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The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the characters of your favourite books

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Vikings

Loki Laufeyjarson (of Truth and Other Lies, by Lyra Wolf)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a god, one refusing to have his life obliterated by some stuffy prophecy. He is here to tell us about proving himself to others, and the complications of loving a mortal woman.


Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

I grew up in a realm called Jotunheim, a rugged place of mountains, pine forests, and thicker pine forests. 

On harsh winter nights, Jotuns believe nothing warms the blood faster than a drunken brawl and a broken nose. This is why I’m quite skilled with daggers and knives. If one wants to survive Jotunheim, one has no choice but to become a fighter.

While I didn’t mind Jotunheim, I didn’t have much of a place there. Not to mention no one could take a joke. Turn someone into a salamander one time and it’s all “we can’t trust you.” I really didn’t see the big deal.

Do you have any favorite memories?

I’d have to say becoming a god is quite the highlight of my many millennia of life. Immortality has its perks. What? You thought we were born gods? Sorry for laughing. Don’t worry, it’s a common misperception. 

We’ve always been made. Odin searched for others like him who contained elements. Energy. Like Thor’s of thunder, or Freya’s of love. He collected us like precious jewels for his kingdom of Asgard and transformed us into gods like him. 

And one day, he found me: Chaos. 

Odin made me a god, and then, he offered me something greater. We mixed our blood and swore an oath of fealty, binding us one to the other. 

Now there’s a man who drives me to drink heavily. He’s like a summer storm. Ruthless, ambitious, strong-jawed…He meant everything to me, and then things got complicated. 

But, I rather not get into all that delightful history.

What are your duties as the God of Chaos now that you live in Asgard?

I’m what might commonly be referred to as a “Fixer.” 

Negotiations with an enemy realm? Easy. An assassination or three? Done. Some light thievery? Of course. 

I can always offer a solution to any problem of any size. It’s what makes me extremely useful to Odin, and keeps the other gods extremely jealous. I love it. 

I’m not called the sly-god because of my good looks. 

(The fact I might be the cause of many of the problems in Asgard is beside the point) 

I know my job isn’t the most honest of professions. Sometimes I do get a shiver of guilt. A small, nagging voice in the back of my mind begs me to be a better man. To be a good person.

I find whacking it with a sturdy shovel and piling another thick layer of dirt overtop shuts it up nicely.  

Continue reading “Loki Laufeyjarson (of Truth and Other Lies, by Lyra Wolf)”

Harthacnute (of The Cold Hearth; Book 3 of The Atheling Chronicles, by Garth Pettersen)

Dear readers, tonight we interview the half-brother of the protagonist Harald, from a series we visited before. Our guest is the heir to the throne, concerned about the future of his land and the choices of his brothers.


Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

I was born in Engla-lond in the early years of my father’s reign, back when Cnute was consolidating his power, playing the sarding earls off each other, and swiving his new wife, Emma, my mother, the widow of Æthelred, the old Saxon king. My father was young then, more Viking chieftain than king. Cruel dastard then, same as now, but shrewd. I’d say my mother is an even match for him—clever, and just as ambitious. Emma got Cnute to promise that their offspring would inherit the throne, not his sons Sweyn and Harald—those stinking curs. So, they had my sister, Cunigard and me. They’re grooming her to marry the next Holy Roman Emperor and I am heir to the throne—a role I am more than willing, and well qualified to play.

So, my childhood was in Engla-lond until Father decides when I am eight years old, to send me to Danmark as future bloody king, under a council led by that nithing, Jarl Ulf. I was just a game piece on Cnutes’ game board, meant to rally the Danes so they’d defend against attacks from Nordvegr and Sverige. Didn’t quite work out that way. Jarl Ulf tried to get the Danish provinces to accept me as king outright, not under Cnute. Stupid Ulf. I think he was half elf-shot. Did nothing to push back the invaders from Scandinavia. My father had to sail from Engla-lond with a fleet. First thing Cnute did after establishing his hold on Nordvegr was kill Jarl Ulf and make it clear to me I was King of Danmark, within his northern empire.

I returned to Engla-lond whenever I was summoned and always chose to stay as long as I could. There are worse things than being young, a blessed gift to women, and heir to the throne. And there is always plenty to drink at my father’s court.

How are your relationships with your half-brothers?

Fine. I hardly see them. Sweyn’s a cruel arseling, but I know what he wants—a throne. I relate well to Sweyn. I understand him. As long as we both don’t claim the same throne, we’ll get along fine.

