Katharine Kerr hosts a Deverry Q&A discussion

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Who's your favorite character?

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Katharine Kerr (KitKerr) | 40 comments Mod
Cullyn of Cerrmor is one of mine. Also, the series narrator, whom you don't really "meet" till the last page of the last book: Cadda Cerrmor, a descendant of his.


Foz Meadows (fozmeadows) | 1 comments Katharine wrote: "Cullyn of Cerrmor is one of mine. Also, the series narrator, whom you don't really "meet" till the last page of the last book: Cadda Cerrmor, a descendant of his."

I always assumed that Cadda Cerrmor was you in an alternate world, given the name similarities :)


Phil Noonan | 6 comments Without question, the various incarnations of Raena had a profound effect on me (for all the wrong, very wrong, disturbing reasons that are self evident)... meaning that to this day my gut wrenches still when I step into Verrarc`s heart and mind.
Favourites are Nevyn, Rori, and I adored Salamander.
(Often accused of being a "chattering elf" by those who I`ve invited to read the series)
You made it almost impossible for me to develop affection for the female leads... they were cold, brutal, and singularly incapable of handling normal human affection.


J.D. Glass (JDGlass) | 4 comments "the female leads... they were cold, brutal, and singularly incapable of handling normal human affection."

I'm wondering whom specifically you have in mind. Jill loved her Rhodry (and adored her father) for many years; Rhodda/Lovyan, Niffa, Bellyra/Carremaena, Lillorigga/Niffa... Raena was a person who was destroyed in many ways (and made compounding bad decisions) by the "normal human affections" of her culture. And then...there's Dallandra, who ISN'T human, and Valandario - also not human, but how many years (centuries?) did she mourn the being whom she had affection for? So...I'm genuinely curious not only whom you mean, but if you could illustrate as well, that would be grand.


Trevor Williams (TrevorWilliams) | 12 comments What can I say, Cullyn of Cerrmor is probably my favourite in the Deverry Serries. He is an honest man who simply does what he has to do without making a big fuss about it. Even when it comes to risking his own life, and facing an almost certain death, he still doesn't back of from his task. Besides even though he is good with his sword Cullyn avoids killing people whenever possible, preferring to disarm his opponents in single combat rather than killing them, even though many of these opponents would like to kill him.


Molly (mhuzzell) | 4 comments Thirding Cullyn, both as a pretty awesome dude on his own, and as an embodiment of the idea that we are reformable creatures. We see his soul acting so foul in so many incarnations, and then you have just one lifetime of reform and then come out with someone as caring and honorable as Cullyn -- it's just beautiful. I like especially that we don't actually see that transitional/transformational lifetime until fairly late, so until then he is just held up as this slightly odd example of bad-guy-turned-good, to prove that such exist (not that we know of Cullyn ever acting the 'bad guy' in his own lifetime).


Molly (mhuzzell) | 4 comments Also seconding the WTF on the female leads as "cold, brutal, and singularly incapable of handling normal human affection" -- WTF?


Mary Osmanski | 3 comments I've always felt a particular fondness for Maddyn, the bard.


Katharine Kerr (KitKerr) | 40 comments Mod
What about Bellyra, Phil? To add to the list of female leads that I find quite human. Also Marka, Salamander's wife.

In a world like Deverry women have to be tough to survive.


Megan (myownsatellite) | 4 comments I think that Val and Jill are my favorite females, and Nevyn is my favorite male.

There are so many incarnations though - it's hard to pick. I liked Jill better in her priestess incarnation, but she was most involved in the books for me as Jill.


J.D. Glass (JDGlass) | 4 comments Oh! My fave female was always Jill - I was about her age when I started reading the series, and she made sense to me - very relate-able. But I also loved Nevyn, and Aderyn, and Salamander was always, always, fun. But one of the things I really loved was Jahdo's story arc, from his tutelage under the Bard, to the extended/related story lines with his sister and the city they lived in.


