Today we’re finally digging into the two characters you’ve been asked to discuss since I started these posts…Hazel Medeis & Killian Drake!
Hazel was a bit of a special case for me as far as heroines go. Typically I create female protagonists that I feel can–through particular facets of their personality–give unique spins on stories. (ie: Elle of Beauty and the Beast is a lot more sarcastic and curious than the average fairy tale heroine, but she faces the same events and emotional high points.) Before I really nailed down the story, though, I began creating Hazel because I wanted her to be ever so slightly different from typical urban fantasy heroines, which was going to affect the events in the plot a lot more. (Meaning the story had to react to her instead of visa versa.)
Of course, Hazel still has snark and sarcasm by the boatloads, and she can kick butt and take names. But at the core of her character, Hazel is what’s called “a paragon,” a trope that is pretty popular in epic fantasy books.
Paragons are typically male characters who operate entirely out of doing what they believe is right. They don’t hesitate in their actions, they are driven by their goals/desires, and they see the world as black and white–or what’s right and what’s wrong.
As you can see, that pretty accurately describes Hazel. She joins the Drake Family not because she wants to survive, but because she believes she owes it to her House. She is willing to forsake her House beliefs and kill to spare innocents and save others, and her parents betrayal in Magic Forged hurts her to the very core because she believes so deeply in trust.
Urban Fantasy heroines are typically the opposite. Either because of the tragedies they’ve lived through, or because they have no other choice, a lot of UF heroines tend to see the world as shades of gray, and occasionally toe the line of good and evil. It works well with the genre’s tone.
I needed Hazel to be the hard line of right and wrong, and to stand her ground as a paragon because I wanted to use her as the standard to raise all the other characters in the series.
But a twisted part of me also wanted to make Hazel a paragon because you don’t see a ton of paragon heroines. They can be tough to write because they have to be entrenched in their right vs wrong beliefs which can make them come off as unemotional. I was able to skate by because Hazel has so many traumatic things happen to her she never gets a chance to really just chill.
And, yes, as soon as I started working on this series I KNEW I had to make Hazel short. I’m on the taller side of the scale myself, but the vast majority of urban fantasy heroines are at least average, if not slightly taller than average. So I just had to get that prod in there.
And now we have our main male protagonist, Killian Drake. Let’s start this study of Killian’s character with me assuring you Killian actually isn’t so old that he met the real King Arthur, but he never outright denies it because Killian is a master at using assumptions and rumors to increase his perceived reputation and power.
No one really knows how old he is because it suits Killian to have everyone assume he’s old as dirt, and that he has all the power that comes with that age. (In reality, he’s not nearly as ancient as people think–aka no King Arthur for him–but he still is quite old and is a proper Elder vampire.) As a result of people mistaking his age, they often make assumptions about how he was turned into a vampire, and how many vampires he himself spawned, while he intentionally keeps information on his Family spotty at best.
The shadowy way Killian conducts himself extends to his Family. The Drake Family has an incredibly high percentage of adopted vampires in its ranks, which is really unusual because to vampires bloodlines are everything. And yet, every Drake vampire has absolute loyalty to Killian no matter their original lineage, and each and every one of them consider themselves a Drake through and through.
That’s where Killian’s real power lies. Because he cares deeply for his Family while most vampire Elders are lackluster leaders these days, his people deeply respect him. So when he asks them to wear suits, learn firearms, and lift weights they agree to.
The Drake Family is one of the best organized, best trained, and most deadly Families in the USA. The power the Family displays is what makes others assume Killian must be as old as the dinosaurs to be able to lead them, when in reality it’s merely that Killian is an excellent leader, and is charismatic enough to swindle people into believing what he wants them to believe.
As a result of the way he wields these psychological weapons, he the same problems Celestina has–he works more than he should, has no friends, and never has a chance to relax.
Hazel was uniquely poised to affect Killian because she stands outside his circle of power. The going-ons of vampires doesn’t hugely affect Hazel, so she is able to request mercy when Killian–to keep his front of absolute power–would feel he couldn’t offer it. (And it’s Hazel’s paragon character that makes her daring enough to even ask for mercy from someone as feared as Killian, because she feels all the way to her bones that it is right. And in being totally honest, before Hazel, mercy hadn’t really occured to Killian.)
This is also why Hazel and Killian combining forces brings a new power to both of them. Obviously it gives House Medeis a lot of physical backing, and while the Drakes prosper from having wizards fight with them, the alliance gives Killian and all the Drakes the chance and excuse to soften in some areas and still keep their dark and brooding images. (They don’t have to kill if they are confronted with a fight, because they can always blame the sensibilities of their wizard friends.)
As obviously shown by the book’s final battle, the vampires are still willing to eliminate threats, but they didn’t rip through the Night Court forces like they could have because the wizards were there to provide an alternative method. (Similarly, the wizards were strong enough to provide that alternative method because the vampires had been training them for weeks.)
Whew! I went off on a bit of a tangent at the end, there, but I wanted to show how Killian and Hazel are stronger together than apart–which has ramifications on their Family/House as well. I hope you enjoyed this deeper look at Hazel and Killian, and thanks for reading!