Welcome everyone to another Fantasy Friday!  Irina Lopatina is here today to discuss her release, White Raven: The Sword of Northern Ancestors.  It looks like a fascinating read, quite frankly!

White Raven: The Sword of Northern Ancestors

In the kingdom of Areya, humans, animals, and the magical creatures that inhabit the Eternal Forest have long coexisted peacefully, but now something is horribly wrong. A terrifying stream of monstrous creatures has begun to emerge from the secret depths of the earth, terrorizing all of Areya's native inhabitants. From the tiny, wise drevalyankas to the bellicose cave-dwelling gnomes to the devious kikimoras who gather roots and herbs in the marsh, everyone is in danger. With the aid of Urart, the magical sword that has been passed down from the time of the ancient northern ancestors, Grand Duke Vlady can offer temporary protection to his people. But Prince Vraigo, Vlady's nephew, who is endowed with magical power himself, understands that the source of the evil monsters must be found if there's any hope of survival. Along with a motley crew of his forest-dwelling friends, Vraigo sets off on a perilous quest in search of the koschei, the powerful, corrupt Archmagus whose mission is the destruction not just of Areya, but of the entire world. As if this weren't bad enough, Urart disappears from the duke's stronghold. Without it, Areya is doomed, and only Vraigo, the White Raven, can possibly get the sword back. This journey requires Vraigo to use all of his keen wits and magical abilities, as well as to ally himself to dangerous creatures like yagas and werewolves, natural enemies of man, and precipitates the young prince into the most bewildering, complex challenge he has faced yet: life in the twenty-first century.

Irina is going to tell us about the Yaga today -- and so I will dutifully hand her the floor!  
The Yaga As A Discrepant Symbol of Russian FolkloreGuest Post by Irina Lopatina, author of White Raven

There are a lot of magical creatures that coexist with humans more or less peacefully in White Raven. In my opinion, a yaga is one of the most interesting. And this is not only because she is a powerful evil witch who is able to confront even the highest pure magus (what she may lack in force, she can make up in cunning). Neither do I find her most interesting because of her close connection to the Eternal Forest and her retinue of pikshas, bloodthirsty natural magi. The peculiarities of the yaga who our heroes in the book must confront are derived from her prototype – a forest witch who is very popular in Russian fairy tales.

How does a yaga differ from witches who are occupied with witchcraft in the epos of many nations? At first glance, she takes a great interest in doing various dirty tricks exactly the same way. She even doesn’t hesitate to roast in the oven and eat a traveler who lost his way. As a rule, there are skulls of such poor fellows hanging on the branches near her hut, which is propped up on skinny poles that look like chicken legs. Also, she usually runs errands for the most terrible magus, koschei. Together with him, she schemes against the heroes of fairy tales.

But here, oddly enough, the differences begin. Despite her evil nature and perpetual fear of the koschei, the yaga manages to behave quite unpredictably and chooses to help the fighters of evil instead of plotting against them. She can tell about the koschei’s secrets to a prince who gets lost and can show him the path from the forest thicket. Or she might just feed him and let him to stay overnight, as if she were a normally hospitable hostess. So, in White Raven the yaga is simply unpredictable. She appears in the pages not too often, but she is one of the important characters. The yaga is one of the threads leading Prince Vraigo to the most evil koschei’s secrets. At the same time, she is a highly amusing character who has her own unique charm.

~~~~~   Thank you, Irina, for stopping in today!  The Yaga sounds fascinating and rather entertaining.  And your folklore is certainly very interesting.   I wish you the best of luck with White Raven!  


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2 Responses so far.

  1. Thank you very much, Claire, for the opportunity to talk to your readers!

  2. Nice postt

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