Jane's Galaxy of GLGs
|Sometimes, the publishing industry
is amazingly frustrating. Lynn Abbey
has created some fabulous worlds and charming characters, but none better than the
brothers from Walensor, Rinchen and Aleg.
<I made her change the order, Rinchen. Do I get points?>--->TW
(Would have been better if you'd noticed she got the title of the first book WRONG, Smith! For those of you wondering, I had The Wooden Sword listed as The Broken Sword! Don't know how or why or where my brain was. And get this, Lynn and I both vetted that page, and we both missed it! Phantom, thanks for catching it! Lynn, my apologies!)
<Lynn, nothing. Rinchen, nothing. I'd be watching out for Dart!>--->TW
Their book is Beneath the Web. It's a sequel, of sorts, to The Wooden Sword. Possibly that's why the art department chose to put Berika, the heroine of TWS on the cover rather than the infinitely more fascinating (sorry, Berika) brothers, who were, in undoubted fact, the main characters in the second book.. .
Unfortunately, Ace, in the way of publishing companies, missed the bet in other ways as well. Evidently they from the start never fully appreciated what they had, because first they limited Lynn's word count, forcing her to truncate the intricacies of the story, and then they failed to follow up on the series, leaving it to flounder alongside Groundties in the Wasteland of Marketing Blunders and leaving those of us who savored every word of this book to wonder about what else might have happened with this marvelously twisted crew.
Rinchen a.k.a. the grouch
|Rinchen is known as the Wolf ... and ultimately King
of Walensor. He's a charming spook, who lets his laundry pile up on the floor then
dumps it out the window for the servants to take care of. (In the meantime, it
provides an early- warning system for would-be assassins in the night. Isn't it nice
to know there's a reason for why we do these things?)
|Aleg is the golden prince. Handsome. Charming. Everybody's friend. Ultimately, he's Rinchen's "front man," Rinchen's "people skills" being less than ---|
What is it now, Smith?
<Rinchen says, and I quote: his people skills are simply a bit too direct and effective for his peers to appreciate.>
Meaning, they don't like an arrow between the eyes?
And Rinchen would have me say it ... how?
<Um...he says, you're the writer.>
Charming. Ask Abbey for me, will you?
Just do it.
<She suggests: Less than ... diplomatic? Politic?>
How 'bout tactful?
<You get to tell him. I'm outta here!>
|As you might have guessed by now, my kids are the
lucky ones. They've gotten to visit R&A in Walensor. These visits
frequently end up in Aleg's hot tub. (We tend to work our characters
"Cousin It" on the left is Rinchen ... he's rather modest, you see, the pensive one is Stephen, the blonde curls belong to Aleg, and the snoring one is (naturally) the Wesser.
These are from a birthday card the boys sent to Lynn, the details of which are between Lynn and the boys, but the images are kinda fun.
|It's hard to get Rinchen on camera, so-to-speak.
He's one of those "you're not stealing my soul types, hence the "Cousin
It" routine. Or maybe it's "Jaws." Stephen is fascinated
with Rinchen's hair. He's jealous, you see. Lynn gave Rinchen this great mop
through which to glare at the world. I stuck Stephen with cherubic curls. I suspect
he'd really rather go work for Lynn.
<Ha! Not a chance. He's seen what she has planned for him!>
|I began reading Andre Norton's books when I was eight. The first one I ever started reading was Star Rangers. I wasn't ready for it, but my sister had borrowed it from the library, and I remember hanging over the edge of the bed to check out what she was reading (we'd "store" our reading material under the bed, you see.) I was bored at the time, and set it aside. A year or so later, I began reading this new book by my by then favorite author, Andre Norton, and experienced this deja vu moment.||Imagine my surprise as I realized it was that same book I had rejected! It was my first experience in "being ready" to read a book, and I've never forgotten it. Sometimes you've just got to be in the right mood or at the right stage of your life to properly appreciate a good novel.|
|In the way of things, Kartr immediately became my
favorite Norton character, and remains so to this day. My first fan letter was to Ms
Norton. I was ten. I wanted to say something profound, so I asked her what
was wrong with Kartr's ears. You see, there's a moment in the book where another
character says of a statue that "by her ears, she's not of Ylene..." Kartr's
home planet. Obviously, there was something different about his ears. By that
time, I was already sketching Ms Norton's characters, and I had to know these
Ms Norton wrote me a wonderful letter I still have. In it, she explained that his ears were a bit pointed, that she saw him as vaguely cat-like. This was my first "duh...of course" moment (well, that I can remember.) You see, he also has striped hair and green eyes.
Over the years, I've drawn several portraits of Kartr. It's rather fun to watch him age with me, but you won't see those images here. It's far too embarrassing. :-D Anyway, once Kartr reached the just-post-thirty stage he is in this image, he seemed to stabilize. To this day, I'm still very fond of this particular portrait. One of these days, I'm going to do it in color...the thought of trying to paint wavy, striped hair is just too intriguing. (-:
I've got quite a few more of Ms Norton's characters, and a handful from Marion Zimmer Bradley's work. If you have a favorite, let me know and if I've got a good one of them, I'll try to post it.