Boozy Books: The King Raven Trilogy

Greetings and salutations! It’s C, here to take over today’s Boozy Books because A actually has a life/friends to go out with and I spent the day in a Starbucks. Granted, I got a bunch of writing done, replaced my note card collection, and made some headway into my world building, so I think I got the better end of the deal. Then again, I’m a nerd.

But I’m cool with that.

After doing Guy Gavriel Kay last week, I decided to keep going with the historical fantasy thing with Stephen Lawhead. I’ve actually read quite a bit of his stuff and enjoy all of it, with the Song of Albion trilogy being my favorite. But the Song of Albion is the kind of series for someone like me, who is absolutely obsessed with Celtic mythology. It’s like intermediary Lawhead and today is all about introductory Lawhead, which is why I went with the King Raven trilogy. Why?

Because everyone knows the story of Robin Hood. This trilogy takes that story and puts it in a mytho-historical context, like it’s the “true story” behind the myth. Bran ap Brychan is the heir to Elfael, one of the kingdoms in the Welsh Marches. He is irresponsible, charming, incorrigible… and also deprived of his throne by the Norse King William Rufus, who is expanding Norse influence into Wales. Bran takes to the forests and eventually becomes Rhi Bran y Hud (King Bran of the Hood), aka King Raven. With his band of merry men (including forester Will Scarlet and Friar Tuck), he fights back against the Norse invaders, tries to protect his people, and regain his throne.

Stephen Lawhead is known for taking folklore and putting it in a grittier, more historical setting. And I think he does it best here, where the history and the myth work so well together. Not only that, but it’s a period of history not commonly explored in novels. Robin Hood being a Crusader is so typical… but being a displaced Cymro lord fighting against the Norse? Now that’s really fricken interesting.

And, for those of you Game of Thrones fans out there who didn’t already know, Bran (also called the Blessed) is the Raven King in Welsh myth. The name Bran literally means Raven. So… Martin’s been foreshadowing Bran’s role in the series from literally the first time his name was mentioned. Fun, right?

So… what to drink? As a celebration of Friar Tuck and his favorite hobby, I am recommending mead. Whatever kind of mead floats your boat, but I’ve always been a fan of fruit meads, or Melomels, which can cut down on some of the sourness inherent in plain mead. My favorite is a Cyser, which is a mixture of honey mead and apple juice or cider. But if you’re looking for something a bit weirder, you can try a Capsicumel, which is flavored with chili peppers! Whatever floats your boat!

OK, so that’s it for me today! I’ll be back tomorrow with something Shakespeare-related!

C

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