Monday, January 27, 2014

Characters: It takes more than a big sword to make a knight

In my last blog, I described some of the items and monsters that I included in my upcoming novel.  Now I would like to talk about some of the characters. My novel is based in a school that is training knights to defeat evil creatures that have run rampant over the years for 1,000 years.
My novel tries to be as realistic to a medieval setting as much as it can be.  It is in an alternate reality where evil has taken over the world.  As a result of the evil, some things have changed compared to reality. Once big change is in my novel is that woman can become knights.
In historical terms, it would have been impossible for a girl to be trained as a page, then a squire and eventually becoming a knight. I deliberately modified this historical perception of women during the middle ages.
The reason I did this was very logical.  In this world, if evil is rampant, and then humankind needs every resource, they have to defeat this evil.  Old outdated concepts, such as sexism, would need to disappear allowing women the equal rights as a man.  So in my novel, it is common for a woman to archive knighthood.
Furthermore, similar to the logic above, some economic and social discrepancies have also disappeared.  No longer are nobilities the only ones who may become knights.  A person my “earn” the opportunity for themselves or their children by performing brave deeds or by serving honorably in a battle.
Moving from historical restrictions of becoming a knight, has allowed me some leeway in developing different characters. I now can include squires and pages that are from a lower-income social level.  This has allowed me to bring diversity in my novel, but also show some conflict between royally and so-called commoners are the knight school.
 Trades and Work:  I did maintain specific trades that people had during the middle ages.  Some of these are vital characters from the novel; while others are merely minor characters that help move the plot forward.  Many of these characters are not of noble birth, so they had to work to live, as in mediaeval times these characters’ job is referred to as their trade.  Some trades were performed by well-educated or trained craftsman while others simply did manual labor. The following is a list of some of these jobs. (Not listed in any order)
Scullery Maid: These maids were one of the lowest rankings of the servants who worked in the kitchen. Duties included physically demanding tasks of the kitchen, cleaning and scouring pots, sinks and floors. Melisenda is the main scullery maid described in my novel. Since she has no rank or power in her job, she has found some power by using her sexuality to tease students at the school.
Seneschal: This is not a specific trade, but more of an appointment. The seneschal was in charge of the domestic administration of the servants at the castle. Hamon is the castle’s seneschal.
Marshal of the Stables: Like the sensachal, this is more of a rank then a trade. The marshal of the stables was responsible for the animals and their upkeep. Since the horse was the most important animals in the medieval work, the marshal was an important person. Gervase is the marshal of the stables in my novel, and one of the most important minor characters.
Porter: Again not a specific trade.  The porter was responsible for the gates to the castle. He guarded the gate or door and insured that no one entered the castle without permission.
Bottler: In charge of the storing of wine and drink.
Gong Farmer:  They were the people who were responsible for the emptying of waste in the latrines. Some would take the human waste to be used as fertilizer in fields.
Barber: A person whose trade was to cut hair, but also a dentist and surgeon.
Atilliator: Someone who made and repaired crossbows.
Cheapjack: A pedldler.
Cordwainer: Someone who works with leather making shoes and boots.
There are many more character trades and professions in my novel.  I hopefully have described them accurately.
Next time:  Terms used in my novel.

No comments:

Post a Comment