Yamani Immortals and the God of Dreams

Tammy: Immortals were in the Yamani Islands. They were a pain in the ass, because the country’s so mountainous it was easy for them to hide. That includes the bad ones.


Is the God of Dreams from the Tortall verse in any way, shape, or form based on Neil Gaiman?

Tammy: Yup! It’s my total fangirl moment.

SOURCE: [audio file: DragonCon 2008]


Governments in Tortall Universe, and Kel on Jonathon

I have a couple questions, first and foremost about Tortall’s government. From what I can tell there are restrictions set up on Jon’s power, such as councils of nobles. Yet what’s the specific arrangement? How many councils are there, and how are places determined? Is it a parliamentary monarchy, and are they moving more towards democracy? How many levels are there before laws are passed? Finally, is Tortall one of the countries with more restrictions on the monarchy or less, for example, in Carthak does the emperor have absolute power?

Tammy: At the risk of disappointing you, the mysteries of government will be revealed in the Tortall Companion when it comes out in 2013. The realm is a monarchy, but the king is obligated by law to listen to the councils, and if all of them agree that he has shown a pattern of ignoring their counsel, restrictions can be placed on his power. (Honestly, it’s easier and cheaper to rebel than to get all of these people to agree.) The Carthaki emperor can have more absolute power if he can terrify enough of his nobles into agreeing with him. In Tortall, the de facto rule is that if the nobles agree with the monarch, that’s that, unless the mages and commons band against them. It keeps everyone in line. Tusaine and Galla are more monarchies like Carthak, Maren like Tortall, and Saraine and Scanra can be messes. Tyra is a parliamentary monarchy. The Yamanis are an empire.

And how has her opinion on Jonathan changed from when she was a page?

Tammy: Her opinion of Jon is somewhat more balanced.

SOURCE: [Random Buzzers – Fall 2011 Chat with Tamora Pierce!]

Races and Fan Toss

Tammy: The peoples (races) of Tortall are the same as those of our world.  I based the Bazhir on the Bedouin tribes on Africa and Arabic, and the Shang system is pretty much the same as the Chinese and Japanese temples where martial arts was taught (except mine admit women).

The fan toss game is real, but as far as I know, it’s done with wooden fans, not edged ones.  Still, it seems to me that if you were crazy enough, you could play it that way!  And it wouldn’t be done with separate knives.  Instead of wooden ribs, the fan would be made of steel ribs, very thin, and the outside edge is the sharp one.  You play the game by catching the hub where all the ribs are fastened together.

SOURCE: [Random Buzzers: Chat with Tamora Pierce – Tortall] (Archive by WebCite)

Mindelans, The Noble Books, and Conte-Naxen

1. How many siblings does Kel actually have? The books mention three brother and I think three sisters, but there are sure a lot of nieces and nephews at Mindelan for just a few siblings that couldn’t have been married for that long.

Tammy: Let’s see–in descending order of age: Anders is the oldest.  He and his wife Vorinna have five kids, of whom Lachren is the oldest; Lachren’s now a page.  Patricine* is next of the sibs; she’s married to Toshuro noh Akaneru; they have two kids and live in the Yamani Islands with his family.  Inness and his wife Tilaine have three kids.  Conal is an unmarried knight.  Demadria** recently married Gavin*** haMinch; they have one on the way.  Adalia**** married Merovec of Nond; they have two, having ::cough:: gotten started early ::cough::.  Oranie married Ortien of Hannalof.  Avinar is a scholar/teacher at the City of Gods.  And Kel is the youngest.

2. How far back do the noble books (Book of Gold, Book of Silver) go? What’s the cut off date between the books?

Tammy: The Book of Gold begins 630 years before Alanna’s time, when Tortall, a state of the fallen Thanic Empire that once covered all of the Eastern Lands, set itself up as a realm of its own, setting down the names of the ruling families in a parchment book with gilded letters and plates of gold for the front and back.  Since the sheets of parchment were set it with no way to add unless the book was taken apart, the length of time and the number of families listed in it ran as long as there was space in the book!  The Book of Silver began 170 years later, with the same construction, only in silver.  Once that ran out of pages, 245 years later, The Book of Copper was begun, and they’re still using that.

