Friday, 11 March 2011

Character Spotlight ~ Jim Ware's Morgan Izaak & Ely Ariello

Morgan & Ely

Jim Ware's novel for children will appeal to those who love reading fantasy with a spiritual message.

Enjoy this insight into Morgan & Ely:~

Morgan Izaak (main protagonist)

Brief physical description

Morgan is about 12 years old; skinny, freckled, with a pointy nose and a shock of unruly straw-colored hair; small and physically unimpressive; uncoordinated and unable to excel in the games and sports that are the key to “coolness” and social acceptability in Middle School. He also wears braces. Other kids at school make fun of him, call him “robot mouth,” and say that he looks like a “scarecrow.”

Actor/famous person

I can’t think of an actor who looks like Morgan, but illustrator Luke Flowers has done a great job of portraying him on the cover of the b
ook (see above – I know this image isn’t very clear, but perhaps it gives you a general idea). Think of Wart (the young King Arthur) in T. H. White’s The Sword in the Stone (and the Disney animated version of the same).

Strengths and weaknesses

Morgan is highly intelligent, inventive, quick on the uptake, but sometimes gets into trouble as a result of his unorthodox endeavors and experiments – similar in this way to the young Tom Edison. He is lonely and keeps to himself. Except for Eny Ariello, he has few friends. But he also has a genuinely sensitive and compassionate heart, largely because of the misfortunes and rejections he has experienced in his short life. Below the surface, he is a good and likeable person with widely varied interests and a multi-faceted personality. His love for and loyalty toward his mother, who is dying of cancer, are fierce and indefatigable.

Quirk (if any)

Following in the footsteps of his father (who has mysteriously disappeared), Morgan has developed an inordinately keen interest in the medieval “science” of alc
hemy – not as a greedy and shallow-minded “gold cook,” but as a serious devotee of the philosophy and metaphysics of alchemical thought. He wants desperately to confect the fabled Philosopher’s Stone or Elixir Vitae (Elixir of Life). In pursuit of this goal, he has set up a laboratory/study at the top of the Gothic tower of St. Halistan’s church across the street from his house, where he carries on experiments. In the beginning, his desire is primarily to gain power with which to throw off the yoke of his oppressors (bullies at school). But as the story progresses, his main interest shifts: when he learns that his mother is dying, his aim is to use the Elixir to save her life.

Your inspiration for the character

In some ways Morgan is a
utobiographical. But he’s also a compilation of many other “underdog”-type characters that I’ve met in classic fairy tales and favorite works of fiction.

Eny Ariello

Brief physical description

Eny (pronounced Enny or like the word “any”; > Irish Eithne) is the 11-year-old daughter of George and Moira Ariello, custodians/caretakers of St. Halistan’s church. George is Hispanic, Moira Irish. In terms of physical appearance, Eny is a blend of these two ethnic strains. She is petite, pretty, and bronze-skinned. On the whole she looks distinctly Hispanic except for the coppery-reddish tint of her hair. Perhaps the most striking thing about Eny the fact that she’s heterochromic – her right eye is brown, her left eye blue. Eny has been Morgan’s best friend since toddlerhood.

Actor/famous person

Once again, Luke Flowers has done a great job of picturing Eny, but I don’t have access to his drawing. A portrait of her appears in the top left-hand corner of Luke’s map of Santa Piedra, California, Morgan and Eny’s hometown. Maybe it would be helpful to think of a Hispanic-looking young Lindsay Lohan – i.e., as Lindsay appeared in The Parent Trap.

Strengths and weaknesses

In tempera
ment, Eny is honest, forthright, straightforward, even bold in a sweet and innocent way. She speaks only when she has something to say, is usually poker-faced, very matter-of-fact about what she considers to be the obvious truth. She is guileless and outspoken when necessary, always telling the truth as she sees it. On the other hand, she can be distant and dreamy. She’s otherworldly, spiritually precocious, tends to be a loner, and is a natural mystic. Eny has what the Celts call the “Second Sight,” and can perceive unseen realities that are not visible to other people.

Quirk (if any)

Eny’s mystical bent might fit into the category of “quirks.” It makes her highly
imaginative and extremely sensitive to everything that goes on around her. Eny loves stories and music. She plays the fiddle and has a special affinity for Irish reels, jigs, and airs. As the child of her parents, she is heir both to her father’s stories about the Mission, the Church, Old California, the Indians, the Spaniards, and the treasures brought from Galicia; and to her mother’s tales of Ireland, the Fairy Folk, and the legendary Stone of Destiny. In an important sense, Eny wants to live the stories – to experience their reality for herself.

Your inspiration for the character

I have always been fascinated with the character of the innocent child who is also a sort of prodigy and a prophet or seer – like George MacDonald’s Sir Gibbie. Eny is this type of person. She’s also a figure whom I have been able to invest with my own love of folk music, folklore, and mythology.

Background to the story

Lia Fail, Ireland’s fabled “Stone of Destiny” – originally the Stone that Jacob slept on at Bethel – has for centuries been making its way inexorably toward Inisfail, “the land of the sun’s going” in the uttermost west. For the time being, it has come to rest in St. Halistan’s church in the town of Santa Piedra on the northern California coast. As of yet, only one man knows this; but supernatural beings, both good and evil, are desperately seeking the Stone and its power. John Izaak, linguist and amateur alchemist, has disappeared for reasons that no one can explain. The truth is that he has been spirited out of the world by powers who want the information that only he can provide about this Stone.

Young Morgan Izaak has reasons of his own for desiring extraordinary power: among other things, his mother is dying of cancer. Morgan and his friend Eny Ariello get caught up in the quest for the Stone and are drawn into a cosmic drama that involves mythical beings such as the Tuatha De Dannan (Ireland’s Fairy Folk), the Fomorians (a race of giants), the Fir Bolg (“Bag Men”), and an evil enchantress known as the Morrigu.

The Morrigu, disguised as Madame Medea, keeper of an alchemical supply shop, enlists Morgan’s help in her own search for the Stone, hinting that she will help him cure his mother if they are successful; but Eny, who through a series of circumstances makes a journey into the Sidhe (Faerie), encounters the Fir Bolg and learns of the Morrigu’s designs. With the help of Simon Brach, a man of the De Dannan disguised as a church custodian, they discover Lia Fail in the tower of St. Halistan’s church. Simon tells them that he has been sent by the De Dannan to take the Stone to its final resting place. From that point forward Morgan and Eny join forces with Simon in an attempt to foil enchantress’s designs.

Thanks Jim ~ I think a couple of my daughters will be keen to read your story :)

Relz Reviewz Extras

Buy Jim's book at Amazon or Koorong


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