Friday, June 5, 2009
Welcome all. Our guest today is Lisa Hendrix, author of the Immortal Brotherhood Series, one of my favorites. Here's a little bit about Lisa for the curious:
After years of daydreaming complex stories for familiar characters from film, TV, and books — nearly always involving a romance that hadn’t been included by the original writer — Lisa Hendrix borrowed a page from motivational speaker and author Marsha Sinetar and decided that it was time to start doing what she loved and hope that the money really would follow. She began writing the medieval romance from hell, a manuscript that taught her a lot, but which is now safely locked away where it can do no harm. She later went on to publish several successful westerns and contemporary romantic comedies.
Now she’s gone back to her medieval roots with The Immortal Brotherhood, a paranormal historical romance series featuring a crew of Viking warriors cursed to be immortal were-creatures. The first book, IMMORTAL WARRIOR, was published in 2008. Book II, IMMORTAL OUTLAW is just out this week.
Discover more at http://lisahendrix.com, where you’ll find excerpts and fun extras like printable bookmarks and interactive maps of the locations in the books.
I DO, I DO
Guest Chef, eh? I suppose that means I should cook up something hot. With weddings.
While I consider recipes, let me say that it’s a pleasure to visit the East Coast via this invitation to PFHT (which is really hard to type, btw, because I want to turn it into Phfft and that just wouldn’t be polite). Being about as far west as a person can go without falling in, I seldom make it back your way, so I was excited to get Debbie’s invitation.
Did you know that during the early part of the Middle Ages, a priest wasn’t required for a wedding to be legal? That’s because marriage was not a Church matter, but a civil one. It was a contract—between families for the wealthy, sometimes between individuals for the poor. All that was required was for the two parties to agree, exchange gifts (rings, for example) and the betrothal or marriage was done.
In fact, there was a time when priests were encouraged NOT to attend weddings, and the Bishop of Bourge actually forbade his priests to take part in them because they were so bawdy. The removal and tossing of the bride’s garter originated as a way to distract the crowd of men intent on seeing the bride stripped naked and put to bed, and even so, sometimes the poor girl ended up upside down, her gown over her head and her modesty shattered. (And you thought Uncle Henry getting drunk was embarrassing...) The temptation to a celibate priest was seen as just too much.
However, many couples wanted a priest’s blessing anyway, so by the 12th and 13th c, the presence of a priest was becoming more and more common. The Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 required a priest to both witness and bless the marriage—while simultaneously contradicting itself by recognizing marriages made by nothing more than mutual consent. It wasn’t until the Council of Trent (1563) that the Catholic Church actually declared that a marriage was not valid unless a priest ratified it by saying a certain formula (e.g., “I now pronounce you...”).
At the outset, there was no real difference between a betrothal and a marriage except whether the bride went to live with the husband and whether there had been a consummation. If you were betrothed, you were bound to each other. Later, the distinction became a matter of verb tense. The declaration of “I will take you for husband/wife” (called verba de futuro, if I’ve got my Latin right) meant you were betrothed. Change the verb to the present, “I do take you” (the verba de presenti),
and you were married—consummation or not.
Even without the present tense vow, however, consummation turned a betrothal into a marriage. A rogue could not say, “Sure, Isabella, I’ll marry you,” take the lady to bed, then walk away scot-free. “I will marry you” + sex = I did marry you. Technically, there didn’t even have to be witnesses to the pledge: the woman’s word that the fellow said he’d marry her in order to get her in the sack was sufficient to make them married. For that matter, an agreement of marriage (present tense) made a marriage, consummation or not, and witnesses or not.
But vows made without witness were the subject of innumerable lawsuits during this period, so in most cases, after completing some paperwork—detailing the dower portion and morning gift—the couple and their parents walked or rode down to the church (the origin of the wedding procession) and made their declarations on the doorstep where everyone could see and hear. Afterward, they would generally go inside the church for a wedding Mass.
Despite the increased role of the priest, there was still debate about whether the Church had any real business being involved in marriage. Martin Luther, for example, argued that marriage was a secular matter, not a religious one. Following his lead, Protestants held out against the necessity of a priest far longer than the Catholic Church did. The Church of England still recognized clandestine (non-church, unwitnessed) weddings well into the 18th century, and in Scotland, declaration weddings (though before witnesses) were legal until 1940—which is why all those Gretna Green blacksmith weddings decorate the pages of Regencies. You didn’t have to go to a Gretna blacksmith, though: just make it across the border into Scotland, find a stray shepherd, and you could be married as quickly as you could say “I do.”
Research is one of my favorite ways to procrastinate from actual writing, can you tell? I got to make use of a lot of this information, too, though I’m not going to reveal any spoilers here by telling you which book or how. (Phfft.)
What’s your favorite way to procrastinate? Research? Cleaning your desk? Detailing your computer with a Q-Tip? Edging the lawn with manicure scissors? Come on, you know you have one. Give.
For all our readers who leave a comment today, Lisa is generously giving away a copy of her first book in the series, IMMORTAL OUTLAW, or a choice of one of her backlist books. So, come clean. How do you procrastinate?