by Gail Z. Martin
If you’ve read any of my books, you know holiday celebrations in the differing traditions of the Winter Kingdoms are a big part of the story. I had a lot of fun with this, but I also thought that readers could gain a lot of insight into characters and kingdoms by seeing how their celebrations differed.
Of course Winterstide is the mid-winter solstice, and in The Blood King, my main characters are in exile in Principality for the holidays. While they’re guests of the king and invited to celebrate in style, there’s a lot of tension as they remember holidays past with loved ones who are now dead, and wonder whether or not they’ll live to see future holidays. It’s also natural for the characters to reminisce about the foods and celebrations that they miss from back home, which is especially bittersweet because “home” has changed irrevocably for all of them.
Winterstide crops up again in Dark Haven, a year later. The world has completely changed for all the characters, and most of them are celebrating in places and in ways they never thought possible just a year before. Once again, Tris passes both his birthday and Winterstide away from home, this time, besieging a fortress. Jonmarc discovers that vayash moru bring a whole new perspective on holidays. But for all of them, Winterstide is a light in the darkness.
Wherever your holidays find you, I hope that there is light in the darkness.