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“ Detail the Champion’s childhood; consider his fears and how they affect his death ”

“Blue Moon Rising” written by Simon Green is an extraordinary novel, that incorporates not only a mix of the traditional elements associated with the fiction genre such as magic, treachery, loyalty and heroism, but it is also based from a satirical perspective and tone which makes it such a unique text. This rare but effective departure from the typical fiction novel in regards to the use of satire, combined with the aspects of fiction that readers have grown accustomed to, have all contributed to this cleverly constructed text of Green’s. We commence on a journey with the main character, Prince Rupert of the Forest Land as he battles the long night and challenges the Wild Magic. Early on in this journey, we are presented with the Champion, an extremely complex character and from this point of introduction, we are privy to an extremely clever transformation or character development in which both the Champion and Prince Rupert, together, develop and mature.

Integral to the structure of a novel is the development of the characters part of it. “Blue Moon Rising’ is in no way an exception to the rule, instead the ingenuity of Green in the way he has developed his own characters, more specifically Prince Rupert and the Champion is an example of this. At the beginning of the text, we formulate an image of the Champion based on Rupert’s point of view at this point.

“Broad shoulders topped an impressively muscled frame, and the torchlight glowed ruddy of the huge double-headed axe in his hands.”

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“… He carried the massive war axe as if it was a toy. Old scars patterned a hard, unyielding face, and his constant slight smile wasn’t reflected in the cold, dark eyes.”

From these two examples from the text, it was clear that the Champion was quite a powerful man both in the way he appeared and the cool, calm way he acted. Rupert felt both intimidated and confronted by his presence.

Although we know nothing at this point of Rupert’s past history with the Champion, we do know from the confrontation that takes place when Rupert returns from his quest to slay a dragon, that there was much tension between them. Even Princess Julia, a companion of Rupert’s on his quest, noticed this apprehension.

“Prince and Champion stared at each other thoughtfully, and Julia frowned as she realised neither man had put aside his weapon yet.”

We discover that this anxiety was largely surrounding the fact that Rupert was a second son to his father, King John. From the day Rupert was born, there was always the possibly he would have to be killed, to prevent civil war which would most certainly destroy the land.

“I still may have to kill you.’ said the Champion

‘For the good of the Realm?’

‘Yes sire, for the good of the Realm.’ They locked eyes, and Rupert looked away first.”

We see that the Champion had a strong sense of loyalty and duty to preserve the Realm, which was shown in the above example as well as later on in the plot, when Rupert and his older brother Harald, face each other in a duel. Losing every time before this, Rupert wanted a chance to prove himself better than his brother, and after he had defeated him, we are again presented with the Champion’s persistence to his duty.

“You should have known better than to beat Harald in public, next time, you will know better.”

As the text moves along, we begin to notice a development in both the Champion and Rupert, and a respect growing for each other. Little time had past since Rupert had returned from his last quest, when the King had summoned him to the court. It was made clear that the future of the Forest Land would depend on Rupert and the Champion making a long journey to the High Warlock, an exiled sorcerer who’s powers were their only hope of driving back the darkness and saving the Forest Land. Not long after their journey is commenced, Rupert and the Champion have a conversation that in many ways shows a change in attitude and perhaps growing respect of the Champion for Rupert.

“ You’ll what?….. Slip poison into my cup?… I doubt it, its not your way. You want to beat me swrod to sword, like you did Harald. And you’ll never be good enough to take me that way.”

“Don’t put your money on it, there was a time Harald thought the same.” Rupert said calmly.

The Champion gave him a hard look, but said nothing.”

We see a major development in Green’s characters when the party come to a small mining town called Coppertown. We soon discover that the Champion was born in the town, unveiling emotions in him that we had never known to exist before. However, when they arrive the town is completely empty and so are each of the houses. The below quote shows that the Champion was quick to hide any of his emotions.

“Not much of a homecoming for you, was it…” Rupert said

“Forest Castle is my home, sire, and always has been.”

At this point the Champion begins to open up to Rupert and we learn of his childhood. The Champion had been ten years old when his father first took him below into the mines. The motherlode was running out and the Barons had cut the miner’s wages to reduce the overheads. There had always been work for children in the mines, and his family needed the money. He described the dark and how his shift of six hours felt like an eternity. It is clear that this experience had an effect on the young Champion, and so he ran away so he’d never have to face the mine again. After coming back, he described the mines as still ‘having a hold on him’, even after thirty years. Yet even when he was retelling his stories, he was as ‘calm and impassive as ever’.

Here we become aware, as did Rupert, of the deep fear the Champion had of the mine, after his past experiences as a little child.

“The Champion swung down from the saddle… his cold dark eyes fixed on the entrance.”

“The Champion was as scared of the mine as Rupert was of the Darkwood. And like Rupert, the Champion wasn’t going to be stopped from doing what he felt was right, just because he was afraid.”

The company are faced with a mysterious problem, an empty town with no evidence to suggest the townspeople made any struggle at all. They are lead to the mines, where a series of deep emotions are woken in the Champion. Here we also realise that the Champion indeed does have compassion, due to the concern he shared for the townspeople but also a deep fear of the mine, due to his childhood experiences.

“They’re down there somewhere, in the dark, waiting for us to join them.”

They continued into the mine, convinced that the people of Coppertown would be inside. Again, there is evidence of his fear, but also his determination to continue on. However, the whole group was afraid of what they would find at the end of the tunnel, and perhaps what they wouldn’t find and what that would mean.

“ Rupert stared worriedly at the Champion’s back; the man was too determined not the let his old fear of the mine rule him.” Pg 11

“The Champion’s confident pace soon slowed, and he peered about more hesitantly, as though troubled by unwelcome memories.”

The series of events at Coppertown changed the Champion drastically, and also this experience gives the reader an idea of another side of the Champion, one with compassion and fears like most people. The harse and unyielding side of his personality is almost explained by some of his past experiences, and as a result of facing these fears, Green has cleverly developed the Champion. Through this development, and growing respect of Rupert, the author has ingeniously structured the text so that these two characters now move in the same direction, and proposes a happy ending, populist of fiction novels.

This development of the Champion’s character was essential to his death later in the text. In his final battle and one of the most important, the Champion uses this opportunity to prove his loyalty to the King, but also to show how he regretted running away from home as a child, and as he told Rupert at Coppertown, that he “would never run away from anything, ever again.”

“The Champion stood alone a few yards from the drawbridge… his face was calm and cold, and though his armour was caked with blood, his back was still straight and head unbowed.”

This one quote showed the resolve that the Champion showed, even when he was battered and on the verge of death. The drawbridge was the only way for the demons to get into the castle and the Champion knew it. Even though the demons “boiled up out of the shadows like a never-ending stream,” the Champion stood his ground and would not retreat. Even when the drawbridge was being pulled up, the Champion remained. He wanted to prove himself as Champion, and kill those who threatened the Realm.

“The castle needed him… The Castle was under his protection, and he wouldn’t turn and run.”

“He wouldn’t run away.”

The Champion is an extremely complex character from the start, but as Green continues to develop him in regards to emotion and the facing of his fears, the more we learn of him and the more we respect him for the sacrifices he has made to preserve the Realm. Right up to the end, the Champion sustained his loyalty to the Realm, but also grew respect and loyalty for Rupert even though he was a second son. He also performed his duties as Champion, forever staying true to his promise that he would never run from anything, ever again.

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