So, I’ve now gotten through the template for the three countries that are the original homes of the three leads of the novel. I had a bit of a revelation as I did the third one, though.
The third one is the home of Ouden (Greek for “nothing,” a new name she gave herself following the execution of her parents by the puppet government), who I described in my notes at the start as “a pint-sized revolutionary, Gavroche without the tragic ending.” (She’s only 10, btw.)
Anyway, I had always described her parents with two words: “pacifist abolitionists.” Thing is, her homeland is based on Classical Sparta, which (as everyone knows) was all about war and fighting and (as every classicist knows) was a slavery-driven society wherein the (ethnically Greek) slaves of the polis outnumbered the citizens by about 5 to 1. (Okay, the numbers may not be 100% accurate, but they did vastly outnumber the citizens. And no Spartan man went into battle without seven helot slaves…which is why the number of Greek dead at Thermopylae was (according to Herodotus) about 5,000, not 2,300. (The other 2,000 were Thespians who were being compelled to fight against their will, and therefore denied any share of glory, despite dying in battle against the exact same overwhelming foe. Though not actually as overwhelming as Herodotus described, of course.)
Anyway, it suddenly occurred to me as I was writing out all the details about their culture that it made no freaking sense to have people raised in that culture be pacifists. (It’s not quite as unusual for them to oppose slavery, since they’re the only country in the world that has it.) So that meant I had to figure out how they could have been raised in the same way as everyone else and yet come to have such different values.
And the obvious (possibly only?) explanation seemed to me that they weren’t raised in that culture at all. So now I realize that they were both the children of ambassadors and raised in foreign countries, and when their parents were discharged from their ambassadorial duties and they finally arrived in the “home” they had never been to before, they were able to see how broken it was. The great thing about this is that I can very naturally set it up in the next book when they get to one of the countries in which her parents were raised, and they meet the Queen, who will of course remember the old ambassador and his little girl. (Um…wait, how old is the queen? Maybe it’s one of her late husband’s servants who remembers Ouden’s mother…)
So, anyway, that was a really great moment of “oh, hey, yeah!” thinking, with which I was rather pleased.
Today’s time: 1:15
Total time in July to date: 13:51:01.97
Yep, I’m almost caught up to where I need to be to have worked an hour a day! Yay!! 😀