To celebrate the upcoming launch of Shay West’s Shattered Destiny, I’m letting her take over my blog! I hope you’ll enjoy her guest post and check out her book when it releases on May 1st. 🙂 — Jamie
Prophecy is as important to the fantasy genre as magic. It’s what starts the whole thing off, mentioning a hero that will come to save the day. Sometimes it even tries to spell out how the hero will go about performing the usually impossible task of saving the entire world from danger. But most often the hero is left to slog through the adventure with the knowledge that he or she alone is responsible for the fate of everyone.
That would kinda put a damper on your day wouldn’t it?
One of my favorite authors, Terry Goodkind, uses prophecy but there is often more than one way to interpret the words. This adds a super awesome element of tension throughout his Sword of Truth series. The reader is led to think the prophecy means one thing but at the end of it all, Richard Cypher finds new meaning in the cryptic words, leaving the reader cheering his brilliance.
One of the things prophecy is supposed to do is allow someone to predict the future and thus act accordingly. But most of the time it seems as though most prophecy is difficult, if not impossible to interpret.
Take Nostradamus. There is so much dedicated to his prophecies. The problem is, people can only attribute his prophecies to some event after the event happens and they are able to go back and read his works. Part of the problem is the vague nature of the prophecies and the translation of them into various languages. Let’s look at some examples:
In the City of God there will be a great thunder,
Two brothers torn apart by Chaos,
while the fortress endures, the great leader will succumb,
The third big war will begin when the big city is burning
Many people think this was his vision of the attacks of September 11th, 2001. Ummm…to me, this could be anything at all! There’s no mention of airplanes, terrorists, buildings. So the interpretation is sketchy and reaching a little far in my opinion.
Beasts ferocious with hunger will swim across the rivers,
greater part of the army will be against Hister.
The great one will cause him to be dragged in a cage of iron,
when the German infant observes no law
This quatrain is supposed to indicate the fall of Adolf Hitler. People leap to the conclusion that Hister really means Hitler, even though Nostradamus has never been known (to my knowledge) to have ever used a person’s name in any of his prophecies. It could mean anything, really. Just because it sounds similar to Hitler doesn’t mean this is what the quatrain refers to.
Prophecy can be a dangerous thing, especially when in the wrong hands. Just look at Harry Potter! A prophecy led to Harry’s parents being killed, Harry bearing the scar that links him to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, his being ruthlessly hunted all his years of school at Hogwarts, and eventually to Voldy’s own downfall.
But in all seriousness, it would be so easy for someone to misinterpret one of Nostradamus’ prophecies and take matters into their own hands, maybe start killing people, trying to prevent something from happening that they don’t even really know is going to happen.
I tackle this issue of prophecy in my Portals of Destiny series (Book two coming May 1st) and I admit, I am attempting to use Mr. Goodkind’s approach to the whole thing. The prophecy is purposefully vague, and will have more than one interpretation. It all depends on the reader and how they view the world. And that’s exactly as I want it to be. By the end of the series, people will question the very nature of prophecy and the ability to actually predict the future, and if things turn out well for the heroes, was that was prophecy meant all along? Or did they rewrite a history that the prophets couldn’t predict?
Dr. Shay Fabbro currently lives in Grand Junction with her husband, Rich, and their two cats. When not writing novels, she teaches biology classes at Colorado Mesa University. She is the author of the Portals of Destiny series (Booktrope Publishing) and the Adventures of Alexis Davenport series. She has also been published in the military scifi anthology, Battlespace and the Orange Karen anthology.