The Worlds of Katherine Kurtz

The Deryni Series => General => Topic started by: whitelaughter on January 23, 2016, 10:55:31 pm

Title: The rest of the world
Post by: whitelaughter on January 23, 2016, 10:55:31 pm
G'day, enjoyed the books as a teenager and remember than fondly. Have a few questions though, including:

Does continental Europe exist in the deryni books (presumably overrun by Islam) or is everything between the Welsh border and the Mediterranean missing? Wiki mentions various snippets (frex a Byzantun empire is mentioned in the pre-history of Torenth) but I'm not sure whether R'kassi is meant to be sitting on the smoking remains of Cornwall or to be completely different geography. (Given that it's traditional for maps to make stuff up beyond known borders, I'd understand if Gwynedd didn't even know that the Channel existed).

Thanks in advance!
Title: Re: The rest of the world
Post by: Evie on January 24, 2016, 12:56:59 am
Welcome! I tend to see the Eleven Kingdoms as more of an alternate universe almost-Earth rather than as an exact parallel, so while Gwynedd can be seen as roughly analogous to medieval England (and yes, possibly with Wales added in, since that's where the name comes from after all, though I tend to think of Llannedd as perhaps being closer to Wales in that universe), I think it's more accurate to say KK was more just trying to reflect her influences from various parts of Britain/Europe rather than make exact correlations. Torenth is equally mixed, possessing elements of Germany, Russia, Hungary, and Greece in its names. Names like Fianna sound quasi-Italian to me, whereas Bremagne sometimes seems more Spanish and sometimes more French.  But I think she was more trying to evoke a certain cultural feel with her naming rather than hint at exact 1:1 correspondances.

If you can remember the TV show Sliders, I tend to think of the Deryni world as more of a parallel Earth in which some aspects of history were roughly similar while other aspects diverged sharply. Even the land masses on the maps don't correspond with a map of Europe, much less Europe + Asia, so I think we can deduce it's not meant to be the exact same world as ours, just one that managed to develop quite similarly in places while veering off in interesting ways in others, especially in regards to the development of a genetically magic-potentialed human subspecies.

(And yes, I think a Sliders/Deryni crossover fanfic would have a better chance than most crossover fiction at being at least a halfway plausible story. :D )
Title: Re: The rest of the world
Post by: revanne on January 24, 2016, 01:56:49 am
Hi. Good to have someone else joining in the fun.

There are obviously lands beyond the parameters of the maps we have: a parallel Roman (Ruman - with circumflex) empire is referred to somewhere, and there must be some equivalent for our Holy Land/ middle East for Judaism, Christianity and Islam to exist.

Northern Western Europe seems to be missing as Torenth has something of a Russian or at any rate Slavic feel.

The eleven kingdoms feel to me like the British Isles compressed with flavours of the constituent parts - Llanedd, Wales; Kheldour, Scotland: Meara and Cassan, Ireland, but very much flavours rather than exact equivalents. One of the fun things for me is trying to imagine living in an AU Britain which isn't an island, given how much being an island impacts on so many things. It's only slightly less difficult than imagining a magical race.
Title: Re: The rest of the world
Post by: drakensis on January 24, 2016, 03:06:24 am
I worked out a rough outline of Europe compared to Gwynedd using the maps from the back of the Deryni Codex by setting the Anvil of God (the desert region south of Bremagne and the Forcinn states) as about the level of coastal North Africa and the Eisenmarcke mountains (north-east of Torenth) as roughly corresponding to the Baltic States.

The very different layout of the landmasses does mean a one-to-one match is difficult but it does make it clear that Gwynedd and its western neighbours are pretty much the same size as western Europe. Gwynedd has more in common with a super-sized France or the Angevin Empire than it does with England or even Britain. Torenth is more like Poland-Lithuania at its greatest extent (Baltic to Black Sea).

For scale, the Duchy of Cassan is about the size of Ireland while the Kheldour penninsula (Claibourne and Rhendall) occupies all the space that would be the North Sea in Europe. The region between the Lendours and the border with Torenth is almost as large as Germany (which it largely overlaps). Mooryn (the duchies of Carthmoor and Corwin) is roughly northern Italy while Bremagne as well as the states that broke away from it (Fallon, Jaca, etc) would be a good swathe of the western Mediterranean basin). Byzantun's exactly location is unclear but it's probably somewhere around where Turkey is by comparison.

