Thursday, 2 October 2008

A few characters

Below are a few characters in random order. They are not final yet - these are mostly the first sketches I have done of them and liable to change. Most look a bit clumsy. Of several characters I have in the meantime done better pictures, but I haven't got round to scanning them yet. Will do when I have time :).

This sketch of Morgause, Gawain's mother, looks very much like the Morgauses I used to draw when I was fifteen. (I remember doing a comic for my bestest friend in which a similar Morgause complained to Morgana about an unfair decision during an international football game of the Belgian national team. Don't ask.)

Her hair is supposed to be black, though I did not bother to colour it here. Her eyes are blue. She has changed a bit in the meantime, but the general idea is: petite, pretty, otherworldy - and cold.

Morgause's younger sister, Morgana. I have considered spelling her name as Morgain(e), because it would look nice next to Gawain and Owain, but it reminds me too much of Mists of Avalon, and I positively detested that book.

Because I am always contrary and got very tired of the whole Morgana-as-a-priestess-of-the-Goddess ado that is so very popular, I decided to go with the one book I ever read (I don't even remember which it was) that says Morgana was actually an abbess. Hah! She makes one cool nun, I tell you ;D.

Two archenemies: King Pellinore and King Lot. I have this idea that Pellinore is Scandinavian - I got that into my head after I realised that his name has the same ending as Elsinore, Hamlet's castle, which is an Anglicised form of Helsingør. So I started thinking of Pellinore as Pellingør. Again, don't ask :-).

Pellinore, contrary to popular belief, is a pig. It annoys me that he is usually painted as good and noble when one of the first things we hear about him in Arthurian lore is that he is a rapist. Blergh. BAD pig.

Lot is a pig too. Ask Morgause. He amuses Morgana, though, so he is slightly better than Pellinore. That, and I'm biased because he dotes on his sons.

A tiny picture from the margins of one of my brochures: Cai. He has very long brown hair, a very long brown 'stache and a long brown beard :-). Oh, and cool eyebrows that he hasn't got here yet... Ah well. I want him to have all the strange powers he has in ancient Welsh texts, so count on him being able to keep his breath for three days, grow as tall as a forest tree, and have a high enough body temperature to be used as a stove by his mates in winter XD.

I see we have arrived at Gawain's three wives. Yay! I like them all very much - not these sketches, really, but the characters behind them :-).

This is Ragnell, Wife the First. When she married Gawain, she looked - not very good. In fact she looked her real age, which is ... a few hundred years? Fortunately the kiss of a handsome prince can work miracle, at least in fairytales.

She is a fay, and Gawain loves her to bits. Unfortunately, she dies ;_;.

Ragnell is the mother of Gawain's eldest son, Cillian.

Wife Number Two is called Rhonwen. Her father threw a spear at Gawain as soon as he set eyes on him. He's a giant, incidentally. How he begot Rhonwen on her normal-sized mother I just don't want to know. I think it's called poetic licence, or something of the kind. In any case, Rhonwen is a fay too, and lives with her mother and father in a fairy hill until Gawain comes along.

Rhonwen's daddy is known as the Carl of Carlisle. His name is *not* Carl ;P.

This is Kundry. She is bad-tempered and sarcastic, and sets a record for keeping Gawain dangling. But as she takes the place of Third Wife, you know the dangling doesn't last forever. Gawain cannot perhaps convince her that he is the best and most interesting man around, but Kundry does end up believing that he might just be good enough for her. Of course *nobody* understands what he sees in her because - well, she's really not nice. And she never smiles. Or at least not in public.

Obviously she's my favourite :P.

And here he is: the bad guy.

I'm sorry. He is really bad. I haven't found a single redeeming virtue in Medraut yet. That is a bit frightening.

I really like how he looks here. Nevertheless I am seriously considering making him a black-haired version of Gawain, to posit them as clear opposites. I'm thinking it over.

Gawain looks very ... Asian here. It's not just me, is it? Clearly I have to sort the funny fay eyes out before I can get down to the serious work :). Maybe I have been reading too much Tsubasa lately *g*.

Apart from that, his looks are pretty stable now.

More next time - I have a few pretty Morganas on the shelf...


Cecilia said...

