1. KhalieLa
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    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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    Overcoming obstacles

    Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by KhalieLa, Sep 11, 2015.

    I just finished my first fantasy book and got the following feedback:
    1) Eliminate the sex, Dwarves and Men can't breed
    2) Eliminate any mention of Christianity
    3) Make the Dwarves shorter (as in about 3 feet tall.)

    Here is my thinking:
    1) I intended to follow traditional Celtic/Germanic mythology where a woman is pledged to marry an older man, but is challenged by a younger rival. The point of the story was to get her in a position where she would be producing the next heir, so breeding would be important. (And we're going on a quest, because that just seems necessary for every Scandinavian saga, complete with epic battle whose outcomes are determined by the Gods/Goddesses.) I don't know that it matters, but my female character is human, the male characters are dwarves.

    2) Every hero needs a nemesis and Scandinavia wasn't Christianized until well into the 12th century, so having a christian nemesis seemed like a good fit. I never specifically use the word 'Christian.' The Nemisis is Messias, son of the God Yahweh, who was sentenced to death for blasphemy against the rest of the Nephilim. I figured it would make for a good laugh for those of us who know our Bible and European history.

    3) Also, because I'm focused on Northern Europe I'm using a lot of Norse myths/traditions. Norse mythology says that Dwarves lived on the Rhine and Elves lived on the Elbe. I have both my Dwarves and Elves coming in at about 5'4" and maintained the Norse distinction of the Dwarves being "dark" (black hair) & muscular whereas Elves are "fair" (blond) and of slighter build. This is attested to by archeological evidence from burial mounds showing that at the time Celts (Dwarves) and Germans (Elves) would have been about 5'4" and the Norse (Men) would have been about 5'7".

    So who is barking mad here; me or the reader?
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2016
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  2. Jeff Countryman
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    Jeff Countryman Living the dream Supporter

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    I'm not a fantasy reader or fan but the feedback intrigued me enough to read the rest of your post. Clearly, the reader is barking mad. I'm really impressed with your research and knowledge. Those were extremely sophisticated answers to very mundane reader opinions. Well done and well said!!
     
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  3. Inks
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    Inks Contributing Member

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    Fantasy stories come in all forms, dwarves are physiologically far closer than any real life variant. Such a thing can be described more as a form of genetic dwarfism that is a dominate genetic trait. Also, not to be a pervert, but even if they are distinct species and cannot breed - a sexual relationship is still possible. Such unions would be likely forbidden even if a child could result, but even if not... it could be purely for the fun of it. Though fantasy stories do not need to be based on concrete science, hello magic. It is your story, the religious matter is a personal one until you are going to publish. Where it would be a sticking point for many publishers. The size for dwarves need not be cut to the readers specification, but the size difference is going to be a point when they are both 5'4". When I think of "dwarf" I do not think of someone my height, this however would resolve point 1 as that you are looking more in "racial" rather than genetic differences between your names.
     
  4. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    1/A dwarf (dwarf. 1. a person of abnormally small stature owing to a pathological condition, esp. a condition that produces short limbs or anatomical deformation) and a human of normal height CAN breed. Different species can breed (look at mules). And, in fantasy, anything can breed with anything else if you say it can.
    2/ OK, you may upset biblical fundamentalists.
    3/ dwarf. 1. a person of abnormally small stature...
    So, I agree with your reader here.

    Your answer actually seems to be distinguishing between Neanderthal man/Dwarf/dark and muscular, and Cro-Magnon man/Elf/fair and more finely-featured.

    My point being that Celts and Germans weren't really that separate, insofar as Celt is not a race, but a culture that was shared by many disparate populations scattered all around Europe, and with equally varied racial characteristics.
     
  5. KhalieLa
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    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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    The union is forbidden in the land of "men" which creates conflict and suspense in the story. I actually have one of my principal characters saying, "I know Norlin disapproves, as do many of mixed race unions, but know that whether noble or pauper, you will always be welcome in my household." I do see this more as a racial distinction than anything else.

    The reason for the minor difference is height is also necessary. It's documented in the acrchological record and useful as a plot device in the story. Because mixed race unions are forbidden, the main character, Klara, cannot be included in a company of male dwarfs. When they must ride through villages I have her and the young rival, Kharn, riding ahead posing as a man and woman, then rejoining the company once everyone is on the other side. I have my wizard and Klara actually having a conversation about height in chapter 1 or 2. It is pointed out that Kharn, being the tallest Dwarf on record at 5'7" can pass for a man, which is why he must be the one to escort Klara through the villages.
     
  6. KhalieLa
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    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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    The Romans made the distinction between Celtic and Germanic people based on where the Roman conquest ended. Germanic is often thought to mean, "Children of the same parent." This would indicate that the Romans saw no distinction between the Celts west of the Rhine and the Germans east of the Rhine. The Goths did notice a distinction and they would have had far more contact with both groups that the Romans.

    Because the Celts, Germans, and Goths were non-literate societies most of what we know of them comes from classical writers and is only useful when it can be confirmed with archeological evidence. That is why Norse mythology is so important. That area was not Christianized until after they had begun chronicling their own myths, which gives a "purer" view of their history and social structures.

    However, I do take your point about Celtic being a culture, not a people. Though Celtic culture has it's origins in the Swiss-Bavarian basin during the Hallstatt and La Tene periods. (And earlier in the Urnfield period, if you really want to split hairs.)

    I'm not at all interested in Neanderthal or Cro-Magnon. These are all modern humans, if modern can be said to be 2000 years old.

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