Author's Notes &endash; a sort of appendix regarding names and obscure references

There are a few things in this story that don't have a lot to do with Escaflowne, things I put in to amuse myself. I thought I'd explain them, just in case any of them seemed gratuitous or confusing, and you were wondering what the hell they were supposed to mean, if anything. Most of them are cultural references to my own country, New Zealand, and as such I can't really expect anyone to get them unless they live here. (In which case, what are you going to do at 7 pm every night now Shortland Street's on summer hiatus, and isn't Dave Dobbyn's Overnight Success a wonderful greatest-hits album, and are you stoked or bummed that Labour won the election?)

The Boy That Bounced, The Lion in the Meadow and The Witch in the Cherry Tree are all children's stories by the New Zealand author Margaret Mahy. I grew up on these books (along with enough Dr Seuss to drive my parents mad on the millionth repeat reading of Fox in Socks) and I still love 'em. If you have children, get them started on Margaret Mahy as soon as you can. Her books for young adults also kick ass, particularly The Haunting and The Changeover.

The nasty cereal Celena describes is Weet-Bix (you didn't know this was going to be a roman à clef, did you?), on which generations of young New Zealanders have been raised and raised well. (Except me &endash; I would never touch the stuff.) Eating them dry is a real ritual in boys' boarding schools; I believe eight in one go was the standing record of Sir Edmund Hillary, conqueror of Mount Everest, so you know that's impressive. (Although it can't have been entirely the cereal. Sherpa Tenzing Norgay didn't have the advantage of Weet-Bix and he got up there with Sir Ed. Moral: if you can't eat compressed wheat bricks in bulk, be Nepalese.)

The details of being caned in the Dragonslayers were lifted more or less directly from Roald Dahl's memoir of childhood, Boy, in which he describes his years in English boys' boarding schools. Boys' schools scare the living crap out of me (look what they did to Prince Charles &endash; the man talks to vegetables) so any resonances between them and the Dragonslayer training system are pretty deliberate.

Oh yeah, you might have noticed these song quotes I keep sticking at the heads of chapters. These are generally just whatever was running through my head at the time of writing (not, mercifully, including 'My Heart Will Go On' &endash; I hate that song! None of the lyrics make sense! It deserves to be associated with nightmares about rotting bodies!) or, in some cases, a song I wish my readers could be listening to as they read that chapter, because it should be on the soundtrack. Stellar* and Split Enz are New Zealand bands and damn' fine bands they are too. Dave Dobbyn is also a Kiwi musician; it wasn't until I recently listened closely to his album Twist again that I realised how much he mentioned fire, and I kind of wish I could have used that more. I'm not really that big of a Hole fan but 'Celebrity Skin' and 'Malibu' really stuck in my head; they went with the feelings I was writing about, or so I felt at the time.

My choice of surname for Gaddes (because Shoji Kawamori, with a remarkable lack of consideration for my feelings, omitted to give him one &endash; unless Gaddes was supposed to be it and we aren't told his first name, which I realise is entirely possible) is also inspired by New Zealand music (not Mark Twain, although, full credit to hm, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a very good book) &endash; I was just going through a burst of affection for two of our best musicians, Tim and Neil Finn. They were both in Split Enz; Neil was later the leader of Crowded House, and if you went to see Antz, that was him you could hear singing 'I Can See Clearly Now' while Zee and Bala explored Insectopia. The name of Gaddes's home town, Awamut, is a truncated version of the Finns' home town, Te Awamutu. I had real trouble making up names for this story, particularly the people in Gaddes's biography &endash; Jonty is actually the name of my sister's boyfriend's mother's dog. (It's really a short form of Jonathan, so my apologies to any Jonties reading this &endash; I'm not saying you're all dogs. But if Jonty the dog is reading this, hi Jonty! How did you learn to use a computer?)

The name Aruetta (I regret Aruetta now, but she's too big a part to just delete her from the story, and I can't summon the energy to come up with a totally different person to play her part) is simply based on the French word for lark, 'alouette,' in the same way as Meruru/Merulu is based on 'merle,' meaning blackbird. Oh, and backtracking, the awkward name 'Alaue Magenpie' was based on the fact that I once saw a webpage whose writer apparently thought Dilandau's surname was Albatross, which made me laugh quite a lot (I was imagining John Cleese yelling 'ALBATROSS!' and Dilandau yelling 'Burn! Burn!' back at him &endash; two of the world's great screamers of invective). So I thought another bird name would be nice, and I like magpies, and I remembered that in Gerald Durrell's My Family and Other Animals (read it, it rocks) Spiro always calls Gerry's pet magpies Magenpies. Another way of getting a name wrong. So there you go, an obscure joke by way of Monty Python and a classic work of natural history/family comedy that probably only I really get.

That's about it. I think I started writing this story at the start of January 1999 and expected to have it done by the end of February; instead I'm typing this on the fourteenth of June and I think I might still want to make revisions. (To be fair, a lot of things happened: for example, my grandfather Derek died in February. He was the coolest person who wore walk shorts and knee socks that I ever knew.) I enjoyed writing this story, except when I was getting angry with myself about how bad and clichéd I thought it was, and how unrealistically nice Gaddes was (even though I really wish I knew someone like that &endash; are you listening, Aphrodite?) &endash; I hope you enjoyed reading it, or otherwise, what was the point? This is the longest narrative I have ever completed. My mother thinks I should have written something I could have published *^.^*

Sarah-neko (Sarah Dove)

14 June 1999

Umm… I made the revisions. Not very much is different except for the penultimate scenes of Celena's pursuit of Dilandau and the manner of his eventual death. Hope y'all like it. It seemed better to me.


2 December 1999

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