The Book of the Champions – and stories behind the Hunt

The Book of the Champions
The Book of the Champions

Over the days of the Faire, we have been featuring extracts from the Book of the Champions on the blog, featuring a Champion each day. You can read the complete book on the website; you can also read it as an online magazine.

Now it also available as an inworld book. The cover and page design is by Alia Baroue and it makes a gorgeous souvenir of the Faire.

You can collect copies at the points on each region where you can pick up the Hunt HUD – the main landing points for each region.

The Book of the Champions by the Hunt HUD kiosks in Spires of Andolys
The Book of the Champions by the Hunt HUD kiosks in Spires of Andolys

The book tells the origins of each of the Champions as they feature in the Hunt, and an Afterword explains the myths, legends, poems and anime that inspired them.

In addition, on Sunday, 3rd May, from  8am – 9am at the Literary Festival in Sylvan of Spells, Saffia Widdershins will be giving a talk called Stories within Stories – the narrative of the Hunt. She will be talking about the narratives and characters she drew on to write the Hunt – from sources including classical mythology, folk ballads, legends from around the world, modern fantasy classics, Breton lays and Japanese anime – and combined them with the legends that have grown up around the Faire.

For example, in the second part of the Hunt, Flora asks the hunters to gather wool from sheep to make the shirt which she hopes can be used to save the Winter King from the wiles of the Unweaver. But that task of gathering wool owes its origins to the story of Cupid and Psyche. One of the impossible tasks that cruel Venus sets Pysche when she is searching for her love Cupid is to cross a river and fetch golden wool from violent sheep who graze on the other side. Our sheep are not violent, fortunately, but it’s still not easy to gather their fleece either as you have to unlock the gate first!

Fantasy Faire Literary Festival in Sylvan of Spells
Fantasy Faire Literary Festival in Sylvan of Spells

But these tasks also have a deeper meaning. “I drew on legends,” says Saffia, “and almost everywhere you look there are references to different stories and legends. But there’s a deeper level of meaning too.  You’re not asked to undertake a brave battle to save the Winter King. What you do as you help Flora are essentially mundane tasks, and the idea behind that is that this is the role of the carer: the heroism is not in the larger, bolder deeds but in the simple tasks undertaken daily. And that is is the final message of the Bard Queen. It’s been really exciting to me when people say that they found the final part moving or inspirational. That was the intention.”

Saffia will be talking about this more, and answering your questions, at 8am in Sylvan of Spells.

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