How do you pronounce “Kallan”?
“Ka” sounds like the “Kha” in “Khan” without the “n”. And “llan” rhymes with “on”. The emphasis is on the “Ka” so it reads like “KHA-lon”
Are there elves and dwarfs in Dolor and Shadow?
Yes. There are elves and dwarfs in Dolor and Shadow. My elves are called the Alfar, which is the Old Norse word for “elves”. The Old Norse word for dwarfs is “Dvergar”. However, my dwarfs are as tall as elves.
In the Eddas (of which my story was inspired), the Dvergar were a race of elves who believed the word “alfar” was sacred. To call oneself “alfar” was pompous. So, they called themselves the Dvergar. They have no pigment in their skin, have black hair, black beards, and large, black pupils for eyes. They are expert miners, craftsman, and caves dwellers. My “dwarves” are a cross between the morlocks in H.G.Well’s The Time Machine, the first Nosferatu, and Tolkien’s dwarves/dwarfs in The Hobbit.
Is Loptr Loki?
Yes. Loptr is Loki. Loptr is the Old Norse name for Loki as seen in the 13th century Icelandic manuscripts, The Prose Edda and The Poetic Edda written by Snorri Sturluson.
Why didn’t you just call Loki “Loki”?
It’s Stan Lee’s fault.
The Modern Loki evokes a strong image that I did not want associated with my Loki. Loki is often perceived exactly as Tom Hiddleston portrays Loki in the Thor movies (Tom Hiddleston… another reason why Iron Man is better than Batman). I did not want my Loki to be viewed as a devilish trickster who plays pranks out of boredom or vengeance. In my story, this is not the case. Not even a little bit. The easiest way to disassociate the modern Loki with my Loki was by restoring his name to Loptr.
Is Loptr pronounced “Lop-ter” like “raptor”?
No. The “r” is silent. Unless you hail from the one region in Norway that still pronounces the masculine Norwegian “r”, you don’t pronounce it.
Is “Seidr” pronounced like “Cider”?
No. “Seidr” is pronounced like “Say-d” or “Seed”. I say “Sayth”. You can pronounce it however you like. Again, the masculine “r” is silent. Technically, the “d” is supposed to be an eth, which looks like this, Ð,ð. Seiðr. The eth is the Old Norse letter that gives English our delightful “th” sound like father or faðer. It was later Anglicized to “th” by the Angles.
Does Kallan’s stallion have a girl’s name?
Yes. Astrid is a girl’s name and Kallan’s horse is a stallion. That’s what happens when you let a seven-year-old girl name your horse.
How, in the 10th century, can Kallan’s people forge weapons out of tungsten?
You are right to catch this. Norsemen in the 10th century could not forge tungsten weapons.
Tungsten is Swedish for “heavy stone” and was known to the Norsemen for centuries although they couldn’t do anything with it because their forges were not hot enough. In the 10th century, forges could only reach 1,500 degrees F. This meant metallurgists could mold iron ingots and that was it. Iron is brittle and it breaks in battle against a steel sword. A 10th century black smith company named Uthbert managed to forge steel swords between the 8th and 10th century. Steel is only a mixture of iron and carbon.
To mix metals, the forge has to get so hot that it melts the metals into a mold called a crucible. The metals cool and take the shape of the crucible, which is then hammered away to reveal an ingot. The ingot is what a smith pounds into a shape. The red sparks that fly off is called slag. Men don’t smith shirtless (sorry romance readers). To make steel, forges need to reach 2,800 degrees F. This was the temperature at which iron melts so that it can mix with the carbon. Unlike Damascus steel, a 3,000 degree F forge was unheard of in Scandinavia at this time. Today, we mix tungsten with carbon. Tungsten requires a temperature of 6,192 degrees F to melt into the carbon.
So how does Kallan do it?
Kallan can control the heat of her Seidr to make the forge hot enough to make tungsten-steel so that their weapons are strong and lightweight. Using the information I found on Uthbert, I applied the same concept to Kallan’s tungsten. Yes, the Dokkalfar are ahead of their time. Yes, this is something that impresses the Ljosalfar. Yes, I get into this more and explain how and why the Dvergar and the Dokkalfar have this knowledge nearly 1,000 years ahead of their time.
Couldn’t you just say that in the text?
I could have, but honestly, I didn’t really find it relevant to the plot. It was just cool.