Monday, July 22, 2013

Characters: Gonzalo González

I'd like to introduce the most important member of the title characters via an excerpt. From Chapter II, this is the first time we see the title characters, and Gonzalo in particular. The scene takes place on the banks of the Arlanzón River in Burgos, Spain, in the year 974. A proud mother introduces her sons to her soon-to-be sister-in-law and her servants. I'll put all clippings from the novel on the new Excerpts page.

Eduardo Verastegui.
This is how handsome (and Spanish) Gonzalo should look.
Sancha’s face lit up again. “My sons are outside with my husband, waiting to meet you.” She grasped Doña Lambra’s limp hand and pulled her outside.
Justa, Gotina, and all the other servants followed the count and Álvar Sánchez outside to find a concentration of masculinity so intense, Justa could feel it wash over her like the waves of the Cantabrian Sea. Nine men, each with a gleaming sword in his belt, and seven with dark brown hair that shone bronze in the sunlight, laughed and talked amongst themselves, producing a resonant rumble in the women’s ears.
Count García said playfully, “Hey, Gonzalo, come and meet your future relative, and bring those sons of yours. Ah, there they are! I would never have known, since they’re so quiet.”

[All six of Gonzalo's elder brothers briefly meet with Lambra, and then we come to the youngest.]

“That will do, Gustio,” cut in Doña Sancha. She took Doña Lambra’s hand and patted it warmly. “And this is my youngest, Gonzalo. We call him Gonzalico.”
The knight in question grimaced at his mother, but just as quickly flashed a smile at Doña Lambra and Justa. He looked to have completed about fifteen years, just like Doña Lambra. Even in similar clothing and with the same nearly black hair and athletic build as his brothers, he was unique. Passersby, whether men or women, let their gazes linger on him. Behind his eyes danced a playful spirit, but it was impossible to tell whether it was angel or demon. Justa observed that the air around Gonzalo seemed to move faster, to bounce off his skin and radiate outward in jagged waves. Her heart skipped. Perhaps this nephew could be an exciting friend for her lady.
Doña Lambra held out her hand for a kiss and was absorbed into his energy. She seemed to pull away as quickly as she could.
The other brothers gathered around, eager to tell Doña Lambra about their little brother.
“Gonzalo’s learning about law. I often consult him when cases come before me,” said Diego, the eldest.
“He’s good at everything he tries,” said Gustio.
Suero added, “He’s even a decent hunter when I lend him my goshawk.”
“Your goshawk?” young Gonzalo shrilled. “You’re just lucky I let you hold him sometimes.”
“Now, boys,” Doña Sancha said over their boisterous teasing. “Let’s act like the nobles we are.”
Justa looked at Doña Sancha and tried to imagine all those well-formed men coming out of her somehow. 

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