Wildebeests are majestic and all but they’re not magical or mysterious. I spend a lot of time researching supernatural beasts, as well as deities and other mythical creatures. So I thought it would be fun to share five of my favorite winter baddies with you. (Sometimes, I absolutely adore the research I do now – beastie research sure beats the hell out of legal research! Although I did love the law library and, believe it or not, used to love doing research in Land Records. Bonus Five => here’s the 5 careers I would love to have if I weren’t a lawyer or a writer: bookseller, librarian, land surveyor, title abstractor, monster slayer.) Cast your vote for your favorite “winterbeest” below!
The Cold North Wind. The Bringer of Winter. Read more about him here (including how King Laomedon’s preternaturally fast horses were allegedly sired by Boreas) and here (background on the eponymous 2013 Thanksgiving storm).
Snowy Sasquatch (a.k.a. The Bumble in “Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer”). Click here for the Bigfoot Researchers Organization Geographic Database of Bigfoot/Sasquatch Sightings and Reports and here for The Museum of Unnatural Mystery’s page on the Yeti: Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas.
#3 Frost Giants
Long before they became Hollywood villains, they were Norse legends. For the Marvel Comics Frost Giant wiki, click here. For Martin Hojbjerg’s Norse Mythology site (which includes an alphabetized list of giants), click here. And for my review of the audio version of Neil Gaiman’s Odd and the Frost Giants click here.
#2 The Lord of Misrule
Known in Scotland as the Abbot of Unreason and in France as the Prince des Sots, the Lord of Misrule was the person appointed to preside over the Feast of Fools, which was a winter celebration that mimics certain aspects of the Roman holiday Saturnalia. I used the Lord of Misrule and the Feast of Fools as inspiration for some of the opening scenes in White Heart of Justice (Fitz plays Lord Lawless at St. Luck’s Festival of Frivolity).
I’m not the only writer who’s been inspired by this figure. See also Rachel Caine’s Lord of Misrule and Jaimy Gordon’s Lord of Misrule, which I’m reading right now. (I’m aware of how odd it is that I’m reading the horseracing book and not the vampire one. But I stopped by my library just before our Key West trip and happened to see Gordon’s book. I loved Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit so I thought I’d give it a try. The two best things about it? Peeking inside the world of low-stakes horse racing and the author’s voice or writing style. It’s unique.)
#1 The Dark Mother
Demeter, grieving, angry, and fierce. In winter, when Hades steals Persephone from her, she goes all Momma Bear on the world, sowing vengeance instead of seeds and reaping death instead of crops.
A tie between winter storm Janus and our snow blower!
So, how about you? Do you have a favorite “Winterbeest”? Do you like doing research or is it a necessary evil? How did everyone do with winter storm Janus? I hope everyone had fun sled riding or reading inside today! Fingers crossed that everyone is in school and back at work tomorrow. Northeasterners, enjoy the snow!