Tag Archives: INSPIRATION

THE UNFORTUNATE ROYALS

“The gods were cruel when they saw fit to test my vows. They waited until I was old. What could I have done when the ravens brought the news from the south? The ruin of my House, the death of my family. I was helpless, blind, frail. But when I heard they had killed my brother’s son, and his poor son, and the children! Even the little children!”

Maester Aemon, Game of Thrones

As I immersed myself in the story of Game of Thrones, I came to sympathize with a number of characters, particularly those who were young. I look at the three most prominent noble Houses of the Seven Kingdoms and relive the sad fate that their youngest members suffered. These children have been victims of their circumstances, their choices, and their ultimate fate.

To begin with, I would like to focus on the children of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen: Princess Rhaenys and Prince Aegon. Rhaenys was just an innocent little girl while Aegon was just an infant. Both of these kids suffered the consequences of their father’s and grandfather’s choices. At the end of Robert’s Rebellion, these kids lost their birthright to the Iron Throne and their lives. Rhaenys was stabbed to death by Amory Lorch, a knight loyal to the Lannisters. Aegon was ripped from his mother’s arms and had his skull caved in by Gregor Clegane. Both of these kids were brutally murdered before they had a chance to live. We do not even know if Prince Aegon is truly alive or not in the books. I often wonder what the lives of these kids would have turned out if they were allowed to live.

Second, the children of House Stark were a particularly unlucky batch. They lost their parents, their home, their birthright, and a few of their members. They were betrayed and stabbed in the back more than once. Robb Stark was his father’s son as an honorable man and was a natural as a military commander, but he was a novice as a politician and king. He never learned to think of the potential consequences of his actions and his family lost everything as a result. Sansa Stark was an innocent girl who was tormented by her Lannister captors. She watched her father die, was beaten by the Kingsguard, became Joffrey’s plaything, used as a pawn by Littlefinger, married against her will twice, and was violated by the Boltons. Arya Stark was a tomboy with an adventurous spirit, but the adventure she received was beyond traumatic. She watched her father die, was forced to survive on her own with some help from unlikely allies, witnessed the Red Wedding, experienced the horrors of the War of the Five Kings, and endured the brutal training of the Faceless Men of Braavos. Bran Stark who was crippled for life, forced out of his home, witnessed the atrocities of the Ironborn and the Boltons, endured a hellish journey beyond the Wall, got hunted by White Walkers, and lost his humanity when he inherited the power of the Three-Eyed Raven. Rickon Stark was the youngest of the Stark children and easily the most traumatized of all his siblings. Before the Starks’ hardships began, Rickon lived a carefree life, but when the hardships began, his youth and complete inexperience made it impossible to understand why they could not go home or why his parents were not present. Such conditions can psychologically ruin a kid his age. Then Rickon was murdered by Ramsay Snow during the Battle of the Bastards, triggering yet another injustice against the Starks.

Now, we move on to one of the more complicated characters: Jon Snow. Jon Snow was born a Targaryen and raised as a Stark. Most of his life, he thought he was a bastard and was afflicted by the social stigma that being a bastard came with. He spent time at the Night’s Watch, where he forfeited any claim to any land, wealth, marriage, or titles. After a time, he was betrayed and murdered by his own men. Even after he united the North and its allies against the White Walkers, helped end the Lannisters’ tyranny, and ended Daenerys’s reign of terror, Jon was sent back to the Night’s Watch once again. Even after all he sacrificed to improve the world, Jon lost everything and had no reward for all of his efforts. Also, as the one true king, Jon should be the one ruling the Seven Kingdoms and even displayed a natural talent for kingship, but he threw his birthright away.

We now move on to my least favorite noble family: House Lannister. Jaime’s and Cersei’s children were victims of both their circumstances and the schemes of their family. As evil and irredeemable as Joffrey was, I cannot help but feel pity for him. Due to his incestuous bloodline, Joffrey was cursed with the same mental illness that plagued the Targaryens. Also, Joffrey was spoiled his entire life by his mother and never learned the importance of discipline or consequences. Finally, Joffrey was lied to his entire life into believing he was the legitimate heir of King Robert Baratheon when he really did not have a single drop of royal blood in his veins. All of this resulted in Joffrey’s psychopathic personality that we have all grown to hate. With Myrcella, she inherited her mother’s beauty but none of her cruelty. Despite her Lannister blood, Myrcella was an innocent child who was killed because of the crimes her family inflicted upon others. Tommen was weak-willed and easily manipulated by those around him. In fact, he was so weak-willed that he killed himself when he witnessed the extent of his mother’s cruelty. Overall, these children were used and exploited as pawns by the schemes and ambitions of their family and have no idea who and what they really are.

In general, I cannot help but wonder how these Game of Thrones children would have turned out if their upbringings and circumstances were different. Would they be able to live a full life? Would they become different people? So many questions and so many scenarios to consider. For my third fantasy book, I will be drawing inspiration from the possible fates of these children could have faced if their lives were different. These scenarios would serve as the basis of the character profiles for my protagonist’s children.

FANTASY NAVY

One of the factors that judges the strength of a nation is the strength of its navy. This fact has been featured both in fiction and in real life. In Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker, the Final Order had a fleet of thousands of Star Destroyers that were equipped with cannons that could destroy entire planets. In the final season of Game of Thrones, the Iron Fleet was equipped with scorpions that were so large and powerful that they could shoot dragons out of the sky. During the Napoleonic Wars, the United States created ships such as the USS Constitution that were larger, faster, more powerful, and more durable than any ship that existed at the time. The hull of the USS Constitution alone was nearly two feet thick with solid oak, which was a hard nut to crack. Those early American ships were so formidable that English ships were advised to not engage one alone. For my fantasy series, I am thinking of featuring a powerful armada that will have a similar construction to the USS Constitution and be armed with a highly destructive weapon like the Final Order Star Destroyers and the Iron Fleet.