3. Will we ever see any of the Yamani Islands firsthand? What we hear about them from Kel sounds interesting, as do the women from the Islands ;]

Tammy: I don’t have any plans, but that doesn’t mean I won’t ever get there!

4. How far back does the Conte-Naxen partnership (for lack of a better word) go? How are the families related or have the Naxens always just worked with the Contes?

Tammy: They try not to intermarry too often, but they’ve worked together off and on for a couple of hundred years, what with one thing and another.  A Naxen was one of the Old King’s best generals, his right hand, and he married a Naxen third cousin.

5. Is there any map, even a sketch, that you have of the whole Eastern Lands? I would like to see Sarain, Maren, the Roof of the World, etc. in relation to Tortall.

Tammy: Not yet–I only have the overall one for LIONESS RAMPANT.  By a companion to Tortall is in the works, and I promise, there will be more maps!

NOTES FROM Words of Tamora Pierce
*This is the second time Tammy has called her Patricine, as opposed to Patrissa in Pronunciation Guide to Tamora Pierce Characters.  It is unconfirmed as to what her true name is.
**Demadry according to Pronunciation Guide to Tamora Pierce Characters, and Demadina according to this post on Sheroes.  It is unconfirmed as to what her true name is.
***Gelvan according to this post on Sheroes.
****Originally mistyped as Adelia, although Tammy has made this mistake before.

SOURCE: [Random Buzz: Teens at Random]

Transcript: Book signing on 03-12-04 in Columbus, Ohio

q sama: Follow these links and it’ll take you to a series of livejournal entries I’ve backdated. Or, you could simply go to my userinfo, click on my memories, and read the ones filed under “Tamora Pierce.”

Note that typos are mine, but I’ve made a direct transcript, meaning that I don’t clean up Tammy’s stuttering or “Ummm”s or anything. I’ve written everything I hear on the tape.

Introduction and Questions 1 & 2

The questions adressed in this section are:
+ Can I record this session?
+ Can we take pictures?
+ What happens between Daine and Numair (NEW INFORMATION!)
+ Do Daine and Numair get married?

Questions 3 & 4

The questions in this section are:
+ How do you pronounce Alan? (a-LAHN or AL-an)
+ Where do you get ideas for your names?

Questions 5, 6, 7, & 8

The questions in this section are:
+ Are Aly & Nawat going to get together, even though he’s a crow?
+ Why did Buri leave the Riders when she married Raoul?
+ Where did you get the idea for girl heroes in general?
(note: Tammy rambles a LOT in this last question – v. interesting things!!)
+ Why did you create Briar, if your emphasis is on girls?

Questions 9, 10, & 11

The questions in this section are:
+ Will Varice be in the Numair-book?
+ Which was your favorite/least favorite book to write? (NEW INFORMATION)
+ Why did Leaf have to die? (NEW INFORMATION)

Questions 12 & 13

The questions in this section are:
+ Who would you recommend as publishing companies?
+ What was your favorite fantasy book growing up? (v. interesting for a Pierce vs. Tolkien assessment!)

Questions 14, 15, 16, & 17

The questions in this section are:
+ Where did you get the idea for Ben Ladradun?
+ Do you have a say in the cover art for you books?
+ Where did you get the idea for crystal-coated coal?
+ Where did you get the idea for Joren?

Questions 18, 19, & 20

The questions in this section are:
+ Where did you come up with the shikusen?
+ How do you keep your plots from repeating themselves?
+ Where did you get your ideas for the gods and goddesses?

Questions 21, 22, & 23

The questions in this section are:
+ Why did Alanna and Jonathan have to fight?
+ What is your favorite mythology?
+ In CoM, which element matches which character?

