Sense of Place
You know, I was going to start this post and say, “Last week I talked about …” But then I looked back and found that it wasn’t last week at all, but in fact September 21—two weeks ago yesterday!—that I posted on “Celebrating the Seasons in The Gathering of the Lost.” As I so succinctly phrased it in my September 1 post on the Supernatural Underground: “Where Does Time Go?” (And don’t even get me started on the impending doom that is Christmas!)
Anyway, back to core business! September 21 was the spring equinox—autumn in the northern hemisphere—and that got me thinking about the influence of seasonal change, and cultural celebrations associated with that, on The Gathering of the Lost (The Wall of Night Book Two) story. To find out more than that, you’ll have to read the post, here.
As I’ve also mentioned over the past few weeks, part of my prep. for getting into Daughter of Blood (The Wall of Night Book Three) has been going through Gathering and picking up story threads. In doing this, I’ve also noticed that sense of place is also a very strong influence on the evolving story. In The Heir of Night (The Wall of Night Book One) I explored four main environments: the Wall of Night itself, the adjoining Gray Lands, the hills of Jaransor, and of course the Gate of Dreams—each with its own distinctive character. And even then, there is often reference to the wider world of Haarth:
” … Malian rested one forefinger on the table that was one of the greatest treasures … in the Earl’s quarter of the New Keep. A map of the Wall and all the known lands of Haarth had been etched into the wood and inlaid with precious metals to show the salient details of each country. A sinuous vein of gold marked the River, the mighty Ijir with its two great tributaries and multitude of prosperous city states, all built on the back of the river trade. Each city was picked out in a minute precision of turrets or minarets or spires, depending on its character, and in whatever heraldic colors had belonged to it when the table was made.
Malian’s dark, slender brows were drawn together, the set of her young mouth thoughtful as she spun the table surface slowly round, so that the Wall and surrounding Gray Lands gave way to the Barren Hills, then to the River and all the countries to the south. A line of pewter marked the thousand leagues of road that ran from Emer to fabled Ishnapur and beyond that again was the vast and unknown desert, a sea of dunes wrought in jasper, topaz and bronze.
It was all so vast. Even the Winter Country, which was considered close, was a very long way from the Keep of Winds, with both the Wall mountains and league on league of Gray Lands in between … ”
The Gathering of the Lost brings in new environments from places marked on that map—and reading through the manuscript, I like to think that they are as distinctive, in terms of ‘sense of place’ as the original four from The Heir of Night (which do still come into the new book.) In fact, the 5 parts of the Gathering story are named either for one of the seasonal festivals discussed on September 21—or for a place or region in the Haarth world. One of them at least you ‘should’ recognise from Heir: it’s The Border Mark.
But reading that map extract from Heir—is there anywhere in the Haarth world where you’d like to find out more in terms of “sense of place?”