The Destiny FUCK YEAH! arc is done.
And I am so happy it is. Jesus Christ, that was a shit ton of work. I'm not adverse to working hard, but writing three 150+K word books back to back to back, and then editing said books, then promoting said books, then releasing said books, and I just...
I'm happy it's over.
I'm proud of the stories I told here. I took some chances. I like to think they paid off, in the end. You might disagree with something I did, but hey, that's what's fun about it, right?
FULL SPOILERS TO FOLLOW. SERIOUSLY. DON'T READ IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE ENTIRE SERIES.
So, here's a few hows/whys/what the fucks for you about the books and the series in total:
THE FINAL BATTLE
I've said before that I planned these books down to the smallest details before writing them. You remember? Certain things that happened (Pete, sorry)(Lady Tina, not sorry at all) were always going to happen.
And when I got to the big showdown at the end, Sam was going to use his magic to bring Ryan Foxheart back to life, not by shocking his heart, but by using the same magic he used to bring back the bird that the life out of a small section of forest.
And guess what?
I wrote it that way.
In the initial climactic scene of A Wish Upon The Stars, Sam turned Ryan's lungs to stone (a sort of homage to their first meeting in the alleyway in the slums of Verania). Ryan died. Sam crawled toward him. Myrin taunted him.
And then Sam called on the same magic that brought the bird back to life, and destroyed every single Dark wizard that stood around him.
(Aside from Myrin, of course. He survived, and then the whole chased scene that followed remained the same.)
Yes, Sam essentially destroyed an entire group of people.
I was okay with it. Because they were evil, right? They had taken over Verania!
And then my editors got a hold of it.
And said that was genocide.
I said, "What."
Editor: "It's genocide. He just destroyed all the Dark wizards."
Me: "It's not genocide. They were the bad guys!"
Editor: "Right...but he still just killed all of them. Sam of Dragons just murdered hundreds of people. Genocide."
Me: "But! That's...they took over Verania! They forced people into camps! They did bad things!"
Editor: "But who did they actually kill?"
Because, of course, my editor was right. The Darks were bad. They had done bad things. But they hadn't actually killed people. And was it really in character for Sam of all people to turn around and kill all of them? Especially since large parts of these last three books was the idea of having a power versus actually using it, right versus wrong, that just because you could do something, does it mean you should?
So I rewrote it, bringing in Zero to save (blargh) all the Darks aside from Caleb and Ruv (because fuck those guys).
(I was annoyed. But I usually only get annoyed when my editors are right. And they were right, here.)
So, the Dark wizards got a reprieve, and I think the book is better off for it. Looking back, I can see just how jarring that turn of events would be. And then it allowed me to punch up the ending between Sam and the Star Dragon to make it better, to show the power of choice.
MYRIN AND RANDALL
There is a small, small scene between Myrin and Randall, seeing each other face to face after they've rescued the King. It's the only time in the entire series that they are together in the present time. That scene, small though it may be, I think is one of the most powerful.
Always going to come back. Always. I would never have actually killed him off for good. I couldn't have that. I love him too much.
That doesn't mean I didn't cackle at the ending of The Consumption of Magic, because I did. I cackled hard.
I also needed to show that Sam could stand on his own, without Morgan, which is why he didn't come back until the end. Was it a gift from the gods? Maybe. But I'm actually pretty pissed at the gods for letting this all happen in the first place, so fuck them too.
I like her. You don't have to. She was never going to die. I don't feel bad about that at all.
IMMORTALITY VS MORTALITY
This, honestly, was the thing I thought about the most, if Sam would become mortal or stay as he was. Ever since it was first brought up in Lightning, I've wrestled with the idea of Sam staying young while those he loved around him grew older (with some exceptions, of course.)
Look. whether not you agree with Sam's decision, or even if you think he did it for the right reason or not (and if you think it was just for Ryan, you might have missed the point), this felt right for me. For Sam, and the story I was trying to tell. Love it, hate it, that's okay. He went into the woods and came back...unexpected. Circles back, I think.
THE DRAGONS OF VERANIA
Kevin, GW, Zero, Pat, Leslie. I just...love them. All of them. GW and Randall arguing with each other when they're reunited. Pat and Leslie mothering Kevin. Zero acting like he doesn't give a shit, when I think he cares more than all of them.
--Terry is a unicorn accountant. lololol.
--I grossed myself out in the scene when Sam was giving Gary back his horn. That's hard to do, but I did it.
--Gary's dramatic performance in explaining how he lost his horn made me smile for days when I was writing it. He and Sam and Tiggy are ridiculous.
--I could seriously write about Justin, Ryan, and Sam in disguises in the sewers on missions for at least sixteen more books. I'll refrain from doing so, however.
PRINCE JUSTIN'S BOOK
...is going to be a long way off. I'm serious. I need a break from Verania. A long break. But...
Yes. Justin will have his own book. I see it now only as a one-off. I want to go back to the irreverent tone of the first book without all the world-ending/super bad guy stuff.
I already know how the story is going to go. Yes, this is going to be about an arraigned marriage with a prince from a faraway land. Yes, it's going to be from Justin's perspective. Yes, everyone else will be in it. And yes, it is going to explain the world outside of Verania, and why no one came to Verania's aid during the whole Myrin debacle.
You see, as it turns out, Verania is sort of a...redheaded stepchild (no offense to redheaded stepchildren). The rest of the world doesn't know what to make of it. And the group that comes from this other country is going to be...well. They're going to be the opposites of our Justin and Sam and Ryan and Tiggy and Gary. This new prince will be...a dork. His wizard will be a hardass. His knight will be just terrible. And this new prince might just have a unicorn and a giant of his own...
But for now, thank you. Thank you for letting me tell this ridiculous story that started out as a immature fairy tale and turned into something far, far bigger (though still immature). I hope you've had as much fun as I've did in Verania.