Suzi (SuziD) | 4 comments Jill and Salamander. Honestly, I liked Jill less after she left Rhodry. I was a teenager when I started reading the series and didn't fully understand at the time why she would give him up. Obviously it makes more sense to me now but I still liked her more when she was still innocent and somewhat naive.
Salamander I have always loved. Such a great character - light-hearted and fun but with such complexities also. It still makes me so sad to think about when he was losing his mind and forgetting his own children and family.


message 13: by Phil (last edited Sep 28, 2011 12:26PM) (new)

Phil Noonan | 6 comments Oh dear, It would seem that I stirred up a hornet`s nest .
Firstly, I apologise if my personal opinion of two, yes, just two, fictional female characters don`t gel with anyone else`s... Ever since I studied Psychology in literature and film, I`ve been a firm opponent of the "Auteur theory". ~ the belief that fictional characters belong solely to the author. I come from the school of belief that we invest, and subsequently mould, our own perceptions of the characters, to create the atmosphere that fleshes out out the story.
So , to clarify, I was speaking of the primary female characters.
These being Jill and Dallandra.
( I make an exception by also adding in Lillorigga, who I thought was a thoroughly unpleasant particular incarnation... led by her loins as much as any unfaithful and contemptible male character).
As Kit points out , Dallandra can be exempted from the "incapable of handling normal human affection" by virtue of the fact that she wasn`t actually "Human"... but the sentiment remains.
Pre-Dweomer Jill was everything this male reader could wish for in a heroine. Feisty, tough, caring and loving. Post-Dweomer Jill became a kind of androgenous wizard, dedicated solely to the furthering of knowledge and the completion of her contribution to necessary tasks required to complete her "Turn of the wheel" . So, yes, in my humble opinion, this left her devoid of the normal human frailties associated with affection and care, and left her (again, just for me) with a rather brutal outlook on the interpersonal intricacies of emotion that cloud the judgement of lesser mortals.
Dallandra?
Well, maybe I`m missing something here?
She left her husband for a sojourn into a different astral plane to develop a relationship with a pouty, effete, foppish and petulant minor deity.
And what of Loddlaen? a small boy already cursed from birth with a part to play that was doomed from his conception... yet who can know if his actions, and the subsequent ramifications, would have been as devastating had his mother actually hung around longer than a few nanoseconds to offer him the "Usual" loving and nurturing role one would associate with a mother.

Now, let me qualify these opinions by saying that both Jill and Dalla were IMMENSE characters... critical and vital to the storyline, and worthy of great praise for their work, sacrifices, and study... but they elicited none of my "normal" male affection I would feel for female leads.
Maybe that`s a fault attributable to me? If so, then I can live with that.
If it`s worth anything, my wife Kay is just finishing the final book for her first time through, and she (without any prompting from me) came to exactly the same conclusions about Dalla , Jill, and Lilla.
She was/is a little disturbed by my fascination with Raena/Sidro ... (understandable)... but then I was a little disturbed by her swooning acceptance of Cullyn as a "hero" , bearing in mind his freedom with his fists to a 13 year old daughter and his unnatural interest in her in her formative years.


Katharine Kerr (KitKerr) | 40 comments Mod
A lot of people of various genders have complained over the years about Jill's personality when she returns in the second half of the series. Consider: she gave up the man she thought was the love of her life to follow the path of Wyrd and high magic. This particular path, as set up in the world of the books, is extremely demanding. Over and over again the books remark that the dweomer takes everything human from you. Your personality is a temporary thing; the true dweomermaster becomes his or her Individuality, the "higher self" of more modern occult writing.

A person like that is not going to be fun and games. Jill has a vast amount of karma to work through from her various lives. She has an enormously complicated relationship to Nevyn, who also remembers her past lives. He's the real love of her life, that is, of her lives. When Jill returns in TIME OF EXILE, he's just died. She has lost him again.

You expect her to be bubbly or something? :-)


Phil Noonan | 6 comments "You expect her to be bubbly or something? :-) "

Not at all Kit.
She was understandably devastated.
Lifetimes` worth of love and tragedy coalesced to the honed dagger of grief at Nevyn`s death.
From Brangwen to Branna, Jill`s incarnations were troubled, but "human"... allowing for love and affection, even Branoic.
I appreciate that the sacrifices Jill made in her dedication to the Dweomer precluded her chance of a normal life with Rhodry, and you manage to explain to us readers that it was a difficult decision and choice that was not easy on any level.
Allowing for all of that, I still found that the second stage of Jill`s life , and the choices she made, change her personality into someone I could admire, but not particularly like on a personal level.


Katharine Kerr (KitKerr) | 40 comments Mod
I can understand the not rating her high on "likeability." Even Dallandra had to tell her to back off when Jill was so disgusted with Carra's weepy fits -- as if a pregnant 15 year old, stuck in a seige by enemies who have vowed to kill her, wouldn't break down now and then.


message 17: by Molly (last edited Sep 29, 2011 05:48AM) (new)

Molly (mhuzzell) | 4 comments So can I... what I don't understand is the extrapolation from 'Dallandra + half of Jill' to 'the female leads'. Sounds like one and a half characters, to me!

