Edgar Wolfbrother: The Happy Warrior

In the lead-up to the publication of Unquickened, I’m going to start sharing profiles of some of the characters from The Taurin Chronicles. I thought you all might want to get to know them a little better. If there’s a character you’d like to see profiled, let me know in the comments!

Character profile: Edgar Wolfbrother

The Basics

At the beginning of Ravenmarked, Edgar is somewhere in his early 50s. He is the chieftain of the wolf tribe of Taura and was the best friend of Culain Mac Niall, Connor’s father. As chieftain of the wolf tribe, he used his privilege to allow Connor to be initiated as a tribesman when Connor was 14, and he “adopted” Connor as his tribal son in the process, giving Connor the tribal name of Ulfrich Wolfbrother.

Culain Mac Niall had a long history of friendship with the wolf tribe; the wolf tribe and the Mac Niall lands are separated only by the great road that runs from south to north on Taura. Culain and Edgar hunted together often in their youth, and at some point, Edgar decided he wanted to meet the Brae Sidh queen, Maeve SilverAir. He convinced Culain to hunt with him and led him right into Sidh territory, knowing that the queen would be more forgiving of a Taurin duke than she would be of a tribesman. He was right, and though Maeve held them captive for a night, she let them go with a warning.

That night was the beginning of Edgar’s affection for Maeve. Though she eventually chose Culain over Edgar, Edgar never stopped protecting the Sidh, and he always loved Maeve, even when she would not speak with him after Culain’s death. He is deeply loyal to his principles, his tribe, and his friends and loved ones, and he would happily die to protect any of them.

Defining Quotes

“You know it’s always been you, Maeve. Always. I loved you the moment I saw you. There’s never been another.” – Ravenmarked, Epilogue

“You learned from your father that power makes the man, but he had it wrong. It’s not power that makes a man or a leader. It’s sacrifice.” – Bloodbonded, Chapter 2

“Ulfrich Wolfbrother, you forget you are my tribal son. I welcome you as a father, not as a comrade.” – Unquickened, Chapter 7

How It Started

The problem with being a pantser is that sometimes you write yourself into corners that you find it nearly impossible to walk out of.

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But the fun part about being a pantser is that sometimes, at just the right moment, a character pops up out of nowhere to take your hand and walk you around the wet paint on the floor and give you a solution to the problems you create for yourself.

That’s sort of how I met Edgar. I knew that the Sidh village was deep in the heart of tribal territory, and I knew that the relationship between the tribes and the fae was strained, but I had no idea that within the tribes, there was this kind-hearted, good-natured cowboy of a man standing between the Sidh and certain death, just waiting to call upon his skills as a warrior and defend the people he felt obliged to defend.

I met Edgar first when I was pantsing it through Ravenmarked, but when I stopped and went back to write some backstory, I discovered a lot of depth to Edgar–a lot more than I knew was there when I first met him. I’ve made no secret of the fact that my husband inspired a lot of Connor’s character, but I think he may have actually inspired Edgar more. Edgar turned out to be strong, settled, fiercely loyal, and unswerving in his character. He is the ultimate happy warrior–a man who loves a good fight, but will be equally happy if he can settle down someday and enjoy some quiet with the people he loves.

Young and Old

When I first started writing this series, I was more interested in writing Connor’s story than really anything else. I covered that in the character profile on Connor. The more I wrote, the more I realized that he’s really the main character of this whole series. I didn’t intend for that to happen; as I mentioned before, Connor just walked onstage and took over everything.

And yet…

As badass as he was, I could never see him as a balanced warrior.

Call it the hotheaded nature of his relative youth… Call it a function of the ravenmark… Call it his anger over his position on Taura, the death of his father, and his distance from his mother… Call it the fact that he bears the bulk of the weight of this entire series…

The truth is, Connor is not settled or balanced. Maybe he will be by the end of the series, or maybe it’ll take him till his mid-50s, but he’s still got a lot of sheer bullheadedness to work out.

Not Edgar.

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The more I write Edgar, the more I love him. He’s a man who knows he has a few fights left in him, but he’s not going to go looking for them if he can help it. He could have been jaded and bitter when Maeve chose a married man over him, but he wasn’t. He remained friends with that man, and he continued to protect Maeve despite her rejection of him. When his friend and his unrequited love had a child together, he gave that child privilege and experience and training in a tribal life and “adopted” him as a tribal son. He’s a good man–a man who is devoted to defending that which he holds dear, whether it’s his principles or his people or his lady love.

I think that Edgar is a picture of the other side of Connor’s character development. Maybe I met Edgar after he’d worked out most of the problems of youth. In his late 20s, maybe he was a little more like Connor. Now, in his early- to mid-50s, maybe he’s just put aside childish things in favor of being a mature leader.

And this is where he is a lot like the other side of my own husband. In his mid-50s, The Man has definitely become the mature happy warrior. While he was never the hothead or reprobate that Connor is, he definitely used to have more of a hair trigger than he does these days. Something about hitting this almost-empty-nester, hitting-your-stride-in-career age is kind of just settling. We’ve learned a lot at this age, we know a lot more about what we don’t know, and we know we have enough time left to accomplish a few more goals.

The Sean Bean Effect

Confession: I have always felt bad for Sean Bean and wanted him to eventually have a happily-ever-after in a movie.

I know he’s not the actor who holds a record for the most onscreen deaths, but he has a reputation for always dying onscreen. Maybe in part it’s because some of his death scenes are so poignant, or maybe because some of the deaths he’s suffered have been so unusual (death by cow, anyone?).

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The point is, as I was writing Edgar, I found myself picturing and hearing Ned Stark/Boromir a lot more than I should have, and I decided–why not give them the happy ending they deserved?

So… Edgar is my small way of giving those two beloved characters a happy ending.

I think it’s important to acknowledge that in any fantasy series, just about every character is potentially on the chopping block. I think Ned’s death proved that, as did Boromir’s to some degree. So did Fred Weasley’s death. So did the deaths of Vin and Elend in The Mistborn Trilogy. And my books are no different; readers should consider every character, no matter how central to the story, a potential death.

But.

Edgar is the exception.

I’m going on record right now: Edgar will live to see the end of this series and die an old man, surrounded by people he loves, full of wisdom and joy, years after the end of the final book of The Taurin Chronicles.

Edgar will get the happily ever after that Ned and Boromir deserved.

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How It’s Going

J. K. Rowling has said that Arthur Weasley nearly died in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, but she spared him for several reasons–that he was the best father in the series, that she was attached to him, that she didn’t want to turn Ron into “half of Harry.” For whatever reason she spared Arthur, I’m glad she did, because even in the midst of war and loss and devastation and evil, we need some good people to survive and live long and beautiful lives.

Maybe it’s because Edgar already went through most of his character arc before this series even started, maybe it’s because he’s too much like my husband, or maybe it’s the Sean Bean effect–but I just can’t see me killing off Edgar.

Because we need hope.

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We need some happy warriors to survive everything and still see a beautiful, bright future ahead.

We need some people who are willing to face what’s coming and walk through the fire with a bright future up ahead.

Edgar’s joy at finally winning over the woman he loves and reuniting with his best friend’s son will be tested in Unquickened–and indeed throughout the remainder of the series.

But whatever he faces, Edgar will come through it with aplomb, with his hope intact, and with a bright future ahead.

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