SOURCE: [LJ P#199184]

Yamani names

I was just curious about that “noh” that Tammy used in her two main Yamani females’ names. As in, Haname noh Ajikuro and Yukimi noh Daiomoru. Is that simply part of their surname, or does it signify something deeper, like some kind of link to a matr- or patrilineal line? I don’t know anything about Japanese/Yamani name structure, and I was wondering if “noh” was part of their family name or if it was independent of it, and if Tammy had derived it from something similar in a Japanese name.

Tammy: In this case, the “h” is simply there to indicate the o is long. In the Tortallan universe only, Having “noh” in your name signifies that you are a descendant of the original imperial line.

SOURCE: [78325]

The Mindelan Family

Tammy: At some point I actually sorted out the sibs, though not the nieces and nephews. Brace yourselves, kiddies:

in order of birth
m. = married

Anders (knight) m. Vorinna of Richcaffery = 3 offspring
Patricine* m. Toshuro noh Akaneru (Yamani noble) = offspring
Inness (knight) m. Tilaine of Teresian = 2 offspring
Conal (knight) (I like to think it’s his own personality that keeps him unmarried)
Demadina** m. Gelvan of haMinch (knight) = offspring, dunno how many
Adalia*** m. Merovec of Nond (must have kids by now)
Oranie m. Ortien of Hannalof
Keladry, lady knight
Avinar (studying at City of the Gods during Kel’s page/squire term, now studying in Carthak)

NOTES FROM Words of Tamora Pierce
* Tamora Pierce Pronunciation Glossary names her Patrissa.  It is not yet confirmed which is her true name.
** Tamora Pierce Pronunciation Glossary names her Demadry.  It is not yet confirmed which is her true name.
*** Originally mistyped as Adelia

SOURCE: [62353]

The Royal University, Exchanges, and the Bazhir school

Tammy: The Royal University is actually mostly academic, though there are schools for healing which teach both magic and academics, and a school for mages. You can enter if you pass the examinations, which means between the ages of 14 and 16 for most people.

Most programs end with a scholar’s degree at about four years, but again, you have to pass examinations. You can stay on for a Master’s degree for advanced scholarship if you want to teach on the university level there or at other schools, but a scholar’s degree is enough to get you work teaching at royal schools or employment at libraries where they value scholarship; a two-year instructor’s degree is enough to get you work as a tutor with the right recommendations. That’s all the Brain Train stuff–the engineering instruction, healer’s instruction, and mage instruction is good for real work. And they sometimes swap instructors and do inter-school year abroad with the universities in Carthak and Udayapur. I think with the Yamani marriage there’s even talk of an exchange program with the Yamani university.

The Bazhir school is flourishing, but it’s mobile, like the Bazhir. Some scholars are invited to come and lecture, and some actually stay; some Bazhir come to the university to study. Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t happening!

SOURCE: [49281]

Raka and Carthaki Coloring

Tammy: Actually, the raka coloring is more bronze, like Indonesian/Malaysian mixes, and Nawat’s just a little more brown than gold-brown. The bloodlines with more black in them come from southern Carthak, while northern Carthaki bloodlines, Yamani bloodlines, and eastern bloodlines combined ages ago to make the basic raka strain. The crows are blue-black in their hair and eyes, and brown in their human skins, like Kyprioth as a young god.

SOURCE: [44443]

Yamani Faces and Principles

Tammy: I thought I should at least say something in Kel’s defense, since I’m the one who introduced her to the world. You who dislike her may still disagree, or feel I should have made it clearer in the book, but at least I will have tried.

Multiple loves thing: from my own experience, from the time I started 6th grade till I graduated high school I had serious physical and emotional feelings for (okay, gotta stop to count) 11 guys, one of whom I continued to have passionate feelings about up until 1979, one of whom I dated one more time after high school. Even living with a guy in college didn’t stop me from getting crushes on three other men. And that’s not counting how I felt about certain characters or actors along the way. Moreover, most of the women I know have been the same. Different people fulfill different needs, and hormones are crazy things.

