Today we hear from The Iron King author, Julie Kagawa….
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved fantasy. Long before Harry Potter and Twilight, I was a fan of Lord of the Rings and
The Dragonriders of Pern and The Sword of Shannara. In school, I read nothing but fantasy, and searched for books that had either a
dragon, a knight, or some strange mythological creature on the cover. Dragons were my first love, though over the years I’ve collected
several other favourites, which I will share with you, now.
Kitsune: In Japanese, kitsune means fox. But the kitsune of legend are much more then simple foxes. They are shapeshifters, able to
take on human form, usually that of a beautiful female, to lure men astray. They can also craft complex illusions, able to turn an empty
hut into a sparkling palace, complete with servants and family. Several stories paint them as are malicious and evil, but in others, they
are benevolent and kind. In some tales, a kitsune will even fall in love with a human and marry him, bearing his children and living in his
house. Until, of course, her true nature is discovered, and the kitsune will flee, leaving her former husband and children behind.
Phouka/Pooka: I admit, I have a thing for tricksters. Phouka are fey that will sometimes take the shape of a small black horse and wait
for people to climb onto their backs, before taking them for the ride of their life. Usually it ends with the unfortunate passenger being
dumped into a body of water, but some malicious phouka have been known to toss their riders over the side of a cliff. The greatest
prankster in the world, Robin Goodfellow, is sometimes rumoured to be a phouka, though no one is certain what Puck really is.
Talking wolves/cats/horses: Though they’re not a certain type of mythological creature, talking animals always make a book more
lively, whether they’re a guardian, a familiar, or just a travel companion. Of course, beware of getting too attached to the cute, furry
sidekick, because they always seem to get killed saving their master.
Redcaps: For sheer brutality and nastiness, you can’t beat a redcap. They’re the perfect villains and thugs, with their constant hunger
and morbid habit of dipping their hats in the blood of their victims. They might not be pretty, but they’re certainly efficient.
Gryphons: I don’t know why I love gryphons. I just do.
Unicorns: Laugh if you want, I think unicorns are very underestimated. Let’s ignore the whole purity and virgin thing for a moment and
look at the creature itself. Unicorns are old, just as old as dragons. They have suffered the same plight as fairies, being de-sanitized
and turned into children’s stories. In some legends, unicorns were vicious, man-eating monsters. In another old story, the unicorn was
hunted down and put up a savage fight before it was killed. At the very least, they are a symbol of wildness, something that cannot be
tamed or understood, but deserving of respect.
I could go on, but these are a very few of my favourite fantasy creatures. I tried to incorporate many legends and myths into the world of
The Iron King, so be on the lookout for them.
Thanks, Julie! There is an eBook giveaway of The Iron King here, and you can also buy it in our shop now. For more information on
The Iron King and to find out about forthcoming releases from Mira Ink visit www.miraink.co.uk.