Today on EMU’s Debuts, we are wrapping up our grand debut week for THE WICKED AND THE JUST. In today’s final installment, we have some VERY special guests. You see, we invited a number of medieval experts to this party, and they’ve been milling around here all week, tossing back the mead and ale and throwing in a few hearty huzzahs from time to time. I thought it was about time they offered something back after all the free grub and grog they’ve been putting away all week, so I put a few questions to them.
First I thought I should get some comments on the title. The crowd was split on their preference for THE WICKED or THE JUST. Few wanted to talk about both. On the topic of WICKEDNESS, a certain Florentine who has spent the week throwing logs into the fireplace had this to say:
Thou follow me, and I will be thy guide,
And lead thee hence through the eternal place,
Where thou shalt hear the desperate lamentations,
Shalt see the ancient spirits disconsolate,
Who cry out each one for the second death.
Hmmm. Sounds fun, Dante, but maybe a little more hard core than I’m really prepared for. I thought perhaps I should try someone a little more tame, and found a straight-laced English chap named Geoffery in the corner. But as soon as I said “Tell me what you think of The Wicked–” he interrupted with this:
Keepe wel thy tonge and keepe thy freend,
A wikked tonge is worse than a feend!
Which, frankly, I found a bit irrelevant, although I was relieved to encounter someone who’s spelling is worse than mine. Finally, I asked a group of the Original EMUs what they thought of wickedness. After a week of partying, you can see that many of us had gone down that road a few times, and so we weren’t really in any condition to comment, though a few of us demonstrated behavior that might qualify:
So much for wickedness. I figured someone had something to say about THE JUST. Unfortunately, the only Welsh luminary at the party was the poet George Herbert, who turned out to be a bit gushy on the topic:
Softnesse, and peace, and joy, and love, and blisse,
Exalted Manna, gladnesse of the best,
Heaven in ordinarie, man well drest,
The milkie way, the bird of Paradise.
Right. That’s what we get for inviting a renaissance man to the party. Thinking I might get a more sensible answer from the clergy, I asked a group of Bavarian monks hanging out on the front lawn, but they just burst into song, and that really got the party going:
I needed a rest after that and went to sit down inside, but encountered two lovely young ladies glowering at each other in the corner. Imagine my delight to discover they were the STARS of the book, Cecily and Gwenhwyfar! Finally, someone who could give me some real answers! So I conducted the following interview, for your reading pleasure.
Ladies, please introduce yourselves:
Cecily: I’m Cecily. I was born and raised at Edgeley Hall deep in the English midlands, one of the most lovely places on God’s green earth. Now I live in Caernarvon – north Wales of all places! – because my father is a dull cabbage. Oh, and that’s Gwinny. Don’t mind her; she’s not that interesting.
Gwenhwyfar: I’m called Gwenhwyfar ferch Peredur ap Goronwy. My ancestors bled this ground red to keep the likes of her out. Do you see why?
Me: Glad to see you’re getting along. Tell me, what is the best thing about living in Wales? What is the worst?
Gwenhwyfar: The best thing? Everyone I love is here. The worst thing is, so is everyone I’d gladly see dead.
Cecily: I cannot bear the weather. And the people who live without the walls could do with better behavior. But I like the castle. I like how it can be provisioned by sea. Ships can sail right up and load in provisions and besiegers cannot prevent it. It was built that way special by his Grace the king. He obviously knew exactly who he was dealing with.
Me: Tell me, ladies. See that Zombie Buddy hanging out over there with a Santa Duck? Which of them would you want defending your interest, if you had a choice?
Cecily: Santa Duck. Santa is a giver of gifts, yes? I like gifts.
Gwenhwyfar: Both. I need all the help I can get.
Me: Being as you are the main characters in a book that professes to be about the Wicked and the Just, readers are likely to think one of you is the wicked one and one is the just. Why should the readers believe you to be the better person?
Cecily: It’s fair obvious, is it not? I’m so much more sweet-tempered and interesting and modest than any of those people.
Gwenhwyfar: Must I even answer the question now?
Hmm. Well, Cecily, let me introduce you to this lovely Italian fellow over by the fireplace. And Gwenhwyfar, I think you might like to spend a little time with your fellow countryman, Mr. Herbert.
Maybe that will keep them from killing each other. And the best thing is, now I have this corner all to myself, perfect for cracking open my new book. Please don’t disturb me for the rest of the weekend.