Sunday, 7 July 2013

The Path of the Fallen


Welcome to the seventh day of The Path of the Fallen blog tour. The author thought it might be fun to imagine who would play the characters from his sweeping fantasy novel. This is a list of actors and actresses he can imagine playing the characters based on what he has seen them in previously (he comments briefly on what it was specifically that makes them an ideal fit) as well as the look of the character as he envisioned them.

Without further ado, away we go:


E'Malkai Armen
(Connor Jessup)

E'Malkai has always been different than everyone else, and the actor who would play him would have to be able to convey both a sense of belonging and distance from those around him. Connor plays Ben Mason on TNT's Falling Skies, which, in the words of a friend of mine, is little more than a science fiction family drama. That being said, he delivers on a kind of quiet desperation and intelligence that I think would fit E'Malkai well. 


Elcites
(Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje)

Elcites, Umordoc guardian of young E'Malkai, must be able to convey tremendous emotion and power with only slight movements and limited facial expressions. Additionally, the beast-like appearance of the character requires much emoting without saying very much at all. Adewale has a great screen presence, and this was quite apparent in his character 'Mr. Eko' on Lost. I think his ability to convey emotional depth with a stare or a posture makes him ideal to play the remorseful and trustworthy Elcites.


Fe'rein
(Ryan Gosling)

Fe'rein, born Ryan Armen, has become the All-god of a world bathed in hatred and shadow. The character undulates between a sullen hatred and a wanton desperation obscured by tremendous power. Ryan has demonstrated his ability to be a likable character, a powerful actor. His performance in Drive solidified for me that he had the physicality and emotional range to truly bring to life the villainous and flawed Fe'rein.


Arile
(Jim Caviezel)

I have to admit that Arile is one of my favorite characters. His wry cynicism and quiet, yet powerful, demeanor makes the choice of Jim Caviezel a no-brainer. His portrayal of 'Mr.Reese' on Person of Interest has shown that he can play physically imposing characters. 


Leane
(Lena Headey)

Leane, E'Malkai's mother, is a character fraught with secrets and influence. Her sadness is hidden behind a veil of confidence and command that serves her too well. Lena Headey portrays 'Cersei Lannister' on HBO's Game of Thrones and has proven to be an incredible actress. I could not imagine a more cunning character, and as such I think she would be a perfect fit for Leane.


Seth Armen
(Jude Law)

The path of the Fallen began with the exile of Seth Armen. Seth has all of the qualities present in Jude Law's portrayal of 'Dr. Watson' in Sherlock Holmes. Seth is strong, intelligent, and somber by necessity. Though not a major component of The Path of the Fallen, he still has a strong influence over E'Malkai's journey to discover his place in the world. 


Kyien
(Ben Foster)

Kyien is the leader of the Culouth armies and a narcissistic, unlikable jackass. Ben Foster, from the moment I saw him on Six Feet Under, was brilliant. He has range and I would love to see him play a power-hungry madman who at moments can be cunning and manipulative. 


M'iordi
(Tom Hiddleston)

M'iordi is a manicured, cultured councilman who sits at the right hand of Fe'rein. His intelligence, as well as his lust for power, make him a useful ally and a frightening enemy. The obvious selection for Hiddleston's prowess would be his commanding villainy in Avengers. However, it was a quiet performance in Midnight in Paris that really resonated with me. 


T'elen
(Katee Sackhoff)

T'elen is a powerful and beautiful warrior woman who commands legions and is quick to take a man's head for foolishness. I have two words for you: Battlestar Galactica. I might as well have just named the character Kara Thrace, but honestly Katee encompasses everything about the character that I could imagine. 


Xi'iom
(Tim Kang)

Xi'iom is a commander with a simple demeanor and a severe dislike for smiling. If you have watched The Mentalist, then you will no doubt be familiar with Tim Kang's portrayal of CBI agent Kimball Cho. He has the serious demeanor and unwavering personality that defines Xi'iom so well. 


Higald
(Alexander Skarsgard)

Higald, proud chieftain of the Fallen, is built like a viking: blond hair, cold blue eyes, and a somberness that cannot be quelled. Sounds a bit like Eric Northman, no? Not really, but Alexander Skarsgard has the look, though he would need to put on some muscle to look the part and smile a little less. Higald is not as pleased with himself as Eric on True Blood is. 


S'rean
(Idris Elba)

S'rean is by no means a major character, but he is a significant presence in the second half of the book. Idris Elba has taken on so many fantastic roles from The Wire to Luther that I wish I could cast him somewhere else. Perhaps if the movie ever does get made, casting folks will be able to place him in a role worthy of his acting prowess. Either way, he would be a wonderful fit for S'rean. 


