Last February I reviewed my favourite debut of the year so far, Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman. Its sequel Any Other Name, will be out on June 6th and I plan to have a review for it up soon after. However, not only is Emma going to be doing publicity for the sequel, Angry Robot decided to send out the inhabitants from the Split Worlds out to do the rounds as well. I decided to take the opportunity to sit down* with one of my favourites from Between Two Thorns, the Gargoyle. He was kind enough to answer (almost) all of my questions frankly and I can’t wait to catch up with his story in Any Other Name. Without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to Gargoyle.
Hello Gargoyle. First of all, thank you for doing this interview with me!
What was it like for you to first wake up as a gargoyle? What did you think when you looked out over Paddington and released you were stuck?
Well, it wasn’t so bad when I first ‘woke up’ because I’m used to connecting to Max in all kinds of different statues. Earlier that day I was in angel, if I remember rightly. With boobs. That was weird.
Anyway, it was only unusual after he was shot and broke contact and I was still inside this shape. Being able to move without contact was a bit of a shocker but to be honest I had too much on my plate to have an existential crisis about it. The trickiest bit was detaching from the building actually. They really fix those buggers on tight. Which makes sense, come to think of it.
How is it working with Max for a partner?
He winds me up something chronic but we’re a team and we look out for each other. Well… I look out for him. Between you and me, I’d rather hang about with Cathy. She says what she thinks and she knows how to tickle behind my ear in just the right spot. Max never does anything like that.
Do you get frustrated with his stoicism sometimes? Because I did!
Bloody hell yes! He’s a stubborn so-and-so and plays by the rules too much for my liking. But he’s an Arbiter. That’s what they’re like. Years of training and being, you know, detached from his soul isn’t going to be un-done just because I’m knocking about now.
You’re often out and about with Max, how did you manage to keep largely unnoticed? Mad skills or magic skills?
I hide as much as I can. When we went to the museum, for example, I hid in Axon’s car and then when I knew Max was struggling I sneaked over the wall and there wasn’t anyone there because the museum was shut. Max only takes me out of Ekstrand’s house when he really needs me.
The most time I’ve spent in Mundanus was getting from the hotel to the hospital they took Max to. That was fine though; I just stayed high. People don’t look up, at least they don’t in London. They’re missing all kinds of interesting stuff up there. I might have damaged a few chimney pots and loosened some roof tiles but I wasn’t spotted.
There were two tricky points though; one was getting down from the hotel at St Pancras when it was crawling with police and the second was climbing up the outside of the hospital to get to Max. But it was obvious pretty quickly that innocents have a real knack for ignoring weird stuff. I tagged onto the end of a group of people dressed in fancy dress costumes leaving King’s Cross for a couple of hundred metres and people assumed I was just a bloke in a stonkingly good costume. As for the hospital, I just sat perfectly still next to some scaffolding outside the hospital whilst I listened in on two plods having a cigarette, talking about Max. They even looked at me! They must have assumed I was an ornament waiting to be hoisted up the scaffolding. Still makes me laugh when I think about it.
Having spent time with them, do you agree that there is quite a bit of chemistry between Sam and Cathy?
They do science together? I thought he was a computer programmer. He didn’t say anything about chemistry to me. Neither has Cathy. Blimey, I never spotted that. I’ll have to look out for test tubes the next time I see them.
Nice deflection there. What do you do on your downtime? Do you read?
Yeah I do actually, but to be honest there aren’t that many fun books at the Sorcerer’s house. All the good ones are in his library but only he and Petra are allowed in there. I might ask her if she’s got some stashed away.
I spend time with Axon while he cooks. I like the smells and he tells me what he’s heard on the radio in Mundanus. But a lot of the time I’m trying to figure out stuff. All this business with the Fae-touched and the Chapter and all, it’s on my mind, y’know? What I’d really like to do is go fishing, but there’s no way Max would take the time off, even if we did manage to find somewhere out of the way. Saying that, he could put a fishing rod in my paws and I reckon any innocents would assume I’m some kind of weird lakeside art installation, or garden gnome gone wrong or something. Actually, that’s not a bad idea…
Well, thank you again for a lovely chat and do be careful on your quest to puzzle out the Chapter-business.
Well, there you have it. My interview with a gargoyle. Quite a solid bloke, all told. I hope you enjoyed getting more closely acquainted with him. Be sure to catch up with him, Max, Cathy, Sam and the rest in Any Other Name and keep an eye on the Angry Robot blog or Emma’s Twitter feed to catch more interviews with some of the other inhabitants of the Split Worlds.
* Virtually of course, because the Nether is quite a journey from the Netherlands, even if the name might imply otherwise.