Thursday, 27 January 2011

Ranty Tanty and Others

When Hanther ran away, her enemies seldom ended up smiling about it...  - The Battle of Actium, by Lorenzo A Castro (1672) - public domain, via Gdr at Wikimedia Commons My Kateverse analogue of Alexander actually ruled - in however tenuous a sense - the entire mortal world for a period of several months before disappearing. It is hard to get any real grip on the enormity of that. One way in which I've gradually begun to approach it is through his warring successors - Cassander's own Diadochi - of whom there is both room and need for a much greater galaxy than our Macedonian megalomaniac left behind him.

Morgan the Man I know, name-hero of Kate's country, who alone of all his rivals refused to declare himself a deity:

"Ran! Tan! Gander gan!
Gods be gods, but Mog's the Man!"

as his troops' famous battle-chant, now piously reworked, had it.

That stupid little jingle, which bounced into my head after I concocted the modern version for Kate and Luke's benefit, is what gave me the heart of the Lord of the Goose-Feather's legend. But if I ever get Morgan satisfactorily figured out, he will certainly take up his own post.

A few others of these Diadochi reveal themselves by degrees when I'm writing other stuff. Stateira Hetaira, the accidental Pittacus-Sappho of the Vesper Isles, trivialized in the nursery-rhymes of far Starkady as 'Stacey the Singer', is one. Phaon the Navarch, Cassander's admiral, who overthrew and slew her before meeting his own much more dreadful end on the currents of a faerie sea, is another. And then...

Stupid nonsense syllables running through my head, on the march to the train. They ended up coalescing into this:

Ranty tanty hanta hoar,
Ranty Tanty won the war!
Ranty Tanty now advance,
Hanty Hanta, do the dance!
Ranty tanty hanta hoar.
Ranty lead your pack, and then
Hanty bring 'em back again!
Pitchy river witchy shore,
Ranty tanty hanta hoar.
Ranty Tanty, who's to blame?
Hanty Hanta won the game!

So then I was compelled to work out what the hell this had meant in the Kateverse, back when it meant anything at all.

Ranty Tanty sounds like the local equivalent of Mark Antony. Nothing in the Kateverse ever maps properly to any one thing in ours, but that surely suggests 'Hanta' as somebody like Cleopatra in her more regal capacities. That and some cogitation gave me Romolo Aquila of Lycania, a Diadochus whose legend combines elements of our Romulus and Julius Caesar and Romeo Montague, just because I can. Which has some interesting implications for the Stacey-yielding fairy-tale with the King of the Cats in it... Anthony Fulmen - Tony Thunderbolt, or Ranty Tanty - is then one of Aquila's successors whose self-donated godhood didn't quite work out in his own home town.

But I think his eventual alliance with Hanther*, Queen and - Diadocha? - of sinister Necyopol, and anointed Echidne-Spawn** of the Snake River Country, must have worked out better for all concerned than Cleo and Tony's in our parish. Whether this is because Morgan the Man was keeping some would-be Octavian busily occupied in what my grandad used to call Welsh wrestling, I have yet to tell.

My worlds get built in very silly ways.

* Not intended to sound either Greek or Egyptian. And certainly not Nyissan. The Snake River Country is very strange, sort of liminal, and most of what I know about it is that its relationship with Hades seems unhealthily intimate. This means that Cassander would have pretty much had to do something important there. I know why, but I can't even guess as to the what.

** In the same sense that a Pharoah is a son of Apollo. Contains no actual Echidne-spawn. Conforms to no international standards whatsoever.

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