Samuel Chapman’s story “The Foaling Season” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 1 June 2018.
I came up with the world of Locksgrove during a worldbuilding exercise with friends. It’s based on revolutionary Haiti, with Dominic L’Escalier a stand-in for Toussaint L’Overture. Reynard aux Chatillon was a later addition, partially based on Jiro Horikoshi, the Japanese aircraft engineer whose dilemma is chronicled in Hayao Miyazaki’s film The Wind Rises.
Reynard and Jiro share the same central dilemma, one also faced by Albert Einstein–if you’re brilliant at something, should you do it, regardless of the consequences? In addition to this, I wanted to use the meeting of history and fantasy to discuss questions of slavery, freedom, and politics. Does a nation have a morality? If so, what responsibilities do the people in it hold?
After Haiti successfully established the only nation of revolutionary former slaves, Thomas Jefferson, among others, advocated for an international boycott of Haitian trade–in order to discourage other oppressed populations from following in Haiti’s path. For all his high rhetoric about the Tree of Liberty, Jefferson’s loyalty was to the economy in the end.
At the opening of “The Foaling Season,” Locksgrove is in a similar predicament. At the heart of it is the question of what the gryphons mean: they could be symbols, pets, companions, or dumb products to be merchandised out. L’Escalier doesn’t believe Reynard has the luxury to think of them as anything but the latter. Reynard’s daughter Aveline feels differently.
In the end, though, I knew that I wanted the story to affirm the status of the gryphons as actors with their own agency.
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