In previous posts, I spoke of a man named Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick AKA the Kingmaker. Warwick is famous for making Edward IV King of England, but was discarded shortly afterwards, which resulted in him betraying Edward three times. I will focus on Warwick’s first betrayal, which almost destroyed England as a kingdom. Warwick’s first betrayal involved him orchestrating tax riots in northern England, which were fueled by rumors that the king’s in-laws were taking tax money for themselves. Later on, Warwick published an open letter that not only repeated the accusations against the king’s in-laws, but also invited anyone who shared this opinion to rally at Canterbury and take up arms against the king. After Warwick’s allies gathered, they defeated and captured Edward IV. However, Warwick captured and imprisoned Edward without a coherent plan to replace and to kill him. This resulted in the fragile peace Edward IV built to collapse with astonishing speed. During this time, Warwick took his frustration and hatred in a killing spree meant to exterminate as many of Edward’s in-laws as possible. In addition, the unrest Warwick engineered in the north backfired on him and spread south like wildfire. Desperate to restore order, Warwick tried to rally other nobles to his cause, but they just laughed at him because he arrested the king and started all the trouble in the first place. In the end, England could not function without a king to lead it and Warwick’s scheming and wounded vanity drove the kingdom into anarchy. For my third fantasy book, I will be heavily draw inspiration from Warwick’s first betrayal in order to portray the villains’ actions.
I have been rewatching the documentary known as Superheroes: Decoded, which gives a detailed description of the origins of the modern superhero genre and how it reflected the past century of American history. Even though there were several pop culture heroes such as The Shadow, Doc Savage, and Zorro, the first true superhero was Superman, who was introduced to the world in 1938. After Superman, comic book companies tried to make something that could rival Superman in terms of popularity and there were countless failures that are largely forgotten. However, the next major superhero to follow Superman was Batman. Batman was created to reflect the urban fears of the gritty city. The thirties were a time when the Great Depression struck America hard. While Superman was meant to give people hope in the face of the Great Depression, Batman was created to reflect the grim reality of crime-ridden cities. From this perspective, both Superman and Batman represent opposing sides of the human psyche with Superman signifying the ego and Batman signifying the dark subconscious. Even Batman’s origin story, which is the most unchanged out of all major superheroes, represented what could happen to you in a crime-stricken city.
I traced my ancestry on my father’s side more extensively and I realized that I am descended from strong and fierce people. As I mentioned in previous posts, my father and I are descended from Vikings and possibly the Anglo-Saxons and the Rus. Wonder what these Dark Age cultures have in common? They are all descended from the Germanic tribes that constantly resisted the conquests of the Roman Empire. I am thinking of introducing several barbarian tribes in my fantasy series that will be based on the various Germanic tribes of the Dark Ages. I already paid homage to my Celtic ancestors when I created the Welts so it is only fair that I give my Germanic ancestors a chance. For centuries, these tribes were divided and were only capable of small scale raids in villages and fiefdoms. However, as a result of the War of the Gilded Beasts and the subsequent regime change, these tribes will be gaining a new sense of cultural identity and will become more bold in their attacks on their more civilized neighbors. Dealing with these tribes will be one of the main challenges the young emperor will face.
One of the most commonly featured helmets in my fantasy series is the barbute helmet, which is a 15th century Italian design. Numen the Slayer and his traveling companions wore barbute helmet throughout their journey. I like featuring this helmet in my fantasy series because it looks similar to the Corinthian Greek helmets, which are like the helmets worn by the Spartans.
There are two examples I can think of when a monarchy was nearly turned into a democratic republic. The first example was when Simon de Montfort led England’s barons to overthrow King Henry III. This rebellion ultimately failed, but it gave rise to Parliament. The second example was during the English Civil War where King Charles I was overthrow and executed by his subjects. For a time, England was a democratic republic until King Charles II took back the crown, reestablished the monarchy, and executed all the rebels who were responsible for his father’s regicide even those who were already dead. In my third fantasy book, my main character will be spending three years undermining the authority and credibility of his regents. At the time, my character is in his minority and cannot legally rule under his own power. Despite that, he is able to weaken the power and influence of his regents. As a result, his regents decide to go to war with him by replacing the imperial monarchy with a democratic republic.
As I delve into my research on Louis XIV of France, I started to get a better understanding on his personal life, which includes his relationship with his family. His most complex relationship was with his kid brother, Philippe, Duke of Orleans. When they were children, Louis and Philippe’s mother took extreme measures to make sure Philippe was not a threat to Louis’s claim to the throne. She did this by having Philippe dress in women’s clothing from an early age. She did this to emasculate Philippe in order to augment Louis’s masculinity as king. She even called Philippe “My Little Girl.” This had a long term impact on Philippe all the way up to adulthood and he would frequently dress in women’s clothing. Also, even though he was married twice and had children, Philippe was homosexual and his true soul mate was Philip of Lourraine, who was a handsome, blond-haired noble of princely rank. Philippe’s relationship with his brother was understandably tense because it was no fun being the spare when you want to be the heir. Even though his big brother was the king, Philippe would surpass Louis in one particular area: war. While Louis was a politician and showman at court, Philippe was a warrior and military leader. During the Battle of Cassel, Philippe personally led the French army to victory against the Dutch and Spanish. His valor and courage was so immense that his men were inspired to perform miracles to achieve victory. Philippe’s victory was so great that he gained widespread praise from the French military, which made his brother fiercely jealous. Due to his jealousy of his kid brother, Louis banned Philippe from leading an army again. Over time, Philippe would found the House of Orleans, which is a cadet branch of the House of Bourbon that exists to this day. Through the children of his two marriages, Philippe’s descendants would marry into every monarchy in Europe. This earned Philippe the title, “The Grandfather of Europe.” Overall, if Louis XIV is the Sun King, then Philippe was the Moon Prince. They were two sides of a coin and a perfect double act when it came to brothers. Since I am drawing inspiration from Louis XIV’s life for my third fantasy book, I think I will include a character that is loosely based on Philippe.
Kings and noblemen always had their personal servants with them wherever they went. Easily one of the most famous royal servants would be Alexandre Bontemps, who was the personal valet of Louis XIV of France. Bontemps’s loyalty to his king was so absolute that he spent more time with the king than he did with his own family. As the king’s personal valet, Bontemps slept in the same room as the king, which was something even the queen consort was not allowed. Due to this, Bontemps was always available for the king’s needs at any time. Bontemps was not just Louis XIV’s personal valet, he was the king’s best friend and most trusted confidant. As the king’s personal valet, Bontemps’s duties involved overseeing all the day-to-day affairs of the royal household. I am planning on introducing a character who is the main protagonist’s personal valet and their relationship will mirror the relationship of Louis XIV and Bontemps.