A Question of Fiction is back, guys! Over the last few months I’ve drafted a couple of posts in this feature, but I can never quite get the characters voices in my head and consequently it has been months and months since I last posted. (and pssst, you can find all the previous posts by searching ‘A Question of Fiction’ which you should totally do) *ahem* But I really like writing this feature (which, icymi, features interviews of fictional characters), so it’s back, if sporadically, with Arya and Nasuada, my favourite characters from The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini, which I’ve been rereading recently. This won’t spoil any major parts of the book, apart from the fact that the characters are alive by the end of Brisingr (and they were never really in danger so). Also, feast your eyes (or recoil in horror) of this fanart I made of the two of them.
Interviewer: Can you tell me a little bit about your childhood?
Arya: Childhood is very precious to elves, and mine was long ago. But I remember great contentment. I lived with my mother in Ellesmera, and she was kind to me, and I wasn’t too worried about my father’s absence, and the world was just simpler then. I didn’t know what happened outside of Du Weldenvarden.
Nasuada: I’m from the Wandering Tribes, and I travelled with them when I was young. I saw a lot of Alagaesia. Then my father and I moved to join the Varden in Farthen Dur. All through my childhood I remember my father: his arms, holding me, comforting me, telling me stories.
Interviewer: So you don’t know your mother, then?
Nasuada: I know who she was, which tribe she came from, but I don’t remember her at all. She left soon after I was born.
Interviewer: Both of you have done a lot of travelling. What is your favourite part of Alagaesia, and why?
Nasuada: I wish that I could have seen more of this land when it wasn’t oppressed by a tyrant. Farthen Dur is beautiful, but I love the plains of Surda: Aberon, and the shores of the Tudosten Lake.
Arya: Du Weldenvarden holds a great deal of wonders, and it’s unfortunate that no human has experienced them for many years. Apart from Du Weldenvarden, I love the Edda River; it’s crystalline depths as it wends through Alagaesia are stunning.
Interviewer: Both of you are women in a world of war; a world, some might say, fit for men. How do you deal with that?
Nasuada: I have faced many struggles: people who say they want to protect me when they really want to best me for example, people who tease me for my love of lace—and look where lace got me! I have to be persistent, remind myself that I’m capable, that I love what I do, that I do it for the betterment of all people and elves and Urgals—and then go and prove that with the decisions I make.
Arya: Bah! Elves honour their men and women equally, for they are equally capable in different ways. I have had to prove myself, but it’s much better for elves, since we already have skills unlike humans. And I have good people around me, ones who respect me, even if some of them are gone now.
Interviewer: Who are some people you’ve looked up to in your role as a leader?
Nasuada: My father, for sure, and the wisdom of King Hrothgar. They are the leaders I want to be: just, caring, and merciful. But more recently, I’ve been talking to King Orrin, of Surda, and he gives me good advice—and makes me laugh with his crazy experiments.
Arya: My mother, always, and of course the Riders who protected our realm for so long.
Interviewer: What do you do when you have spare time?
Nasuada: *laughs* Spare time… last time I had spare time was like three months ago. But seriously, if I’m not sleeping, I’m probably talking to my maid—her friendship means so much to me—or trying to read. Sometimes I sew to relax as well.
Arya: I like to sit quietly and observe what’s around me, all that’s living. But like Nasuada, time is a commodity I’m decidedly short of. If only they sold it like you can sell lace. (both laugh)
Interviewer: Final question: What is the best meal you could possible imagine?
Nasuada: I love sweet things so maybe mead on the side of a main course of stew and rice, with gold laced chocolate for dessert.
Arya: You always come back to gold, don’t you Nasuada? Fresh fruit and nuts, with a clear soup of celery, lemon, and coriander.
Interviewer: Thanks for talking to us!
If you could meet your favourite character, what would you ask them? Who’s your favourite female friendship in a fantasy novel? Are you Arya and Nasuada fans? Tell me in the comments!