Sunday, May 6, 2012
So...what's with all the rhymes? And...did I see some French and Latin in the story?
So…what’s with all the rhymes?
I don’t know. I can’t seem to help making them up. :) But besides being fun, they are also useful in succinctly stating some main points, among other things.
In The Pursuit of a King, I used them sparingly. Vestero is the one who quotes them most often in the later stories, but in the first book (Pursuit), the main characters (Artemerio and Barto) do not know him very well. And Artemerio and Barto also haven’t really been exposed to the Ancient Tales of Old or the songs of the stars before—so Barto, since he is the voice of the story, mentions them but doesn’t quote them. The rhymes—mostly songs of the stars—are new to Barto, and he enjoys them, but he doesn’t really understand their significance yet.
But there is one rhyme that is not only the backbone of the first story but also the backbone of the first three books:
Secured not by a noble birth,
By soldiers’ strength, or might works.
Secured by virtues daily shown.
Through justice, mercy, truth—a throne.
Like the riddle (a rhyme also in the first book), this rhyme is based loosely on verses in Proverbs. This rhyme is based on verses that talk about how a king should rule. Justice, mercy, and truth are significant to the first story, and Artemerio and Barto are introduced to the concepts in their interactions with other characters. That’s what gives the first story its shape.
But each of the three books is especially focused on one of the three concepts. The first book focuses on wisdom, which is inseparably bound to truth. Lady Wisdom is a voice of truth. The second book, The Heart of a King (A Tale of Faith), focuses, in part, on justice. And the third book, The Honor a King A Tale of Mercy), focuses on…mercy. :)
So that little rhyme is more important than it might seem.
But Heart has many more rhymes. Many. More. There is, in fact, a very long rhyme that takes up a few pages. It is an Ancient Tale, and it provides background information that is important for understanding the mysterious quest Artemerio and Barto are to take—important for readers and for Artemerio and Barto, who, though they have progressed in understanding since the first book, are still not as knowledgeable about the Ancient Tales and songs of the stars as Vestero. But in Honor, Artemerio is able to recognize a reference by Lady Mercy to one of the rhymes and remind Vestero of it.
So the rhymes are useful for setting apart the Ancient Tales, the Ancient Songs, and the songs of the stars and for making them memorable. They are useful for summarizing important truths, highlighting themes, and foreshadowing. And the characters' familiarity with the rhymes is helpful for showing the characters’ development in their knowledge of the Great King and his words.
So…did I see some French and Latin in the story?
Why, yes. Yes, you did. :)
An important ship in The Heart of a King (A Tale of Faith) and The Honor of a King (A Tale of Mercy) is the Luceat Lux Vestra. The name of the ship is meant to be a reference to Matthew 5:14-16 ( which is about being light) and means (in Latin) “let your light shine.” Light and darkness are key to the story in Heart, so there is also an important mountain called Mount Umbra. Umbra, in Latin, means “shadow.” Also, the important trees in the story are fiducia trees. Fiducia means “trust” and is a reference to the main theme of the book: faith.
In Honor, the references are in French. Sel is an important island in the story, and it is the French word for salt—which is meant as a reference to Matthew 5:13 (which is about being salt). I named the wicked queen in the story Queen Crainte. Crainte is a French word for fear and is a reference to Romans 8:15 (which is about not being made a slave to fear but being made a son). And the word in the invitation at the very end of the story—miséricorde—is a reference to Ephesians 2:1-5 (which is about God being rich in mercy—miséricorde means “mercy”—and saving us).