Thursday, June 23, 2016

Beautiful People: June 2016 // King John

~Beautiful People is a monthly linkup for writers hosted by Cait at Paper Fury and Sky at Further Up and Further In.~

This month's questions are based around your character's childhood. Since I am writing a short story about one of the villains from my fantasy/fairytale story at the moment, I decided to do this month's Beautiful People about him.
King John rules one of the human countries and, at the beginning of the book, he is looking for a bride. He decides to send a prisoner from the dungeon and an old hag to rescue a princess imprisoned by a Wicked Witch on the top of a very tall mountain.

What is their first childhood memory?
John's first memory is sitting on his mother's lap, playing with a set of toy soldiers that she brought for him.

What were their best and worst childhood experiences?
Best: Every day until she died, John's mother would visit him for an hour. Sometimes she would play with him, sometimes they would walk in the garden together, and sometimes she would sit and John would bring her toys or crafts to show her.
Worst: I have a snippet for this answer!

One day, King Rupert summoned his son. Nervous and excited, John let Nursie take special care of his looks that morning. He even let her clean the dirt from behind his ears and from under his fingernails.
John had imagined this day for many years. He would stand in front of his father; he would be praised for his growth; then, his father would invite John onto his lap and they would play toy soldiers together.
Reality, however, was the opposite of John's dream.
A silent servant led the prince through the winding corridors of the castle to King Rupert's study. When they reached the study door, the servant announced John, and then the prince entered, standing straight and proud.
Bookshelves, maps, and mounted animals lined the walls of the study. John was proud of himself for ignoring these most interesting objects and keeping his eyes toward the desk behind which his father sat—at least, John was proud of himself for only taking what he thought was sneaky glances at the shelves, maps, and animals.
John did stare at his father. He couldn't help it. He could count the times he had met the man on one hand. The king didn't look any different than when John had seen him last, several months ago at John's birthday dinner.
Prince John reached his father's desk and waited for his father to speak. It took several minutes, for his father was busy writing something. John tried not to feel awkward and unwanted, but it was taking King Rupert so long to notice him!
Finally, the king spoke: "This is the boy, then?" He spared three seconds to glance up from his work and look at his son before starting to write again. "I didn't realize he was so plain-looking," continued the king. "Are you sure this is the right boy?"
John felt his high hopes fall and smash on the stone floor. The iciness from the stone seemed to seep into John's feet and up his body to his heart. He stood for several minutes, waiting for his father to laugh as if his words had been a joke, hoping his father would still take him upon his knee and comment on what a lovely boy John was becoming, hoping his father would suggest playing toy soldiers together. But, King Rupert said no more.
"P-please, sir," said John meekly. "I would so like... like to play toy soldiers with you."
King Rupert looked up from his work and, for a moment, John thought that he would smile and beckon the prince over to him.
"Do I look like I have time to play?" snapped the king. "Take him back to his nurse and see that the child does not disturb me again until he is old enough to hold his tongue!" he ordered the servant.
Prince John balled his hands into fists.
"I am seven years old and do know how to hold my tongue!" the prince shouted to keep himself from crying and further disparaging himself to his father.
Then, the servant's hand was at his back, guiding John from his father's study. As soon as they were in the hall, John tore away from the servant. He kept himself from crying until he reached the stables. There, he found an abandoned stall, threw himself on the ground, wept, and beat the flagstones with his fists.
What was their childhood home like?
The royal family's castle looks like a medieval castle, except much bigger. It has many, many rounded turrets, walls, courtyards, and towers. Over the years, various kings have added rooms to the castle in a haphazard manner, resulting in a maze-like floor plan. It is easy to get lost in the castle and takes months to memorize all of the twists and turns.
What’s something that scared them as child?
As a child, John was quite fearless. As he grew older, though, he became afraid of people seeing his fear or any other emotion, since he felt that emotions were a weakness that people could exploit.
Whom did they look up to most?
Until he was seven-years-old, he looked up to his father most. Then, when his father rejected him, John's trust was shattered and he only looked to himself, not to others.
Favourite and least favourite childhood foods?  
John has always enjoyed meat dishes. He especially likes pot roast. He hates peas, though.
If they had their childhood again, would they change anything?
He would change his interactions with his father. He would make his father love him.
What kind of child were they? Curious? Wild? Quiet? Devious?
John's mother spoiled him (maybe to make up for his father's lack of interest) so John was a prideful, commanding child. He nearly always had his way as a child, which later grew into an extremely controlling personality.
What was their relationship to their parents and siblings like?
John adored his mother because she gave him anything he wanted in addition to a lot of attention.
Though John hates his father, he learns to hide his hate behind a carefully constructed mask of indifference. This indifferent mask comes in handy later when John's father marries again and has three more children, whom John also hates. He is able to treat his half-siblings with civility, while loathing them in his heart.
What did they want to be when they grew up, and what did they actually become?
John never thought of being anything other than king when he grew up. This thought became a reality.

And there is a little peak at King John's childhood!


  1. Aww, poor little John! Although, I would love to explore his castle. :)

    1. The castle is pretty cool, if I do say so myself. :) Have you ever heard of the Winchester Mystery Mansion? A medium once told the widow of the man who created Winchester rifles that the ghosts of the people her husband's guns killed haunted her house and the only way to satisfy them was to never stop building onto her house, so the lady built constantly until she died... The house is super interesting with doors and stairways that lead no where, lots of twists and turns, and other oddities! My castle is sort of based on that, and also based on the house in "The Enchanted Castle" by E. Nesbit.

  2. Awww, now you've gone and made me feel sorry for him! And I was so happy just thoroughly hating him as I beta-read this story... nicely done. :)

    I love the castle and its haphazard-windy-ness! I want to visit it!

    1. Hee hee, sorry. You can look at this post as the "why" behind his hate-able-ness in the book.
      If there's ever a theme park made of my book, you can have the first ticket to visit the castle!