Friday, 29 July 2011

"All Things Coming Home"

A cock and a hen roosting together, by Andrei Niemimäki via Wikimedia Commons - released under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic LicenseNow fully into the terminal Bonfire Arc of Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland. This was supposed, from the beginning, to be one chapter of Kate's final personal and political showdown in Alland, followed by a chapter of my united protagonists' showdown with the Big Bad. Details had already been much modified by circumstances.

But the rhythm has also been modified, now I come up to it, by the much-changed rhythm of the overall tale. A structure that was reasonable in an eight-chapter novella is not necessarily transferable to a two-dozen-chapter novel. Also, after the clash and fury of the fall of Carrowglaze, it makes neither emotional nor practical sense to hop directly to a dinner-date with Nemesis. Lastly - though this story has always been about things done by and for ordinary people, with and without heroes - it has grown in the telling to be much more about the secondary and tertiary characters themselves, from its original sharp focus on the larger-than-life Kate and Luke.

For all of these reasons, it wasn't too surprising that I found myself devoting a chapter to the aftermath of the rebels' victory, or using it to bring onstage some of the stuff I'd previously meant only to summarize in the epilogue.

And so a descending chapter of mists, and squawling kicky children, and the clatter of the Great Chain of Being falling link-cut onto the rocks below the Green Hill. In a world where certain stars really have shot madly from their spheres to put their spokes in, the aristocrats' survivors can't very well be blamed for feeling that the joint order of natural and civil law is being overthrown in mere apocalypse, and chaos in every sense is truly coming again. Nor the great majority of their conquerors, for feeling on a similar basis that a new heaven and a new earth is much more nearly within their grasp than is ever humanly possible, even on the marches of Elfland.

E M W Tillyard's The Elizabethan World Picture has been an invaluable resource for me in wrapping my head around some of the fundamental assumptions with which Kate and her contemporaries were raised, though they haven't imbibed their version from either Christianity at all or Greek philosophy as such. I wish I'd come across it a lot sooner.

In this chapter it is also seen how there are other militant rejectionists among the common people than those who look to the Good Witch Katy; and that even worse systems than divinely-sanctioned aristocracy can be arranged for, if only a body will try hard enough.

But all that is Luke's problem for now. Old Kate of Fairfields - once the masterful Golden Margravine of Alland, and now the Northdale revolutionaries' Grey Wolf in the Red Gloaming - is coming home for the last time to the castle where she was born; and her long lifetime's worth of chickens flies shoulder-close behind her.

What I didn't expect was that now I'd need to jump back in time, and spend another chapter setting up her reception from the point of view of her friends and foes at Garcastle. This, though, is what it will take, to make the final confrontation work.

As Kate and Luke have come to discover over the course of this story, it really isn't all about them any more.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.