R'Kassi, as mentioned in the opening post, would occupy a region analogous in location to Naples and Greece, although the geography is immensely different, more like Egypt but in a more northerly location.

With medieval technology it would be hard to run realms this side but both Gwynedd and Torenth are largely built around immense river basins which would ease communications easily. The Eiran and its tributaries are easily as large as the Rhine and we know it's navigable for much of its length. The Beldour River is even larger.
Title: Re: The rest of the world
Post by: revanne on January 24, 2016, 07:38:57 am

(presumably overrun by Islam)


KK says somewhere (possibly in the foreward to Deryni tales) that she doesn't make much mention of any Jewish community in her books because Deryni play the part of the feared and demonised "other" played by medieval Jewry IIRC.

There doesn't seem to be any particular hostility between Islam and Christianity either; in Torenth a form of Eastern Christianity and Islam seem to co-exist and, unless I have missed it, it isn't clearly stated where the religious allegiance of a fairly major character, Azim, lies.
Title: Re: The rest of the world
Post by: revanne on January 24, 2016, 07:51:03 am
Gwynedd has more in common with a super-sized France or the Angevin Empire than it does with England or even Britain.

Although the weather as described is a better fit for Britain :(


With medieval technology it would be hard to run realms this side but both Gwynedd and Torenth are largely built around immense river basins which would ease communications easily. The Eiran and its tributaries are easily as large as the Rhine and we know it's navigable for much of its length. The Beldour River is even larger.

This would also explain why Deryni were in positions of power as they would not be bound by some at least of these limitations. It is not surprising that the rulers of many of the countries have at least some Deryni potential although it may be down-played as in the case of the Hort of Orsal or repressed entirely as with the Bremagni royal family in Jehana's time. It is hard to see how a country the size of Torenth could be ruled as a coherent unit for so long without Deryni power, and even at the height of the persecutions the rulers of Gwynedd still needed the aid of the Haldane potential.
Title: Re: The rest of the world
Post by: Laurna on January 24, 2016, 12:37:04 pm
I am looking at my poster map of the Eleven Kingdoms.
The distance from Rhemuth to Coroth is roughly 300 miles. The distance from Rhemuth to the coast line west, in the Connait, is 200 miles. That is 500 miles from the west coast to the Coamer Mountains that boarder on Torenth. As much as my mind wants to make the Eleven kingdoms equivalent to all of western Europe, it is much smaller than that.

I propose that we cut out bits of Europe and repast them:
     England is the main Duchy of Haldane,
     Welsh is turned sideways and is Howicce and Llannedd.
     Ireland is slammed into the Northwest and becomes the Connait and Meara.
     Cassan, Claibourne are bits of Scotland.
     Cut out parts of Germany and paste it on England's east coast to become The Marches and Lendour.
     The English Chanel becomes the Southern sea. 
     Leave France south of the Southern Sea to become Bremagne.
     Tape parts of Italy and Greece east of that to become Fallon, Andelon and The Forcinn States.
     Move Spain over to become R'Kassi (I see R'Kassi as the early Spanish Moors)
i will leave others to figure out Torenth.
Oh and the Norselands would be Denmark, Sweden and Norway, somehow.

If you look on the last page in the Codex you will see far east and south of R'Kassi are the lands of Rom, Agyptos, Libania, Samisreael and the Holy Lands. Those lands are represented on the map, however, by medieval terms they are beyond general knowledge and only known as stories from distant travelers.
Any fanfic writers care to tell us some traveler's stories.
Title: Re: The rest of the world
Post by: whitelaughter on January 25, 2016, 02:39:21 am
Awesome, thanks everybody, much interesting information  8)
Title: Re: The rest of the world
Post by: Elkhound on January 25, 2016, 09:11:34 am
There seems nothing quite analogous to the Low Countries (Belgium & the Netherlands.)
Title: Re: The rest of the world
Post by: drakensis on January 26, 2016, 12:50:07 am
Although the weather as described is a better fit for Britain :(
Oh yes. Certainly.

