Writing life got busy, but I'm finally back with annotations for chapters 6-10 of The Dying of the Golden Day!
The Dying of the Golden Day, Chapters 6-10
In these chapters, the world is expanding a bit. We meet a few of Renfred's close friends who are also fellow soldiers. They include Hob, Gwenold and her younger brother Wynn, and Dreya. I like to inject moments of lightheartedness even when the story is serious, which is a bit of what Gwenold and Wynn's sibling relationship adds. And Dreya I like because she's cool and doesn't love to talk. I think she might get a short story in the future. We'll see!
Aurelia, Renfred, and co. journey to the village of Gavan, which has a temple just outside of it, and we find out it's the same temple Edana is from. I wanted to give a sense of missed opportunities and almosts. Aldith knows about the prophecy Edana received, but she doesn't know Aurelia is one of the prophecy's subjects. However, she is able to give Aurelia some valuable information about the feature that concerns her the most, her gray eyes.
Then there are the Mydrosi. Their introduction is where the theme of cultural clash starts to kick in. We meet Mira, who's one of my favorite characters, so much so that I was really happy I was able to get into her head in Book 2. This is where I pulled in just a little bit of my experience in Kazakhstan. The coats they were slightly resemble traditional Kazakh robes in that they're long and feature lovely trim. The initial seed of this book was that I wanted to tell a story about two people on opposite sides of a conflict--or at least who thought they were on opposite sides. Some of my favorite moments are when Aurelia bumps up against the Mydrosi culture and has to fit this new information into her worldview, which means expanding it, something she's reluctant to do at first.
The Mydrosi also carry pistols, which Aurelia and her friends have never seen before. One time, my dad asked me why I decided to include pistols since the world is very sword-oriented, and my answer was, "Because they're cool!" The other part of the answer is I wanted the Mydrosi to be more technologically advanced than the Sunnivans and Temidorans as part of the cultural clash so that characters from opposite sides could realize they have things to learn from one another.
In Chapter 10, one new character sings a song. The inclusion of these stories, songs, and poems was partially inspired by the use of oral stories in The Queen's Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner (which are great books; you should go read them now) and partially inspired by a class on oral history that I took in college. The reason I threaded them through was to draw attention to how we internalize the stories we hear as we grow up and then have to reorient ourselves to the world as it grows and we grow.
On a more minor note, this was a section that featured multiple Shakespeare references. I've been into Shakespeare since I was in high school and have a goal of reading all the plays someday. I haven't worked on that goal in a while, and I'm pretty sure I lost my list of plays I've read. Anyway, one of the instances is when Aurelia thinks, if Renfred dies, that she'll be like "a wandering bark
without a guiding star." It's a reference to Sonnet 116 and a subtle reference to the 1995 version of Sense & Sensibility, which is one of my favorite movies, starring Emma Thompson.
The other reference is to Much Ado About Nothing, probably my favorite Shakespeare play. After being seemingly betrayed by Brennus, Aurelia thinks that "she’d cut out his heart and eat it in the marketplace." In Act 4, Scene I, after a similar betrayal, Beatrice exclaims, "O God, that I were a man! I would eat his heart in the market-place." I wish I could write a line as metal as that. (Coincidentally there's a 1999 film adaptation that also stars Emma Thompson.)
That's all for chapters 6-10! I'll be back soon with notes on the next five chapters. Not only is this exercise helping me craft Book 3, but I also love remembering how much fun I had writing this book. It's something I'm really proud of, and I hope that comes through when people read it.