In part I and II of All Things Dark, we examined the obvious dark elements of Gone Dragon. But are there subtle layers of dubiousness we may have missed? Some we’ve perhaps not given enough credit to? Perhaps others we have misconceived?
Let's take a closer look.
Lucas, Bonstaph, Alavia, Eamon, Jael, Austagia, Demi, Xavier, Joffren, Brue… Along the Gone Dragon journey, each of these characters at some stage appears to have a darker side.
Often characters appear to work against Magnus or Catanya right from the start, at other times a dark side seems to reveal itself later on. However this darker side comes about, I love making characters evolve as a story progresses. Then we get to see how this evolution affects the interplay between them.
A friendship turned dark.
An example of this is Magnus’s relationship with Eamon. In the darkness of Froughton Forest, Magnus quickly forged a friendship with Eamon. The friendship germinated amidst the foggy, unknown, untrustworthy environment of the Valley of Shadows. Was this an example of Magnus’s naivety? Had he not warned himself repeatedly to ‘assume the worst’ in every situation pertaining to Froughton Forest? Soon after, as Magnus awoke from the fog of unconsciousness in a prison carriage, he saw Eamon in a totally different light. Who painted Magnus this darker image of his new ‘friend’? Someone trustworthy? No! It was the son of his greatest enemy! Nevertheless, Magnus held a grudge for Eamon until the eleventh hour. The true darkness is in what Magnus perceived to be true.
At the end of Book I, Magnus takes a powerful stand against a great injustice. The culmination of all his experiences in Book I made him stronger, but at a price. There are few he trusts. Fewer still he has faith in. This is another form of darkness Magnus must confront.
The dark interplay of Catanya.
Catanya’s Book I journey was a tumultuous interplay of relationships. In the beginning, she hated her father, resented Austagia, admired Jael, was wary of Demi, fond of Brue, and yet came to trust Joffren. Most of Catanya relationships were turned on their heads! In the end, some of these strong characters put Catanya’s interests before theirs. Others tried to kill her…
Catanya’s strength came from maintaining her focus on what it was she wanted. Where she saw the dark side of those attempting to shape her destiny, she saw it as verification that the only person she could truly trust was Magnus. In the end of Book I, the dark deceptions of characters interplaying with Catanya leave her in the same predicament as Magnus: there are few she trusts and even fewer she has faith in.
Dark side or interests unknown?
As you work your way through Book I, peripheral stories begin to blossom and personalities start to take shape. When characters declare themselves, their presence is felt. When interests clash with Magnus or Catanya’s, their agendas seem malicious. Magnus and Catanya, however, are new to this game. The politics and powers of Allumbreve have been wrestled over for generations and may be as justified as Magnus and Catanya’s desires.
In Book II you will see many of these peripheral stories develop and much of the political struggles come to a head. Dark secrets will unfurl and allegiances will be put to the test. But in any great story of a hero’s journey, dark adversaries must do their worst before the hero can do their best.
Food for thought.
“How can I be substantial if I do not cast a shadow? I must have a dark side also if I am to be whole.” C.G. Jung
Is there a dark side within all of us? Perhaps Jung meant there are many sides to our story that contribute to our substantial selves. We must embrace all such sides if we wish to become the substantial people we wish to be.
I know when I see others being open and honest about whom they are, I feel comfortable to do the same. Nobody is perfect. It’s our differences that make us unique, not what we have in common (an original is worth far more than a copy!). Perhaps being open and honest about who we are helps us learn to trust and have faith in others too.
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