Adventures in NaNo-land – Fudging it

November 19, 2012 at 12:21 am (fantasy, writing) (, , , , , , , )

The problem with writing a fantasy story based on an existing mythology is that sometimes you can run into gaps that need filling where the mythology has nothing to meet your story’s needs. I ran into that problem with the Sami mythology. There are plenty of references to a wide variety of gods, but very few lesser beings that would serve as opponents in the mortal world. Aside from the Haldi, which are helpful spirits, I could only find references to one giant, Stallon and creatures known as men of water. There are plenty of unpleasant gods: Jabbmeaaakka – Goddess of death, queen of the underworld, Mubpienålmaj – “The evil one”, and Ruohtta/Rohttu – The god of sicknesses, but no descriptions of any nasty minions. So I chose to create ones, the spirit-hunters, to round out my story.

Do I feel bad about adding my own fictional creatures to the mythology? Not exactly. The novel is not a presentation of an existing legend from the mythos. It is a storyline of my own making, and I’ve always offered the tale up as one of fantasy based on Sami mythology. That and while I may be adding something fictitious from outside what has been established, I’m not altering existing gods or legends. As a big fan of mythological tales, I take great issue with that. It’s the reason why I stopped reading Ric Riordan’s The Lightning Thief and never read any other books in his series. After the third blatant disregard of established mythology that I encountered, a changing of established details to suit the author’s needs, I put the book down in disgust. I was especially irked at the fact that he had Athena, one of the three Greek goddesses well-known to be a virgin (along with Hestia and Artemis), play the role of mother to an entire group of young demi-gods, or half-bloods. The way I see it, that’s not just fudging it, it’s outright breaking the rules.

Here’s a small excerpt from my latest chapter, containing some mythological references:

Relief washed through Oaván. He could suddenly imagine a future with Lieđđi at his side in Anár. They would live as a proper family there, with their children. When they were ready, he would marry her and support her with his work as a noaidi. Heaibmu would have no reason to object, as a spirit-bound Lieđđi would meet all of his conditions.

“Let me go with you then, to the River of Blood,” he offered. “You said you don’t like to travel alone, and you’ll be safer with me there. The spirit-hunters will still be looking for you until you go through the binding process. I’ll do what I can to keep them away from you until they lose interest in you.”

Lieđđi shook her head. “That’s a generous thought, but you’ll only be able to accompany me so far. You can escort me through the labyrinth the Haldi take to reach that section of the Meandash, but the route beyond that is barred to those who are not servants of the gods, like the Haldi or the Tjaetsieålmaj…”

“Or the spirit-hunters. They’ll still be able to come after you beyond that point, even if I can’t stay with you after that. I’ll go with you as far as I can then.”

“That would be the frozen home of the giant, Stallon, the ice structure they call the Castle of Glass,” Lieđđi said. “It’s located at the northernmost end of the labyrinth. He’ll be there to bar your way.”

Oaván did not mention this, but he was hoping when they reached this “Stallon,” he’d be able to negotiate his way past the giant anyway. He was part Haldi, after all. Why wouldn’t that be enough to allow him entrance to the River of Blood?

More tomorrow J

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