Publication date: April 21st, 2015
In a village of masked men, each loves only one woman and must follow the commands of his “goddess” without question. A woman may reject the only man who will love her if she pleases, but she will be alone forever. And a man must stay masked until his goddess returns his love—and if she can’t or won’t, he remains masked forever.
Where the rest of her village celebrates this mystery that binds men and women together, seventeen year old Noll is just done with it. She’s lost all her childhood friends as they’ve paired off, but the worst blow was when her closest companion, Jurij, finds his goddess in Noll’s own sister. Desperate to find a way to break this ancient spell, Noll instead discovers why no man has ever loved her: she is in fact the goddess of the mysterious lord of the village, a Byronic man who refuses to let Noll have her right as a woman to spurn him and who has the power to fight the curse. Thus begins a dangerous game between the two: the choice of woman versus the magic of man. And the stakes are no less than freedom and happiness, life and death—and neither Noll nor the veiled man is willing to lose.
Magic and Love in Fantasy Stories
Magic and Love in Fantasy Stories
Fantasy is a genre with no limitations. You can write about mythical creatures and magical powers. You can craft gritty stories set in realistic or almost realistic medieval-style settings, or you can come up with an entirely new setting of your own. You can write about battles and heroic quests, intrigue and royalty, magicians and wizards, and anything else that strikes your fancy—but me, I write about love.
There are many good examples of fantasy where the plot is more important than the characters, where the hero’s quest takes priority over the types of battles we face ourselves everyday: relationships, making a living, family feuds and misunderstandings amongst friends. But I tend to prefer the more character-driven stories, and romance plays a role in almost every type of story I most enjoy.
At the heart of Nobody’s Goddess is the relationship between Noll and the mysterious lord who “finds the goddess” in her, the one man who’ll ever love her. Neither is entirely happy to be stuck with the other, although there’s an underpinning of attraction beneath their conflict. Noll must still come to terms with her feelings for Jurij, her dearest friend, who found the goddess in Noll’s sister and who’s lost to Noll romantically. She refuses to live in a world in which she, as a woman, is free to love whomever she wishes but has no hope of any man but the one who chose her loving her back. At the same time, though, it’s the status quo, and she doesn’t know what, if anything, she can do to change things.
At the heart of the workings of the village is magic—or some might say, a curse. Men aren’t free to be who they truly are. At around puberty, they find the girls they’ll be in love with forever, and their hearts never waver. Their happiness depends on their goddess’ abilities to Return their affections (it’s such a big deal, they capitalize the word), and they do everything they can to show their devotion. Only a fantasy world allowed me to weave magic into these workings. Without magic, no sane society would evolve or exist this way. I suppose if it was set in a sci fi or dystopian landscape, you could explain it away with scientific concoctions making the men act this way or a law determined by a despot, but in the latter case, many men would surely rebel and they wouldn’t truly feel the love, and in the former, taking away the concoctions would solve the problem. Only unshakeable, unbreakable magic could logically make love work this way, and for that, only the fantasy genre made sense.
Love needn’t be magical to play a prominent role in fantasy stories, but the magical setting allows for greater opportunities to explore the relationship between magic and love, between free will and the status quo when that status quo seems impossible to change. Add medieval clothing and homey medieval villages and grand, chilling castles to the landscape, and I’m sold: magic and love go so well together in fantasy stories.
About the author:
Amy McNulty is a freelance writer and editor from Wisconsin with an honors degree in English. She was first published in a national scholarly journal (The Concord Review) while in high school and currently spends her days alternatively writing on business and marketing topics and primarily crafting stories with dastardly villains and antiheroes set in fantastical medieval settings.