Augustine
(Ian McNeice)

This might have been the most obvious cast for me. Ian McNeice has been delighting moviegoers for a very long time, and if I didn't know better, I would think that I created the part specifically for him. Augustine is the speaker of the Culouth population, a vociferous and superfluous orator with a powerful and distinct voice. 



Here be an excerpt for your enjoyment:


E’Malkai


E’Malkai visited the same balcony each time he felt the need to be alone. The dawn had come and it would soon be midday, but to E’Malkai the lights made no difference. He was awake most nights and slept very little, usually when the artificial lights of Culouth shone their brightest. Leane and Elcites had pressured him to speak about what had happened on the Avenue, but he refused.

Culouth was both silent and a cornucopia of noise all at once. This characteristic was determined by whether or not a person chose to focus on the sounds of the city or to drown them out in thought.

The silence was quickly broken as Fe’rein descended from the skies. His trail grew faint and then receded before E’Malkai turned to look upon his uncle. Despite his typical, angst-ridden attitude, Fe’rein cracked a smile and opened his arms for his nephew to embrace him.

E’Malkai did so without hesitation. 

All of the words that had been spoken about his uncle dissolved as soon as he saw him. The scarred features could not displace the love that E’Malkai felt when he saw Fe’rein’s face. Voices tugged at his being, telling him otherwise. As they pushed apart, Fe’rein’s smile faded back to his trademark stoicism. 

“You are troubled. I sense that there are those speaking ill of me, that they fill your head with lies and deceit,” spoke Fe’rein. His voice was ever like a professor or a historian, each word in rhythm. 

“That’s not fair. Takes the fun out of saying anything,” mused E’Malkai, throwing a mock punch at his uncle. To which Fe’rein parried, even though he pretended it had come much faster than he could have anticipated. 

He knew that in the House of Di’letirich there was no need for him to play the part of mion. “Indeed, but you are troubled,” he replied, reinforcing his initial words. 

E’Malkai hesitated, averting his gaze for a moment. Fe’rein cocked an eyebrow. “There is much going on: with the trials of Tal’marath and the Resistance.”

Fe’rein let his apprehension slide and flashed a tight, grim smile. “There will always be battles to fight, E’Malkai, though hopefully not for you. May you live your whole life without ever having to take a life.”

“But I am training to be a ward––your ward. There will be a need for me to fight at your side.” Strangely, the talk made E’Malkai giddy despite the warnings that whispered in the back of his mind. 

Fe’rein smiled. “I had forgotten that you were to undertake them. You will make a great warrior, E’Malkai, your father would be proud.” His words tapered off and he lowered his head, growing silent. 

The youth and Fe’rein were the same height. E’Malkai bent in closer upon seeing the pained look on Fe’rein’s face. “I will do my father proud,” he whispered. 

Fe’rein’s head snapped back into place. The power he possessed crawled over his eyes. Red and black lines intermingled like horrific dead vines through his eyes before they dissipated as he met the youth’s gaze. 

“I imagine you will at that.”

E’Malkai jogged forward, staying alongside Fe’rein. The youth admired the wealth of power that his uncle walked with. E’Malkai thought that the others were mistaken, that his uncle was none of those terrible things. “Do you want to see my mother and Elcites? I am sure they would like to see you.” 

The line of Fe’rein’s grimace slackened at E’Malkai’s exuberance. He nodded and allowed himself to be led into the common room of the House of Di’letirich. The room had been tinted over for the day and the shades drawn all the way around it. Only an illuminated globe on the center table cast any light over the room. 

Leane and Elcites sat opposite each other. Silence had descended, but it appeared that they had been amidst a heated discussion only moments before. Elcites was the first to stand, bowing quickly and moving away from the comfortable seat across from Leane. 

“My mion,” he spoke as he bowed gracefully, more so than any other Umordoc was capable of. Even Fe’rein took note of that. His distaste for Umordoc was strong. 

“Guardian Elcites, I take care in knowing that you watch over my nephew with your life,” returned Fe’rein with a bow. He did not look directly at the Umordoc. Sitting down across from Leane, he crossed one leg over the other. He fixed her with a complacent glance as E’Malkai moved alongside Elcites.

“He just got here, mom. Found me out on the balcony.” 

His tone belied his maturity. 

“I see that. How are you, Fe’rein?” She refrained from using his formal title. Had there been another there, it could easily have been a rather tense and uncomfortable display. 

