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Why is Magnus a giant?

PostedCOLON Tue Jun 11, 2013 5:09 pm
by aeneas
Mr. Stasheff, I’ve been reading some of the Rogue Wizard series, and I keep wondering about Magnus/Gar’s giant nature—not so much how he got to be one but why you made him one. For my cinema-driven generation, the giant is often the villain who fights against the smaller, underdog hero. Darth Vader and the Kurgan from Highlander are two examples of such villains while Luke Skywalker and Connor Macleod are the less-than-imposing anti-heroes. Of course this probably all comes from Frodo and LOTR, who in turn is modeled off Christ, the ultimate underdog. I always thought that Rod was somewhat in this class of underdog hero too. Is that why Magnus is so different? What is strange, if we follow the LOTR and Star Wars paradigm, is that Magnus, the big hero, rebels from his father Rod, the underdog hero. This is a reversal of the paradigm. Of course if we go back beyond the 1980s, we see a lot of large-sized American heroes—John Wayne and Charleston Heston or Doc Savage and Superman. Anyway, it is interesting to note how the trajectory of your heroes developed over the course of Gramarye history.

Re: Why is Magnus a giant?

PostedCOLON Tue Jun 11, 2013 10:47 pm
by cstasheff
Thanks for the note, Aeneas. Actually, Magnus's size comes from A WIZARD IN BEDLAM, where I introduce him as Gar, a semi-naked mentally- challenged but huge man (modeled after Edmund in KING LEAR). Of course, he's faking it, as we find out very quickly. If you run into a huge moron, you're either going to panic or feel sorry for the poor guy, so it's a good disguise for a secret agent -- by standing out, he becomes less outstanding. You're initial reaction is awe and fright, but when you find out he can scarcely say his name, you're apt to feel more pity than fear. Thereafter, he becomes pat of the scenery, so to speak. But toward the end of the book, when Magnus assumes the mantle of
DeCade and leads the rebellion, his imposing size helps make the churls accept him as a leader.

Originally, Gar was a separate character, and it didn't occur to me until halfway through the book that he should be Magnus in disguise. However, having established that in BEDLAM, he has to be a near-giant in the Warlock's Heirs and Rogue Wizard books, for consistency.

In THE DRESDEN FILES, I find it interesting that only in the most recent two books do we learn that that Harry Dresden is NBA tall. Up until then, we know that he's tall, but not HOW tall. In both cases, size can be as much of a liability as an asset.

Thanks for your kind attention. I look forward to more of your posts.

Re: Why is Magnus a giant?

PostedCOLON Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:51 pm
by kf6eml
I can attest to size being a liability. I am abnormally tall (five-foot-seventeen, I tell people,) and would gladly trade a few inches. What you offer for trade is irrelevant. I'd just like to fit in normal-sized cars, airplane seats, clothing... And forget hiding in a crowd. Any ceremonial formation in the Army lines us up by size, and I am always in the front row, usually all the way to the right.
The ability to reach the top shelf without a stepstool is offset by the calluses on my head from banging doorframes and other things you short people never even have to consider.

On the other hand, it is much easier to reach that top shelf, change light bulbs, clean the ceiling fans... Things that my wife can't do very easily.

Re: Why is Magnus a giant?

PostedCOLON Sat Oct 12, 2013 10:21 pm
by cstasheff
It's hard to remember, now, thirty years after the fact, but I think it was because that's the way he appeared in my imagination. I always pay attention to my subconscious, especially when it speaks through my imagination. Sometimes we have very energetic disagreements (read arguments). With Gar, I think it may have been as you've guessed, the urge to reverse the paradigm, which I've tried to do several ti8mes -- it's a good way to get a unique hero. Of course, that's only the start. Also, Gar is based partly on Edgar from King Lear, the son who winds up saving the father, but only by using the old man's blindness as a cover. I wanted to make Gar unique, and being too tall was definitely one way to achieve that. Also, it made him more believable as a host for DeCade.

Thanks for reading. Keep me in your library.