Ravensong: Perception, Magic and the ANNNNGST

Week 2! If you want to read Week 1, check out the previous blog post Ravensong: A Return to Green Creek.

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In Wolfsong, Ox describes Gordo's tattoos as having lines and waves and flowers.

In Wolfsong, Ox describes Gordo and Mark as being "around the same age."

This is a lie.

Sort of.

Stick with me here.

Wolfsong is all from Ox's unique perspective, how he sees the world around him as he grows into the Alpha he never thought he'd become. And since he is the narrator, we take everything he says as fact.

As you should.

Except...

Well, there was the tiniest bit of retconning, at least when it came to those two things. I had enough wiggle room with it (as my editors pointed out: just enough) to make things...not different, but more.

Gordo does have flowers in his tattoos. Roses, in fact. And when they're not...in motion, they're nestled below the raven tattoo. This is important.

In fact, all of the tattoos are important, because of where they came from, and how, and when, and why. All of these questions will be answered, and it's rough, man. Even I, the bastard that I am, felt sorry for Gordo.

But it's important for his magic, and the symbols carved into his skin helped to make the man he is today, both good and bad.

Magic in Green Creek is different than magic in my Lightning series. In those books, magic is more wish fulfillment, and even though the big big magic can wear on the user (as Sam showed numerous times), it was still...well, not easy, but not exactly hard.

It's different for the witches. Magic here in this universe is taxing and rough. It drains on the person, and can lead to **REDACTED FOR SPOILERS** and then Gordo has to **REDACTED FOR SPOILERS** and then he'll be all like boom and **REDACTED FOR SPOILERS**.

(lolol.)

It goes with the ideas of these books: they aren't meant to be comedic like the Lightning series, though there are moments of levity. Things can't be dour and dire all the time, because that becomes a slog to get through. There is a moment in particular that I adore, and it happens with Joe and Kelly and Carter just...getting to be dumb kids for a little while. Gordo watches on with a barely constrained eye-roll, but I think this moment is important. You'll know it when you get to it. Carter should not continue eating gas station burritos.

Levity aside, Ravensong in particular, is, as I described Gordo previously, dirt and grime and hardcore. These things a witch can do hurt, especially the bigger levels of magic. And Gordo is going to be tested in ways I hadn't even begun to discuss in Wolfsong. But then, it's all about perception. What Ox saw isn't necessarily what Gordo sees.

Which brings me to the second thing:

Gordo and Mark are not the same age.

Mark is three years older than Gordo.

(Yes, I know all of their birthdays, birth years, and the like. No, I am not going to tell you yet.)

By the time the book gets going, and we're thrust back into the present, Gordo is 40 years old. Mark is 43.

And the angst, man.

I've gone on record previously in stating that Ravensong hurts worse than Wolfsong did, though your mileage may vary. And while I'm not going to spoil exactly why, I'll say that I relate to Gordo and Mark easier than I do to Ox and Joe. I'm writing this on June 6, 2018. My 36th birthday was a few weeks ago. I understand the issues of getting older, something I would have scoffed at a decade ago. The little things I can brush off easier than I used to. But what I was struck by when writing Ravensong was how closer I was in age to Mark and Gordo than Ox and Joe, and the story shows that. No, this isn't some masturbatory self-insert by me, the author, but I understood Gordo's rage, more than I thought I would. But I could also see it from the other side too. It's a conundrum, and one I wanted to explore. There are two sides to every story.

The little things can be forgotten.

But the big things? Those long-term hurts that never seem to scab over and scar? Betrayal in all its forms?

That's what I wanted to focus on here in Ravensong. There is a reason Gordo is the man he is, and it's valid. And fuck, is he angry. He's not going to stay that way, mostly, but it cannot be up to just Mark to change that. There are dynamics in play here, dynamics between Gordo and every member of the pack. This is a love story about Gordo and Mark. But it's also a story about pack, and the strength of the bonds between all of them, even when all seems lost. Everyone in the Bennett pack will have a part to play. And I do mean everyone.

Next week: the women of Green Creek. There are seven important women in Ravensong, though some parts are smaller than others. I'll discuss three: Elizabeth, Jessie, and Michelle Hughes, the Alpha of all.

See you next week!

tj

A little tease... (look away if you want to go in knowing nothing):

The major villain?

Not who you think.