The Story Behind Wizardoms: God King Rising by Jeffrey L. Kohanek

09 Mar 2021

By Jeffrey L. Kahanek

Every genre has its own stable of character archetypes with crossover to similar genres. I write and read epic fantasy, a genre known for characters such as the unwilling hero, the jaded ex-soldier, the jovial dwarf, the stoic elf, the fierce female warrior, the mysterious wizard, and a host of others. Having read many hundreds of fantasy novels, I have developed a fondness for many of these character types, but my favorite is the witty, lovable rogue.

Examples of this character type include Han Solo, Star Lord, James Bond, Tony Stark, Wolverine, Loki, Lucifer Morningstar, and the Dread Pirate Roberts (Westley) from The Princess Bride. These characters are forever ready with a witty quip or prepared to execute an outrageous caper apt to make you guffaw. They often come across as arrogant and self-centered, but when it matters, these rogues do the right thing even if it places their own life at risk.

While my stories include a wide range of male and female characters, I find it too rare for the central character to fit in lovable rogue mold. This was something I chose to rectify in both my Fate of Wizardoms and Fall of Wizardoms epic fantasy series.

Meet Jerrell (Jace) Landish

Self-proclaimed as the greatest thief in the Eight Wizardoms, Jerrell enters the story with years of past exploits behind him. With a flair for the outlandish, his past capers have brought him the kind of fame and attention a thief wishes to avoid, forcing him use the name Jace so others might trust him and so his enemies find it more difficult to find him and exact revenge.

I find Jace/Jerrell incredibly fun to write, often providing comic relief to a story that can otherwise feel intense. Imagine a male dressed as a woman with the task of seducing a wizard so he can steal the man’s enchanted bracelet. Picture a situation where Jace and his party are without funds and in need of a room and a meal for the evening. The barkeep requests a striptease for the patrons, which Jace readily agrees to, thinking it would involve one of the women in his party. When he discovers the men in town prefer to watch a male dance, Jace finds himself on stage and fun ensues. When sandwiched amid a tale packed with magic, quests, monsters, adventure, assassins, dark plots, and darker prophecies, such humorous elements help greatly to break the tension. Evoking emotion from readers is a powerful thing and laughter is even better than sorrow, for far too few stories make readers laugh.

Jace is not there merely for laughs, for like all characters, he undertakes a journey. In my Fate of Wizardoms series, he begins as a loner who is focused only his own pursuit of wealth, still influenced by a difficult childhood that placed him on a path of self-preservation. As other characters enter the fold, Jace slowly begins to change, eventually placing the welfare of the world above his own needs. As one might guess, a woman is at the center of this evolution, but much his maturation has to do with his age and the fact that his past exploits, and riches, did not enrich his life.

Each person has his or her own strengths. In fantasy adventures, bringing together a squad of individuals with varying abilities makes the party much stronger. A skilled thief such as Jace can pick almost any lock. He is clever, intuitive, and is often the first character to reach the conclusion dangling before the party. As a result, he adds as much to any quest as the vaunted warriors or powerful wizards.

Go for Two

When I began writing God King Rising, the first book in my Fall of Wizardoms series, I decided to tap another lovable rogue to become a protagonist. Thus, I brought back a minor character from Fate of Wizardoms and made her a central figure.

The very first chapter introduces readers to Harlequin Ahlee, a female pirate of much renown. She is bold, brazen, and full of snark. Harlequin cheats at cards and is likely to treat a man like a toy because she cannot be bothered with relationships. With a whip on one hip and a sabre on the other, she is sometimes larger than life.

Joined by a prim and proper ex-soldier, a wizard queen, a jovial dwarf, a troubled elf, a female ranger with an enchanted bow, and a jaded warrior with a magic sword, Jace and Harlequin embark on a quest to combat the rise of a long-lost race who wish to crush the Eight Wizardoms. I hope you will join me for this epic adventure, beginning with God King Rising.

Jeffrey L. Kohanek is the author of the new book Wizardoms: God King Rising.

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