The Fell Gard Codices

This chapter is in some ways the most personal bit of work that I’ve done on Fell Gard. In some ways perhaps the most personal thing I’ve ever written, come to that.

I self-identify as asexual. That realisation came relatively recently, in that asexuality as it’s currently understood is a relatively recent … let’s say ‘formulation.’ Obviously, I think it’s an accurate formulation. I can remember being shocked when I first found the AVEN site, not because it necessaily revealed something to me about how I thought — but because it explained an awful lot about the world around me, and how other people thought, and what they felt that I didn’t, and what it was about character that I couldn’t seem to grasp.

Which brings me around to Gral, and to Yune’s attempt as an outsider to explain human sexuality and human uses for sex. I knew when Gral laughed at Jeroen Halfjack’s story why he was laughing, and I knew I wanted to get an explanation of that in somewhere. Having him thrash it out with Yune was the obvious way to do that. As it happened, given the context of the chapter in which it appeared, I think it provided an interesting inflection to other aspects of the tale.

Now, I generally believe that events in a story, to be properly symbolic, should be susceptible to completely different interpretations; so, for example, I think you can talk about Fell Gard, the dungeon, as a metaphorical representation of the subconscious, or a metaphorical representation of Canada, or a metaphorical representation of the material world through which human consciousness must move, or whatever you like. And I also generally don’t know that it’s a good idea for an author to provide a specific interpretation for their text.

But it is true that when I wrote Gral’s initiation vision, it originally ended at the point where he ran away from the goblins; I thought it was a parable about his acceptance (or lack of same) of other people, and other sensibilities. The chapter ended with him wondering if initiation was meant to be so bitter. Fair enough, then. Except that when I was giving the story its final edits before posting, I couldn’t seem to let it go. There just seemed to be something wrong that I couldn’t quite catch.

And then I realised a) that the initiation was a failure if it ended with Gral running away, and b) the fact that it came after the discussion about sex seemed to suggest a specifically sexualised reading of the events of the vision. The vision then seemed to insist on Gral’s asexuality; and some of the aspects of the goblins he met (notably the reference to goblin fruit) seemed to suggest an encounter with sexuality. At which point I realised that I’d left the vision half-written, and wrote out the rest of it — which, notwithstanding a few tweaks for gramatical clarity, flowed easily and naturally. And which felt right. And which I’m very happy with. Having said perhaps too much already, I’ll leave it at that.

Except to note one last thing: although I like the idea of dwarves as asexual and immortal, I feel it’s important for me not to identify too much with them. So Gral’s a fundamentally angry creature, with gusts up to ‘vicious’ and ‘hateful.’ Yune’s playing a game which involves deceiving everyone around him. I relate to these characters in a very particular way; but hopefully no more so than I relate to all the others.

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