ONE BAD DAY

I remember the opening scenes of both the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead and World War Z, which depicts the characters’ lives being turned upside down overnight when the zombie apocalypse comes. In a single day, the characters’ community became overrun and ravaged by legions of inhuman beings. In my third dinosaur book, my characters will be thrust into a similar scenario. However, the inhuman beings they deal with will not be zombies. Even though these beings will be living creatures, they will have similar behavioral patterns to the fast moving version of zombies.

HUMAN DEGENERATION

“Is it a virus?”

“We don’t know.”

“How does it spread? Is it airborne?”

“There is a possibility. We don’t know.”

“Is this an international health hazard or a military concern?”

“Both.”

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

I thought of adding an extra layer of chaos to the dinosaur apocalypse in my dinosaur series. In addition to dinosaurs and a mysterious pathogen, I am planning to include legions of man-eating humanoid mutants. These mutants will be a combination between the unused dinosaur/human hybrids of Jurassic Park lore, the fast-moving zombies from the 2004 version of Dawn of the Dead, and the relentless monsters from the South Korean Netflix show Sweet Home. I will not say how I plan to make the story work by including these mutants long with the dinosaurs and the pathogen, but I can say they are all connected to the same phenomenon.

A WORLD-CHANGING PATHOGEN

“Sometimes to create, one must first destroy.”

David, Prometheus

As I depict the unfolding of a dinosaur apocalypse in The Kaligen Experiment, I am thinking of increasing the stakes. It will not just be reverse-engineered dinosaurs humans will have to worry about. It will also be the presence of a pathogen that has the potential to either change the world or destroy it. I have taken inspiration from the Black Liquid from Prometheus and Alien Covenant. The Black Liquid was capable of either exterminating life forms or mutating them, which would completely affect an ecosystem. I am thinking of featuring a similar pathogen in my dinosaur series and its host will be quite unexpected.

A TWISTED WILDERNESS

“Well, they’re all so different. To look at them you wouldn’t say that they are the same species . . . but they’re growing from the same branch structure . . . so it has to be the same species. It’s the same plant! It’s like they’re stuck in a continuous mutation.”

Lena, Annihilation

Even though the reverse engineered dinosaurs are the main attraction in my dinosaur series, I also put a lot of thought into the plants as well. I wanted to create plants that were unnatural and otherworldly in appearance due to their manmade nature. With this in mind, I drew inspiration from the Toxic Jungle from Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. The Toxic Jungle looked alien in appearance, which gave it an unsettling yet eerily beautiful atmosphere. I wanted to give the plants and rainforests in my dinosaur series a similar structure.

FANTASY GLADIATORS

“Are you not entertained?!”

Maximus Decimus Meridius, Gladiator (2000)

Easily one of the most successful and iconic empires in human history would be the Roman Empire. Since my Magnus Dynasty Saga takes place in an empire, I decided to include elements of the Roman Empire into the Gradaian Empire. Among those elements is the usage of gladiators and fighting arenas. However, while Roman gladiators were slaves who were forced to fight, the gladiators in my fantasy series will be convicted criminals who are condemned to fight to the death. If these criminals can survive several years of death matches, then they earn their freedom. With this in mind, the usage of these gladiators is a prolonged death sentence that gets turned into a spectacle for the empire to witness. However, if they survive a certain number of years, then they get a pardon. These gladiators and the arena they will fight in will make an appearance in my third fantasy book.

ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT

The problem with being the most powerful political figure in a nation is that all that power gives its wielder a lot of enemies. Some of those enemies may raise armies in rebellion while others take a more subtle approach. Even the mightiest ruler is vulnerable to an assassin’s blade. I am planning to include a scene that involves an assassination attempt against the Imperial Dynasty in my third fantasy book. I will be drawing inspiration from Jing Ke’s assassination attempt of China’s first emperor.

WORLD CHANGING CONSEQUENCES

“It’s not like us… it’s unlike us. I don’t know what it wants, or if it wants, but it’ll grow until it encompasses everything. Our bodies and our minds will be fragmented into their smallest parts until not one part remains… Annihilation.”

Dr. Ventress, Annihilation

I remember the scifi film known as Annihilation, which featured an energy field called The Shimmer. The Shimmer operated like a prism that refracted the DNA of all organisms within its area of influence. As a result, the plants and animals within the Shimmer became mutants. Some of these mutants were beautiful while others were grotesque. The important thing was it was taking the genetic material of Earth’s biosphere and remodeling it into something new. I will be taking a similar route in The Kaligen Experiment where the manmade dinosaurs possess something that changes every lifeform it comes in contact with.

A DEADLY BITE

Easily the most iconic weapons of carnivorous dinosaurs would be their sharp teeth and deadly bite. Every group of carnivorous dinosaur had teeth that operated in a particular way. Carnosaurs had blade-shaped teeth for slicing through flesh, Tyrannosaurs had thick teeth for crushing bone, and Spinosaurs had cone-shaped teeth for gripping onto struggling prey. I will be giving each of the carnivorous dinosaurs in my dinosaur series a specialized bite. One will be equipped to crush bone, one will be designed to cut through flesh, one will be able to grip onto prey, one will have a venomous bite, one will have an anticoagulant in its saliva to make its prey bleed to death faster, and one will have a hooked beak to rip off pieces of meat while feeding. Overall, my fictional predators will literally be armed to the teeth and beautifully evolved for killing.