One of my all time favorite series is The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper. These are children’s books and indeed I fell in love with them as a child. They bring back Christmas in my father’s house. Being the beloved daughter. They transport me to Wales or England and I am once again caught up in an Arthurian story. I love Arthur. I love Guinevere. I love the Round Table and the Grail and all that goes with it. Though I confess to loving Ms Cooper’s series more than one ought to love any books (and rereading them every year) I also plowed through The Once and Future King by TH White. I think I was 12.
So why don’t I write about Arthur? Why do I instead have Trystan?
Trystan gives me more freedom. More scope.
Trystan has been difficult for me to write. He had to be included in my cast. I felt that very strongly. He started out with a different name – Shand. Then I researched the names more thoroughly and changed his. Trystan is my lover. He loves the lute, loves the Song, loves his homeland. He loves Esseylte. He gets into all sorts of trouble. Arthur is perfect, much too perfect for my little story. Trystan however? Trystan fits.
Writing him has led me to a great deal of research. I watched the movies of course. I’ve read the original stories. In the stories, he is a harpist, not a lutist. Sniff. But he is a minstrel. A bard. His prowess is legendary. He is nearly equal to Lancelot at arms. I have read all of the Norma Lorre Goodrich books on Merlin and Arthur and the rest. One thing has become clear to me. The researchers for Arthur (Norma and her ilk) are insane. Insane. They think they can dig up the truth from legends and superimpose our culture on one they do not understand. One steeped in real faith. Medieval writers were not feminists. Yes. I threw those books across the room more than once.
I don’t know if I will do Trystan justice. But I am trying to relate Pelegor to more Norse-like sources (not Irish or Pictish). And my Trystan is very much mine. Much more Cornish/Welsh.
“To sum up, there is clear evidence that, as characters, Drystan, March and Esyllt were known to Welsh tradition, and from an early period. However, the ties that bind them together are surprisingly rarely found in the early material, with only the fragmentary poem being free of any suspicion of contamination from the Anglo-Norman and continental Romance versions”
Basically all of the love triangle parts are nonsense which was added.
The Arthurian influences are there in my book, of course. I take license. I won’t apologize for that. The category in Amazon I have claimed is deserved. I did not “write to market,” but I am writing very much to a 12 year girl at Christmas time in 1983. You’ll have to indulge her. She’s the one I must please.