Slavery in Carthak

Tammy: I worked it off classical slavery in general; captives from wars, then the children they give birth to. And most slave systems (except the modern ones) have the pressure valve that the slave can buy her/his freedom. It’s a carrot, because slave holders almost always find ways to keep slaves from accumulating their price, and there are the added anchors of spouses and children who are slaves.

Palace slaves in Carthak could make money toward their freedom price on tips for running errands or good service, but they can also lose that money to fines and theft. But it pays to keep slaves hoping that one day they can buy freedom–they’re less inclined to make trouble that way. Even slaves here in the U.S. could buy their freedom. They then had a set period of time (I forget how long) to get out of the state in which they’d been freed, to reduce the temptation of “stealing” their families and to get rid of the reminder that it was possible to be free. Free blacks who had not been freed locally were allowed to work in towns, but they were scrutinized and suspected constantly, and they always had to carry multiple sets of papers proving they were free to keep from being captured and sold.


Musical Influences and Daine’s Motivations

Tammy: Writing music for this book,* particularly this chapter: Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring.” Why? Disney’s “Fantasia,” my inspiration for two books in this quartet!**

Tammy: As for Daine, and consequences, and she didn’t think about this: she’s 14; she lived a VERY sheltered life for her first 13 years and was then pitchforked into a world she couldn’t even imagine; her body has been subjected to countless traumatic physical and chemical changes; she lost her family, and now in this new and very threatening environment, she has lost yet another person who is close to her. She has been threatened, thoroughly monkeyed with by a goddess, drugged, and imprisoned.

She is not going to be able to think about consequences. (That she thinks about some is a miracle.) She is not going to think about the consequences to Tortall or anyone else in the wider scheme of things. She has basically switched to “Hulk SMASH” mode. If she were tried in court, her attorney would register a plea of temporary insanity, and s/he could make a very good case for it.

She has also seen that no one can stop Ozorne. Think of all the tyrants you have seen in charge of countries, all the monsters who murder their own people and get away with it while the rest of the world wrings its hands and those who plot rebellion disappear. The president of Syria. The ruling junta of Burma. Hitler. Stalin. Idi Amin. How many times have you wished that one person could take the monsters out? Daine sees that no one else will do it. If they won’t, she will, and if there is collateral damage, they should have taken care of things themselves.

She is 14, and her heart is shattered.

NOTES FROM Words of Tamora Pierce
*Emperor Mage
**Immortals quartet


House Sorting, Naming Conventions, and Languages

Tammy: It’s funny–I was thinking Jon is a Slytherin, too, keeping his secrets and his thinks pretty much to himself, being ambitious, and being more Goddess than Mithros. (She does have those snakes wrapped around her arms!)


Tammy: No, Daine is not a Stark. She learns, and she uses her head. She doesn’t widen her pretty eyes and wait for a tree to fall on her.


Tammy: I know all the English and American historical naming conventions, and as a history buff it kills me to break them, but as someone says, when I use the same name twice, people think it’s significant. So, I can’t do that, not really. I had already decided when I began to write these books that I would follow Quaker naming conventions (other groups do it, too; that’s the one I know best) and have people not name children after anyone living. Even when they do name children to honor someone who has gone to the Peaceful Realms, oftentimes the name is a different version or the version given to a child of the opposite sex.


Tammy: Common is what Latin was in our world, spoken in the Eastern lands and at least the northern parts of Carthak, because it all used to be one empire. Scanra has its own language, ditto the islands and the K’mir and points east.


Characters – Real People, Actors, or Photographs

Tammy: I base characters on people I know–the Lord Provost in LIONESS RAMPANT on my father, Alanna on my younger sister Kim, the Shang Wildcat on my stepmother, Thayet on my best female friend, Kyprioth on my friend Bruce Coville, Evin Larse on my husband, Sandry and Kel on fans.

Other characters I base on actors, the characters they play, or performers–Beka on the young Jodie Foster, Lady Sabine and Duchess Winnamine both on Sigourney Weaver, Tunstall on French actor Jean Reno, Daine on Trini Alvarada (Meg in the Susan Sarandon Little Women), Taybur Sibigat on Bobby Goren in Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Numair on Jeff Goldblum, Rosto on Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Ozorne on Ozzy Osborne, Goodwin on a tough Russian cop from the Bruce Willis The Jackal played by Diane Venora.

Other characters come from photographs I have that strike a chord with me: Sarai and Dove, Ochobu and Junai (Ulasim was based on professional wrestler Eddie Guererro).

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

Tammy: …I believe, that I based Alanna on my younger sister, the hero paramedic. Well, I also based the Lord Provost on my dad, the Korean War vet–thus the similarity in wolfish grins between my lord and Alanna in the Hall of Crowns. And the Shang Wildcat is based on my stepmother, who has been known to say, “Some kids need more raisin’ than others.”