Author Kevin Hearne gives readers a special look at his new urban fantasy series, The Iron Druid Chronicles. Learn about the serious themes that are hiding out in this series that unites different ancient gods and classic myths into one fast-paced adventure!
Hounded was written as much for my own entertainment as anyone else’s—and I certainly did not intend for it to be “deep” and fraught with the kind of gravitas that makes the jowls of college professors quiver portentously. But now that I’m a couple of years removed from writing it, I’m capable of putting on my English teacher hat and making up some pseudo-academic stuff that is entertaining in its own nerdy way.
Though I make no claims to literature with my series, there are some serious themes that are entirely intentional, such as the idea that only love and friendship can anchor a long-lived person to his or her humanity. A broader look at humanity’s struggle with faith vs. reason arose unintentionally, however, in the process of building the world.
In order to make a 2,100-year-old Druid living among us seem plausible, I had to raid a bit of Irish myth and treat it like history. But once I did that, consistency demanded that I had to treat all myths (and religions) the same way, and that gave me a whole lot of fodder for the horses of my imagination. I got to wondering what all those different pantheons would be doing now, how they’d be handling a world of secular science where people are not inclined to believe in anthropomorphic representations of nature and emotion.
And yet, perhaps we’re longing for the mystery and magic of elder days. The current popular fascination with gods and monsters must bespeak a certain dissatisfaction with the answers empiricism provides. And my instinct is that we might be yearning for something a bit more edgy than the repackaged and bowdlerized versions of mythology you get in the form of friendly animated cartoons.
The gods of The Iron Druid Chronicles, Irish and otherwise, are served up according to their more violent and primal origins—in other words, as ancient people imagined them, and not accompanied by massive doses of sugar to make them more palatable to modern sensibilities. When and if Zeus makes an appearance, I guarantee you he won’t be the grinning avuncular type you saw in a certain children’s movie; he’ll be the serial rapist and patricide he was in Greek myth. And when Thor shows up (as he does in the third book, Hammered, out July 5), he’s not the noble hero modern times have made him out to be. He embodies violent weather, after all, and knowing how (but not when) you’re going to die has to have a deleterious effect on one’s psyche over time.
Just as people struggle with the roles life seems to want them to play, so do the gods in my series; they worry about lack of advancement and what’s to in store for them now that they are no longer worshiped as they used to be. Save for their godlike powers, they are like us, yearning for relevance and acceptance and fighting to achieve it.
- Kevin Hearne
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