As we’re nearing the end of Wyrd and Wonder 2020 it seems appropriate that my last tag be a gathering of some favourite characters for a big ol’ shindig. The Literary Dinner Party tag was done in a delightfully fantasy way for Wyrd and Wonder a couple of years ago by Anouk of Time for Tales and Tea and was originally created by NEHOMAS2.
Let’s get this party started, shall we?
One character who can cook/likes to cook
My first invitation has to go out to Mrs Smith from The Anvil of the World by Kage Baker, not only because she is the two-time winner of the Troon Municipal Bake-off and an artist in the kitchen, but because she has lived. I suspect she will more than hold her own at table and I for one will be sitting within earshot so that I can catch any after dinner tales she has to tell while smoking her pipe of amberleaf. Her invitation will be a plus-one in the hopes that Smith will come too, as much for his easy-going personality as for his excellent reflexes, just in case this party heats up.
One character who has money to fund the party
My next invitation will be to Fionn from Dragon’s Ring and Dog and Dragon by Dave Freer. Sure, he’s a dragon, but that means he’s got gold. It’s not all I want him for, however, as he often disguises himself as a travelling gleeman, so he has entertainment potential too. His invitation will be a plus-two because I don’t want him to leave Meb and Díleas behind and this will definitely be a the-more-the-merrier type of party.
One character who might cause a scene
Mosca Mye and her mentor Eponymous Clent from Fly by Night and Twilight Robbery by Frances Hardinge are also on the guest list. If I only invited one the other would inevitably sneak in. Both are fabulous con-artists with a strong attraction to mischief, but what I’m really hoping for is that they’ll have an argument at the party. You haven’t truly heard a good verbal wrangle until you’ve heard these two go at it. We’ll all learn some new words on the night!
One character who is funny/amusing
This invitation has to go to Lady Vincenza ‘Vintage’ de Grazon from Jen Williams’ Winnowing Flame Trilogy. Yes, because she’s funny, but she’s also smart, interesting and her family owns a vineyard so I’m hoping she’ll bring the wine. I think her warm eccentricity will put everyone at their ease and, naturally, she’ll bring some incredible stories (and some choice swear words) to the table. (I hope it goes without saying that her invitation will also be a plus-one in the hope that Chenlo will come too).
One character who is super social/popular
This invitation goes to Cecelia from Sorcery and Cecelia; or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer. I don’t know that she’s super popular, but she is as well-bred and socially adept as one could wish a young lady to be. More importantly, she’s spirited and independent and while she might have missed out on her first London Season she did recently discover that she has an aptitude for magic. I think she’ll get on well with some of the other guests and will enjoy herself immensely.
This is the one I’ve struggled most with. A lot of the villains that come to mind are too villainous to be allowed out in polite society: no one in their right mind would invite either Clive Barker’s Immacolata, or Diana Wynne Jones’ Witch of the Waste to anything. They’re just too mean.
After much troubled thought I’ve decided to invite Geder Palliako from Daniel Abraham’s The Dagger and the Coin quintet. In some ways he’s an appalling human being, but at least he is human. And despite all his flaws he has a pliable quality and a deep-seated need to be liked, so I think (hope and pray) that he’ll be flattered by the invitation, eager to make friends and thus not be inclined to slaughter us all like he did the people of Vanai.
One couple – doesn’t have to be romantic
This invitation is definitely for Mr Zacharias Whyte and Miss Prunella Gentleman from Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho. I suspect Zacharias may feel uncomfortable at first, but I hope that this rather exceptional selection of characters will put him at his ease as I really want him to enjoy himself. As for Prunella, I think she’ll have no trouble settling in and amusing herself, but I must admit to an ulterior motive in inviting her: if anyone can put Geder down before he begins it’s her. I love her humour and energy, but I’ve invited her for her core of steel.
So while I can think of a handful of heroines I’d like to invite I’m trying to keep my table balanced and to do that this invitation needs to go to a hero. Only I couldn’t really think of any. I am inviting Fitz from Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb more out of desperation than anything. I think he’s got the makings of a hero, if he doesn’t get killed first, but at the same time, he’s an assassin – not the most heroic work. Anyway, he’s likeable enough and I hope he’ll find people to talk to … certainly Smith and Kragar could give him some professional pointers, and I imagine he’d get on well with Meb and Díleas.
One underappreciated character
Not underappreciated so much as overlooked, Kragar from Steve Brust’s Vlad Taltos books is absolutely getting an invite to this shindig. He’s Vlad’s Dragaeran partner in crime, although I’ve seen no evidence so far that he does any ‘work’ (i.e. assassinations) and instead spends his time gathering information. He’s a got a dry sense of humour and an ability to go unnoticed which lends itself to both his job and his sense of mischief. I am loving the Vlad Taltos books and hope that I’ll get to know Kragar better. In the meantime, it would be fun to meet him first-hand … assuming I can spot him once he’s arrived.
One character of your own choosing
And the last invitation goes to the Chrestomanci Christopher Chant and his wife Millie. I hope that Zacharias might enjoy talking to one or both of the Chants. Christopher might appear a to be overly concerned with his appearance (I do hope he’ll wear one of his stunning dressing gowns), which could well put Zacharias off, but if that happens I’m hoping Millie’s warm good-nature will win him over. And as she’s a powerful enchanter in her own right she and Zacharias should find plenty to talk about.
We’ve got great food, we’ve got plenty of wine, we’ve got money to splash out on a decent venue and we’ve got a choice guest list. All I need do now is get my glad rags on, do a last check to make sure I know where all the fire extinguishers are and we’re ready to go. Woo!