Blood of the North. My fantasy novel – Max A

As I alluded to frequently in my previous article, I have been writing a novel since around September. Although that was when I first put fingers to keyboard, the idea had been rattling around in my head for much longer, almost a year in the works.

Although I do not expect my book to be published in any case, I do think that one day I could share it online on one of the many publishing websites out there. Therefore, I think that it is only fair to talk a little bit about the plot and surrounding themes of this mystery book I keep alluding to.

Me and my laptop outside of Drake

The book belongs to the fantasy genre, but more than that it is set in a universe that some of you may already be familiar with, The World of Ice and Fire. For those that are still confused, It is set in the same universe as Game of Thrones, the incredibly popular HBO fantasy show based on novels written by George RR Martian.

I should hope that many of you out there will have at least heard of the show, and what it entails; dragons, magic, kings, and queens. Blood and backstabbing alongside family and honor, it is truly an amazing series.

I should also add that for those who are not familiar with the Game of Thrones universe, it is representative of the middle ages around Tudor times. And although it tends to stay mainly accurate to history in terms of technological advancements and cultural norms, do expect the odd mention of magic and mythical creatures such as dragons. 

Now, onto the story itself. It has been written from a third-person narrative and is told almost exclusively from the perspective of the main character, Jagare Snow. Jagare is born in the distant realm of the North, a mountainous and cold region with frequent snows and storms that make for rough living.

The realm of the North is fractured at Jagare’s birth, a civil war that has developed between two major armies. Instantly we learn that Jagare himself is the cause of this divide and that his tragic backstory goes back years before his birth. He is raised as an outcast from his society, deprived of his mother and hated by his father. Growing up in his family’s castle, he had but one true friend, his half-sister Lyanna.

The story takes the pair of them through the Realm of the North, and then out into the rest of the world. Along the way, they meet both friends and foes in a seemingly endless journey of adventure and self-discovery. They ride through plains, woods, and deserts; sailing along the many different coasts of their country and visiting different lands, some that which you may recognize if you are an avid watcher or reader of Game of Thrones.

ArtStation - GoT 7 - Battling the Silence, karakter design studio | Game of  thrones art, Fantasy city, Concept art
Jagare’s ship, Snowstorm.

In the story, I believe there is something for pretty much everyone. There is action, drama, mystery, horror, and romance. There are tense emotional moments and highly charged battle scenes. Comedic quips work parallel to decisions made in anger and love.

In general, the book covers almost everything I could think of. Although I am not a brilliant writer by any means, each chapter I write I look back over and edit harshly and will often accept criticism in order to improve in any way that I can.

I would also like to talk about the characters themselves, and where they come from. Only three or so of the characters developed are 100% from my own imagination, and the rest of them are the combined work and efforts of a great many of my friends. Quite a few of the characters are based on some of the students (and teachers) in the school!

A while ago I opened up to my English class and a few others the opportunity to create characters to play a role in my book, as both a bit of fun and genuine help to my story. So, it is here that I offer the chance to anyone reading to create their own character. I will attach a form for anyone who wants to have a go.

https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=FCfYolpMwkK1Kt4l_nlERdv8g6fbL3BLpRf7yDKdE6xUNUpSRE9XM0daWUU2SFpOTkIzSlRFWUpMQy4u

If you do choose to create a character, when I eventually publish the book on a website (or even on the bubble if Mr Hodson can convince me) then you will be listed in the credits for your involvement. I shall also do my best to continuously keep you up to date on your character’s story line and role within the book and receive any further ideas that you may have. I also use a website to design the characters in a cartoon like manner.

One of the student made characters, designed in heroforge.com

Now, if you are still here, I believe you deserve an extract from the book. Enjoy.  

“JAGARE SNOW.” He froze as all chatter quietened in the room. It happened almost instantaneously. He became acutely aware of every eye watching him. The confusion and anger of his fathers, the fear and worry of his siblings, and the understanding and judgement of almost every lord there. Even in that disastrous moment, in that split second, he noticed the King’s eyes. How they looked at him with nothing short of anticipation. The voice spoke again, this time quieter, but surer and cockier.