Yamani faces: when she was four years old, fresh from being hung upside down from a balcony, Kel left her fairly open and frank culture to live in one in which open displays of emotion are regarded as rude, immature, tasteless, and even shameless. In that culture, so long as she and her family chose to live as they would at home, they were completely isolated, or at least, her father and mother were treated politely and distantly because they, poor things, didn’t know how to act, but they represented an important ally. If their children, like Kel, were to make any friends and take part in any cultural life, they had to join the culture. Kids don’t allow each other any slack. After six years of this, Kel comes home, at bottom a Yamani. After only a short time to adjust, she is pitchforked into a world where she is constantly watched by people who would be very happy to make her cry. Now it’s not just a matter of her Yamani self; it’s a matter of pride that they not see her cry, or appear doubtful, or falter. So she hides in plain sight, behind the mask of politeness she has already been conditioned to wear, reciting the mantras that all Yamanis use to prevent themselves from shameful displays of emotion.

As for being too noble and protecting everyone who gets hazed: Kel has principles. Since she’s a very stubborn person, her principles are very hard to dislodge. She thinks hazing is wrong, so she opposes it. It doesn’t matter to her that she gets beat up. It doesn’t matter to her that she gets in trouble. Think of her as a self-righteous prig if you like, but her decision to interfere has nothing to do with who’s being hazed, and everything to do with the fact that she believes it’s wrong and is determined to show everyone how wrong it is. And she sucks at it at first, so she keeps getting trashed.

Other people have addressed the training stuff, like the fact that she turns a cruel joke into a training aid, and that she runs uphill even when she’s tired because she knows it’s the only way to get better. That’s discipline. Ask any Olympic athlete how much time they spend in physical training, whether they want to do it or not, because they have something they really want to gain.

Kel would be the first to tell you she owns up to no extra portion of virtue at all. She would also tell you that she is mule-headed to a fault. Once she decides on something, she won’t back down. That can get a girl into trouble. One of the many things she is stubborn about is duty–her duty as a noble and a knight. Alanna, you may recall, was equally un-budge-able on the issues of chivalry and honor.

SOURCE: [34857]

Still Friends

Tammy: And of course Kel and Neal are still best buds–why wouldn’t they be? Only silly partners try to come between people and their best friends, and Yuki isn’t silly.

No one person can be all things to another person. We need our friends!

I mean, are alanna and jonathan best best friends anymore?

Tammy: You’re right about them not being buddy buddy because he’s the king, but that element was there when he was a prince, too.

SOURCE: [25904]

i think it’s a pity the circle of alanna, jon, gary, raoul seemed to be broken… of course they are still friends but not as close durcing their childhood…

Tammy: But they get together all the time! There are balls, holidays, birthdays–I just don’t get the chance to write about them as much! Partly this is due to the successor series being centered around the new kid characters, so most of the time we don’t encounter the old friends. Alanna didn’t go to the palace during Kel’s page years, but she still saw Jon, Gary, and Raoul on a regular basis–so did George, and Myles.

Don’t forget, these days George, Myles, and Gary are Jon’s foremost advisors: they have to meet with him constantly. It isn’t always in the palace, but they get together. Thayet, Buri, Cythera and Eleni are usually there, too. There hasn’t been much public entertaining during the war, and Jon, Thayet, Gary and Cythera have kept pretty close to the capital, but the war is winding down at last (it went into a second year). There will be celebrations to mark its end, as well as the delayed celebrations that should have taken place for Roald’s and Shinko’s wedding.

They’re all better friends than ever!

