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Guy Gavriel Kay is my effing hero

December 30, 2007

Being in a much better mood now, after a long bath and a good read…(With regard to my earlier post…)

Said good read was of Guy Gavriel Kay’s “Ysabel”.

Now, let me make one thing clear. There is no author out there who has influenced me as much as Kay has. His Fionavar tapestry taught me one of the most important lessons I ever learned when it comes to writing – that an author has rights of life and death over his characters. Even the loveable ones. ESPECIALLY the loveable ones. Final Fantasy VI and VII later helped, but it was the fate of (spoiler, spoiler, spoiler, spoiler and spoiler) in Fionavar that really awakened me to that.

And now, Ysabel…

Well, it makes me realize just how much he influenced me. Because I see HIS take on an early twenty-first century fantasy novel, and I can’t help but see the sort of things *I* would say. Even what appears to be the sort of inside joke I would do.

You know, like having the main character’s sabotage his friend’s ringphone so they play the teletubbies song for a ring tone. And the Spongebob theme, too. (Both of them specifically named).

Or having the main character, when thinking of what the name of the french vila he’s staying at (Sans-Souci, which is No Worries), immediately think “Hakuna Matata”.

Or sneaking the name”Mary Sue” in the story (Which may have been accidental, but I sort of doubt it).

Or having the main character meets a celtic druid, and think “…they were supposed to carry a sickle or something and hunt for mistletoe…but he might have gotten that from an Asterix comic book.”

Which isn’t to say that he can’t write serious, though. He can write very serious scenes, and write them quite well. And he can create detailed settings. He can reprise a Tolkien-style setting (Fionavar), or create settings much more grounded in history. He knows his history, and isn’t afraid to use it (Ysabel is deeply stepped in Roman and Celtic history).

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