June 1, 2009

Forgotten Influences

Thursday night we were searching for a movie to watch together, and we decided on Dragonheart.

I remember being extremely excited to go and see it in theaters with my aunt when it came out, and it's been on of my favorites ever since. However, it's been a long time since I've watched it. I think the last full viewing was when I was on bed rest before Boo Bear was born, so about three years ago now. And like I did when reviewing Escaflowne, I realized Dragonheart was a major influence on my writing.

I began writing Right of Succession in January 1995, so neither series nor movie influenced the original concept. However, the idea has morphed and evolved, both when I was actively writing on it and when it was simply percolating in the back of my mind. If someone had read those sorry thirty something handwritten pages of the first draft and hadn't heard me talking about the story since, they wouldn't guess it was the same story.

Dragonheart came along when I began to mature enough to realize my characters were all flat. Other than a few images branded into my imagination, the movie's major influence was on my characters. Einon, Aislinn, Bowen, Kara, Draco, and even Brok lent bits and pieces of their personality or appearance to Ralic, Maya, Lanre, Chantal, Tricon, and General Bour.

Einon's temper and twisted sense of affection sparked a change in Ralic's character. Before the man had been nothing but pure evil. It was a small change at first, but it's grown as I've aged. As an adult, I've come to see people in more shades of gray than I did as a teenager, and oddly the effect has made him both more sympathetic a villain and creepier at the same time.

Aislinn lent her bearing to Maya, who before was little more than a teenager pretending to be a woman nearly grown. (I wonder why?) Bowen gifted Lanre with jaded view of life and mankind. Lanre's first incarnation was horribly idealistic. The picture of a Gary Stu, everything magically worked out for him, which likely came from his appearance and much of his personality being modeled after a friend of mine upon whom I had a crush at the time.

Kara, Draco, and Brok's influences were mostly appearance based. Chantal, Tricon, and General Bour all bear a resemblance to the other characters. Chantal has the curly red hair and solid determination to bring a tyrant to justice as Kara. Draco's appearance in the movie influenced the anatomy of the Yekaran race in size, proportion, and the bone structure and musculature of the limbs, digits, and muzzels. And Brok lent his gruff nature and sheer bulk to the idea for General Bour.

It's amazing just how much Dragonheart influenced Right of Succession considering how different the stories are otherwise.

* The photo is a screen cap of Draco from the movie. Imagine him with three dominate horns on the skull plating, burnished gold and rust coloring, smaller chest plates, sans spikes down the back and tail, and about six to seven feet smaller in proportion, and you have Tricon. What I see when imagining him anyway.

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