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Characters for an Arthurian Space Opera

Characters for an Arthurian Space Opera

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Published by Jonathan Pearmain

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Published by: Jonathan Pearmain on Oct 04, 2011
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 1
Characters for an Arthurian Space Opera
Whilst the ‘Arthurian’ theme gives me an art direction and plot elements, it is to theconventions of space opera I must look, for its conventions and common traits.In their book:
The Space Opera Renaissance
, David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramerdefine modern space opera as:
"…
[a]
colourful, dramatic, large-scale science fiction adventure, competently and sometimes beautifully written, usually focused on a sympathetic, heroic centralcharacter and plot action, and usually set in the relatively distant future, and in spaceor on other worlds, characteristically optimistic in tone. It often deals with war, piracy, military virtues, and very large-scale action, large stakes."
The website TVTropes.com also makes an interesting statement:
“A space opera is a work set in a far future space faring civilisation, where thetechnology is ubiquitous and entirely secondary to the story. It has an epic character to it: The universe is big, there are lots of sprawling civilizations and empires, thereare political conflicts and intrigues galore.”
The key part seems to be the superfluous nature of the sci-fi milieu, it is essentiallytaken for granted; a stage upon which events play out, not a key focus of the narrative.This puts a huge amount of pressure on my plot and characters; the story must consistof values and emotions independent of their setting, though of course events can takeadvantage of the setting.This means my characters have to be extremely strong and not at all reliant onanything provided by the sci-fi genre; instead they must be able to project a strongpersonality and presence of their own.
 
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Current Log Line
 Escaped from his many millenniums of captivity, the wizard Merlin escapes; changed and boiling over with a desire for vengeance, ready to take advantage of the scattered human race. The great King Arthur, healed aboard the great ship
Avalon
 , must return to right past wrongs, confront his old mentor and re-unite the human race.
It was during a discussion with Phil that the idea of having Merlin as the villainemerged. According to a majority of Arthurian text, Merlin is seduced and eventuallyimprisoned by the fairy, Vivian. In some he is held in a glass towers, others in acrystal cave, and some in an oak tree or thorn-bush. In many versions, Merlin diesthere, in a couple he escapes.In my interpretation he has been left there for twenty millenniums, his age frozen, buthis mind becoming a seething pit of spite, malice and madness. He holds Arthurresponsible, having been left behind, and now seeks to get his vengeance by reekinghavoc upon the human race Arthur strives so hard to protect. This creates aninteresting hero-villain dynamic - Arthur is seeking forgiveness, so kind of reconciliation, while Merlin seeks only revenge. However, neither can forget theintimate relationship they once had as mentor and pupil, the father-like figure Merlinplayed for Arthur. It is this link that prevents either foe ultimately killing each other.
 
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CharactersHero: Arthur, The Once and Future King
Arthur is the head of the intergalactic order known as the “Knights of the RoundTable”. Very little is known of their origins, whether they are like demi-gods, blessedprotectors of man-kind, or an advanced humanoid race that has taken an interest inensuring humanities’ survival; are they time travellers, able to intervene at criticalmoments in history? Arthur is their figure head, their greatest warrior, a bastion forhumanity to gather around.
Physical Age:
16
Race:
Humanoid
Height:
5’11”
Career:
Leader of the Knights of the Round Table, saviour of earth’s people.
Best Qualities:
Chivalrous, Honourable, Confident, Brave and Skilled
Worst Qualities:
Pressured by weight of responsibility, Irrationally brave
Biography:
The earth-legend of King Arthur is well known, from one perspective. However, intruth, the legend was a carefully constructed plan orchestrated by the Nine of 
 Avalon
;observers of humanity, guarantors of its survival. The rise and fall of King Arthur waskey point in human history that changed its future for ever, in someway, Arthur’spresence was a turning in the fate of human-kind. Arthur himself is a member of the“Knights of the Round Table”, the elected leader of the protectors of the nine, demi-gods, perfect warriors.Withdrawn to
 Avalon
, Arthur and the Nine waited for Merlin to reveal himself, forVivien’s spell to break, and now they have returned, to repair the damage done andonce again fight against a fate that would doom the human-race!
Villain: Merlin, The HeraldPhysical Age:
81
Race:
Humanoid
Height:
6’3”
Career:
A Herald, whose magical powers have turned to evil.
Worst Qualities:
Consumed by revenge, Teetering on the edge of insanity
Redeeming Qualities:
Remaining feelings of mentorship towards Arthur
Biography:
Placed upon by the Nine to prepare the human race to receive Arthur, Merlin has beena long term servant of 
 Avalon
. He acted as a mentor to the developing Arthur andplayed a key part in his mission. However, towards the end of the allotted time,Merlin was seduced by some rogue fae creature name Vivien. He was deceived intorevealing his origin, powers and purpose. Vivien then worked his own spells againsthim, sealing him inside a young oak. So strong was Vivien’s magic that Merlin washidden from the Nine’s sight and was consequently left behind when the decision was

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