The character in question is a dwarf (Hugi) whom Holder, themain guy, picks up on the way. He’s a Scottish dwarf and, given this book setthe standard for many fantasy works since, I have no issue with that.Unfortunately the author writes his dialogue in mock-Scottish style. I cansense the cringing through my keyboard already. For example:
‘Mon, where’ve ye been a while?’ cried Hugi. ‘We’ve beenfretted sick o’er ye. Na word or track past the lake’s edge, till ye returnsoaked and reeking o’ wicked places.’
‘Noo we maun galumph quick’s may be oot o’ this ill realm,’ gruntedHugi. ‘Sooner we’re in honest kands, better oor chances be o’ living to bragaboot this dunce’s trip.’
You get the idea! WTF? Or in Irish dialect ‘Wa thi feck?’Why on earth do writers do it? Throw in a little dialect, perhaps a fewcolloquialisms appropriate to the character, but whole speeches sounding likesomeone taking the piss? It brings to mind Dick Van Dyke’s attempts at aCocker-nee accent, which must have made the Kray twins put a bounty out on Dickback in the sixties. Or Russel Crowe’s unforgivable attempts at regionaldialects in the last Robin Hood romp, which were a whistle-stop tour of everyaccent in the
But you can kind of pardon films. Actors are, after all,human and not all are nutters like Gary Oldman (who insisted on specific voicecoaches for his eastern European accent in Dracula, and still sounded like a
It’s like there’s a covert style-guide brought out by amateurauthors...
Step 1: add –eth and –est to verbs in a strangeunpredictable fashion. Geteth me?
Step 2: extra (silent) E’s will augmente the realisme ofthine worke.
Step 3: Reverse thine order of nouns and verbs. E,g. ‘Verilythe Emperor most darke shall be banished thus.’ ‘Smite the ogre foul, I beseechthee.’
Step 4: it’s ‘Ye’ and‘Thee’ not ‘The’
Step 5: Sling around a few medieval terms... ‘thee’ ‘thy’‘thou’ ‘art’ ‘doth’ ‘mine’ (not ‘my’ as in ‘Taste mine war-hammer, orcish scum’)
No-one minds one or two, and to be fair it’s perpetuated bythe UK Touriste industry in places like
York and (Ye Olde Fucking Tea Shoppe, my Wife ofBathe sized-arse!). But authors really screw their books up with it. Wags likePratchett and Eddings mock its usage in their books Chester
Oddly I don’t mind modern slang in dialogue, or evenreasonable use of apostrophes in regional dialect, or even use of the word‘feck’ in Roddy Doyle’s books. It’s the bogus medieval dialogue that reallygets to me. And pirates that say ‘Arrrhhh’ a lot (unless it’s in response to acannonball blowing their leg off).
So I’ll leave you with the classic sketch from Blackadder 2in which Lord Blackadder goes in search of the wise-woman....