Monday, July 13, 2015

Beautiful People: Merlin

Well, we did survive the ball, and I think we all had a little fun, too. The Arthurian Chronicles are going splendidly, and that's all I'm working on, so naturally I'm doing this month's BP for the same story as in June.

This month I am doing Merlin. Nearly everyone who's even once heard of King Arthur has heard of Merlin. My Merlin has gone under various changes, but he is probably the character most like the original from the legend. If you haven't noticed, it seems to me all the best fantasy books have a character like Merlin: very old, bearded magic-doer who's a little strange at times but has very good advice and helps the main characters out of a tight spot more than once. Lord of the Rings has Gandalf, Harry Potter has Dumbledore, The Prydain Chronicles has Dallben, the Dragon Keeper Chronicles has Fenworth... With all of these examples it is hard to keep their characters from spilling over into Merlin's. I shall try to answer the questions without copying from the above mentioned. Merlin's past, magical abilities, and general personality are not very developed either in the legend or in my story; that is why he takes the spotlight here.

Beautiful People: Merlin Uwain of Avalon

1. What's their favourite ice cream flavour?
Well, living in the Middle Ages, Merlin doesn't get ice cream much... Haha... He's partial to the flavors of brown bread and vegetable soup, and other plainer food, so I'm not sure that he would like ice cream if he got the chance to taste it (he wouldn't want it often, even if he liked a particular flavor [likely cherry]).

2. Your character is getting ready for a night out. Where are they going? What are they wearing? Who will they be with?
Merlin has a general dislike of "night out"s (nights out?). If he was going out, it would be for one of two reasons: 1) He would be going to the castle to see Gwenore, in the short days of their courtship. He would be dressed in the rich clothing of the men of those days, you know, something more or less like this:
Have you noticed how much harder it is to find a prince-like picture than a princess? Particularly when your cat is sitting on the keyboard...
2) After Gwenore married Uther, Merlin would be out by himself, wearing his usual plain clothing and brown cloak, more or less like this:

He would be out for one reason: to pick up information of some kind or another. Therefore he would go to the loudest, busiest tavern.

3. Look at your character’s feet. Describe what you see there. Do they wear dress shoes, gym shoes, or none at all? Are they in socks that are ratty and full of holes? What do they consider comfortable and what do they consider agony?
Merlin wears brown traveling boots and wool socks, plain but in whole condition (not hole condition). What he considers comfortable is broken in. Footwear doesn't have the power to cause agony in Merlin. His tolerance of pain is much higher than that.

4. Do they have any birthmark or scars? Where are they and how did they get them?

Merlin has several scars on his arms and legs, mostly from hard work. He also has a thin scar near his left ear from a fight.

5. What kind of music do they listen to? Does it change depending on their mood or is it always consistent? (Feel free to share samples!)

Merlin appreciates minstrels' singing but he doesn't own an iPod or employ his own musicians so he rarely hears music.

Confession: I have no idea what all that is, I just searched for Medieval music on Youtube. Funnily enough it begins with a song called "Avalon", and Merlin's roots are in Avalon.

6. Do they have any musical talent? Play an instrument? How’s their singing voice?

Merlin has no musical talent at all. It's one of the few things he has no gifting for. His voice is rough and unmelodious.

7. What kind of book would you catch them reading?
You would catch him reading most any book imaginable (though he dislikes silly romantic ballads). He loves to learn and to read.

8. How would they spend their summers (or their holidays)?

Merlin loves to visit his father's home of Avalon. He is proud of his family heritage and introduces himself as Merlin Uwain of Avalon, though he was raised in Camelot. His father was not such a great person, and Merlin knows that, but because his father was a wizard (and his mother wasn't) he feels more of a connection to that side. He has been to Avalon (a distant, magically hidden island off of Scotland) only a few times.

9. It’s Saturday at noon. What is your character doing? Give details. Ex. If they’re eating breakfast, what’s on the menu? Are they hiking, shopping, lazing around?

At what time in his life? In his teenage years he would have been studying like many fairly wealthy boys (you know, history, geometry, the normal things). In his later teens and early twenties he would have been at the castle wooing Gwenore. In his twenties-fifties he would have been studying – but this time it is magic, magical theory, magical history, etc. that he studies. In his mid-fifties to sixties he would be mostly studying.

10. Is there anything your character wants to be free of?

Merlin would like to be free from his regrets: regret that Gwenore married Uther, that Merlin didn't watch Arthur more carefully, that his father left his mother, that he was born into wealth Often he half-wishes he was not a wizard. It is a burden and a responsibility. It enables him to help people but it sets him apart in a very lonely way.

Well, don't we all feel better for that? I do, anyway. Usually if I know a character very little I subconsciously avoid thinking about him (as I've done for Merlin). But now that he is understood it makes me very, very happy (not completely and perfectly and incandescently happy, you know, but very pleased).

Au revoir,
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  1. Ooh, Arthurian legend! Can I just say, I am ridiculously happy to find someone else who adores Wizard Fenworth. :D

    About it being harder to find prince pictures--yes! I've noticed that recently. I have better luck finding the medieval girls than the guys...all Google shows me is stuffy old portraits of rather ugly royalty. XD

    Anyway, I'm liking your version of Merlin. He's been in a fight, he has a high pain tolerance, he loves book and can't sing...and the answer to question #10 hints at some unfortunate backstory elements. :) Gotta love those, right?

    1. (Forgot to mention: I loved the reference to Pride and Prejudice at the end of your post. :D I just watched the 2005 movie, and I'm almost finished reading the book.)

  2. You know Fenworth, yes I adore Fenworth. I quite like your Merlin, he seems sensible, and maybe a bit stodgy like any old wizard.

  3. Yes, Fenworth is AWESOME. I just never got quite as attached to Cam.

    1. Me either, Cam just didn't have Twigdorwth's charm or temper, and he dripped very unpleasant.

  4. I really like the character of Merlin, and I especially like him in the BBC Adventures of Merlin TV series. In that series, he is played by Colin Morgan. I really like your post about him. :)

  5. Nope, no ice-cream in the Middle Ages. :D One of the reasons I'm glad I live in the 21st century. ;)


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