Thursday, July 16, 2009

What in the World is a Mage?

What in the world is a Mage?

Here’s the synonyms for mage from Webster’s Collegiate Thesaurus:
Magician, charmer, conjurer, enchanter, magian, magus, necromancer, sorcerer, warlock, wizard.
Does that help? Lots of room there for an author to write about a mage.

My new series is titled Song of the Mages. The Webster definition is pretty all encompassing; I start off my first book with it. Merlin was the most renowned mage of all, so my family of mages is descended from Merlin. Stories about him are so varied he’s hard to pin down. You can essentially pick from a myriad of tales, but they all stress the supernatural powers of the Mage. This made writing about Mages lots of fun, since I felt free to attribute a lot of different fantastic abilities to my mages. What more does a writer want?

Now as to what we know for sure. Yes, there’s a little bit of fact here. That Merlin was a legendary figure is agreed. And he had a historical base. Any one who claims they know actual facts about Merlin can be questioned. Some historians place Merlin before King Arthur’s realm, although the most influential, Geoffrey of Monmouth, places him in the realm of King Arthur, and this seems to be the account that is commonly used. Geoffrey combined accounts of Myrddin and the tales of the war-leader Ambrosius, and names him Merlin Ambrosius. So there was some one who inspired the Merlin stories, just as there was a real King Arthur. We just don’t know anything much of historical accuracy about either one.

Geoffrey’s tales (written circa 1136) were immediately popular, and Merlin is now commonly portrayed as possessing supernatural powers and with phenomenal wisdom. If you search enough you can find almost any ability attributed to Merlin, and I’ve used a lot of them in my series. It’s enthralling to take a mythical figure and bring him down to earth in a concrete character. His descendants, my protagonists, all struggle with the burden and power of being a mage. After all, if you’ve got that much power, you need to use it wisely.

My first book in the new series, Damien’s Destiny, tells how Damien, Earl of Sinclair, needs all his power to save his love Toria from her rapist guardian. Damien has already been released and is available from Cerridwen Press. Damien and Toria eventually have five children, and they’re the stars of the succeeding books. Gareth’s Gambit and Jennivere’s Journey tell the stories of the first set of twins. Jason and Jonathan, come next. Twin Quest One is now being edited, and I’m writing Twin Quest Two. There’s another daughter, Vicky, waiting in the wings, and I hope one or two of the children’s friends will demand their own story next. I love to write a book when character and issue a command to me.

The varying tales of Merlin are fascinating, and numerous. He was so powerful, and yet his hands were tied by the fact he could not change destiny. It must have been a source of sorrow to him to raise Arthur, knowing he would be a great king and that Guinevere would destroy it all. Although the kingdom and the deeds live on in the minds and hearts of all who love gallantry and honor, and Arthur has become a well-loved symbol.

Do you think Arthur and Merlin have changed the world, even if they are completely fictitious? Leave a comment and let me know...


Fran Lee said...

Excellent post. Merlin is one of my favorite characters in legend.

jean hart stewart said...

Thnaks Fran...hope everybody feels that way, about Merlin, I mean.

Anny Cook said...

Love anything about Merlin. My favorite stories are the series by Mary Stewart.

jean hart stewart said...

Aren't those stories great. I love them too.

Marianne Stephens said...

Both Arthur and Merlin gave us tales to remember, and dreams of fantasy adventures. Lots of inspiration for writers and you've taken that motivation to heart with your books!

jean hart stewart said...

Thanks for your comment. This new series is really fun to write..

Anita Birt said...

I'm late with my comment. We visited Tintagel in Cornwall several years ago. I climbed all over it and gazed down at the turbulent sea below. Merlin's cave is supposed to be there.

The tales of Arthur and Merlin have lived down through the centuries. I'm sure they inspired many ordinary people to live and love in harmony with the land and the people. I love a good Merlin story and yours sound great.

jean hart stewart said...

Thanks, Anita. I love your writing...Jean