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Todd Jensen writes...

A question about the gargoyles' time living with the humans in Castle Wyvern between 971 and 994. In "Awakening" at the beginning, all the humans living in the castle, except for the Captain of the Guard (and Tom, but he wasn't a regular inhabitant) were, from what we can tell, hostile towards the gargoyles.

Now, since gargoyles and humans had been living side by side for 23 years, I found myself wondering a little about this. I know that prejudice can often take a very long time to overcome, but I still find it a matter of mild concern that after living with gargoyles for 23 years, with ample opportunity during all that time to see what they were really like, the humans would still be so hostile towards them. (Katharine did get conditioned to fear gargoyles due to Prince Malcolm's foolish use of them as bogeymen when she was a child, of course, so her attitude is believable.)

Of course, I suppose that it would require the entire "Dark Ages" series all the way down to the Wyvern Massacre to give a real answer to this question, but I did think that I'd comment on it. (And if after 23 years of sharing their home with the gargoyles, nearly all the humans still disliked them, I can see how it is that Demona is so cynical and pessimistic about peace between the two species. On the other hand, since Katharine and the Magus did abandon their old attitudes after the massacre and even dedicated the rest of their lives to looking after the orphaned eggs, there is hope.)

Greg responds...

There's always hope. I think the prejudice was subtle and on-going, because nothing had ever been done about it.

Most humans in the castle weren't looking to slaughter the Gargoyles or even kick them out. But they took the Gargoyles' defense of the cliffside for granted... enough years had passed that the camaradery of the great battles they shared had been -- not forgotten -- but dampened.

And the leader sets the tone, and for the reasons you listed above, Katharine was not sympathetic to or fond of the Gargoyles. So those Lords looking to curry favor would tend to being dismissive. I also think that the Gargoyles still represented a mental wildcard to the humans. A great force in their midst that they couldn't fully control. It was disturbing. And then there are the archers, who do their jobs well, but who may have had chips on their shoulders because they weren't sufficient to guard the castle... and because their own boss seemed to respect the Gargs more than his own men.

The idea was little things contributing to on-going tension ... and a leader who was part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Response recorded on March 09, 2005