In preparation for the release of Invincible:
It took me almost a year to research the “Piercing the Veil” series before I actually started writing. For those who are curious, here’s a breakdown of some of the concepts I didn’t make up, appearing both in Intangible and Invincible (this will appear over several blog posts).
Concepts from the Arthurian Legends: most of my research on the legends came from “The Arthurian Legends, An Illustrated Anthology,” by Richard Barber; “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight,” by Simon Armitage; “The Book of Merlyn,” by T.H. White; “The Once and Future King,” by T.H. White; and the legendary “The Death of King Arthur,” by Sir Thomas Malory.
The Fata Morgana: According to legend, Arthur’s evil half-sister Morgan (or Morgana, depending on the version you read), also called the Fairie Queen, created a castle in Avalon that was half part of our world and half part of another. Sailors claim to see the mirage of a castle off the banks of the Straits of Messina in Italy, but regardless of how long they sail towards it, it always hovers just out of reach, and they are said to drown in its pursuit. They call it the Fata Morgana.
Excalibur: Famously, Arthur pulled this mystical sword from a stone, fulfilling the prophecy that the one to do so would become the rightful king of England. I chose to make the sword gold because of its relationship to alchemy (gold represents “spirit” or otherworldliness, which is why the sword can bar the Shadow Lord from his return into the world of men). After the Battle of Salisbury Plain where Arthur died and Camelot fell, one version of the legend has it that Lancelot and the last remaining Knight of the Round Table, Girflet, throw Excalibur into the Straits of Messina.
The Fall of the Roman Empire: The Huns and the Visigoths (warring Germanic tribes) attacked the Roman Empire around 470 AD, displacing Roman soldiers to Britain. These soldiers intermarried with the native Celts, and that is how Britain came about. This is also around the time that historians estimate the real Arthur might have lived.
Guinevere: Queen Guinevere (or Guenever, nicknamed Jenny in some versions) was Arthur’s one and only wife—and she was human (there was no Cecily.) She had an affair with Arthur’s best knight Lancelot, forcing Arthur to charge them both with high treason.
Mordred: most versions have it that Mordred is Arthur’s nephew, the son of his half-sister Morgan, rather than his son (although in some versions, Morgan tricked Arthur into sleeping with her, and she became pregnant by him). In either case, once Mordred grew to adulthood, Arthur left him in charge of Camelot. In Arthur’s absence, Mordred set himself up as king, and Mordred and Arthur killed one another in the Battle of Salisbury Plain.
The Order of the Paladin: the name was originally used to refer to Charlemagne’s Twelve Peers in fourteenth century France, his best warriors. The word paladin is also associated with Arthurian legends in general to mean any chivalrous hero. (Isdemus tells Peter that this was the original name of the Watchers, and the name lingers in Carlion here and there—for instance, it is the name of their secondary school, Paladin High.)
Carlion: Again according to “The Once and Future King” by T.H. White, the city of Camelot was situated in the greater region known as Carlion.
The Pendragon Crest: Most versions depict only one golden dragon on a red background (or red dragons on a gold background), but for my purposes I made them two. This obviously became critical in Invincible—which was originally titled Double Dragon.