Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Merovingian Role Call

So, being a bit of a history geek, I have been doing some light research on the Merovingian Kings of France. Therein I found some wonderfully evocative stories, both real and legendary. I did so with the intention of adding weight and depth to the characters of The Court of the Crimson King, which are central themes for my version of the Chateau des Faussesflammes. Here are some of the results:

Crimson King

There is an intriguing legend about Merovich, the founder of the Merovingian Dynasty. It seems that his mother was raped by a fiendish monster known as the Quinotaur (which literally means five-horned). One of the consequences of this heritage is that Merovich is the first vampire. Both of these stories fit very nicely with the title Crimson King.

Black Queen

Brunhilde was a Visigoth princess and an Arian who converted to the Catholic faith when she married Sigebert I of Austrasia. Though she was hailed as a stalwart Catholic by such luminaries as St. Gregory of Tours, she eventually earned a reputation for avarice and cruelty and stood at the center of several conflicts over succession. I need a lamia to haunt the environs of the Chateau, and Brunhilde fits the bill quite nicely as someone tempted by power — especially the fiendish kind that spawned the Crimson King.

The Purple Piper

St. Gregory of Tours is part of the Marovingian line. Therefore, he was a royal who gave up nobility in order to take up the cloth and preach the Gospel. Since purple is a royal color, he fits the role of the Purple Piper (someone who leads in unexpected ways) quite nicely.

The Pilgrim

It was through the faith of St. Coltilda that the Merovingians became Christian. She, therefore, makes a good Pilgrim (using its original meaning of a person who journeys to a sacred place for religious reasons).

The Gardener

King Clovis I was the first Christian Merovingian king. There is a legendary story about his decision to embrace Christ: he was granted the vision of an angel giving him a flower. The fleur-de-lis has been the heraldic symbol of France ever since. Given this horticultural symbolism, I thought he might make a good Gardener.

The Pattern Juggler

The Merovingians actually had several kings ruling over various sections of there territory. Despite this, they collectively were considered one political unit — much like the Roman Empire when it was under multiple emperors. As one might expect, this led to a lot of internal conflict (as exemplified by Brunhilde). This suggests a singular figure who suffers from multiple personalities, many of whom are in direct conflict with other personalities. The Pattern Juggler would have a love/hate relationship with the Black Queen.

The Yellow Jester

King Childeric was the last of the Merovingian kings. He was also a puppet. The real rulers were the founders of the Carolingian dynasty, who prior to their ascension to the thrown were Mayors of the Palace. Yellow suggests sickness, decline and the setting sun. Since the Yellow Jester smiles as the puppets dance, I think the puppet Childeric fills the role quite nicely.

The Fire Witch

I did not find any historic correlation for the Fire Witch; however, I quite like to think that she had something to do with the summoning of the Quinotaur, of which the broken bells play a part…

For the purposes of having a fantasy version of each, here are the versions of all these names I plan on using:
  • Merovich = Merovic
  • Brunehilde = Brunehaut
  • Gregory = Gregor
  • Clotilda = Iotilda
  • Clovis = Chlodovic
  • Childeric = Kildervic


  1. A clever interpretation and application of the lyrics. :)

  2. More alter historic fantasy mash ups please. Allows us rogues to drop by, steal goodies from them and hie the hence to our ghostly friar's cells aka internet equipped basement dungeons.