1. Lea`Brooks
    Offline

    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 11, 2013
    Messages:
    2,634
    Likes Received:
    1,728
    Location:
    Virginia, United States

    Governments in fantasy novel

    Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by Lea`Brooks, Apr 19, 2016.

    In my current WIP, I have six countries. All of them will be referenced at some point or another throughout the story (either two or three books, yet undetermined), but only three will really be focused on.

    Arlynon is where the majority of the story takes place. It's the mountain region of the world, ruled by an Eir (basically a queen). The ruler of Arlynon is always female. To make the selection, five women of prominent stature (often political figures, or the equivalent to mayors) are chosen and lined up on a stage. A crow is then released, and he divinely intuits which of the five would be the best candidate for the job. The woman he lands on becomes the new Eir.

    Edelmira is the next country introduced. It's the desert region of the world, very similar to Morocco. Their country is ruled by either an Eir (female) or Eiron (male), but their process happens differently. They tend to stick with a royal family, though it has happened that someone outside the family has become ruler (making them the new royal family). When the Eir or Eiron gives birth, the baby is brought to the temple for a sort of baptism. There, their future is read by the Priestess, who determines what their most successful path in life will be. Oftentimes, the children are told their lives are best suited for work other than ruling. But when she finds one that she sees will be most successful as a ruler, she names that child heir to the throne, and he or she lives their life as such. To better explain, one of my characters is the son of the Eiron, the second born. But the third born was the one determined to be the best choice for Eiron, so he operates in conjunction with the current Eiron, his father, as the heir. When the current Eiron dies, his son, the third born, will take the throne. Make sense?

    Anyway. That's all I've planned for government. I haven't planned what to do about the third country they visit, but I know I'm going to need to. My characters will visit it frequently in the next book, so I need to have a grasp of how the country will operate. And I know I at least need to know the government styles of the other three countries, even if I barely even mention them. However, I don't know how I should do that.

    Should the remaining four countries also operate under an Eir or Eiron? Or should I come up with alternative government styles for them? It seems unrealistic to do the first, because why would all six countries operate the same way? But I honestly don't know. I don't read many fantasies of this nature, so I don't know how they handle governments of multiple countries.

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. Gareth MH
    Offline

    Gareth MH Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2016
    Messages:
    79
    Likes Received:
    53
    Hello Lea'Brooks. Interesting conundrum you have here. I think the real question is what kind of places do you want these countries to be? Or more specifically what kind of experiences do you want your characters to have. Figure that out then allow that you inform you decisions.

    Example if you want your characters to have to hide their identities because they're outsiders and outsiders are persecuted maybe a theocratic dictatorship might be a good fit.

    Or if you want a nation to be prone to war then maybe a feudal system would work for your story.

    Or maybe some of the nations had similar types of government but revolted and now share much of the same culture and customs but now exist as a republic type thing.

    There are lots of examples of different types of government from the real world that can inform your decisions in these areas. But something to consider is that styles of government greatly influence prosperity and freedom which in turn greatly influence the character of a nation and will be reflected in the personalities of the people.

    In a novel I'm working on there are three main nations one of which is more or less a democracy. Ruled by elected representatives that form a council who's job it is to make sure people are more or less left alone. Another nation that I want to be quite dangerous and a scary place to life is ruled by a malevolent dictator who uses his magic to control other peoples minds and keep in power. Another is a monarchy which is marginally better than the dictatorship but the monarch is a moron and leads his nation to disaster.

    One thing I would ask you to think about is with the systems you have in place is how do these types of government work for the general populace? Are the people happy that the live in a nation where they have no say in choosing their leader? Or do they have a say in the choosing of which women are to be put forward for selection by the crow? Is this a religious practice and if so do all the people follow this religion? If its religious do all the nations follow the same religion? because that would inform your decision as well.

    Anyway thats my rambling done.
     
    Feo Takahari likes this.
  3. Shadowfax
    Offline

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,527
    Likes Received:
    1,347
    Look at the Greeks.

    Athens was, famously, a democracy where every citizen had not just a vote, but a right (some might say a duty) to speak in a public debate on any matter in the government of the city. Great, as long as you weren't one of the slaves! And it's a method that can only work where you've got a fairly small citizenship, and one elite enough to be able to spend an appreciable length of time governing and not working.

    Athens also spent a period under the rule of a tyrant. Not as bad in practice as the title might suggest; it merely means one who got elected to supreme office in a democracy. Several Greek colonies basically advertised for a tyrant to come and rule them. But, power corrupts, absolute power...and so the title got the bad rap it now labours under. Basically, it's one man who gets elected (he may use jingoism or other exaggerations in his election campaign) to supreme power, and it's non-hereditary - although he may try to make it so.

    There is an older Greek tradition where the King is chosen (rather than hereditary) but only for one year, after which he is sacrificed to ensure continuing prosperity.

    The Greeks also had hereditary kings in the manner that we know nowadays...although they also had citizen (NOT slave!) revolts against any oppressive regime. In fact, the Greeks managed to experiment with most forms of government.

    And then you could look at the early Roman republic, where you had a sophisticated bureaucracy to govern the city/country, including consuls, tribunes, quaestors, aediles, praetors and censors.

    Or you could look at pre-Meiji Japan, where the Shogun (hereditary title, originally won at the point of a sword) ruled in the name of the Emperor, again hereditary but with a much longer pedigree, and claiming originally descent from the sun-goddess Amaterasu.
     