“Quite well. I see that the House of Di’letirich has served you well,” began Fe’rein, looking around the room with a twinge of a smile. “Appears that you are well taken care of, pampered even?” His eyebrow arched with noticeable mockery.

Leane sniffed angrily, crossing her arms over her chest. “Not nearly as well as a Creator whom a city bows before,” returned Leane with equal rancor. Her face was a thin line of dissatisfaction. The silence between them was nearly a tangible one. 

E’Malkai shirked away from the battle of furrowed brows. 

“I will not have this argument with you again, Leane. This will not bring back Seth, nor will it change what has happened,” snapped Fe’rein. 

“Nor will I sit here and pretend that your presence does not affect me. Or that you sitting there serves as a reminder that the only man that I have ever loved is gone forever and what stands in his place is his brother, a man who should revel in his memory, but instead hides and shrouds it from others so they may not know.”

Leane stood suddenly. Flashing another angry glare at Fe’rein, she stormed from the room. Fe’rein sighed, sitting deeper into the plush cushioning of the chair and lacing his fingers together on his knee. 

“Your mother and I have a past, one of which we should not speak,” remarked Fe’rein without looking at E’Malkai. His hard stare was set forward as he spoke. “Your father, Seth, was a great man by any standard, and a selfless one at that. She misses him very much. I am a reminder of that.”

E’Malkai moved around Fe’rein’s seat, taking up the one that Leane had just sat in. Bending forward, his hands on his knees, he had a curious glean in his eyes. “Will you tell me about my father?”

Fe’rein smiled despite himself.

He bowed his head. 

Memories washed over him, fading the smile quickly. It was replaced by the same tight lip that he presented always, bitterness or otherwise. “What would you like to know about him?”

“Anything. My mother never speaks of him. It is as if the mere thought of him is too much to bear, and she cannot bring herself to say another word,” replied E’Malkai as Elcites looked over with his even gaze, without sound. 

“He was not a tall man by any means, though strong. His muscles were long and taut. When he flexed, they bulged like this.” Fe’rein tightened his arm, showing the ball that formed there as an explanation and then continued. “He was brave in a way that I cannot explain. His flawless logic led countless missions into the upper regions of the tundra where no man had gone. Well, we had thought at the time that no one had journeyed that far. He was entrusted with the location of the Fallen amidst the snow drifts that covered the land, each looking like the others. Many a Culouth traveler has tried to find it. Entire legions have been lost out there in the cold.”

E’Malkai was captured by the story now.

Fe’rein continued. This uncharacteristic storytelling was driven only by the youth’s zeal for the past. “He left you when he was very young to take me south into the deserts to find a man. Anyways, he was a very solitary man. Although he rarely spoke of it, his mind was constantly on the horizon watching for another time to come, another age of men.”

E’Malkai’s eyes sparkled. “I wish I could have known him, could have talked to him just once.”

“Sometimes I wish he were here as well,” whispered Fe’rein.

“What was that, uncle?” 

The mion continued. “I was not much older than you when I accompanied your father on the treks north. I was but a headstrong boy and knew not how to mind my words yet.” Fe’rein shook his head and then added, “I was foolish.”

“Someday I wish to see the tundra, to walk where my father had.”

Fe’rein’s eyes leapt with fire at E’Malkai’s words, standing suddenly. He manipulated the shadow, making his lank figure seem much larger than it was. 

“There is nothing to see in the north, young E’Malkai. All that would greet you there would be the icy grip of death.” Fe’rein’s words were beset with an annoyance that crackled as he spoke. 

“Pardon my words, uncle. I meant no harm,” spoke E’Malkai softly. He was unsure exactly what it was that he had done wrong. Seeing the wrath of Fe’rein unfurled, he shrank back from the mion, his head bowed. 

“I take my leave of you both.”

By the time that E’Malkai had lifted his head, the words had been spoken. Fe’rein disappeared from the room, and the boy sat there contemplating his words. His guardian stood in the shadows behind him as he looked out the tinted windows into the city, wondering about the uncertain future and the distant tundra.




Bio: A psychologist, author, editor, philosopher, martial artist, and skeptic, he has published several novels and currently has many in print, including: The End of the World Playlist, Bitten, The Journey, The Ocean and the Hourglass, The Path of the Fallen, The Portent, and Cerulean Dreams. Follow him on Twitter (@AuthorDanOBrien) or visit his blog http://thedanobrienproject.blogspot.com. He recently started a consultation business. You can find more information about it here: http://www.amalgamconsulting.com/.





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