Sometimes you have a strong sense of a character; other times you have a collection of characteristics, physical or emotional, but the actual character won’t quite take form until you start writing.
The writing of a novel is an exploration of your characters, allowing them to develop and interact and see where they take you. So, posting these biographies of these important characters has been an odd experience.
Many authors say that their characters write themselves bigger or smaller parts as they go along. Philip Pullman has talked about how the armoured bear, Iorek Byrnison, was only supposed to be a minor character in the His Dark Materials trilogy. But from the moment Iorek appeared, he just required more and more space and took his scenes over.
In Labyrinth, Alaïs was always the leading character. I also knew that, for me, the story of the Grail was to do with the relationship between two women, not a matter of knights and swords and chivalric combat in picturesque woodland.
I didn’t at first know, though, that the central conflict for Alaïs would come from her sister Oriane.
Most of the leading characters in Labyrinth are fictional. I’ve illustrated these pages with some images I’ve created to be in some small way evocative of the sort of person I mean you to meet when you read the final text.
Writing these biographical sketches has made me think about each of them differently, about the roles I am asking them to play. I have strong feelings about them all, which I hope you can detect from the pen sketches.
The only historical character who appears at any length is Raymond-Roger Trencavel. Although his life is well documented by historians, he exists in Labyrinth as an equal member of my fictional cast.