Forging characters: parent-child relationships pt.1

A while ago, I looked into parent-child relationships in fiction. Today, I’ll look into some examples from my own project and share a bit of background. For clarity, the child’s name will be used for the headers.

Alesia Marshwalker

The Mashwalker family is a mino appearance in the first book but the second and third characters turnes them into noticeable support cast. Alesia is the only child of her parents, Shal’rien and Raniela. She was born quite late (by that point, her mother was over 2500 years old – around that point, the chance to conceive starts dropping significantly). Thus, it’s clear she’ll forever be the pair’s only child, and it led to maybe way too generous treatment.

Alesia isn’t a bad person, but lacks responsibility by the time she makes her first appearance (at that point, she’s ca. 220 years old). Her relationships with her parent reflects all the abovementioned – she’s on good terms with them but, due to the lack of stronger hand during her childhood, may not take well when she’s asked to do something unpleasant or just to follow strict orders. This lack of responsibility prevents her talents from truly manifesting. But maybe some outside influence could change that? Well, I won’t say more, for spoiler reasons.

Vigellus Ironhand

Guard General Vigellus Ironhand is a major supporting character. However, the first book doesn’t show much about his family background. As the firstborn son of a blacksmith, Vigellus was expected to eventually take on his father’s business. However, he found himself more interested in wielding a blade rather than forging it. His father overcame this quite fast – after all, his son would make friends in the armed forces, and those may be willing to buy from him. When Vigellus’ younger brother decided to pick up their father’s business without any outside influence, the small rift between Vigellus and his father vanished.

Over time, there were some disagreements between Vigellus and his parents – the largest when he left the hometown in search of change, more so when he had a turbulent relationship with a woman fiercely loyal to the greedy House Redshard – a relationship that lasted only a decade.

Vigellus eventually settled down close to the capital. Being busy as a warrior, his contact with family was limited to messages and winter visits, more so when he eventually married and started a family of his own. To this point, the General things highly of his family, even though his time with them is limited.

Illeana Redshard

The current Queen, Illeana Crystelan, comes from House Redshard. And her relationship with the rest of her parental House is strained, to say the least. I’ve mentioned some parts of that in the queen’s character profile and her own forging a character blog post. Illeana and her family are a side, not-so-prominent branch of House Redshard. Illeana and her parents lived on the western reaches of Redshard province, close to the ruling house much of their family despised.

Being a side branch, their hatred for House Crystelan wasn’t as strong, but it still had a presence. For some, it was to keep up appearances with other people in the house, for others, it was their own decision to share that point of view. Illeana was neither.

As the young noblewoman grew up, she met most of the other nobles. Among them Venelaos Crystelan, the crown prince. Her impression was that the prince was good-natured person and thus she decided to know him more. At first, she excused it as “knowing the enemy” but she soon came to the conclusion that there’s no enmity to be found. She and the prince became distant friends, and remained so for a long time.

When Illeana was asked about who she’d consider as a potential husband, the prince ended up at the top of the list. She found him a person using reason rather than clinging to old feuds, someone who cared about other people, something she struggled to find among nobility of her age. Thus, Illeana gathered her courage and got more involved with the prince. To the surprise of the whole elven nobility, Illeana Redshard and Venelaos Crystelan soon announced their plans for marriage.

The reaction from House Redshard was swift: the current heir of the house officially declared Illeana and any of her descendants as blood traitors and disowned them from the succession line of House Redshard. Illeana’s parents didn’t react as fast but their loyalty to their house was stronger, and they’ve limited their contact with her daughter.

Nadyenne Crystelan

Illeana eventually had a daugher with her husband: Princess Nadyenne (forging the character post). Still disappointed by the treatment received from her own family, Illeana told her daughter the harsh truth about her family quite early – as soon as the princess started asking why she isn’t seeing her grandparents.

Thus, Nadyenne grew up with a bitter view of her maternal grandparents and a slight adoration of House Crystelan, who so readily accomodated the wayward Queen. Her mother’s decision to find her own path, despite prejudices, also inspired Nadyenne, who takes a lot from her mother, and has a strong, positive relationship with her. Soon, Nadyenne learned that House Crystelan has a long hatred not only for House Crystelan but also the Order of Eternal Defenders. She, having met several members of the Order, especially the prominent Darkwood family, took up her mother’s approach. The youngest Darkwood, Tyr’eshal, was only five years her younger, and she did her best to befriend him. This further increased the spite from House Redshard towards her and her mother and increased the adoration Nadyenne has both to her parents and the Darkwood family.

Woving to follow in her mother’s footsteps, Nadyenne would prefer to forge strong bonds of both friendship and diplomacy between her and the Eternal Defenders, caring little for the opinion of her maternal ancestors. However, as her parents are busy ruling the kingdom, she may not know the right approach, and her road may be bumpy… just as her mother’s.

So, that’s another look behind the scenes of my writing. I’ll return to this topic one more time sooner or later, with a look at four more characters: Shianna Featherfoot and the Darkwood family.

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