Who is whom

One thing writers do is steal ideas from each other. It is no secret that I stole the idea for ORPHANS OF CHAOS from Zelazny’s Amber. All I did was turn the premise on head, make the bad guys (the chaoticists) the good guys. Instead of making up my own huge cast of characters, and because I love them, I decided to use the Old Gods, the classical pantheon, as my intrigue-bound super-powers wrestling over the throne of the cosmos. Because I thought Zelazny’s idea for Chaos, was, if you will forgive me, unsatisfactory, I used something more like the Greek and Miltonian idea, but also threw in fallen angels and the remote, disinterested gods of Epicurus and Lucretius, the materialist philosophers.

Since if anyone is interested, I will tell you which Olympian stands in for which Amberite, but with this caveat: I was not copying their personalities, or even their archetypes. All I was stealing with the political set-up. I was putting my own chessmen on the board merely in the positions occupied by the Amberites. This is what I remember:

MANY SPOILERS BELOW! If you have not read NINE PRINCES IN AMBER, go out and get a copy today! But do NOT read what is written below this line!

Who is whom?

Corwin is Mulciber (Vulcan, Hephaestus). As the legitimate son of Hera and Zeus, he has a claim on the throne. In the came way Corwin introduced gunpowder, Mulciber is in position to introduce Talos and other war-machines that the other Olympians cannot resist.

Eric is Mavors (Mars), his rival. Mavors is also a son of Hera and Zeus. This is the intelligent Roman version, not the cruel mankiller, Ares of the Greek. The mainspring of his rivalry with his brother is the love triangle with Cyprian (Venus).

Benedict is Dis (Hades, Pluto). As the elder brother of Zeus, he has a claim to the throne; but he has no interest in the throne himself. Like Benedict, no one could seriously oppose him if he chose to take the throne by main force. The Olympians fear he might press the legally weak claim of The Maiden (Kore, Prosperine) to the throne, which is based on her bastard descent from Zeus. This is a parallel to Corwin’s vision in Tir na Nogth that showed Benedict supporting Dara on the throne. Prosperine is Dara.

The Cabal of Fiona, Bleys and Brand is Athena, Dionysus, and Hermes: I chose them because they seemed the closest to being “the magicians in the family.”  Consequently, the figure in the “Brand” position starts out dead with an arrow in him, because at the end of COURTS OF CHAOS, he was shot by Caine and fell into the Abyss. Dionysus backs Mulciber, and so does Athena, at the moment.

Caine is Phoebe the Huntress, the person who shot the traitor. Sorry, Caine, but I had to change your sex to get you into the proper relation. Don’t worry, it happened to Teiresias also. Phoebe has a deal with Mavors, and she hates Mulciber with a passion: the outdoorsy huntress goddess does not like the god in charge of mordorian factories and dark satanic mills.

Zeus is in the Oberon position: the dead sovereign at the end of COURTS OF CHAOS.

The Lightning Bolt is the Jewel of Judgment. It is the one instrument that can defeat Chaos, but with Zeus dead, no one is sure how to use it. The Corwin character Mulciber, can forge the Lightning bolts, but apparently cannot wield them.

The person selected after the fall of Zeus, the guy in the Random position, is Eros the Archer. In my book, I assumed Random would be the worst king ever. No offense to Random fans–I needed the assumption to propel my plot. Psyche is Vielle, the woman he marries that seems to reform his bad manners. She did not come on stage in the book, but I look forward to writing her up some day.

Vesta is Llewella, but in my background Vesta is not merely the eldest sister, the firstborn of Saturn, she is considerably older than her next kin, Dis (Hades), and knows deep secrets from the dawn of time. She lives apart, and does not take place in the politics surrounding the succession struggle.

Demeter is Flora, merely because flowers are flowers. It did not come up in my book, but Demeter was in Mavors’ faction.

There was no one analogous to Hera or Poseidon. Poseidon in my book wanted Hades and him to get together and just shake the lots in the helmet again, and whomever the sky fell to, he would rule it. That is what they did the first time with their little brother, Zeus.

Phoebus Apollo does not want a throne at all, but wants to establish a democracy, with all public matters settled by debate in the agora, and voting. I do not recall anyone like this in the Zelazny books, but the idea crops up in Diceless Amber games I’ve seen often enough.

Julian is Pan, the King of the Wood, and he backed Mavors also. Again, this was something in my notes. There may have been a passing mention of him in the scene at the board of visitors and governors. Pan is not one of the Twelve, but he is not someone that can be ignored. Except I ignored him in my book, because he never came up. I may have called him Nemenstratus or Nemaean. I forget.

The Kami of Japan — and this just never came up, it was only in my notes — were in the position of the Remba people. Amaterasu was Moire. They are a pantheon allied closely with the Olympian pantheon. I suppose if I ever write the sequel, this would logically require Psyche to be Japanese. That might be cool. Psyche was always my favorite goddess in the classical pantheon.

Gerard is Heracles. He backs Mavors.

Saturn is Dworkin, the mad creator of the universe, locked up in a cave. Except in my book, the cave is Tartarus and the gryphon is Tisiphone of the Furies.

Boggin is … well, never mind who Boggin is. One day I’ll write the sequel, and you’ll be surprised.