*** Hi everybody. This is a blog post about Episode 7 of The Scourge, if you haven’t read the episode and are planning to, you might want to wait until you have done so before browsing. Gnarled and violent spoilers wait in the shadows of this post. And in broad daylight too. I may be speaking metaphorically, but I assure you, the spoilers are quite literal. ***
Edward and his knights are nearing St. Edmund’s Bury, and you, good readers, are nearing the end of the book. It’s a bit scary thinking that our story will be at an end after the next episode. I’ve really enjoyed the ride and I thank all of my readers for making this a team effort. You have inspired me to make this story as good as it could be. Each and every one of you will receive a thank you note and a can of sliced mutton in the mail.
Legal note: The above statement does not imply that all readers will get a thank you card and a can of sliced mutton. The author was speaking of metaphorical mutton. Stating that spoilers in the post are both metaphorical and literal does not bear any relevance to the metaphorical canned mutton and thank you notes. The author very likely does not even know the process for mailing a real letter at this point in his life.
So what did we have in this episode? A cavalry charge. More firearms. Naked churchgoers. A witch. A crypt. A plagued Dwarf. And a little villainy thrown in for good measure. A pleasant potpourri of madness, simmered in plague and basted with hyper-religious self-righteousness. Hope you enjoyed the meal.
Before we get too far, I wanted to show you what happened to that sleepy little church in Chelmsford (The Church of the Virgin Mary — the one where they found the witch, Isabella):
Yes, the Church of the Virgin Mary is now the Chelmsford Cathedral. With all the great devotion to Mary you love, and none of the the rustic irrelevance of the 14th century. Edward and his knights wouldn’t have seen it in this state, obviously. In their day, it most likely would have looked like this:
Okay, so that’s a church in the Cotswolds (near Evesham), but if you can imagine zombies in medieval England, you can imagine this building in Chelmsford. And while you’re at it, can you imagine a glowing New York Times book review for The Scourge? Much obliged!
So, about the charging knights. I don’t have a lot to add to the topic. I spoke about cavalry charges in the historical note at the end of the episode, but I found a killer image that makes me want to go back and add detail to Sir Gerald and the other knights’ appearance. Have a look:
Excuse my French, but if you are reading my book, I think you’re probably fluent in that sort of French anyway. Sometimes only an F-bomb scratches that hard to reach itch.
Okay, and the last thing I want to discuss is probably the most sensitive.
Yes. The little person. The plagued dwarf.
I got mixed sentiments from beta readers about that particular scene, so I want to talk a little bit about the historical context. In the Middle Ages, dwarves (as they were called then) were quite fashionable. In fact, they were quite fashionable all the way back to the Roman empire when most noble families had at least one dwarf in their household. If you recall the dwarf in episode 7 of The Scourge, he was dressed in fine clothing. Dwarves were (mostly) considered lucky and were usually treated very well by the families that “owned” them. I say usually because Henry IV acquired a male dwarf whose mouth had been permanently carved into a smile by previous “owner.” Even so, the dwarf reportedly became one of Henry’s best friends and lived a life of luxury and happiness (Henry assumed he was happy. I mean, the dwarf was *always* smiling). Sorry. That wasn’t very nice. I do joke from time to time, but please know that I don’t make up any of these historical facts.
Dwarves weren’t limited to subordinate roles either. The thing about dwarves (as anyone who’s read Game of Thrones knows) is that they could be born into *any* family. Vladislas Cubitas, a dwarf, was the king of Poland in 1305, and he was well respected and considered intelligent and courageous (and not bad with a sword!).
Contrary to every medieval story you read (mine included), Dwarves weren’t as common as you might think in Medieval England. There weren’t a lot of “court dwarves” jestering and being laughed at. I really can’t say what the fascination is with dwarves in the Middle Ages. (Says the man who put a zombie dwarf in his Middle Ages novel).
That’s all for now. Episode 8 drops in a week and a half. Hope the conclusion is satisfying to all of you. If it isn’t, please let me know so that I can remove you from the “canned mutton” list.
Legal Note: Author’s above statement is not meant to imply … oh forget it. Canned mutton for everyone!