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A structural oddity of A Day of Faces is that there’s rarely an evident antagonist, let alone an obvious Bad Guy. Holt fulfils that role for a while, but otherwise there’s only a general sense of insurmountable, conspiratorial forces. It’s rare for Kay & co to actually run up against them.

On the one hand, this runs into the Lord of the Rings ‘issue’ of there being no meaty Big Bad. Hence why the movies kept adding in Hero Orcs that the audience could properly dislike, while Sauron continued to be a vague background threat.

A bigger issue is that keeping the book (mostly) first person has meant that readers have never encountered a winged person. Cal obviously doesn’t like them, and most of the time they’re presented as an elitist ruling class that rarely comes down to earth. Which is largely true.

The reason this is a problem is that it sets up the wings as ‘the other’. And it does so uniformly, implying that ALL winged people on Locque are power-hungry, corrupt proxy rulers for Earth. Given that a theme of the book is individuality, and not accepting the stereotype you’re forced into by society, this is actually quite a glaring mis-step.

I try to correct this somewhat in this chapter, giving us our first proper encounter with a winged character. It’s also a nice counterpoint to the previous couple of chapters in which Kay & co were messing around with terrorists/freedom fighters. In ‘Wing’ they’re dealing with a member of the ruling class, but in an area which has largely rejected Earth’s rule. It provides a different viewpoint onto this group of people.

It’s not a quick fix, and I’ve got work to do still to flesh out the wings and avoid them being caricatures. But, hey, you can’t fix a problem until you’re aware it exists, so I’m on the right path, at least.

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