
- Needless complaining
And this year, movies and Netflix.
There’s a restaurant in Toronto called Medieval Times.
When I was a kid, I would see commercials for it on TV. The gimmick of this restaurant is that it’s set up like a large medieval hall in which patrons are entertained by knights sword fighting and jousting on real horses, all while eating medieval-esque fare without cutlery and drinking out of giant goblets.
To my child self, it looked like the most awesome thing ever. Whenever the commercial (which was more like a movie trailer) came on, I’d stop whatever I was doing and imagine myself going to the restaurant.
Unfortunately, because I was living in Nova Scotia, I never got to go. I still haven’t been to this day.
Now, I’m writing a novel set in medieval England.