Speaking of Loriana, one of the interesting things about writing her is that she is very much defined by her motherhood in the narrative, but not in-story. She is that charismatic, dauntingly impressive parent to the narrator, and so that’s how we see her–and a pretty terrible parent by our standards, no less. Yet she’s a spectacularly amazing one in the context of her society and what’s customary there.

Parents in their culture rarely even mention children that belong to a spouse’s house rather than their own, as Loraya does. However, Loriana writes to her, visits her, takes her on holidays in the capital, exerts her legal authority, takes her under her protection and, ah, fully commits herself to that protection. Loraya, at twelve, is perfectly aware of this; a lot of her adoration comes from that, as well as Loriana’s glamour and simply loving her personally.

In fact, the germ of the idea for their story actually came from thinking about all these fraught father-son and very occasionally father-daughter relationships, with a commanding, charismatic, distant, but ultimately loving father and awed but devoted child. 

It’s actually a trope I enjoy quite a bit, perhaps because I am myself the frequently-overwhelmed but devoted child of a charismatic and commanding parent! But it’s my mother, and it seems to be very rarely told with mothers, and especially mother-daughter pairs. Or if it is, it’s in a very… idk, normalized, “feminized” way. I didn’t want “and here’s the stereotypical feminine version,” I wanted that trope with women.

That’s what a lot of the story comes down to, really.

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