    Feo Takahari likes this.
  4. Jack Asher
    Offline

    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2013
    Messages:
    3,571
    Likes Received:
    2,053
    Location:
    Denver
    Or you could look at feudal Europe where every country was united in doing everything exactly the same way.
     
  5. Lea`Brooks
    Offline

    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 11, 2013
    Messages:
    2,634
    Likes Received:
    1,728
    Location:
    Virginia, United States
    Thanks everyone! :D

    It's a little hard for me to determine what kind of countries I want these to be because... Well, there is a certain situation that is forcing all the nations to be in the same boat, so to speak. There is an "evil force" (for lack of a better term) that is crippling the world. It's killing the earth and food, tainting fresh water, and infecting and killing most living things. Every person is struggling; every country is struggling. Except Edelmira. It's far enough away from the destruction zone that they are still thriving and have begun making preparations for when it comes to them.

    But, if I think about it before all this happened (which I must admit, I've barely done), I never really envisioned much conflict in the world. There was before, a long long time before, but that was taken care of. There was a war, once upon a time, because the ruler of Arlynon wanted to conquer the world. But he was chosen by the popular vote. It was after he was dethroned that they started using crows and Priestesses to chose the new ruler. So most people tend to accept that way of choosing the new ruler. It's never failed them in the past, so they have no reason not to like it.

    It is a highly religious culture and very much like the Greeks in that sense. There are three gods, immortal, but not all powerful or all good. Everyone recognizes them and follows them as their "religion," but some focus on one instead of all three. There's even a fourth goddess that some cultures throw in, like in Edelmira, but she was really just a great person who did great things in the past. Kinda like Jesus. :p

    I suppose I'll probably end up making most of them use an Eir or Eiron. As I said, it's not a huge focus. But the second book starts at the coronation ball for my MC, and all of the major political faces of the world will be in attendance. So I at least need to know who they are. Maybe I'll just wing it when the time comes. :p
     
  6. Matt E
    Offline

    Matt E Stormblessed Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2014
    Messages:
    144
    Likes Received:
    68
    Location:
    Seattle
    You have a pretty good concept! I would segment the world into multiple cultural groups and give each culture their own special titles and customs. The countries which use Eir/Eiron could have a certain cultural heritage (based on their religion, which could have differences between the two countries), and the other countries could have a different system.

    Here are some examples of how other books handled it that I can think of. May contain spoilers for the serieses.

    - Game of Thrones: There's only one king who rules seven realms, although the kingdom later fractures into multiple kingdoms. This is a good example of how you could have a multiple nations with a common origin.

    - Lies of Locke Lamora: There used to be a king, but he was killed off by the series' magic users long ago, fracturing the world into city states ruled by dukes.

    - Stormlight Archive: There are many different cultural groups. There are two particularly important countries which follow the Vorin traddition, where they have a king who rules, with many highprinces under him, who each have incredible autonomy and their own lands (as if they were monarches in their own right. Their lines are also hereditary). The nobility consist of anyone who has light blue eyes. However, there are other counties as well. One country elects an emperor through an essay contest (I'm not kidding), and there are a few countries that are kingdoms.

    - Lord of the Rings: Most nations are ruled by hereditary kings. I haven't read LOTR in a while though so don't recall the details.

    Anyway, my key piece of advice is: think about how the systems came about. What historical events shaped how the nations are governed? What forces allows the current cultures in your society to develop to where they are today? Imagine one person from country X arguing with someone from country Y about whose system is better.
     
  7. Lea`Brooks
    Offline

    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 11, 2013
    Messages:
    2,634
    Likes Received:
    1,728
    Location:
    Virginia, United States
    Thank you so much!!

    Actually, your mention of GoT helped me the most. I've watched the show, so while I obviously know the throne was challenged and it fractured the world, it didn't even cross my mind that it happened. The history of my world starts with a war. I could easily say it was a battle over power of one huge country. But then they struck a deal to just divide the country into different ones to stop the fighting.

    That would make it so much easier. Because like I said, I'm barely even going to mention the other three countries. So I really don't want to go into this huge explanation and world building for places I'll never talk about, yanno? But this is an easy and believable solution. My countries already have their own cultures though so I don't need to do much work there. It's just the rulers I needed help with. I'll probably have one or two countries go against the Eir/Eiron and three deities system, but for the most part, they'll stay the same.

    Thanks again! That was incredibly helpful.
     
  8. Lea`Brooks
    Offline

    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 11, 2013
    Messages:
    2,634
    Likes Received:
    1,728
    Location:
    Virginia, United States
    Resurrecting this thread for a question....

    Is it weird to have a country refer to another for their government? What I mean is, I have another country that I've just come up with. Very small, very fancy, very exclusive. I see them as a country in name only, meaning they follow the laws of a neighboring country and report to them with issues that need judgment.

    Weird? Or okay?
     
  9. IlaridaArch
    Offline

    IlaridaArch Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2014
    Messages:
    197
    Likes Received:
    170
    Nope. It would essentially mean that their culture and society is either strongly influenced by, or born under the bigger neighbour.
     
  10. Lea`Brooks
    Offline

    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 11, 2013
    Messages:
    2,634
    Likes Received:
    1,728
    Location:
    Virginia, United States
    Cool. :bigcool: Thanks!
     

Share This Page