Tuesday, August 21, 2012

E is for Eanrin

"I am ashamed of nothing. I am a cat."

And this line pretty well sums up Bard Eanrin, Chief Poet of Rudiobus, shape-shifter, knight, storyteller, and romantic swain. He is a cat. He is who he is.

Or, perhaps not . . .

We have, of course, already met Eanrin in the earlier two books (albeit very briefly in Veiled Rose). First, he was Monster, the fluffy bundle of kitty Princess Una kept as a pet (partly just to annoy Felix, I'm sure). As the story progressed, we discovered that he was also Sir Eanrin, in the service of the Prince of Farthestshore, and he'd been sent to guard Una in the years before the Dragon came. He also doesn't always take the shape of a cat!

He is, truth be told, rather amazingly vain. And really, who's to blame him? Even when wearing a man's form, he's still a cat through and through and, therefore, utterly convinced of his own charm and beauty at all times. And, like all cats, he fancies himself a gifted musician (if you've never heard a cat sing, you've never heard a diva, let me tell you!). Whether or not he is as talented as he thinks he is . . . well . . .

What I really love about this character is how much fun it is to throw him in with those who don't appreciate him as much as he believes he deserves. See this conversation, for example:

"You don't care much for this young man, do you, Eanrin?"
"Can't say that he's a great favorite."
"It's because he doesn't like your poetry, isn't it."
Eanrin glowered. "When have I ever been so petty?" (Moonblood, p. 203)

Despite his protests, we know it's true. In fact, Eanrin was so outraged when Ragniprava, the Tiger, preferred Lionheart's comic poem to his own romantic sonnet, he could barely speak to Lionheart afterwards!

But there is a great deal more to Eanrin than first meets the eye, more than arrogance and snobbery and a certain amount of foppishness. Notice what Lionheart thinks about him at one point:

He eyed Eanrin, his dramatic stance, his face full of longing . . . and he saw the lie that it was. Or not a lie, but rather, a mask.
And he thought to himself, Eanrin is hiding something. But he could not guess what. (Moonblood, p. 236)

We are actually gifted with more insight into the poet-cat's nature than Lionheart is. For instance, when he and Oeric are carrying the stone-spelled Lionheart out of Ragniprava's realm . . .

Eanrin shook his head. "Your faith does you credit, Oeric. I serve the Prince and will serve him till I die or the Final Waters sweep all this away! But--" And here one hand touched the patches over his empty eye sockets, a swift gesture that Oeric did not notice. The poet dropped his voice and finished softly, "But perhaps I'll always find the paths more difficult to walk than would a man of greater faith."
Then, because he was the Chief Poet of Iubdan Rudiobus, he laughed and filled his face with more smiles. (Moonblood, p. 195)

This is one of the few places where we see beyond Eanrin's merry masks. There is, I believe, a wealth of depth beneath the facades of his character. But how few may even know it!

Imraldera might. But she's not saying. And he's admitting nothing.

One of those silences followed which a stranger observing would not have understood. But even a stranger would sense the unspoken tension between two people who did not look at each other and did not speak. Even a stranger would realize that some history existed between these two that he could not guess. And even a stranger would realize that he was intruding on a private moment that could, in a flash, explode into an out-and-out fight or, perhaps, if miracles still happen, dwindle into something like understand.
But the silence ended instead with the poet rising gracefully from his chair, clearing his throat, and marching across the room to lean against the trunk of a poplar tree. (Moonblood, p. 203)

So Sir Eanrin must remain an enigma for the time being. He with his empty eye sockets, his sappy poetry, his two lethal knives, and his arrogant ways. But we shall see more of him . . . much more, indeed!

What did you think about the poet-cat knight? Any favorite lines or scenes?


Hannah said...

Eanrin is my favorite character, without a doubt.
It was so fasinating to learn more about his true character, that he tries so hard to hide. It was also intriguing to learn who is responisble for him being blind and where he was when he lost his sight.
One of the quotes I have to love is his response to Lionheart. "I allow only my friends to call me thus, and you my lad, are far from being my friend. You may call me Sir. Or Your Grace. Even your Eminence. I'm not especially picky."
Eanrin is hilariouly snooty, and yet incrediably noble.
Anne, you did an amazing job on this character. I can't wait to learn more about him!

Molly said...

I have often wondered what Eanrin looked like, so the picture was great! I'm glad you did that.
I think my favorite with Eanrin is when he and Felix are going up to the castle and Felix is saying how much he likes Imraldera and Eanrin doesn't like that. :) hee hee I kept laughing right there.

I think it is also amazing how he can sense things so well, being a cat and all, and I am excited to read Starflower and everything he does! Can't wait!!


Anonymous said...

Sir Eanrin is one of my favorite characters. He is so interesting and mysterious, and he hides away his true self. I can NOT wait for the next book!!

Anonymous said...

Eanrin has been one of my favorite characters from the start. Sure he's stuck up, but he's still pretty awesome. I absolutely LOVE the seen when he is giving Aethelbard advice on girls, cracks me up! I am REALLY looking forward to reading more about him in Starflower!

Rachel6 said...

Honestly? ANY scene with Eanrin! I've noticed that the arrogant sorts are often the funniest/most entertaining in a story. Is he going to get his own book??

Anne Elisabeth Stengl said...

@ Rachel6: Yes, he is! Eanrin is the main character in the next book, STARFLOWER. :)

Hannah said...

Yey!!! Eanrin is the main character! I figured he had to be, because Starflower was known at one point as the...um...Silent Lady...pretty hard having a main character who doesn't talk. :)
Anyway, I'm so glad we get to learn more about Eanrin, and I hope he's in the rest of the books too!

Kira Thomas said...

Eanrin is one of my favorite characters also. But I have a question... How do you pronounce his name? Most of the time we pronounce it EE-Ah-Nrin here, but none of us think it's the correct pronunciation.

Anne Elisabeth Stengl said...

@Athelas Hale: Good question! I pronounce it "Yann-rin" with a bit of a "y" sound. I believe that's the proper Gaelic pronunciation of that name. But for a long time, I pronounced it EE-ann-rin, like you, and I still slip into that pronunciation sometimes! :)

Camryn Lockhart said...

Eanrin is my favorite character. ^_^ He's so funny, especially when he's indignant about people's criticism of his work.
I recently read Starflower and I loved it! It really helped me too. I was starting a downward spiral, but I read your book (it made me feel a little guilty because of Imraldera's kindness, hehe) and the themes reminded me of what God has called us to do. Thanks! :)

It's hard to pick any one line of Eanrin's as a favorite, but I really liked his song which he composed throughout the course of the story. "'Who something, something, something more...' Thus does the poet's work progress! Do, please, withhold all judgment until further notice." Haha! I can't count how many times I've done that writing poems before.
Then when he finished the song! I was bursting with excitement when i read the last line, but my mom hadn't read it yet and I couldn't spoil it for her. ;P
You're a masterful writer. Good job and thanks for your books. :)

In Christ,
~ Camryn

Anne Elisabeth Stengl said...

Welcome to the Goldstone Wood blog, Camryn! :) I am so glad you enjoyed Eanrin in STARFLOWER. I really had a blast getting to know him more deeply in that story. He's so funny and so cattish, but is so loveable at the same time. I hope your mom will enjoy the tale as well!

I'm also pleased to hear that STARFLOWER came to you at a timely moment in your life. I always pray that these stories will get into the right hands and touch hearts at the right time, and it's so encouraging to hear when that has been the case.

Anne Elisabeth