There And Draft Again

A Fellowship of Fantasy Writers

Fantastical, Yet Subtle Inspiration in “Reign” November 9, 2013

Filed under: Inspiration — thereanddraftagain @ 9:02 pm
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I am most definitely the kind of writer that gets inspiration from things like music and television. Seeing the way two characters interact gets the wheels in my head turning, and sometimes actors’ portrayals can be such inspiration to me that I end up “casting” them as one of my characters. Music can change entire story lines for me, but that’s for another post.

Today I want to talk about the surprising inspiration I’ve found in the CW’s new show “Reign.”

When I first started watching this show, I expected nothing more than a period piece with teens, but it has been so much more. The show centers around Mary, Queen of Scots, as she joins the French court to be better protected by the marriage treaty promising her marriage to the future king of France, Francis. But things are never as easy as they seem, and though she fled to court to be safe from the English spies trying to kill her in order to easily take over her country, she finds herself surrounded by spies, danger, and political intrigue. The worst enemy she has is the one closest to her–Queen Catherine. Catherine has been told by her trusted adviser Nostradamus (ring any bells?) that Mary will bring about the death of Francis, and the Queen is willing to do whatever it takes to thwart this prophecy.

The supernatural element to this show is pretty subtle, regardless of having a prophet at the side of the Queen. Nostradamus is also a healer and a scholar, so there’s much more to his role on the show than spouting off ominous and vague prophecies. There’s also the so-called “castle ghost” who goes by the name of Clarissa. Clarissa is obviously quite taken by Mary, and constantly helping her thwart her enemies and solve the mysteries surrounding the people who plot against her. Clarissa is just girl with a sack over her head (a sure sign that she isn’t a ghost so much as probably horribly disfigured) who lives in the shadows of the castle, moving unseen through the hidden passages and easily spying on everyone, but her presence adds a sad layer of mystery to the show.

But the biggest source of supernatural inspiration and intrigue for me so far has been the Pagans in the woods. There’s so much going on there, and Francis’s half-brother Sebastian is involved somehow. I can’t wait for it to all play out and to get more on this. I draw a lot of inspiration from Celtic legends for my books, and the fact that they’ve been referred to as Druids in the story really excites me.

The fantastical elements of this show are played out very subtly, which I really enjoy. It’s such a change from shows like “The Vampire Diaries” and “Merlin” where the supernatural is front and center. The supernatural in this show only serves to add more layers to the magic that is already happening between the characters.

Image from buddytv.com

 

And, boy, is there magic. The chemistry between these actors is just phenomenal, and the stage presence they have alone is awesome too. Especially Sebastian, played by Torrance Coombs.

I’d like to think his draw isn’t just from his drool-worthy looks (and my tendency to fangirl out), but from his screen presence as well. He tends to steal every scene he is in, and I think a big part of that is that he is always in character and his character is always reacting somehow, giving you the impression that there is more to this bastard-born young man than meets the eye. There’s a love triangle brewing as both Francis and Sebastian begin to fall for our dear Queen Mary, but it is definitely a slow burn, which is refreshing to see.

I’m all about a character driven story, and “Reign” definitely falls under that category. If there was no love between Mary and the brothers, it wouldn’t be as enticing to me even with the hint of supernatural elements. But this show has the whole package for me: romance, intrigue, hints of magic and prophecy, and suspense. It makes me want to drop my WIP and go back to my fantasy series. So if you are finding yourself lacking in the inspiration department, I would highly recommend it.

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