Thursday, 10 July 2014

Q is for Quest

Quests are a crucial part of fable, fantasy, legend and myth. To name only a few, there are a wealth of fascinating quests in The Odyssey, the search for the Holy Grail by Arthur's knights of the Round Table, which so many novelists have written about, Tolkien's novels beginning with The Hobbit, J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, Percy Jackson's The Olympians and Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials series).

Perhaps it is significant that the child in all of us enjoys children's novels with riveting quests.

Quests in fiction are important. What does the hero or  heroine want? At the beginning of Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind, her self-absorbed heroine, Scarlet O'Hara's quest is to attract every man at a barbecue, whether she wants them or not, and, above all, to marry Ashley Wilkes, who she pursues until the final chapter.

I have yet to read a novel in which there is not a quest - for love, to find out who done it, to take revenge, to be a successful businessman or woman, actor, actress, artist, poet or author etc.

So, before I write the first line of a new novel or short story I ask myself what the main characters' quests are

Q is for Quest

Quests are the foundation of oral history, fantasy, legend and myths.

Surely one of the most famous quests, about which so much has been written, is the quest for the Holy Grail in the days of King Arthur and the knights of the round table.