Blog Tour: Elí Freysson, Author of “The War of the Usurper” Talks Fantasy

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Reads & Reels’ first Space Opera and it sounds epic!

The creator of The Golden Throne (The War of the Usurper) Elí Freysson, sounds like a pretty cool cat too. 

The War of the Usurper (The Golden Throne Book #1)

The War of the Usurper is the first in the Golden Throne series. It is my foray into creating my very own epic space opera universe, full of what I like about such settings: Casual space travel, many, many inhabited worlds, super-technology co-existing with magic, larger-than-life characters, a whole lot of backstory, and just sheer vastness of scale.

This first entry is a self-contained story about the titular nine-year war for the throne of the Realm of the Glorious Dawn. Power is seized by a power-hungry tyrant, who resorts to ever-greater atrocities to hold onto the throne, while loyalists secure the sole legitimate heir, twelve-year-old Princess Maraka, and begin the struggle to restore order.

Each chapter details a different flashpoint of the war, as important events must turn on the actions of wildly different people, spread far and wide across the social hierarchy and physical width of the Realm. Meanwhile, year after year,Maraka must grow up in the shadow of all of this, and learn to become both the steadfast symbol and the strong leader her subjects need.

The Man Behind the Book

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So… fantasy. What a loose term. Technically it encompasses anything that doesn’t fit within reality, so by that definition one could consider Mickey Mouse a fantasy character. But of course there is a certain “standard” setting that springs to mind upon hearing the words “fantasy genre”; one that wouldn’t look out of place in a Dungeons and Dragons campaign: Medieval technology, knights, magic, dragons, horses and whatnot.

But “fantasy” is of course just an umbrella term. Sword-and-sorcery, science fiction, steampunk, urban fantasy and less definable things all fit beneath it. What do they have in common? What is the value of fantasy, a term that has often been dismissed as “childish”?

I would say its value is virtually unlimited, as fiction goes.

In my mind fantasy, in all its myriad forms, is the one genre of fiction that allows truly unlimited use of the human imagination. Is the world’s tallest waterfall not magnificent enough? Write one twice the height. Are real-life predators not scary enough? Bring back dinosaurs. Realistic sword fights not thrilling enough? Make one between people that can leap between mountaintops. In the world of fantasy everything can be grander, scarier, more wondrous and more horrible. Of course, if one wants to go for a more subdued setting, fantasy still lets the writer create a world perfectly suited to the story, without having to stay within the confines of real-life geography and history.

To me, as a writer, fantasy offers true freedom. And while every story requires a conflict of some sort, and while fantasy antagonists can be exactly as terrible as the human mind can conceive of, a fantasy setting can also be a place of more justice, more nobility, more selflessness and more tolerance than we typically get in the real world. It can be a great example of how the world should be.

I’m not very fond of fantasy stories that focus on, say, a woman warrior/wizard/whatever fighting to make her place in the world of overwhelming misogyny… not because sexism is not a worthy topic, just that real-life discrimination annoys me so damn much that I find it refreshing to delve into a world where it is a non-issue. Where no-one bats an eye at the same-sex couple, or the swordswoman. And it annoys me to no end when a certain class of people screech about it being “unrealistic”. Saying “That didn’t happen in medieval Europe!” doesn’t mean a whole lot when a work isn’t set in medieval Europe… just a place that kind of looks like it.

I am a straight, white heterosexual male, and I am no expert sociologist, but it is my belief that the way towards social acceptance of those who aren’t at least one of those things is to simply not make a big deal out of it, and writing up a society where they are just like everyone else can play a part in that. Fiction has always had a certain hold on human society, after all.

About the Author

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I was born in Akureyri in northern Iceland in 1982. Aside from a brief spell spent in Norway in my very early childhood I have spent my whole life here, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I was diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum in my teens, which explains a whole lot and makes me just eccentric enough to be a writer.

I graduated high school in 2004, after which I dove into my first attempt at a proper fantasy novel. I finished the first draft a year later, but it took me until 2011 to get it published. I followed with a book a year for the next four years, before deciding to move into the English-language market. I translated three of my fantasy novels into English and self-published on Amazon, and then started writing original material in English. And here we are.

My hobbies include swimming, weight-lifting, video games, tabletop games with my friends, nature walks, and wasting time on Youtube.

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