Tag Archive | Harry Potter

The Mermaid

Mermaid 1(123)My fantasy elements series rolls on today with the mythical mermaid, nemesis of sailors. Mermaids have appeared in the folklore of many cultures worldwide. This aquatic legend has the upper body of a female human and the tail of a fish. It is thought that the sea nymphs arose from sightings of dugong but anyone who has seen a dugong would be sceptical of this.

In fantasy literature, mermaids are sprinkled throughout though nowhere near as common a fantasy icon as witches or dragons. The most memorable mermaids made an appearance in The Little Mermaid, a tale first published in 1837 by Hans Christian Anderson. Hans tells the story of a young mermaid, willing to give up life in the ocean and her mermaid identity to win the love of a human prince.

Stephen Donaldson had half human mystical hybrids called mer-wives in his ‘Chronicles of Thomas Covenant’

We also find mermaids, or at least mer people (people of the sea) in JK Rowling’s The Goblet of Fire.

 

Potter merpeopleHere and there at the dark windows, Harry saw faces…faces that bore no resemblance at all to the painting of the mermaid in the prefects’ bathroom… The merpeople had grayish skin and long, wild, dark green hair. Their eyes were yellow, as were their broken teeth, and they wore thick ropes of pebbles around their necks.

 

These mer people sound a far cry from those we traditionally think of.

In Doctor Who, The Curse of the Black Spot, a mysterious monster rears her head. When our three stowaways appear in their blue box, aboard a 17th century pirate ship, the crew is being mesmerized one by one by the haunting song of a beautiful siren. Her attention means certain death.

And that is the common theme amongst mermaid legend: that the sea nymphs appear to sailors at sea, singing their haunting songs, and the sailors are lured to their death, drowning in the ocean. Mermaids may be beautiful but their attraction has a deadly side effect.

Coastal Scene (123)- cliffsIn my third fantasy novel, which I will have more news on soon, my heroine is a mermaid. Merielle has just never ‘fit in’ amongst her people. She makes a decision to flee her family, rather than take part in their murderous activities. Merielle is found by naval captain Nikolas Cosara, washed up on his beach. Having been a sailor for decades and with his brother recently lost at sea, Nik has every reason to hate Merielle. She, on the other hand, has seized on a plan to make a human love her and so become a human woman. Suffice to say that the relationship between these two is turbulent.

The working title of this book is Love Thy Enemy and it has been an amazing and at times difficult ride to explore the possibilities of a mermaid as heroine of a romance novel. I think it very possible that the mer people will return in coming stories.

 

 

 

 

Sorceror

GandalfMagic is essential in fantasy fiction so how could I have a series on fantasy elements without including the sorcerer? You may know him as the wizard or magician if you are a fan of the genre. This character can be the hero or he might be a mentor as was Merlin for Arthur of Camelot. Other famous wizard mentors are Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings and Dumbledore from Harry Potter. Of course, a sorcerer can also be the  villain as was Voldemort who used his abilities for evil and was the nemesis of Harry Potter.

Some of my favourite stories are built around a wizard as he comes into his power, from normal human weakling to all powerful world saviour. This can come about as a result of innate ability, through study or even as a gift from an all-powerful being. You need a long series to accomplish this or even perhaps several series such as Raymond E. Feist used to bring Pug from castle boy to world changing sorcerer. In fact Pug coming into power encompassed two worlds which could be accessed via a rift. But that’s a topic for another day.

Harry PotterWhat magic does a sorcerer wield? I feel that the magic of the sorcerer is quite different to that of the witch, both in the manner of the magic and in the delivery.

Wizards, being male, are more likely to use their magic to fight a war, to directly kill or influence events. The wielding of their magic is often via weapons of violence such as swords, knives and spears. A sorcerer may cast down bolts of lightning from his very fingertips or use his magic to project his voice to the masses. The wand was the favoured magical tool in the Harry Potter series with this tool being unique for each wielder.

Wizard 1This is a sweeping statement but generally, the magic of the sorcerer is not as subtle as that of witches. There is an element of patience in the magic produced by females. They are much more likely to use their magic to manipulate, setting into motion a series of events over which they may have little control. Male wielders of magic tend to be more up front, casting their spells for immediate and devastating effect.

The wizard can appear in any form but generally in fantasy this character will be clothed in robes, have white hair and often a flowing beard. He is easily recognisable, as someone who is wise and powerful, by his looks and bearing. The sorcerer is generally of advanced age, and may even live much longer than the rest of society. He will generally have an exalted position such as at the side of the king or perhaps as the headmaster of a school as Dumbledore was at Hogwarts. However, some of my favourite wizards lived very humble existences, even to being nomadic as Gandalf was in Lord of the Rings.

Wizard 2Lord Acton once said: Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. One of the most delicious aspects of fantasy fiction is the potential for internal conflict created by this fact. At some point, the wizard will be faced with a choice or several choices or even whether to intervene at all. In a fight between two opposing forces, which side should he take? He may have the power to bring someone back from the dead but should he exercise that power? What effects will his magic have in the long term? There might be certain magics that are traditionally forbidden because of their far reaching effects. Is it ever acceptable to use this magic? Sorcerers are continually walking the fine line between good and evil.

But as the wizard battles enemies, changes worlds and fights his own demons he will ever remain a critical component of fantasy fiction.