I am looking at my poster map of the Eleven Kingdoms.
The distance from Rhemuth to Coroth is roughly 300 miles. The distance from Rhemuth to the coast line west, in the Connait, is 200 miles. That is 500 miles from the west coast to the Coamer Mountains that boarder on Torenth. As much as my mind wants to make the Eleven kingdoms equivalent to all of western Europe, it is much smaller than that.
I suppose that the map in the back of the codex may be Eleven Kingdoms-biased with them shown larger because more detail is known and the more distant lands taking up less room on the map because information is sparser. "Scale? What is that and why is it important?"

According to the map, Bremagne is about the size of Llanned and even adding breakaway lands it would only be around Howicce&Llannedd sized. If it's actually larger, say around the size of the Haldane Plain, that could push the Anvil of the Lord (which seems pretty clearly intended as a desert) more realistically south compared to that scale. As it is, Remigny in Bremagne appears to be closer to Rhemuth than Coroth is. If it's more like the distance from London to Madrid (785 miles) that would be a more reasonable scale, making the northern parts of the Anvil around the latitude of southern Spain.

I propose that we cut out bits of Europe and repast them:
     England is the main Duchy of Haldane,
     Welsh is turned sideways and is Howicce and Llannedd.
     Ireland is slammed into the Northwest and becomes the Connait and Meara.
     Cassan, Claibourne are bits of Scotland.
     Cut out parts of Germany and paste it on England's east coast to become The Marches and Lendour.
     The English Chanel becomes the Southern sea. 
     Leave France south of the Southern Sea to become Bremagne.
     Tape parts of Italy and Greece east of that to become Fallon, Andelon and The Forcinn States.
     Move Spain over to become R'Kassi (I see R'Kassi as the early Spanish Moors)
i will leave others to figure out Torenth.
Oh and the Norselands would be Denmark, Sweden and Norway, somehow.
Culturally speaking that sounds about right.
Title: Re: The rest of the world
Post by: Laurna on January 26, 2016, 03:29:19 am
I have digital versions of the poster map and the game book map. However, I am not sure I can post them here. I know Evie has them too. So let me ask, would it be copyright infringement to post one?

The biggest clue for scale is when Duncan had raced non stop changing horses multiple times to get from Rhemuth to Coroth in three days.  Travel by horse is normally 20-40miles a day. The Pony Express riders could travel 75 miles a day. If Duncan did not stop to sleep, and the road was clear, he could do 100 miles in 24 hours. Coroth is 300 miles away. He was pushing the envelope, but it was possible.
I  found a interesting blog post on horse travel and distance at, of all places, and cartographers blog post.
http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=19730
Title: Re: The rest of the world
Post by: Elkhound on January 26, 2016, 06:54:04 am
I have digital versions of the poster map and the game book map. However, I am not sure I can post them here. I know Evie has them too. So let me ask, would it be copyright infringement to post one?

The biggest clue for scale is when Duncan had raced non stop changing horses multiple times to get from Rhemuth to Coroth in three days.  Travel by horse is normally 20-40miles a day. The Pony Express riders could travel 75 miles a day. If Duncan did not stop to sleep, and the road was clear, he could do 100 miles in 24 hours. Coroth is 300 miles away. He was pushing the envelope, but it was possible.
I  found a interesting blog post on horse travel and distance at, of all places, and cartographers blog post.
http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=19730

