Character Reading: Duncan of Cliff’s Tower

I hope you will enjoy this reading with Duncan of Cliff’s Tower.

He’s the hero of Blythe Gifford’s fourth medieval historical In The Master’s Bed from Harlequin. Blythe’s background includes marketing, advertising, and public relations. Her first novel was a Golden Heart finalist.  Of her muse, she says,

I feed my muse with art, music, history, long walks, good food and good friends. I love Italian food, Japanese art, Brazilian music, and I read history for fun.

1. How do you see the people around you?

The Hermit shows that you feel people need to be led but from a distance. You know you have to come down to them (see that looming rock in the background?) but you would rather do it under the cover of night.

You follow in someone else’s footsteps it seems. Perhaps there is a particular person you watch over in your guise as hermit?

The Hermit is about showing people the way. You may not want to be a leader, but it is the only thing you have, I think. So a leader you will be.

You are trying to move people from one way of thinking to another. That’s never easy.

Duncan’s Response:Hermit

I come from the mountains originally, in the north of England. I’ve had to work hard to prove myself to people here because they think northerners are uneducated barbarians. Now, I’m the master of a house full of men at Cambridge University. Most are close to my age. Some are my friends. So yes, I need to keep my distance to keep the respect I’ve earned. Maybe I’ve changed the way that people think about northerners just a little.

A particular person? That’s probably Little John. He’s a young scholar I’ve taken under my wing. And he has a lot to learn.

2. How are you seen by the people around you?

Well, they see you as judge and jury and executioner. You are seen as very far out of their reach but I don’t know that you see yourself that way.

This is a heavy card to have to be seen as, Duncan. It must make it very hard to trust those around you. Everyone will say and do what they must to stay on your good side.

This is also another card that references learning and knowledge so there is a thirst in you to gain all you can. I am willing to bet that you see knowledge as a powerful weapon.

Duncan’s Response: Learning and knowledge, absolutely! That’s what I left home and came to University to find. And I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished. I’ve earned my master’s and I teach others now, so I guess in that role, and as the head of Solar Hostel I’m seen as a person who has power to judge.

Many here disdain my background, so I can’t be open about my feelings, but I have been with Little John. I need for him to realize that men can show no weakness. He’s young. He doesn’t understand that yet. But I guess the lad has put his life in my hands. He’s an orphan, and not ready to come into the University as a full-fledged student. I agreed to teach him what he needs to know to be accepted.

3. What is your most important goal?

Seeking the Holy Grail are you? This is a card representing the Knight of Water. His emotions run deep but he is on a quest to find his heart’s desire.

You are far more of a dreamer than you let on, Duncan. You may have taken on more than one underdog’s battle in an effort to right all the wrongs that you see.

You truly believe that there is good in the world. Even if it is very hard to see and find. Your goal is to make the world a better place.

Duncan’s Response: I’m studying medicine, so I do want to help people, but my secret dream would be to find a woman who could accept and respect me. Someone I could trust and love. That’s the kind of dream that makes a man look soft. But I shared it with Little John. I don’t know why. He brings out my sentimental side, I guess. I’ve told the lad things I would never share with anyone else.

4. Where do you get your strength from?

You are more spiritual than they give you credit for. You also turn to your ancestors. There is someone in your past that you learned valuable lessons from (either to emulate them or to avoid them…). You know the value of taking time to stop and think.

This is a card that emphasizes the first. Here is a call for solitude. The Four of Swords as a strength card tells me that you need your down time. It is precious to you.

You have to have peace and quiet in order to function. Too much uproar or things being out of place puts you all out of sorts. A person who creates a quiet place in their world for you would be perfect.

Duncan’s Response: Ancestor? I want to be nothing like my father and I’ve come as far from my family as I can! Now, I’m in a noisy, crowded city. Ironic, I guess. I miss the hills where I grew up. I’d love to be able to go home and wander free there again. I guess the closest thing I have now is the quiet times with Little John.

5. Why do you want to be remembered?

As someone who stood his ground. As someone who did not back down when he knew he was right. Careful your stubbornness to be right doesn’t undermine you though, Duncan.

This is a very Leonine card. Your birthdate puts you under the sign of the Lion making you one who may roar and growl, but you are immensely protective of those in your domain.

You have worked to build your persona. This is very important to you, isn’t it? What is this fear of being seen as a coward, Duncan.

You will take all comers just to prove yourself right. Make sure you are fighting the right battles this time.

Duncan’s Response: I don’t let anyone belittle me or insult me because of where I’m from, if that’s what you mean. I’m as smart and strong as any of them, ready to fight with my fists as well as my tongue. And yes, I take care of those who need it, particularly Little John. I failed at taking care of someone once and I’ll never fail like that again. But I don’t need help myself. Particularly not from Little John. That’s not cowardice. That’s common sense.

About the book: Disguised as a man in a place where women are forbidden, Jane de Westin meets a man who, for the first time, makes her want to be a woman. But what will happen when her secret is discovers and he discovers her IN The MASTER’S BED?

Read an excerpt.

Blythe says: Thank you, Arwen, for kicking off publicity for my book so beautifully. Duncan and Jane are very special to me and I hope readers will love them as I do. I’ll be making a grand tour of about a dozen blogs, with chances to win a copy of In The Master’s Bed along the way, so check out the complete list on my website.

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8 thoughts on “Character Reading: Duncan of Cliff’s Tower”

  1. Hi Blythe and Arwen,

    This was a really fascinating exercise. Thanks for sharing Duncan’s thoughts with us. I can’t wait to read the book. Blythe’s books always go on my keeper shelf!

  2. Blythe,

    I’ve been studying Tarot for years but I’ve never thought to do a reading for any of my characters. Great ideal. Loved the reading. I did write an entire book using the Runes though.

    Dyanne

  3. Such an interesting blog ! I’m really looking foward to reading In The Master’s Bed.

    Sometimes I use tarot readings to brainstorm my characters… They’re useful when starting out, but I have a feeling the tarots for the characters when the book is complete would be quite different from the ones when I started. Should be fun to try!

    Thanks! — I really enjoyed this.

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