Character interview with Jonathan of The Baron’s Ring
Q: What is your relationship to Prince Tristan of Parangor?
A: I came to the capital city to be a squire to the prince. I was supposed to help him learn swordplay and warcraft. However, he preferred books and study, while I became accomplished enough at what we were both supposed to be learning to be offered the position of captain of the king’s guard.
Q: So Tristan was a weakling or a coward, in your opinion?
A: Not at all. He was a good man, with a real heart for serving the people of the kingdom, and the knowledge to do it well.
Q: But he wasn’t destined to be king, was he? Dunstan, his older brother, inherited the throne.
A: Dunstan! That drunken, illiterate bully! He is Tristan’s curse. I told him he should leave Parangor. It’s time he stopped trying to hide what a horrible King Dunstan will be. He certainly won’t change what Dunstan is.
Q: Where would Tristan go? What can he do? Doesn’t he have a responsibility to help his kingdom, especially if his brother will be a bad king?
A: There are two things Tristan will never succeed in doing – One is beat anyone in a swordfight, and the other is make his brother into a good king.
Q: It still sounds to me like Prince Tristan is weak. Otherwise he would overthrow his brother and take the throne himself. Lord Michnal, you were the advisor to the late king. What do you have to say about this?
A: It’s not as if Dunstan is a criminal. He hasn’t broken any laws. Tristan has no cause to do anything but, as he says, try to spare the people what he can. But I have also counseled him to leave. He is only torturing himself staying here.
Q: Gladring, you are Master of Horse. Prince Tristan spends a good deal of time at the stables. Have you been able to counsel him about how to save the kingdom?
A: I let him come and chop wood for the forge. I don’t know that I counsel him so much as let him blow off some steam and have time to think. I have given the bully Dunstan a hiding now and then, though. I wish it had helped make him a better man. Too much his father’s favorite, that one is, and bully to boot.
Q: So the answer is that Prince Tristan should just leave the kingdom? Do any of you think he will? Jonathan? What say you?
A: As long as Tristan lives in Dunstan’s shadow and lets him beat and bully him and do all the real work of being king, he will never learn anything. But Tristan will never leave of his own will. His heart is too good and unselfish to abandon his people. God will have to rip him away from Parangor somehow. Rip him away, and give him no chance to return. Because he will try to come back. God may have some lessons to teach Tristan. I hope he can learn them somewhere away from here.