To start, I want to welcome you to the first post in my new segment Enter Civilands. In these posts I’ll discuss all things behind the series, including character bios, information on the world, and additional bonus content.
Today we begin with what inspired me to write this series. Since there’s so much that goes into the inspiration and it’s also something that expands/shifts over time, I’m going to make this itself a multi-part post.
So for my first influence in this wild journey: Game of Thrones (the TV show).
I have very much been an enthralled beneficiary of the television renaissance we’ve experienced in the Netflix era. Shows like Breaking Bad and Fargo shaped my understanding of high quality plot and character development.
That being said… the Game of Thrones series–which I made my way through in about as unrealistically short a time period as anyone who watches it–was what first planted the seed in my mind that I wanted to be a story-teller.
So many characters, plot-lines, and world-building. All of it is tied together with such expert care in a way that’s shocking each and every season. This is the kind of entertainment that you don’t simply consume, but you live right alongside the characters and feel their struggles like they were your own.
This is so much the case, that I actually saw a tribute video the other day which was made for Jamie Lannister. We’re talking about a character who begins the series by pushing a young boy out of tower for catching Jaime sleeping with his own sister! Yet he’s praised. Why? Because he’s portrayed in a way that is entirely human: flawed for certain, but also, at the core, not all bad.
All these things heavily influenced my work on the Civilands Series in the following ways:
Civilands focuses on the fight for control and power in the mysterious Murrieta Territory. The territory spans the entire western half of the continent of Duresia, separated from the growing, pre-industrial cities of the eastern half, by the north-south Chorisma River. While there is no throne yet constructed in this newborn expanse, the theme of several distinct players remains. The stakes rise as they fight to build their one of their own.
Not “good and evil,” but “human”
As mentioned, this is what Game of Thrones does best. I believe the large majority of people mean to do good, even if they don’t understand how to do it. They will make mistakes sometimes and/or be too greedy. But they will also have a reason to do so in mind at the time. And yea, occasionally you’ll get a maniac like Joffrey, or Clovis Keagan in the case of Civilands. But even these deranged characters are that way for a human reason. We may not forgive them for their actions, but we need to understand their pain.
The fantasy element
This was an area of extreme inventiveness for George R.R. Martin, especially mixing a world of zombies with a medieval type fantasy. In my series, the native V’ahani and Tokali clans’ superhuman connection to the land was a layer of complexity I thought interesting to explore. In American history, by contrast, Native Americans were over-powered in terms of technology. Leveling the playing field a bit through this wrinkle in this new world was my own fantasy element and one that will continue to develop as the series progresses. While Daenerys has her dragons, Latera stands tall with the V’ahani grizzlies.
Twists, twists, twists
Realistic, believable ones though, which drive the plot forward. I can’t expand here on Civilands for obvious reasons and I won’t spoil GoT either. But this show taught me about delivering the unexpected when those watching/reading are least ready for it. So buckle your seat belts and prepare to gasp!
If you made it this far or even skipped to here, thanks so much for joining me! 😀 I look forward to continuing our exploration of both worlds and hope you are enjoying the Civilands Series!