As a Deryni and a healer, could Duncan feed energy to his horse enabling it to run farther/faster than a horse normally could?
Title: Re: The rest of the world
Post by: Evie on January 26, 2016, 01:51:01 pm
I love the Cartographers Guild website, Laurna! And yes, unfortunately, I suspect posting the maps here would count as copyright infringement, since they come from published materials, not to mention those publications are still in print. (I made my scanned version for ease of checking on travel distances while writing, since I'm not always at home near those resources when I write, but they were scanned from the RPG book and poster that I purchased first, and so I figured that fell under the category of fair use for research purposes.) There is a mileage scale in the lower left corner of the most recent Kingdom maps, but be aware that the size of Gwynedd has expanded from the earliest versions (where it was narrow enough to fit on a single paperback book page) to the current version (which, iirc, is a two-page spread, or at least formatted for a much wider page). Looking through an old copy of SC last week, I was startled to find that the locations for Caerrorie and St Liam's Abbey are reversed on that map from where they appear on my poster map. I suspect some of the inconsistencies can be put down to KK changing her ideas over time, compounded with different mapmakers occasionally getting details wrong. (Plus, of course, we can say those medieval cartographers were more interested in general locations than exact accuracy. ;) ) Alaric's and Duncan's ride to Culdi after the events at St Torin's seem much more plausible on the older, narrower map than on the new one, especially given the mileage scale.
Title: Re: The rest of the world
Post by: Evie on January 26, 2016, 01:57:31 pm
Elkhound asked:
Quote

As a Deryni and a healer, could Duncan feed energy to his horse enabling it to run farther/faster than a horse normally could?

Theoretically, that might be possible, but it sounds awfully energy-consuming to me. I suppose if he was being chased and the safety of the city or castle gate was in sight, it might be worth a shot, but for long distance travel, that sounds like a good way to completely exhaust yourself and possible leave yourself defenseless if you needed to summon up power for some other magical use later.
Title: Re: The rest of the world
Post by: whitelaughter on January 26, 2016, 06:38:15 pm
So let me ask, would it be copyright infringement to post one?

Wiki only uses public domain stuff, and has a map: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/5/5d/Eleven.kingdoms.jpeg/320px-Eleven.kingdoms.jpeg

and the distances travelled site is interesting, thanks!
Title: Re: The rest of the world
Post by: tenworld on January 31, 2016, 10:00:32 pm
Besides the Jews what is missing from this world is Vikings and the influence they had including descendants who founded Russia and eventually conquered England by way of Normandy.  The geography does not provide the cauldron that brewed the Danish/Viking explorations and raids. The Deryni in a sense replace the Vikings just as they represent the persecuted jews, starting in the North some where and eventually spreading everywhere. (supposedly red hair is a marker of Viking legacy so Rhys Thuran could be part of that too).

I think KK did a good job of capturing essences of most of western history while still creating her own world.
Title: Re: The rest of the world
Post by: drakensis on February 01, 2016, 05:06:36 am
Well, Haldane is supposedly derived from Halbert the Dane and there does appear to have been an influx of northern influxes roundabout the time the Byzantum's lost their hold on Gwynedd, Torenth and the Southern Sea region.
Title: Re: The rest of the world
Post by: Elkhound on March 16, 2016, 11:16:46 am
Erm. . . there are references to "Norseland".
Title: Re: The rest of the world
Post by: whitelaughter on November 11, 2017, 04:28:45 am
KK says somewhere (possibly in the foreward to Deryni tales) that she doesn't make much mention of any Jewish community in her books because Deryni play the part of the feared and demonised "other" played by medieval Jewry IIRC.

Am currently reading Winston Churchill's 'History of the English Speaking Peoples' and noted that when the Jews were expelled from England, an exception was made for some Jewish physicians (p228, Vol I) - so the Deryni Healers copy that situation. Don't know whether Katherine knew that or not, but if nothing else it seems that the actual histories of the era would be worth mining for gaming and fanfic.
Title: Re: The rest of the world
Post by: DesertRose on November 11, 2017, 05:15:53 am
KK says somewhere (possibly in the foreward to Deryni tales) that she doesn't make much mention of any Jewish community in her books because Deryni play the part of the feared and demonised "other" played by medieval Jewry IIRC.

Am currently reading Winston Churchill's 'History of the English Speaking Peoples' and noted that when the Jews were expelled from England, an exception was made for some Jewish physicians (p228, Vol I) - so the Deryni Healers copy that situation. Don't know whether Katherine knew that or not, but if nothing else it seems that the actual histories of the era would be worth mining for gaming and fanfic.

I believe the mention about Judaism was in Deryni Magic, because she says that neither Christianity nor Islam would exist without Judaism, she referenced Bishop Arilan quoting Talmudic precedent in the hearing regarding the validity of Duncan's brief marriage to Maryse, the legitimacy (or lack thereof) of Dhugal's birth, and thus Dhugal's right to be Duke of Cassan.

