Tuesday, September 25, 2012

J is for Jester

Quick Note: I do apologize to my faithful readers for the infrequency of these A-Z posts. I have been tremendously busy with my most recent manuscript, plus various other writing-related jobs, and the blog has suffered! I will try to continue the series to the end, but expect the posts themselves to be significantly shorter than before. Feel free to comment and get a discussion going if you like, though. I will always do my best to respond.
Come Moonblood, there isn't a whole lot left of the jester we knew and loved in Heartless and Veiled Rose. He--that fun-loving, animated, adventurous side of Prince Lionheart known as Leonard the Lightning Tongue--has disappeared, smothered under the cares and guilt of the struggling prince.
"You have killed him," Princess Una says. And when Lionheart asks who she means, she replies, "My jester."
Indeed, when we pick up the tale of Moonblood, we find Prince Lionheart a pale shade of the boy we knew. He has made so many mistakes, and he is so desperate to justify himself. And the Lady of Dreams is ever in his mind, whispering to him, suppressing his conscience with her lies. You did what you had to do, she tells him again and again. And he, like a fool, believes her.
We do catch a few glimpses of the former jester throughout the course of the story, however. For instance, when Ragniprava the Tiger chases both Lionheart and Eanrin up a tree, it is Lionheart's jesterly jibing that saves the two of them. And when he finally makes his way through the boundaries of Arpiar and into the court of King Vahe, it is under the guise of a jester.
"My . . . my name," he stammered, attempting a winning smile, "is Leonard the Lightning Tongue. I am a humble jester."
Someone snorted. Someone else laughed. "A jester indeed," the goblins muttered and mocked. This little beast wearing only his nightshirt--they'd taken the fine green jacket--and a grubby pair of trousers? This somber-eyed mortal who looked as though he hadn't smiled in a century or more? "Sing us a funny song, then!" someone shouted from the crowd, and the heckling broiled up until it filled the assembly room and even the marble statues writhed in mockery on their pedestals. (p. 297)
And sing Lionheart does . . . but this time, not a "funny song" as requested. When he opens his mouth, he sings the Hymn of Hymlumé. And as the Song of the Moon fills the chamber, the unicorn, listening near to hand, is reminded for the first time in centuries what it was, what it lost, what it rejected . . .
I think all this implies that Lionheart's best and truest self is the jester. The self that befriended Rose Red, the self that loved Princess Una, the self that is most noble is not the prince he has so striven to become. No, it's the jester, the part of himself he's tried so hard to squash into nothing.
And I wonder, following the adventures of Moonblood, if we might someday find Leonard the Lightning Tongue alive and thriving once more?
So tell me your thoughts on Lionheart. Did you like him in this story, or were you too distracted by your desire to throttle him? Did you relate to his struggles or despise him?


Hannah said...

When I first met the jester in "Heartless" I liked him...a lot. I wanted to believe his prince and dragon story right along with Una. When we discover who is in charge of Lionheart I felt pity for him. That pity intensified after I read "Veiled Rose." So I was all ready to see him redeem himself in "Moonblood."

Anyone will be able to relate to Lionheart at least sometime in their life. He went under a lot of stress, most likely more then we'll ever understand. Pressure from cultural expectations, and the desperation to please, changed him from his real lovable self into an uncertain, insecure, brokan young man--something that happens all too often in real life.
Readers can learn a lot from Lionheart.
I know some people can't seem to stand him.
But Lionheart is human.
He's like me.
He's like you.
So don't be too hasty to judge him.
Now I can't say if Lionheart ever gets redeemed or not. To find out, read Moonblood!

Taisia TinĂșviel said...

I've been wanting to read Moonblood for SO long! And now I've finally got it in from Amazon!!! :D I didn't want to read the A-Z's just in case there were spoilers :P

Barka said...

How do you stay true to yourself amid cultural pressure? I guess we need to anchor ourselves to the Stone that does not move.

Hannah said...

Taisia: I am SO glad you get to read Moonblood! It's GREAT! You were very wise not to read the A-Zs. They have a lot of spoilers.

Barka: Exactly, Barka. One has to remember that God made you who you are. As I heard someone say, "Your DNA was divinely planned."
It's interesting that you brought up the Stone. I was just reading
1 Peter 2:4-10, and the comparison to stones really caught my attention. There has to be a good allegorical fantasy plot in there! :)

Anonymous said...

Personally, I loved Lionheart in Moonblood. He finally sees the light. True, I wanted to throttle him at times, but Lionheart is my absolute favorite character thus far.

Galadriel said...

I wanted to strangle him in Moonblood, but I also wanted to bang Felix's head against the wall and force Rose to call Lionheart in...so, equal-opportunies all around

Martin LaBar said...

There's no need to apologize. It's amazing that you have time to do this at all! Thanks for blogging.

As a jester, Lionheart is doing what he really wants to do -- perhaps what he was called to do.

Anonymous said...

There was something about him in Heartless... I distrusted him. From the very begining.
I so disliked him.
And in Veiled Rose... learning about the boy, the jester he truely was...
kinda a little more empathy. But my dislike returned full force while he was in Parumvir.
Why didn't you just go with Aethelbald?!?!?!?
Anyway, no; I didn't want to 'throttle' him in MoonBlood.
I almost freaked out when I thought he was going to die.
You kind grow attatched to him somewhere between Veiled Rose and Moonblood.
You understand him.
Please, write more about him and the new queen of Arpiar.

Anonymous said...

True about Felix and Rosie.
Lionheart is really all of us, though.
So the time when I wanted whack him on the head in Veiled Rose, I tried to reason with myself that he just needs to see the k\light.

Kyra-Luthien said...

Lionheart is a great character, though at times I wanted to slap him around the face and tell him to wise up.

I agree with Galadriel about wanting to force Rose to call him.

I also desperately wanted Prince Felix to wake up and realise who he was.