Introspections Pt II

Another from Xisor:

“What do you feel was your biggest ‘this might not make it’ idea that made it to the final cut? (Were there any such ideas which didn’t?)”

The answer to both questions is the same – Eldar gender-bending… For a long time I dabbled with the idea of having a prominent character who was a male member of the female Howling Banshees. I initially wanted to examine the somewhat fluid nature of Eldar gender and their attitude towards male and female roles and characteristics. In the end I abandoned it because it was too much to get across for a secondary character and would have been more confusing than enlightening; and it simply would have been too much to use such a character as the protagonist for the majority of the BL readership. I did, however, make a very small nod to this by having a female Exarch as the ‘Young King’; something that did cause some discussion with the editors but was eventually kept with a more explicit mention that the title was a non-gender honorific.

From LordLucan

“I liked the myth which hinted that exarchs were once the footsoldiers of Khaine against the normal eldar of Eldanesh. It could be taken as a metaphor or as a veiled reference to perhaps an actual civil war within the war in heaven. Was this a deliberate move on your part Gav?”

I like to muddy the waters when I can, and one thing that has bugged me a bit about a lot of the War in Heaven stuff is the mutation into part of the C’tan/ Necron background. Obviously such a monumental event would be featured in the Eldar mythology, but I wanted the myths to be a real mosaic of different things, not just a poetic record of a single period or event.

This is why some of the myths are deliberately contradictory to some of those already published in the background. A lot of the pantheistic mythologies started out as a real grab-bag of tales and beliefs, and even after a lot of recording and rationalisation they are far from consistent.

For me the War in Heaven is the Eldar take on the expulsion from paradise. At some stage, even before the Fall, the idyllic existence of the Eldar was torn apart by a cataclysmic event. The fact that Khaine, the embodiment of violence within the Eldar themselves, is at the root of this suggests to me a civil war of some kind. If the instigating figure had been Death – now equated to the C’tan Nightbringer in the background – that would have been more of an indication of external attack. How the two are connected, if at all, can remain a subject for fan (and author!) speculation.

There were already hints of division in the background with the rivalry between the houses of Eldanesh and Ulthranesh and I thought it would be cool to extend that a little further. Internal strife has been the downfall of countless civilisations and it seems natural to me that the almost eternal Eldar society would have suffered at least one internecine war. The myth itself I see as a warning against this sort of thing in general, rather than relating to one specific incident – they were likely several such divisions and unifications over the long existence of the pre-Fall civilisation.

More to follow…

Published in: on September 27, 2010 at 4:52 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Dear. Mr Thorpe.

    Are Harlequins trapped on a Path like the Exarchs are?



  2. Hi Gav!!

    Not quite sure where to post this, so as this is the closest post in regards to the date for Games Day, I will post it here.

    I attended the Black Library seminar this year, and wanted to thank you for all the great advice you offered us wannabe-writers. I came away with a lot to consider and contemplate, and I was especially excited by our “Dark Angel” chit-chat afterwards (I was the over-excited skinhead asking whether ‘Purging..’ would reveal more on the dynamics of the relationships between Astartes who weren’t in the Inner Circle…)

    So, good luck writing ‘Purging Of Kallidus’ (sorry if that’s spelt wrong, over-excited again?!) and thanks again for a great seminar.


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