THE LADY OF LANARIA: Apothecaries and Healers and Ancient Medicine

Thursday, September 10, 2020

(Credit: Canva)

I will cry if I have to read one more incorrect blog post about medieval medical intervention.  I mean, their ideas about the human body were so off-the-wall to begin with, it's easy to be distracted by articles that appear completely logical, but end up being inaccurate to the time period.  
I've seen things, folks.  
(Well, I've read them, anyway.) 

For The Lady of Lanaria, I needed a time period in which Evangeline could thrive as a herbalist.  Rather than giving her supernatural capabilities -- i.e. magical healing power in her hair a la Tangled or magical teardrops a la Brothers Grimm -- I decided to let her power lie in her knowledge, which stems from the various books she consumes daily.  It was a talent much-needed at one point in time.  Way back when, nature was the only thing that could be used to heal the human body, but there was a very peculiar little speck in time between when this was actually realized, when it was used, and when modern medicine began to take the platform.  It was quite the bugger to pinpoint, too.

I was originally going to set The Lady of Lanaria in the early 1600s, but it seemed like a lot of the medical intervention in that period involved bloodletting, cold water, or more bloodletting.  I hopped forward to the 1800s, but their methods were too advanced for my idea.  Even the 1700s were a bit iffy, so I decided that if I had a fictitious low-fantasy land, I could have a fictitious time era, a blend of the 1600s and 1700s, where some healers are aware of the natural healing properties of plants and some don't...which is where Evangeline comes in.  

She has a lot of time on her hands, and spends it reading.  But she has also filled her entire tower with little pots of herbs and other healing plants like plantain, ginger, mint, and so on.  She's a bit of a green thumb, and uses her talent to help Amaranth, her mother, with a merchant's booth that Amaranth co-owns with another woman in the town square of Lanaria.  

Lanaria, by default, is a very small kingdom.  It's actually an island with an even smaller small offshoot called "Old Lanaria," and the two are connected by a natural bridge, a strip of land that disappears at night when the tide comes in.  It's a combination of the very real Mont St. Michel and the kingdom of Corona (the happy kind of Corona...*squints eyes at 2020*) from the movie Tangled, but with its own original setup -- the bridge that connects the two. 

It was honestly a blast working on worldbuilding for The Lady of Lanaria, outside of the medicinal research (and I have to give a huge thanks to a couple of my betas, who knew a thing or two about...spoilery medieval medicine stuff).  I have pages upon pages of written research of various herbs and plants native to France; even some from Norway, and one or two things borrowed from Germany, since Lanaria isn't real.  I have sheets dedicated to the five senses, even various wildlife, and so on, including what kind of materials were used for home-building, roofing, and even household items like plates and forks and cups and buckets.  It's just interesting, I don't know.  It's a lot of fun, and I hope you find The Lady of Lanaria to be an immersive experience, not only pertaining to the plot but the details as well. Someone please hold me back from pulling a Tolkien and writing entire pages about their surroundings.

Next week, I hope you'll join me for a discussion on the main characters and their motivations!  Then we'll be moving on to the main villain...I'll see you there. 

Have you been enjoying these posts about The Lady of Lanaria?  Anyone else enjoy worldbuilding?  What are some tips you'd recommend to other writers -- or what are some details you enjoy as a reader?