Random comments about the random sketches! Please note that I know almost nothing about Gawain's legends, so excuse me if I say saomething really stupid ^^
First of all, I didn't know that Morgana is considered a priestess (or, as you want to make her, a nun). Also, now I realize that maybe there are two Morganas, because the one I always referred to is Arthur's half sister, the lawful daughter of Ygraine and Uther Pendragon. And she's patently a witch. Am I mistaken? Arthur's and Gawain's legends make an intersection here?
In any case, I've never read Marion Zimmer-Bradley. She doesn't inspire me :-/
King Pellinore looks like Cardinal Richelieu. At least, my version of Richelieu ^^ While Cai looks almost mongolian.
Rhonwen makes me think of Ivanhoe's Rowena ^^ And the Carl of Carlisle reminds me of Spenser's Hairy Carl, who is a personification of Lust that abducts poor Amoret. By the way, in June I was in Carlisle and it was probably the less suggestive castle I saw in England. Shame on me.
Kundry: isn't the female character in Wagner's Parsifal called that way? And she's an hard piece of toast too.
Medraut looks very cool! I know that I'd love him, if he's that bad, eheh!

ampersand said...

It's the same Kundry (or Cundrie; the spelling varies) :D. The woman Gawain marries in the Grail story as told by Chrétien and Wolfram - the woman I want in my story too - is never given a name. She is referred to as l'Orgueilleuse/Orgelûse, and her role is basically to lead knights to their deaths by posing them impossible challenges. In those stories, Kundry or Cundrie is an incredibly ugly, but extremely wise, messenger woman. Wagner has based his Kundry on a mixture of Orgueilleuse and Cundrie the messenger. Me, I would like to keep both women and make them twins, both with the same name.

As for Morgana, there is only one :-). The thing is that since Marion Zimmer Bradley it has become fashionable to say that she has the reputation of a "witch" because she is not a Christian, but a worshipper of that fabled faux-feminist invention, "the Goddess" (*rolls eyes*). In Bradley, she is a priestess of this Goddess, whose magical powers she wields, and the Christians, being afraid of feminine magic, call her a witch. For me, she can be both a witch and a nun :P. That is, if I stick with a 5th-6th century timeframe and not a medieval one. As soon as Christianity becomes more tightly organised, I'll have to let go of the nunnery idea :/. And I haven't entirely decided yet. It's a tough one.

Hm. I am not really familiar with Ivanhoe, and Rhonwen *is* the same name as Rowena :/. I may have to give Wife Number Two another name then... The Carl of Carlisle is indeed that kind of carl (= Kerl in German, kerel in Dutch) - he's neither courteous nor a nobleman. Well, in the medieval story he turns out to be a nobleman after all, but I'm not sure that I want that. Several of the Gawain-stories are alike in ways; the Carl of Carlisle resembles the Green Knight in parts. If I want to use the Carl, I have to make sure the adventure isn't too repetitive, so I'm going to pick the things that suit my purpose and shamelessly adapt whatever I like, MWUAHAHA.

I've never been to Carlisle! In some stories, Arthur holds court there. Hopefully in a more interesting castle ;-)...

Cecilia said...

In Walter Scott's Ivanhoe, the hero becomes betrothed at the beginning of the novel with the blond, beautiful and gentle Rowena, from which he is afterward separated. During his adventures, he meets the dark-haired, exotic beauty Rebecca, a Jewish girl, and becomes her protector, saving her from a tentative of rape (if I remember well) and from a trial where they want to burn her. Rebecca is in love with Ivanhoe, obviously, but he chastily remains faithful to Rowena, whom he eventually marries. The last line of the novel is witty, since the narrator says "Ivanohe was happy with Rowena, but I can't swear that he didn't think of Rebecca, asking what would have happened if he had married her".
In any case, as you may see, it's the typical opposition between blond/black heroine in XIX century novel ;-)
There has been a kind of parody (written by I don't know who) in which Ivanhoe actually complains of his marriage routine with Rowena and seeks after Rebecca :)

ampersand said...

That sounds like the kind of story where the reader (or, well, *this* reader ;P) thinks, "why on earth don't you admit the dark girl is the better choice for you?!" :D. One of my favourite books as a young adult had just the opposite story: the young knight meets a dark-haired, boyish girl whom he likes, but when he is away from her he becomes infatuated with a quiet, blond beauty. The difference is that the dark-haired girl goes after him, and he ends up realising that she is really much more interesting than the other one *g*. I guess that's the twentieth century, then? :)

alerts said...