Just as Steve Allen’s TV show from the 1970s, A Meeting of Minds, brought together greats separated by time and geography, enabling Cleopatra, say, to chat with Thomas Paine, Teddy Roosevelt, and Thomas Acquinas (1st episode), I have often fancied the idea of bringing together fictional characters from different authors, enjoying the thought of their virtual tea parties.
Take Magnus Bane and Lord Akeldama, for instance, the delightful and ultimately endearing characters from (respectively), Cassandra Clare‘s Shadowhunter universe and the steampunk world of Gail Carriger‘s novels. Both are immortal, gay, and sartorially savvy.
Magnus is a warlock (an immortal being in Ms. Clare’s universe), whom we first meet in the modern world of New York City where he gives lavish parties and enjoys dressing in flamboyant outfits. When he meets handsome Shadowhunter Alec Lightwood, however, he falls seriously and hard. In Ms. Clare’s Shadowhunter world, warlocks are considered “Downworlders”—disdained by Shadowhunters like Alec and his family as outsiders at best, enemies at worst—so the smitten warlock has an uphill battle finding acceptance, let alone love. Magnus also appears in the parallel prequel series beginning with Clockwork Angel, which is set in a steampunk Victorian London.
Steampunk Victorian London is also the milieu where we first encounter Gail Carriger’s Lord Akeldama, a vampire whose personality smartly blends Wooster and Jeeves—Bertie on the surface, but a mind like a steel trap beneath. Given the avowed influence of P.G. Woodhouse on Ms. Carriger’s delightful fiction, it is not a surprising combination. Beneath Lord A.’s constant frivolous banter resides one of London’s most powerful movers and shakers.
By the end of each series’ first book, Magnus Bane and Lord Akeldama have easily evolved into this reader’s favorite series characters. Each appears first in his surface persona—smooth, urbane, perhaps shallow—then rapidly proves his worth in sticky situations, helping the series protagonists at serious personal and professional risk. As the books continue, we see the vulnerabilities and pathos of each character, vulnerabilities deeply concealed beneath the armor of clothing and manner. Their gay orientation adds to the poignancy and pathos of the outsider status already dictated by their natures as vampire and warlock.
Wouldn’t it be delightful to bring the two of them together for a Victorian vampire-and-warlock tea party? Just imagine the witty conversation—and the personal entanglements. Would Magnus overcome Lord A.’s broken heart? Or would the two of them end up as platonic allies? Wouldn’t it be interesting to combine Gail Carriger’s steampunk folks with Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter characters?
Ms. Clare’s more recent series of e-stories, The Chronicles of Magnus Bane, shows that I am not the only reader to come away from the series with Magnus as one of my favorite characters. Since The Chronicles of Magnus Bane are being published only in e-format and I have yet to purchase an e-reader (decisions, decisions!), I am ignorant of his further adventures, yet I am glad to have them to look forward to.
Likewise, I hope to visit Lord Akeldama again when Ms. Carriger’s new series featuring her original protagonist’s daughter comes out later this year.
Meanwhile, here’s to both authors for giving us such rich and memorable characters!