Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What about Gillard and Simon, Sr?

Q: What about Gillard and Simon, Sr?

More spoilers....




Originally, I had planned to do subplots following Simon, Sr and Gillard in Kiriath, their plotlines woven together as the realm fell apart and rumors of Abramm's alleged reappearance (spawned by all the false Abramms that preceded the real one) spread among the people. But when I ended the first draft at 211,000 words, already over my prescribed word count by 40,000 words, with maybe half the book needing a lot more development, my editor suggested I eliminate those still-sketchy subplots.

Though I'd already written a couple of scenes detailing Gillard's descent into madness that were kinda fun, I saw the need to cut. Since I also knew by then that this story was to be primarily about Abramm, that seemed a good section to cut. In retrospect, I think the decision was a good one. To do all I'd originally intended would have swollen the book to at least 200,000 words, which might have been fun, and might have worked and readers might even have liked it... but that wasn't what Bethany House wanted or could handle. Plus I don't think it's what the Lord intended.

Q:And why wasn't there a big showdown between Gillard and Abramm?

Because, as I said above, the story was about Abramm and Eidon, and Abramm's spiritual journey, which involved being prepared to face his true enemy.

One of my intents in writing this four-book story arc was to show the growing Believer's gradual realization of who his true enemies are. In the first book it seemed that all Abramm's enemies were human -- Raynen, Gillard, Belthre'gar. In the second book, he -- and the reader -- become increasingly aware of another, hidden level of enemies -- the rhu'ema, though Gillard is still a large obstacle he must overcome.

At the end of The Shadow Within, when Abramm defeated his brother decisively on the steps of the ruined dragon temple, and then saved him from being consumed by the morwhol, Gillard ceased being a credible enemy.

In Shadow Over Kiriath, the true enemies emerged even more clearly, given a voice through the rhu'ema warhast, Hazmul, who plots Abramm's downfall in secret: Our battle is not against blood and flesh but against the rulers, against the powers, against the orld forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places. (Eph 6:12) Gillard is nothing more than a tool in their hands, deluded with regard to his own power and importance, and ultimately surrendering himself into their posession.

Meanwhile Abramm goes on in Return of the Guardian-King to meet the ultimate enemy, the one behind all those rulers and spiritual forces: the Prince of the power of the air. The showdown, then, had to be between Abramm and Tiris, not in a physical battle, but in a battle over who Abramm was going to rely upon -- himself and the world, or Eidon.

Gillard, the one who had held such a huge and threatening place in Abramm's life at the beginning of the story, no longer mattered at the end. He was a has-been, a man broken by madness and pain and arrogance, a shell to be pitied, forgiven and resisted so far as he was used as a pawn, but nothing more than that.