              “Jagare. Snow. Well, isn’t this an honour?” The three men walked toward him with smiles on their lips, and pleasure in their eyes. They had him trapped. Lothar Glover spoke again “We didn’t think you would come. I mean, why, in the name of the Old Gods would you set foot here. In the Castle of the Starks.” He stopped and gazed at Jagare, and his expression was of true amazement. “You must be very brave, bastard.”

“Or incredibly stupid” chortled the Mormont. Not another word was spoken in the hall. He knew that he was expected to speak. Defend himself. Defend the heinous crime he had committed. In his mind, this was what it had all been for. His entire life had led him back to another harvest feast. Yet this time, he was on his own. He had no support but himself and his brain.

              “Forgive me, my lord, but I can answer that question for you. My father ordered me to join him on his trip, and so, I accompanied him.” Jagare spoke the words slowly and softly, giving no reason to indicate offence or that he was nervous. The three men started at that, maybe not expecting such a blatant and truthful response. Had they been anywhere else, it would have gone to fists. But not even these heirs would attack someone unprovoked in the eyes of the King. Not even him. Besides, they would want to savour the moment for longer. He thought he had his escape then and there, but a new voice came from the high table. A voice filled with laughter, yet when Jagare looked into his eyes, he saw malice and cruelty.

              “Jagare Snow” boomed Jon Stark over the hall, as he rose from the high table and started making his way towards the floor. “It is truly a pleasure to meet you at last. Why the boy who through no fault of his own has caused one of the greatest cold wars in the history of the North.” Some of the lords laughed nervously at the joke. “Tell us, Jagare, all of us. What do you make of this situation? Is it your fault? Surely not? Do the sins of one’s father rest on our shoulders? Well, what do you make of it?” Jagare’s words caught in his mouth and his brain strained to keep composure. He was not expecting that, so many carefully planned words, forcing Jagare into a subtle corner that not many could see. He looked around cautiously and saw there was only one option.

              “I am the one that split the North in two, my prince. The blame is my own, no matter how young I might have been.” He saw Jon’s smile grow at this, then a voice shouted from the crowd.

              “NO!” Lyanna had stood up only to be pulled back down by their father. He looked around the hall, yet everyone who knew him couldn’t meet his eyes. Rambo looked away, yet a flash of pity he saw glanced at him. That had been one of Jagare’s only hopes, that Rambo’s hate for the prince might have caused him to come to his aid. But not even the young Bolton lord could risk such open confrontation. Connie looked like he wanted to say something, but he couldn’t go against the crown prince, not here. It would have been an insult to his father to toss everything he had worked for the last twenty years, over a bastard.

 He looked up at his own father and saw nothing but stone and blankness. It was like he didn’t even know him. Jagare felt his temper rising, his wanting to scream to the hall that he was innocent of all and everything they laid on him. Wasn’t it the policy of the North that sons were not blamed for their father’s crimes? No. If they blamed his father, they blamed an entire faction. If they blamed him, he could do nothing. Would he put the blame on his father and start a war, would he put it on the king and get executed on the spot? No. He was a bastard nothing more. His silence spoke volumes, and Jon Stark had his win.

              “Well, you heard it there my lords and ladies. All those trade disputes, fights between our Northern brothers and…” he glanced at where the Bolton men sat “battles that have been fought.” He turned round to look at the lords. “Why should this man be welcomed into Winterfell, is he not, an enemy of the North.” The lords started to cry and shout amongst each other. He heard calls for banishment, the wall and even the headsmen block. All he could see was the smirking face of Jon Stark. Those two grey eyes, shining with victory. Jagare felt a coldness within him. Not a body freezing one, but one that gave him strength. He let out a silent snarl and his expression morphed into one of anger. He met the prince’s eyes and received a similar expression back at him. But before he had a chance to say or do anything, another voice called across the room. Just like one had all those years ago.

              “ENOUGH!” Yelled the king, standing up and banging his fist onto the table. The hall fell silent at his words. He stared at Jagare hard and coldly, before uttering one word. “Go.” It was quiet, but the force behind it nearly propelled Jagare out of the hall. He turned and walked calmly, past the smirking faces of the young heirs, past the open-mouthed guards, and he carried on walking until he reached the courtyard where he started to run. His mind was racing with what had just happened, his heart thumped heavily in his chest, and in the distance, a wolf howled at the moon.

Thank you very much for reading.

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