And Harald?

Harald has more chance of being named a saint than wear a crown. Has no stomach for ruling. And he’s an arrogant turd. He and that slut-wife of his, Selia. Harald says he has no use for the throne. Lying backstabber. We’ve had our run-ins. Beat each other half to death this one time. I was only accepting his wife’s offer to fill her where she’s empty. You know how you can tell some women are ready for you—the way they look at you? Guess it was an act, because she fought like a wild beast. Harald pulled me off her and we fought barehanded. I could have taken him, too, if our father hadn’t stopped us. There will come another time, when I’m ready.

Continue reading “Harthacnute (of The Cold Hearth; Book 3 of The Atheling Chronicles, by Garth Pettersen)”

Gwyn the Welshman (of The Atheling Chronicles, by Garth Pettersen)

Dear readers, tonight on the interview couch we have an 11th century warrior. He’s here to tell us about his amazing journeys through storms and treachery over seas and lands, across England and on the road to far off Rome.

Shield brother and friend to Harald, son of the king, Gwyn the Welshman is always at the atheling’s right hand, ready to defend him and the realm.


You are known as Gwyn the Welshman?

Aye. Gwyn ap Emlyn be my true and rightful name. Gwyn, son of Emlyn, who was my da, a course.

Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

My wife, Gudrun would say I never did grow up, wouldn’t she? She can never resist a jab, that one. Got to love her. Well, I’m a Welshman, but you know that. Not that I’ve ever spent much time there. To tell you where I was a lytling, I’ll have to tell you of my father. My da had not the heart for working the land and being a scrapper he kept himself alive long enough to get good with a skeggox––a battleæx, you know. He had no love for the Saxons––the dastards had too many Welsh slaves, though I dare say the sardin’ Danes wasn’t much better. So he offers his battleæx to Sweyn Forkbeard, don’t he? That’s when he gets to know Cnute, son of Forkbeard, as they was fightin’ Edmund Ironsides. Shield brothers they was, and nothin’ counts more between men than killin’ together and keepin’ the other alive.

So Cnute’s handfasted wife was Ælfgifu, English born, from Northantone. And my da takes up with her friend Ylva. And what do you know, both women are expectin’ bearns ’bout the same time.

And the babes were you and Harald Harefoot, son of King Cnute?

Harefoot, ha! He loves that, don’t he? You guessed it. So the story of my growin’ up is all about my friendship with Harald Cnuteson, in’t it? Playin’, scrappin’––Harald and me, we was like two bear cubs.

And Sweyn, Harald’s older brother?

Sweyn the Swine we called him. What a cruel dastard he was. Still is. One time he took after us, Harald and me––can’t remember what for––didn’t need a reason. Harald got away, but Sweyn grabbed me and pushed me into the brambles. After Sweyn had gone, Harald was back to get me out, careful like, wasn’t he? Harald’s got a tender side you don’t usually see. Selia sees it––loves him for it.

And this, of course was before Harthacnute, Harald’s younger brother was born?

Half brother he is. Crafty fox. So Cnute casts Ælfgifu aside and marries King Æthelred’s widow, Emma, didn’t he? To unite the Saxons and the Danes he figures. Harthacnute comes along at the natural time after Cnute and Emma have done the deed a few hundred times––in the first week of the marriage bed, I’m thinkin’. Ha! So Hartha was a bearn when Harald and I were up and runnin’ everywhere. And he was with the Queen while we was with Ælfgifu, Ylva, and some of the other families. Harald didn’t see his father as much as before and that pained him. It was like Cnute had two wives, two families.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

Well, that would be when Yngvarr Skarissen and I set off in search of Harald, wouldn’t it. He’d been held for silver somewhere outside Engla-lond. Word came that he’d returned, landed near Ceaster. Then his friends lost him. Cnute sent us riding north. No that’s not the truth of it. He sent us to find that cur Drefan. We was lookin’ for him and tryin’ to find Harald, with a big swath of Engla-lond to cover. And there was that business with Pearce the Shire Reeve, the sardin’ pig poker, setting me up for Wregan’s murther. Pearce got entangled with the search for Harald as well, all on account of that connivin’…but I can’t tell you ’bout that. Continue reading “Gwyn the Welshman (of The Atheling Chronicles, by Garth Pettersen)”

Tynan Selvantyr (of Into the Darkness, by A. M. Rycroft)

Dear readers, tonight with me is a man long departed, contacting us from the other side.

