I mentioned before that in Flipside, the characters liken themselves to figures from Celtic and Norse mythology; I was concerned that readers might not know these legends, and so at the end of the novel I have given a brief summary for anyone who needs an explanation of the references the characters make.
The Story of Bran and the Cauldron – Bran the Blessed is a figure from Celtic mythology; he was a mighty King of Celtic Britain whose sister was married to the King of Ireland to form an alliance between the two countries. At the wedding feast, a half-brother of Bran kills one of the King or Ireland’s horses and in recompense Bran gives the King a might cauldron which has the property of restoring dead warriors to life. Some versions of the legend render the restored warriors dumb… this was what David must have read and how he must have tried to make sense of the death of his comrade and his own survival, and a reason for his locked speech.
The Story of Baldur – Baldur (Baldr) and Hoddur (Höðr) were brothers in Norse mythology; Baldur has been protected from death by his mother Frigg, who had been tortured by dreams of his death and had made all things on earth promise not to harm him, all things except mistletoe which she thought was too weak to hurt him. His brother Hoddur was blind and was tricked by the god of mischief, Loki, into joining in a game of throwing things at Baldur, things such as rocks, spears, arrows which could not harm him because of the oath to Frigg. Loki put a spar of mistletoe into Hoddur’s hand which he threw and killed his brother. Jaz refers to this legend, to the idea of a man killing his brother, trying indirectly to get David to tell her the truth.
Parcival and the Fisher King – Parcival and the Fisher King are figures from Arthurian legend. The Fisher King was wounded ‘in his groin’ and was impotent and unable to walk; unable to help or properly rule his kingdom, he sits and fishes all day. David has been wounded and although not physically impotent or lamed, his experiences as a soldier have left him with a mental condition which renders him powerless. When Jaz has been attacked, David recovers his weapons because he does not wish to sit idly by while danger threatens them. Like Parcival, Jaz is in some ways innocent and trusting. In search of the Holy Grail, Parcival meets the Fisher King but fails to ask the questions which would have healed him. Having failed to ask David about the circumstances which led to his mental breakdown, Jaz fears she has also failed to heal him. After their night of terror, she finally confronts him with his own story.