Saturday, April 26, 2014

Queen Amber, The Lady Dragon

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Since the Rizkaland Legends were inspired by Narnia, it should come as no surprise that Amber the Lady Dragon was inspired by Jadis the White Which. Of course, the process of going from a frozen being of pure evil to a fiery dragon with a small possibility of redemption was, I must admit, a process.

In the original play, which has become what will be book 2 of the series, she was the Snow Witch. Her appearance would be that of a traditional witch because the girl we wanted to play her owned a witch costume. (Please note that we never actually contacted the girl about playing her, but V and I had attended acting camps with her the summer before and in both plays, she had been a witch, so we knew the part would be perfect for her)

But I told my mom about our plays and she declared that we couldn't have it turn winter with a snow witch. Narnia was copywrited, and even if we didn't plan to make money off of it, we still had to be at least mostly original. So we swapped it over to summer, and the witch became a woman capable of turning herself into a dragon. The Lady Dragon.

In the first draft that I finished, I didn't give her any name beyond her title. The character who didn't believe she was a dragon (the Edmund-ish character) called her simply "the queen."

But for draft two (which happened because my mom told me that I had to change more than just the setting and characters to not be a copywrite violator - I had to make changes to the plot as well), I decided that my dragon needed a name. Since the name Jadis reminded me of "Jade" I decided to go with a rock name. Since the dragon's color was red, I wanted a name that reminded me of the color red, but not a ruby. Amber popped into my mind, and it stuck.

By the time I started this version of the play, we had lost all hope of ever contacting the friend (we actually hadn't talked save for one telephone call since those two camps), and since it was realized that with the changed plot, my character would never share the screen with Amber, we decided that I could play Amber too. In that version. The girl who would play the Edmund-ish character was a bit jealous, but since she shared most of Amber's scenes, there was no way she could play both parts. We were going to try to make my appearance change as much as we could between the very short scene changes (although this may have been about when we started thinking about filming this, rather than try to attempt it on a stage) but we hadn't decided how we were going to do that.

She didn't change all that much over the next version, since the changes I made then had mostly to do with the additions of a few male leads. I got tired of it being all girls, at long last. (And this time we were going to do it with film, I made provisions for that in the script ...) Really, the only thing that changed about Amber was that I decided that I would play up on the fact that she was to be played by the same actor as one of the protagonists. I.e. This time it their similar appearance would be a very important plot element.

I didn't develop her backstory until I started working on what was, at the time, going to be the first book of the series, Jeptha's Hill, which was basically the Magician's Nephew of the series. It was then that I discovered just how old she was, 5,000+ years, and the fact that she had once been good. It wasn't until I started the book version that I finally gave her Granite, her husband. You see, I had given her children, six of them, and well, while I could see her, um, playing the field, I knew that she wouldn't have done so for most of her life, and I don't like my queens to rule without kings. (Well, there are a few exceptions to this rule, but they're just that. Exceptions.) I also have another reason for Granite ... but that's a plot spoiler, so ... anyways

She's a complicated character, ruthlessly evil and yet ... she was good once, and there is still a drop of that goodness at her core. A small drop that can only watch as she wrecks havoc across her worlds. Her greatest weakness is her love of power, especially magical power. During her good days, she stuck mostly to the more natural powers that  Jeptha (it's not His name in that world, but I haven't gotten very far in worldbuilding Lintooalintae) created and allowed. However, one of the magics she collected was one she knew came from a pure evil source ... and she resisted it ... but eventually she caved and took it. It then proceeded to corrupt her to the core. (Full details about this process won't be revealed until book 3, however, so I can only give hints.) It is this magic that gives her the ability to turn into a dragon.

Amber is my favorite villain, due to her complexity. She knows she's evil, but she's helpless to stop herself, and at the same time, doesn't want to stop herself. I look forward to sharing more about her in the series, because she happens to be, as far as I know at the moment, in several of the books, and not always as the villain.


  1. She sounds like a very interesting character. And I love her name. Is Granite able to turn into a dragon as well (or would that be a spoiler)?

    1. No, it wouldn't be a spoiler to tell you that Granite cannot, in fact, that is the one universally known fact about him in Rizkaland. There is a lot of mystery surrounding him and where he stands, but everyone agrees that he does not possess his wife's ability to turn herself into a dragon.


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