But I'll let Elizabeth takeover here:
There is a wonderful film from 1939 which I absolutely adore.
It's called The Women and it has an absolutely stellar cast - Rosalind Russell, Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer, Joan Fontaine and Pauline Goddard. The film's tag line is 'it's about men'. And indeed it was, even though The Women had an all female cast
It occurred to me almost at the end of writing to Warrior's Surrender, that it too is about men - as well as a love story between our hero Sebastian de la Croix and our heroine Lady Alfreya of Tyrswick.
I enjoyed exploring the range of masculine experience from boyhood to old age - the lovers and fighters, the sons and fathers, the garrulous and the taciturn. And I hope you enjoy meeting the wonderful men who live at Tyrswick.
Sebastian, of course is an alpha male - he is decisive, strong and brave. He is also chivalrous, tender and passionate (Fantasy casting: Ian Somerhalder as Sebastian de la Croix):
Sebastian looked back at her. He had sisters and brothers. And he would fight to his last breath to protect them too. He could not fault a father for protecting his family.Then there is Larcwide, a Saxon man-at-arms in his 50s. He is experienced, pragmatic and fatherly. He is a protector but he is also hampered his position in the Tyrswick household. Larcwide is a man whom Alfreya can trust and whom other men look up to. He is a rock. (Fantasy casting Kevin Sorbo as Larcwide):
The Saxon Earl’s sword dipped. Because of his injury, exertion had weakened him. A feverish sweat broke out over the man’s face and lingered on his graying beard. He needed a physician, Sebastian realized. There were monks in an abbey a league away who would help.
The young Norman addressed his instructions to the girl. Her cornflower-blue eyes refused to show fear of him; her father and brother would need her bravery and strength if they were to survive this night.
“Go! Get out of here!” he hissed. “I will buy you as much time as I can. Do you understand me?”
The girl’s eyes widened in surprise and she nodded.
They rode in silence for some time, Frey lost in her thoughts, when Larcwide finally spoke.
“You need to understand the difference between men and women, Alfreya.”
The use of her first name startled her from her reverie, and she considered him cautiously, unsure whether she wanted to hear what he had to say.
“I’ve been married for nearly six months, my friend, do I need further instruction?”
Larcwide ignored her attempt to deflect him with a jest.
“Men are designed to do one thing at a time and do it well. Women seem to do fifteen different things at once,” he began awkwardly. “He needs you to let him go and do the things he needs to. He’s not rejecting you; he’s not dismissing your skill. Do you understand what I’m talking about, lass?”
But not all men are so cut and dried, not every one is so open with his feelings or have the ability to articulate how he feels. Yet nonetheless he is a good man - loyal, protective of those he cares about, but he feels frustrated when he can't solve a problem which isn't tangible. Meet Orlege, another of Lady Alfreya's men-at-arms. (Fantasy casting Aaron Eckhart as Orlege):
Orlege exhaled deeply, making clear that he did not want to continue the conversation. He scuffed the ground with his booted feet and in doing so, dislodged a stone, which he then kicked into the garden.Young boys grow into men, sometimes all to soon, sometimes their initiation into manhood is one marred by tragedy (mild spoiler). (Fantasy cast member David Wayman as Robert)
“I’m no good with words. I don’t know if I can make you understand,” he said. “I’m a soldier. I pledge my life for my lord. He goes into battle and I go with him. I use a sword, a battleaxe, a pike staff, a bow to attack and defend. Understand?"
Frey shook her head.
“I would willingly take a life to preserve yours, my lady, but I don’t know how to fight rumors or battle gossip and evil words.”
The past few months had altered both young men; they seemed to have grown taller and their physiques had broadened. No longer carefree youths, both were now serious young men for whom, she later learned, Larcwide’s death bore hard. Frey wasn’t sure if the change was to be celebrated or mourned along with her old friend.Do you recognise any of the men in your life in these archetypes? I'd love for you to share in comments below.
They escorted her from the suite of chambers and into the Great Hall to break fast.
As she sat, another six men she recognized from Tyrswick left their places and surrounded her table.
Now, this was too much.
The young man who just three months ago would have quailed at the censure in her voice, crossed his arms and planted his feet.
“My orders are explicit, Lady Alfreya. Your life above all others.”
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