KK said that absence of proof is not proof of absence regarding the existence of actual Jewish people in the Eleven Kingdoms and that, when the time came to tell a story in which a character being Jewish was important or at least relevant, we would see Jewish folks.

As to whether KK knew about that part of WWII-era history, I would think she did.  Her master's degree is in medieval European history, IIRC, but Lammas Night is set in the UK in 1940, so I think she has probably studied that time period to get the historical facts as correct as possible to tell that story.

But she also does say, also in Magic, that, in a way, the Deryni are the Jews of Gwynedd in that they are an ethnic minority who can blend in at least to a degree with the majority, and also they collectively fail to see the writing on the wall until it's too late, in reference to the persecution of Deryni after the death of Cinhil.

Incidentally, whitelaughter, if you're on a WWII history kick and you haven't read Lammas Night, it's worth your time (or a revisit, if you have already read it), and my mother is reading a book called Troublesome Young Men by Lynne Olson, about the members of Parliament who forced Neville Chamberlain out of office as Prime Minister and replaced him with Churchill.  Mom says it's fascinating, and I trust her tastes.  ;D
Title: Re: The rest of the world
Post by: Bynw on November 11, 2017, 08:04:43 am
There are Jews in a story in Deryni Tales.
Title: Re: The rest of the world
Post by: DesertRose on November 11, 2017, 09:08:51 am
There are Jews in a story in Deryni Tales.

I think I have a copy of Deryni Tales, but I haven't read the whole thing yet.  Do you happen to remember whether the story featuring Jewish characters written by KK or by a fan?

Although, either way, Deryni Magic was published eleven years before Deryni Tales.  ;)
Title: Re: The rest of the world
Post by: Bynw on November 11, 2017, 09:55:30 am
It was a fan story. Unfortunately I am at work and all my paper back books are in storage so I wont be able to check who wrote it. But it is a good story I do remember reading it. Most of the stories in Deryni Tales are by fans. They are some of KK's favorites from past issues of Deryni Archives the 'zine.

Title: Re: The rest of the world
Post by: DesertRose on November 11, 2017, 12:38:55 pm
It was a fan story. Unfortunately I am at work and all my paper back books are in storage so I wont be able to check who wrote it. But it is a good story I do remember reading it. Most of the stories in Deryni Tales are by fans. They are some of KK's favorites from past issues of Deryni Archives the 'zine.

Yeah, I knew Deryni Tales was mostly fan stories, I think with a short story or two from Our Lady of the Stories.  ;)  I was just curious, and I don't have access to any of my physical books right now either, just the ones on my Kindle app, and Deryni Tales isn't one of the ones I have in Kindle format.
Title: Re: The rest of the world
Post by: drakensis on November 12, 2017, 02:25:20 am
Arilan the Talmud Student was written  by Daniel Kohanski and Jay Barry Azneer
Title: Re: The rest of the world
Post by: whitelaughter on November 14, 2017, 08:07:49 am
As to whether KK knew about that part of WWII-era history,
Oh sorry, it's not WWII - this is when Churchill is talking about the expulsion in the middle ages.
Title: Re: The rest of the world
Post by: DesertRose on November 14, 2017, 11:30:33 am
As to whether KK knew about that part of WWII-era history,
Oh sorry, it's not WWII - this is when Churchill is talking about the expulsion in the middle ages.

Oh, sorry, I misunderstood.  I thought it had to do with Jewish refugees fleeing Hitler's Germany.  Mea culpa.
Title: Re: The rest of the world
Post by: whitelaughter on November 14, 2017, 06:36:32 pm
As to whether KK knew about that part of WWII-era history,
Oh sorry, it's not WWII - this is when Churchill is talking about the expulsion in the middle ages.

Oh, sorry, I misunderstood.  I thought it had to do with Jewish refugees fleeing Hitler's Germany.  Mea culpa.
Perfectly understandable, given the Jewish doctor who treated Hitler's mother and so forth! I guess the lesson is that the more things change, the more they stay the same...
Title: Re: The rest of the world
Post by: DesertRose on November 14, 2017, 06:44:40 pm
Ain't that the truth.  :/