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Friday, 16 May 2014

Who is Goewin?

With ‘Footholder’ being accepted for publication by Rebel ePublishers, I thought I’d give a little bit of background on Goewin (the main character), and how I view her. 

It’s a change to be able to do this without readers having to wait for the book.  As this story is in the public domain as part of The Mabinogion, I’m in the unusual position of being able to talk about characters and plot in advance.

King Math of Gwynedd is a king who will die unless he keeps his foot in a maiden’s lap.  Goewin becomes his current Footholder, and, eventually, his queen.  So, what do we know about her?

Well, not a lot.  Goewin plays a minor role in the Welsh story so isn’t really ‘fleshed out’.  All we really know about her is that she was the daughter of an otherwise unknown man called Pebin from the Nantlle Valley, was a maiden (obviously), and was the most beautiful woman in the kingdom.

A few experts in Welsh literature have tried to fill in some of the void, to speculate she was originally the same character as Arianrhod, the king’s niece, or that because her name means ‘strength’ she portrays the strength of womanhood, etc etc.

In summary, though, Goewin is a shadowy character.  For a writer wanting to write her story that gave me a lot of blanks to fill in, and so a lot of mouth watering possibilities.

When I first planned the novel I made Goewin a schemer, who became Math’s bride by manoeuvring and manipulating other characters.  That made her unlikeable, and also meant her making some choices I (and probably publishers) would find unpalatable.

So, I decided on a Goewin who was quiet on the outside – maybe even intimidated by her role amid royalty – but with an inner strength.  That made her shy and insecure when she first started holding the king’s foot, but willing to stand up for herself against bullying, and to shape her own destiny.  That’s enough for me in any heroine, and Goewin was a very satisfying one to write.

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