Monday, March 18, 2013

Guest Post and Giveaway: Jolea Harrison "The Intransigence of Evil in the Guardians of the Word series"

Today we have a guest post from Jolea M. Harrison, author of the Guardians of the Word series. There is also a giveaway, so be sure to sign up on the rafflecopter form at the bottom of the post. The giveaway is for a file containing all eight of the books in the Guardians of the Word series, and also one Grand Prize winner will receive a $25 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble or Amazon, their choice. The 2nd prize winner will receive the e-book file, containing the eight books, in .epub or .mobi, again their choice. It's a great giveaway, so don't miss it! I'm currently not quite to the halfway point in reading the 8th book (at the time I'm setting this whole thing up), so I don't have that review up yet; it should be up later today. However, you can see the other reviews by following these links.

King is the 8th book in the Guardians of the Word series.
Book 1: Chosen, released in 2011, reviewed August 2011, review linked here.
Book 2: Myth, released 2011, reviewed August 2012, review linked here.
Book 3: Telepath, released 2012, reviewed August 2012, review linked here.
Book 4: Legend, released 2012, reviewed August 2012, review linked here.
Book 5: Union, released 2012, reviewed August 2012, review linked here.
Book 6: Seer, released 2012, reviewed March 2013, review linked here.
Book 7: Adept, released 2012, reviewed March 2013, review linked here.

Now, without further delay, here is Jolea. Remember to sign up for the giveaway at the bottom!

The intransigence of evil in the Guardians of the Word Epic Fantasy series

Plato: To prefer evil to good is not in human nature; and when a man is compelled to choose one of two evils, no one will choose the greater when he might have the less.
Why does evil prevail so thoroughly in this story?

I’ve been asked that question by a few readers who want to know my motivations for making the evil characters in my book ‘over the top’ bad. They almost never lose. How are the heroes ever going to win?

First, I’ll give you a bit of back story. Epic Fantasy is by its mostly agreed upon definition a big, larger than life tale of heroic feats that usually have the fate of the world at stake. That’s true in this series, Guardians of the Word, which is specifically titled due to the stringent and overbearing suppression of knowledge, which also plays into the above question. If the heroes don’t win, everybody dies. Not just friends and family, but everyone. The world is destroyed. But what’s worse, the souls of these poor people are at risk of being held in perpetual subjugation. Those are some pretty big stakes, so that’s one reason that evil is larger and more powerful than anything else out there.

There are cases in real life where this sort of supreme badness existed (and probably still does somewhere on the planet, for like art, evil is in the eye of the beholder.) Current events are full of bad people doing bad things to others, every single day. Our round the clock access to streaming everything doesn’t miss a tick. We are bombarded by images and information of just how evil people can really be.  For an Epic Fantasy to come across as real, the acts of evil require a level of reality and a connection to the real world in order for the story to be believable and for you, the reader, to form an attachment to the struggling heroes. Will they? Can they? How?

An obscure philosopher by the name of Lars Svendsen sets out a few parameters about the nature of evil. There are four types, according to him. He doesn’t agree that all four actually exist, but I use them all in Guardians. I guess that Philosophy class I took in college stuck with me more than I thought.

Kinds of evil: Demonic, instrumental, idealistic and stupid or accidental evil.

  • Demonic evil is defined as evil for evil’s sake, that take the form of actions meant to harm others, or for the really sick and twisted purpose of enjoyment. My antagonists, Maralt Adaeryn and his ancestors, Adiem (all Six of them) use this kind of evil throughout the series. Real world infamous examples of this sort of horror come in the form of serial killers like Jeffrey Dahmer and Albert Fish, both known to torture their victims before they murdered them.
  • Instrumental evil is an evil that occurs in order to carry out some other purpose. Modern day examples might be gross negligence on the part a large business. Exxon and BP might be considered perpetrators of instrumental evil since both failed to heed the warning signs that led to the two largest oil spills in history. In Guardians a number of warning signs were missed, sometimes by design.
  • Idealistic evil is justified by some greater cause or greater good, if you will and I use this form of evil and the temptation of it is probably one of the main themes of the story. All the telepaths are tempted to use their powers in ways they know they are not supposed to. Sometimes they fail and fall. Some fall farther than others and become part of the problem. The other case of idealistic evil comes from an unlikely source, one purported to be on the side of good, although some case might be made that this was stupid evil, acts based on incompetence or lack of awareness.
  • Stupid or accidental evil occurs when people make mistakes they don’t intend. In Chosen, the main character innocently picks up an evil talisman, even though he’s told he shouldn’t, since the appearance of the thing is out of the ordinary and some caution should have been taken. Curiosity won out in that case and all the rest followed. The evil talon is then taken by another character who idealistically believes he won’t be affected by the inherent evil nature of the object. Boy, was he wrong. All the heroes of the Guardians Saga are used and abused by various forms of evil and some of them succumb to its lure.

But how, you may wonder, are the good guys going to prevail? The answer lies in how real, every day people prevail against the likes of Dahmer, Fish, Bin Ladin, Hitler, et al. Through sheer will and perseverance. It took police 13 years to finally capture Dahmer. The police didn’t give up. They were charged to find this man and finally they did. WWII from its start to its finish took years and years of massive effort and countless lives lost to finally win the day. On a much lesser and lighter scale, most of us thankfully don’t have to deal with that sort of death and dying extreme. When life knocks us down, we get up! When it knocks you down again, get up again! Yes, it is incredibly difficult to keep getting back on your feet, and the characters in my books certainly get knocked down a lot.

Is that enough? Do they? Is that really all it takes? Well no, nothing is that simple. It takes fortitude and courage to deal with the knocks life hands you, but persevering against all odds and just plain stubbornness are the basis of my philosophy of life and thematically runs throughout all eight books. Does life always work out even when you get back up after the last knockdown? No, not always. Does that mean you aren’t going to keep getting up? That is the purpose of evil in this long tale: a foil against the toil of living, to find out if these people who have faced such extremes of evil finally, at long last prevail. 

Jolea M. Harrison can be followed on Twitter, Facebook, or Goodreads.  Her blog is here.  She is also on Amazon.

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