SOURCE: [2426]

Mithros and More Country Comparisons

Tammy: I did indeed take Mithros from Persian mythology, and had forgotten that Alexander the Great’s capital city, now in ruins, was called “Persepolis” until after ALANNA was published. (But I did know it in my subconscious still, obviously.) I quite deliberately named most of the early Eastern and Southern Lands from world history, including Carthak/Carthage, Scanra/Scandinavia, Galla/Gaul (France/Spain). (I’ve gotten better at hiding my tracks since then!) Yamani is just my rearrangement of Yamato, the original name for Japan, which actually means “land of the gods.” I did not know “Himalaya” means “the roof of the world” until after LIONESS RAMPANT–that was one of those Twilight Zone moments. I not only knew there was a Shang dynasty in imperial China, but “shang” means “strong” in one or other of the Chinese dialects.

SOURCE: [19486]

Country Comparisons

Tammy: Tortall, Tusaine, Maren, and Galla are based pretty much on medieval Europe and England, without particular differentiation between countries. Scanra is more Scandinavia (I tapped medieval Russia for Kugisko in COLD FIRE). Tyra is my Venice-like merchant republic; Saraine is a medly of medieval Europe, Southeast Asia, and samurai culture (well, samurai armor, anyway). Carthak is a mishmosh that includes Egypt, but also Phoenecia, Assyria, and the Hittite Empire of the Middle East, caulked with Roman cuisine in places. The Yamani Islands are definitely based on samurai history. The Copper Isles, well, the wildlife I dumped there in earlier books was Central and South American, but the Amazonian cultures are tribal ones, and I wanted an established culture that has things like palaces, so I looked to Indonesia.I do medieval research all the time! I nearly went nuts find out placements for lances in jousting . . . For general stuff and everyday life, track down book by Frances and Joseph Gies, who have written about most aspects of daily medieval life. Stephen Biesty’s INCREDIBLE CROSS SECTIONS: CASTLE and David Macaulay’s books CASTLE and CATHEDRAL are also good for castle life.

SOURCE: [26313]

Lianokami and Rogers

Tammy: My two cents. . .

Lianokami is a melding of societies and languages, which is why it doesn’t follow strict our-world linguistic use: Liano for Tortall (and the bow to the family name), -kami to denote the inheritance from the Yamani imperial (divine) line.

I am no linguist, but I have never gotten the jokes about Japanese turning L to a hard R sound in English or any other language. I have never heard Japanese speakers do this, and when I listen to Japanese language movies, I heard something that sounds very much like an L. I doubt very much the Yamanis called her “Rianokami.”

Liano would indeed inherit as her father’s firstborn, should the opportunity come. It may or may not. Jonathan is very healthy and in good shape, and I don’t see myself writing about the court that far in the future. I have plenty to write about around the thirty-forty year period I have marked out between Alanna’s arrival at the palace and Neal’s daughter’s career.

The thing with who inherits was inspired by the near-miss of Duke Roger’s rebellion. With one life between Roger and the crown, and only Roger as an alternate heir when the Sweating Sickness came, Jon has been determined that the realm’s stability shouldn’t rest on two lives, or one. He even convinced his conservatives to agree to female rule under those conditions, so there are options, since there have been cases in the past where the majority of a ruler’s children were girls.

I’m sorry people don’t like the similarity in names, but the truth is that noble families tend to name their children after their ancestors, and people who miss someone who died name their children after that person. And in real life there are name repetitions (how many Sarahs in your class? Davids?), but I don’t have the stones for that. My Random House editor gets on my case about too many names, period, let alone too many of the same name.

Cheer up. With Beka, the only name you’ll be familiar with is Roger, and he is a Conté king, after all!

Tammy: Liano would inherit as firstborn, before any brothers who might follow her.

I would imagine racism about Liano depends on how the Yamanis at court are perceived. If Shinko and Yuki are popular, they’ll make a dent. They’ll also attract other Yamanis to Tortall. They have mutual interests, after all, and mutual enemies.

As for putting a stop to Rogers . . . I don’t think so, not after his memory wears off the next few generations. Then people will be more aware of the actual kings, not a nutter rebel. There were three King Rogers. Mine (Roger II) is pretty much a merry monarch, or he was in his greener days, but the other two were pretty decent. That ought to count for something.

SOURCE: [70043]