Your reasons for not warming to Dallandra and elder-Jill make sense. Dallandra is cold, at least towards Aderyn and Loddlaen (some might argue that throwing away her whole life to follow her seeming One True Love is romantic, but nevermind), and as Kit said, following the dweomer can really change a person, so it's perfectly reasonable for one's feelings about them to change (Galrion was a right heel before he became Nevyn, for instance).

However, what does not make sense is taking those impressions of two characters and applying them to a sweeping indictment of all of the female lead characters in the series.


Cheryl | 2 comments No one has mentioned my favorite - Arzosah. Great personality. But I also have a huge fondness for Salamander, early Jill, early Bellyra, and Nevyn of course. Rhodry is a fascinating character, too, though his "likeability" varies quite a bit! I really didn't like Dallandra either, until later books; I think mostly because she abandoned her baby and I had babies at the time I read it. But I got over that by the end of the series. Though I still do wonder if her leaving Loddlaen, but warming toward baby #2 was some unconscious prejudice against humans/part-humans?


Katharine Kerr (KitKerr) | 40 comments Mod
Suzi wrote: "Jill and Salamander. Honestly, I liked Jill less after she left Rhodry. I was a teenager when I started reading the series and didn't fully understand at the time why she would give him up. "

You weren't alone. A lot of readers, M as well as F, were shocked when Jill returned in EXILE and didn't take up with Rhodry again.


Katharine Kerr (KitKerr) | 40 comments Mod
Cheryl wrote: "No one has mentioned my favorite - Arzosah. "

She is definitely one of my favorites. She comes out and says all those arrogant things that so many of us would like to say but are afraid to. :-)


Katharine Kerr (KitKerr) | 40 comments Mod
Molly wrote:

Your reasons for not warming to Dalla..."


We mustn't forget that Dallandra actually had dweomer work to do with Evandar and his people. If Aderyn had been less jealous, and more willing to take up his share of that burden, then she might not have left.


Katharine Kerr (KitKerr) | 40 comments Mod
Jahdo and Cerr Cawnen are some of my favorites. I really -hated- blowing up that town, but alas, it really did have to happen to stop the invasion.


Trevor Williams (TrevorWilliams) | 12 comments I must admit I have always had a soft spot for Salamandar he mucks around and has fun, but he is serious when he has to be, but only when he really has to be. Despite his foolish persona he is still someone you can count on when the going gets tough. He may not like it but he will do what he has to do.


Mary  (Little_Mavis) | 7 comments Goodness but it took a while to get to where I could comment. My personal favourite has always been Maddyn. He's practical, loyal supports his friends, he is true to his overlord, even when it becomes so very difficult for him and has a tragic, lost love. And he can sing. What more could you want?


Megan (myownsatellite) | 4 comments Katharine wrote: You weren't alone. A lot of readers, M as well as F, were shocked when Jill returned in EXILE and didn't take up with Rhodry again."

I admit to being surprised, and also surprised that Rhodry and Arzosah became partners. Rori was not my favorite character, because I saw him as quite selfish and whiny. Arzosah had her own motives and I wasn't thrilled with her either. I much preferred Rhodry's relationship with Jill to any of his subsequent ones (including what's-her-name from the island, even if I did adore her character). But characters go where they will, right? ;)


Katharine Kerr (KitKerr) | 40 comments Mod
Yep, they sure do! I don't know how, but characters usually do have their own minds and can be quite stubborn.


Nataly | 2 comments I also started reading the series as a teenager - and a lot of the choices that made zero sense to me at the time (like Jill leaving Rhodry) made much more sense when I reread the first "cycle" 10 years later. I kinda wonder how different things will look to me in another 10 years or so.


message 28: by M (new)

M Shirley (MShirley) | 9 comments My favourite characters are Maddyn and Dallandra, for much the same reasons in each case.

They both have made a right mess of things at some point(s) in their lives and learned from the pain it caused (both for themselves and others). They are both highly talented and competent individuals who are riddled with self doubt and, to a certain extent, self loathing.

They're both capable of deep love; the saying "the heart has reasons of which reason knows not" applies to both of them.

