Where the Characters Come From: Iriphos

As promised, here’s the first in the series of five explorations of the ideas behind my characters. The first one up is, of course, the main character, Iriphos the mage.

To keep people from inadvertently seeing what might be spoilers, I’ll put the rest below the “fold.”

As I mentioned on Friday, the basic idea always called for a disabled mage, but when I sat down to work out the character of this man, I wasn’t sure what sort of disability he would have. At first I wrote it as a general sort of weakness, perhaps from a childhood lung disease. However, later I made it more specific: a childhood injury to his left leg has left it permanently weakened.

I wanted to write about a disabled protagonist for several reasons. Not only am I disabled myself, though my disability is a relatively minor one, some of my closest friends are disabled. But that doesn’t make them any less capable of heroic acts, I don’t think.

When the story of how his leg was injured came up, I decided to add a bit of heroism to him even as a young man. So when I wrote that section, I told a story of his being injured in the process of saving one of his childhood friends. I think this sets the stage nicely for his later acts.

After he grows up and becomes a mage, this streak of heroism stays with him. So, when the task the Guildmaster laid on him becomes a lot more serious and dangerous than originally thought, he doesn’t back down, he keeps going forward.

Aside from that, one of the things that makes him a hero is his amazing knowledge of magic. He’s worked for decades among his books in the library, and in that time he’s learned a lot about magic and a lot of spells. However, I decided not to make this a completely positive thing, so I wrote in a couple of instances where he has trouble deciding what spell to cast, since he has so many to choose from.

He’s also not used to casting spells in combat, since he’s never been in combat. So early on he’s pretty helpless in the face of attacks. He’s also really naive since he’s spent all his adult life in the main Guildhall. It became apparent pretty early in the writing that he needed a protector, and that’s who I’ll go into a little bit tomorrow.


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