So, this month the questions have a St. Valentine's Day theme. Even though I don't write romances, I couldn't resist the temptation of having a romantic subplot....or three or ten....in my Prince of Erdania trilogy. That said, it was rather hard to choose a couple. But I've finally settled on my dear Raphael Novarex, the soldier-turned-Prince-of-Erdania, and his bride, Florence Tillery.
How did they first meet?
There's never been a time they didn't know each other, really. They both grew up in the same little Erdanian town, a very tiny, quiet village centered around a little church with a steeple. (I adore that town with all a writer's enthusiasm, but it still needs a name.) Raphael's best childhood friend was Dante Tillery, Florence's older brother. She would often tag along with them on their various escapades.
What were their first impressions of each other?
Well, in the early days, they were just ordinary children to one another. Florence always liked to tag along with Dante and Raphael; she enjoyed their company and loved to be allowed to roam the woods with them on the exploration and hunting trips. She saw Raphael as practically a cousin. Raphael always thought Florence was a fine girl, as far as girls go. The only annoying thing about her was how insistent she was. If she wanted to come along, then she would come along, and not the most reasonable argument could stop her. She was never disrespectful or whiny or bossy or anything like that, she was just stubborn. Which got old sometimes.
How long have they been a couple?
Their friendship developed into a romance so naturally it's hard to say, but formally, they've been courting since Raphael asked Florence's father's permission on Florence's eighteenth birthday. He consented, and the courtship went beautifully for about a year before being interrupted by Raf's enlistment in the Erdanian army. At the beginning of the first book, Raf's been on military duty for about two years, and at the end of the book (is this a spoiler, perhaps?) he comes back home and proposes to Florence. Who, of course, says yes.
How committed/loyal are they to each other? Would they break up over a secret or a disagreement? Could stress drive them apart? Would they die for each other?
They're very committed to each other, seeing as how they've always had marriage in mind. It would take more than a secret or a disagreement to make them stop courting; it would have to be a very serious difference on moral grounds, or a strong conviction that they aren't meant for each other. Stress only brings them closer together. Would they die for each other? Definitely. Raphael actually gets a chance to prove this in Book 2. The hardest thing for him isn't dying for her, but not dying for her because he has other responsibilities.
List 5 “food quirks” they know about each other. (Ex: how they take their coffee, if they’re allergic to something, etc….and feel free to mention other non-food quirks!)
I've never ever thought about that before. Which makes it a very good question, right? :)
Well, Florence has an almost unreasonable aversion to spicy foods. She doesn't even use pepper. And Raphael doesn't like Brussels sprouts. Florence tried to break him of it for awhile but now she just insists that he eat broccoli. Florence takes her tea with several scoops of sugar in it. Raphael's more of a coffee person, but he'll drink tea since Florence likes it so much.
Non-food wise, Florence is the only one who refuses to call Raphael by his nick-name, "Raf." She likes his full name far too well to shorten it. And Raphael has this thing against cats. Dogs, horses, chickens, he's fine with, but cats get on his nerves.
Does anyone disapprove of their relationship?
Nope. Everyone agrees they're a match made in heaven, except for Raphael, who knows Florence is far too good for him. ("But as nobody minds having what is too good for them, he was very steadily earnest in the pursuit of the blessing.") Actually, that was an excuse to use a Jane Austen quote - Raphael rather does mind having what is too good for him, and at one point in the first book he actually considered giving her up because she was so good and he was such a wretched soul. (He's too humble sometimes, that Raf.) Of course, he learns the solution to that isn't to give her up, but to try to make himself better.
Even the evil leaders of the Festerlonian empire approve of their marriage. Because Florence comes in very handy as a vulnerability point...
What would be an ideal date?
A quiet walk arm-in-arm outside, around sunset. The hills around the royal palace (where they end up living) are pretty scenic, but for old time's sake Raf prefers the wood-surrounded village of their childhood.
What are their personality dynamics? Similar? Contrasting? Do they fight a lot or mesh perfectly?
I suppose you could say their relationship is too perfect, but I'm okay with that. In this world where the idea of marriage has gotten so sadly and totally warped, we need an example of what marriage is supposed to be, and how the natural, beautiful differences between man and woman make for a glorious combination. So Raphael is the strong supporter of the family, willing to lay his life on the line and do whatever he must to protect his bride, while Florence is Raphael's supporting pillar, both gentle and strong, without whom he would be lost.
Both of them are quiet, mature, and level-headed...most of the time. Raphael does have a rash streak, and can get pretty moody under the
I've never seen them fight. I can't imagine them fighting, although I can imagine them disagreeing, and Raphael getting upset about something and Florence having to calm him down. (Ooh! Ever seen the movie Amazing Grace? I just unconsciously copied the relationship between Wilberforce and Barbara. That makes me happy.)
What have been their best and worst moments together as a couple?
Um. Let's see...
- Raf's return from military service (although that was bittersweet for several reasons)
- the marriage proposal
- the wedding
- Oh! And that sweet little scene where Raphael comes home at the end of Book 2 after so much horrendousness and finds that the baby has been born.
- Raf's enlistment, cuz it was so sad, and the ensuing years of separation
- that horrible portion of Book 1 where Raf's spiritual life is slipping and he feels totally unworthy of Florence
- Raf's return from military service (not really a bad moment, but bittersweet because of how much things had changed...Raf becoming the Prince of Erdania kinda changed their plans)
- that horrible portion of Book 2 where they're separated yet again and Raphael, captured by the Festerlonians, must choose between his kingdom and his bride
Where do they see themselves and their relationship in the next few years?
Now that they've reached their goal of marriage, they envision the next twenty or thirty years as being spent raising a family and ruling a kingdom together.