Through the series, I got to watch both of them grow from idealistic, foolish young things into people of great maturity and wisdom... who were still capable of making foolish decisions.


message 29: by M (new)

M Shirley (MShirley) | 9 comments Phil wrote: "( I make an exception by also adding in Lillorigga, who I thought was a thoroughly unpleasant particular incarnation... led by her loins as much as any unfaithful and contemptible male character)."

I didn't find Lillorigga unpleasant. I actually felt terribly sorry for her.

She didn't have much of a childhood. Being fostered by Bevyan gave her some experience of love and stability but being unwanted and unloved often causes terrible wounds in a child, and certainly did with Lillorigga.

After being treated all her life as if her only worth was the marriage alliance she could make for her clan, the idea of someone wanting her just for herself was overwhelming. Had the Boar been undefeated, I suspect that Lilli would have found the idea unbelievable.

As it was, Lilli had been conditioned all her life to obey the authoritative male in her life.

Add that to being all of, what, seventeen? when she died, her exploitation at her mother's hands and the fact that she was just learning the dweomer, had just enough knowledge to sense the dweomer around Maryn but not enough to really see how it really wasn't due to any personal quality of Maryn's and her affair with him was inevitable.

Then, of course, there was the whole idea of women being chaste or monogamous while seeing that there was acceptance of infidelity if the woman was careful to follow certain social rules. To call them mixed messages is understating the case.

To judge Lillorigga as if she were fully mature and had the emotional resources in place to make wise decisions is unduly harsh in my opinion.

Sadly, not one person in her life, not even Nevyn, had enough time to spend helping her to grow up.

Of course she made mistakes. She had no basis for sound judgment and no ongoing mentor relationship with someone who could guide her and help her.

She really was a doomed kid.


Katharine Kerr (KitKerr) | 40 comments Mod
Yes, I agree with M. Besides which, as several of the male characters remark, in her culture Maryn was the prince, and "why shouldn't he have the women he wants?" Notice the plurual. Branoic was expected to share his woman, ie Lilli, with the prince. In return, had he lived, the prince would have given him land and position and such -- as long as Maryn did that, all would have been well in the eyes of their culture.

And of course, in the end, Lilli gives up Maryn to be faithful to Branoic. It's merely too late for either of them. She's 16, I think, when she dies. Not an age of sound judgment in any culture.


message 31: by M (new)

M Shirley (MShirley) | 9 comments Katharine wrote: "Branoic was expected to share his woman, ie Lilli, with the prince. In return, had he lived, the prince would have given him land and position and such -- as long as Maryn did that, all would have been well in the eyes of their culture. "

Modern biology shows that humans undergo considerable brain development and re-wiring until 22-25 years of age. The last areas of the brain to develop are those that are involved in judgment and self restraint. As a 16 year old, Lilli had a long way to go developmentally before any reasonable person could hold her fully accountable for her own decisions.

In a sense, Lilli was part of the price that Nevyn was willing to pay for an end to the wars in Deverry. As were Maryn, Bellyra, Branoic, Maddyn, etc. Nevyn was caught in a position where there were no good choices and just as his meditations led him to believe, he bore a personal burden of the fallout from that choice.

Nevyn was so constrained by the movement of events that he didn't have enough time to truly supervise Lilli's dweomer education or her personal development. He made the mistake of thinking that just imparting information would be enough for Lilli, without truly realising how much supervision and hands on guidance adolescents need.

When it came right down to it, not one of the people that Lilli loved was willing or able to make her their top priority. Certainly not her biological parents, not her foster parents, not Nevyn, not even Branoic.

Lilli was just a butterfly caught up in a storm beyond her making or even full comprehension.

In some ways, she reminds me of prostituted teens. Kids whose emotional needs haven't been met, who aren't adequately guided or supervised, who make a few catastrophically bad decisions. They don't deserve scorn, they deserve empathy and extensive help. Sadly, most of them don't receive what they need and then they're considered the equivalent of human trash.


Mona Cheah (mona_cheah) | 2 comments It has always been Rhodry for me. Not his other incarnations but Rhodry, spoilt nobleman, silverdagger, slave, Gwerbet, elf, silver dageer again, dragon and finally back to just being Rhodry.

I find it fascinating in his long affair with his Lady Death, he managed to fit so much and so many people and various liaisons with various species in his long life.


Mona Cheah (mona_cheah) | 2 comments Modern biology shows that humans undergo considerable brain development and re-wiring until 22-25 years of age. The last areas of the brain to develop are those that are involved in judgment and self restraint.


Wow that explains a lot about my own life - hehe.


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