Monday 11 June 2018

Christening the Courtfolk

Christening the Courtfolk Names and Naming Post 4 

When I started writing the Fairy in the Bed series, I dealt with just one kind of fay. As the series expanded, I brought in more. To justify having them different (they're all fay or fairies, but many of them categorise themselves beyond that) I came up with naming systems to suit each group.
Part of the fun, if not making up the names from scratch, lies in adapting existing names and finding enough that fit recognisably into a culture.

Courtfolk, court folk, or court fay, as the variously term themselves, mostly live in an area they call the Courtlands. This encompasses several different places, including the summer court, the castle, and various manors and villages. If they're over here, and passing (i.e. masquerading as human) people think they're aristocratic English or possibly French and in fact they are connected with the Normans. The different types differ quite a bit. Like the braefolk, the men often have strong manifestations (secondary personalities) but unlike the braefolk highlanders and ghillies the summermen and midsummer knights find their second selves a great problem. Summermen are usually tall, flaxen haired and blue eyed, and their manifests are knights, complete with courtly manners, armour and a "Sir" in front of their forenames. Midsummer knights manifest only for a few days at midsummer, but the summermen can appear at just about any time. 
Other courtfolk men are yeoman courtfolk who come from the manors. They have an easier time of it. The women, (maids or ladies) often have manifests too, usually as damsels or dames, but sometimes as mother superiors, godmothers, or duchesses. Alys Adair, who is only half courtfolk, is an unusual case of a female knight manifest.
The first courtfolk character encountered in the series is Piers Le Fay, a midsummer knight who turns up in Sydney in Hot Summer Knight. Poor Piers thinks he's safe in Sydney in July because it's winter. He's wrong. 
The next one is Gervais St Clair, a summerman who is a main character in Floribunda and the Best Men. Gervais, (Gervy to his friend Hamish and The Child to his elder sisters) has grey eyes until the day he doesn't. His alter ego, Sir Gervais aka Sir Summer, is a Problem with a capital P.
Gervais' sisters are Katherine (Kit) and Eloise (Issy). His parents are Gavin and Joanna. Mistress Kit later marries Rafe de Courcey and one of their daughters is named Amalie.
The courtfolk names are a mix of classical English and Norman French, with a few wild cards thrown in.  Aside from the St Clair family, the largest courtfolk group to date belong to the Skipton family of Skipton Manor.
These are encountered in The Kissing Ring and Midsummer Melody.
Cecily  le Porte and her husband Andre Skipton are lord and lady of the manor. Their three sons are Quant, Luc and Roderick. Guests at the Midsummer Ball include Marguerite "Maggie" du Fen and her cousin Babette.  Other courtfolk names from the area include Louis, Josette, Matilda, Suzette, Giselle and Yvanne. Court Leopold, from Court in Between, is related to the St Clairs.
The courtfolk have retained their aristocratic ways while living in their homelands, but when over here they reflect human social culture. As Maggie du Fen said to Roderick at a Midsummer Ball in the late 1960s:

“Roddy, can you believe all this?"
Her elegant hand drew his attention to the manor, lit by lanterns outside and hundreds of branches of candles within. Music sounded softly, and guests in breeches and ballgowns flowed and bowed, curtseyed and greeted one another in an ever-shifting pattern.
"What’s not to believe? It’s Midsummer Eve and this is a court ball. It’s supposed to look like this,” [Roderick said.]
“It’s also a Friday night over there.  Do you know what I was doing last Friday night?”
“No. I expect you’ll tell me.” She was in an odd mood.
“I was dancing the twist at the Kaleidoscope with Alan Adair. In a mini skirt.”
“Him or you? I’d expect him to wear a kilt or trews.”
"Me. idiot. He had on flares and a plaid shirt."

Most courtfolk, like Roderick, don't have too much trouble managing two different cultures. As long as they're not summermen or midsummer knights, that is!

The Fairy in the Bed series is showcased at Larksinger while the books can be purchased from the publisher.

About the Blog

Sally is Sally Odgers; author, anthologist and reader. You can find you way into her maze of websites and blogs via the portal here.(Sally is me, by the way.)

The goal for 2017 was to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. 2017 is well behind us, but I ran out of year before running out of books. As of June 2018 I STILL hadn't run out of books, but many of those still to come are MIA by which I mean I don't have copies and remember little about them. There are more new books in the pipeline, and I'm certainly showcasing those, but in between times, I'm profiling some of my characters, places and objects. Thank you so much to everyone who's come along on this journey so far!

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