Welcome to the Second Son read-along! Today we will be discussing the Prologue. For those of you just joining us, I am hosting this read-along of Second Son throughout the months of January and February. In January, I will post about a chapter each weekday, and in February those posts will come on M/W/F to leave some room for the February is Fantasy Month celebration! Also, today and tomorrow I’ll be posting this installment at my normal, morning time… but all future read-along posts will go live around 4:00pm… because it’s just cozier to read in the evenings, don’t you think? (It’ll also give me a bit more time to answer any questions and put them in the next post).
Well, without further ado… let’s dive right in!
First of all, if you have not yet discovered it… there is a pronunciation guide and glossary at the back of the book. I have provided this tool to help you with some of the more unique names and how to say them. Perhaps someday I’ll make a video of how to pronounce the names… there’s an idea!
Moving on to the prologue…
Unlike with King’s Warrior, I wrote the prologue for Second Son first, before I wrote anything else. With this story, I had a much better handle on where it was going. I didn’t know every step along the way exactly, but I had a much better grasp of the general outline.
The prologue begins with the old wizard, Scelwhyn, and his apprentice observing a portent of some kind. For those of you who have read King’s Warrior, yes, this is the same Garen who shows up there. We find out here that he must have at least a drop of wizard’s blood somewhere in his heritage, since normal humans cannot work magic or be apprenticed to wizards — magic in this world is a hereditary trait gifted to some races by Cruithaor Elchiyl, the Creator.
This conversation between the two of them is one of my favorite things I’ve ever written. It’s one of those scenes that just kind of wrote itself. I didn’t necessarily set out to write it the way it unfolded, and Garen’s appearance on the scene surprised me rather a lot, but it worked, so I kept it.
My ultimate goal with including this prologue was three-fold:
1. I wanted to alert the reader to when and where this scene and story were taking place. King Jairem’s coronation is mentioned. The birth of the second son is being observed/acknowledged. The speakers are in Aom-igh, but they know of the Dark Country and even refer to it by its proper name: Llycaelon.
2. I wanted to set the tone of the story and introduce the prophecy that is at work throughout this book. I also wanted to start out with Scelwhyn again. He doesn’t get much page-time in the series, in spite of his importance and position in history, though he does get a few scenes later on this book. For me, this made a nice parallel to the prologue of King’s Warrior, with its foreshadowing prophecy/rhyme.
3. I had recently discovered that my dad often skipped prologues when reading books that contained them… a revelation that both shocked and appalled me… so I resolved to include a prologue in every one of my books so that he would be forced to read them. (I knew he wouldn’t skip anything I wrote!!!)
Questions for Discussion in the comments:
1. What do you think of Scelwhyn?
2. I’ve discovered that readers are starkly divided on the subject of prophecies in fantasy fiction. Either they love them or they hate them… very few are somewhere in between (as far as I can tell). What is your take on the prophecy-trope in fantasy?
If you have any questions for me, go ahead and leave them in the comments, as well, and I will answer them in a later post.