Once the realm’s greatest sell-sword and adventurer, he sealed his sword in a dark cave, and placed a curse upon it. He spent a century in the caves as a ghost, until someone found a way to accesses the deepest reaches of the caverns and trigger the curse.

He’s here to tell us about his adventures as a ghost, mentoring the young woman who retrieved his sword and triggered the curse.


Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

I was born in the bustling port city of Acantha. It’s close to the Golden Peaks, south of Cathell itself. My father was a well-known merchant there and our family was quite influential across the region. I found it a stifling environment, however, with too many expectations I had no desire to meet. I made every attempt to leave as soon as I was old enough to set out on my own.

Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?

No, not really any favorite toys I can recall, other than my stuffed bear Rufall. My father did not believe in a lot of play time for his children. He pushed learning on us more. I had favorite books instead. Histories of the realm and the rise of the Tae’Ahjin Empire. And my magik primers, of course.

What do you do now?

Well, as a ghost, I don’t have many worldly demands on my time anymore. However, I was once Cathell’s greatest adventurer. The bards sang of my exploits across the realm. I genuinely miss being an adventurer — the thrill of exploration and hunting out treasures that farm-hands only dream about. There are few things as exciting as that. And of course, a good clash of swords and trading spells with rival adventurers and mercenaries! I have to admit, when the chance arose for one last adventure, I jumped at it. Perhaps I should have warned Aeryn, before I gave her my sword, but sometimes the path to a good adventure requires a little subterfuge at first. Continue reading “Tynan Selvantyr (of Into the Darkness, by A. M. Rycroft)”

Asa Ragnvaldardottir (of The Saga of Asa Oathkeeper by Colin Brodd)

colin-brodd-asa-oathkeeper

Dear readers, tonight with me is a young viking woman, the rightful heir to her father’s kindgom.

Her rival Haraldur seeks to slay her to secure his right to the throne. She is here to tell us about her life as an outlaw, and of the Viking-Fantasy world of Midhgardhur.

 

 

 

Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

 When I was very little, I lived in the Kingdom of Vestfold with my father, a jarl under King Halfdanur the Black. I lived in a long hall overlooking the Great Bay where the longships sailed. My memories of childhood in Vestfold are mostly happy ones, but hazy. When I was just five years old, King Halfdanur died, and my father was elected to be the new king. The day of the konungstekja, the coronation, was the day my world ended – Halfdanur’s son Haraldur attacked without warning, killed my father, and took the crown for himself. I was smuggled to safety across the narrow sea by my father’s loyal retainers, and raised in exile at Ketilsstadhir on the island of Jutey. I guess I really grew up there. I was bitter, and wanted revenge upon King Haraldur for killing my father.

Did you have any cherished memories from childhood?

My favorite memory from childhood is probably my combat training with Hjalti, my father’s most trusted retainer, the one watching over me the day of Haraldur’s attack. The one who took me to safety. Hjalti taught me the ways of the sword; he taught me to be a shieldmaiden. I loved training with him. He trained me out of loyalty to my father, and love for me – he wanted me to be able to protect myself. He did not go easy on me. He raised me to be a good fighter. I loved the exercise, loved to feel my body grow strong as I grew up. And it made me feel like someday I would do something about the wrongs done to me and my people. Continue reading “Asa Ragnvaldardottir (of The Saga of Asa Oathkeeper by Colin Brodd)”

Zelia the Phoenix of Hope (of Free of Asenten by Zora Marie)

 

Zora Marie - Free of Asenten

Dear readers, tonight with us is a desperate girl facing a harrowing choice. Will she be the rising of hope or despair? Join us as we talk with her about her magical upbringing.

 

 

 

Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

“I spent most of my childhood a little south of the Mountain of The Old Ones. It was okay, the land was beautiful and most of the species that lived there were kind to one another. It’s just, it could never have been my home, not with everything that was done to me and the things I was forced to do to others. No, where I truly grew up and learned was before that, even if my time there was comparatively little. I was raised by an elf in The Elven Kingdom of The East, until my first death. After that is when I was bound to that cave, with magic concealing me from the world with only those I was forced to torture and kill being allowed see me. Of course that is with the exception of Asenten since he was the one holding me captive.” Continue reading “Zelia the Phoenix of Hope (of Free of Asenten by Zora Marie)”

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