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Character Study: Harmony January 7, 2012

Posted by shadowconflict in Art, Characters, Concepts, Information.
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Back when I first created The Shadow Conflict– better known then as ‘my elemental tamer story’ (it did not gain a title until 2009, and that has since been changed) I knew only one thing: I wanted it to focus on the forbidden love angle. While Azura (whom I’ll cover in a later entry) was technically the first character created, it was the connection Harmony, Braeden and Hadrian shared that drove me in the early days. Nearly all the pieces I wrote focused on them, and it was easy to see their appeal: boy and girl from different worlds meet and fall in love, while the twin brother, mired by jealously and obsession, does all he can to disrupt it. Classic romance trope? Yep. Tried and true? You bet. But I didn’t care. Aside from tragic romance, love triangles are an extreme guilty pleasure of mine, and I made it no secret with these three.  So let’s start with our heroine.  Here we go!

Harmony: Origins

Harmony’s name is a homage to a character my sister created back when we were in our early teens, and a fitting moniker for a girl who wishes to bring peace to her world.  As important as Harmony was to the story, I confess that her beginnings were embroiled in yet another classic trope: damsel in distress. Early writings depict her as a hand-wringing, sobbing mess, hardly worth Braeden’s time, let alone a reader’s. My sister likened her to Magic Knight Rayearth’s Princess Emeraude.  In essence, she was, in both appearance and personality.  Ultra feminists would have hated her.

Blonde, big eyed and wearing a perpetual look of worry and uncertainty? Check!

I suppose it fit considering her age and how much she was in love.  Still, there was no way this version of Harmony could carry the story.  She was as weak as weak could be, as depicted in these early scenes:

'Harmony's Decision', a mini comic influenced by earlier writings

“He’s everything to me…but we cannot be together,” she began, her lower lip quivering with the promise of more tears. It took a moment for her to gather her composure, and, looking her audience directly in the eye, added, “He’s a shadow tamer.”

“We met a few months ago, on the beach near my mother’s castle. I was a little afraid at first, for I’d never met a real shadow tamer, and all the ones I read about were regarded as evil, but Braeden was none of those things. When we were together I was so happy…nothing bothered me, not even the fact we were from different worlds. All that mattered was our love. Sometimes I can still feel his arms around me,” Lady Harmony said, her voice lowering at her last words.

“We wanted a world that accepted all the elements. He came to the castle unarmed, ready to stand before my mother powered only by the strength of our love, and our shared dream. But we were discovered before we could get there, and Braeden…Braeden was hurt. Oh, I can still see him falling off the battlements- I don’t even know if he’s alive!” she sobbed.

By contrast, Braeden was the much stronger character, if only because Harmony was so damned useless.  Sharing this bit makes my head hurt, but also allows me to appreciate her character even more.

Design

Conceptual designs for Harmony's clothing

Harmony’s looks were based more on her role than personality.  Not to say she was a complete blank slate- she cared about those around her, and had enough gumption to go against convention.  Depicting her as blonde and blue eyed fit the element she was associated with.  In manner she was soft spoken, thoughtful, and sad.  She wore flowing gowns and elaborate headpieces that emphasized her femininity.   She was the equivalent of a princess in the story; her attire reflected that.

More conceptual designs focusing on headwear

Her primary color scheme at the time was white, and lots of it.  Later on she adopted light grays (not really sure why I went this route) , before I realized having a closet full of white and/or gray gowns sounded just too silly to be realistic.  While her ideal colors are white and gold, they are not exclusive.

Giving her long, golden blonde hair was a no brainer.  I did, however, encounter some issue whenever I drew it.  Most of the time it just hanged there, lifeless, with a rather unflattering middle part.  I have since added some volume to it.  Makes for a much better look on her.

Personality

While she may have started life as an Emeraude clone, Harmony has since come a long, long way.  I truly came to know her in my 2007 Voltron fanfic Two Worlds, all without meaning to.  The plotted events allowed me to see her strengths as a character, strengths that were necessary in order to help carry The Shadow Conflict.  No longer defined by her predicament, Harmony emerged as a determined, passionate, brave and caring individual.  She’s not afraid to stand up for what she believes in, and she’ll stick by her friends until the very end.  Also, she smiles.  I always wrote her as weary and sad.  You have no idea how happy I am it’s so out of character for her.

Harmony, 2010, drawn by my sister

Aside from her friends, Braeden is the most important person in her life.  The gumption that drew her to him is still present, though it is more heavily influenced by her relationship with him and her want to help his people.  She longs for a united Caeher.  She doesn’t see the shadow people as enemies, but as fellow elements who have been too long denied their rightful place.  She is a champion for them.  The biggest challenges she faces come from within and without, and none more so than her mother.   Helena is not a sympathetic supporter for the shadow people.  Harmony still harbors hope that Helena will come around.

Of the other girls, she is closest to Azura and Ember, and enjoys a fond if somewhat nettled relationship with Kaia and Anila.  She loves them all dearly, and knows that they will stand by her when it’s her turn to be Lady of Light.

Harmony, circa 2009, demonstrating her aura

Powers/Abilities

Every tamer is born of his or her element; in other words, the parent element comes to its tamer and lies with him/her until a child is conceived.  For women, the “father” will vanish the night after.  For men, the “mother” lingers, usually kept out of sight, until the child is born.  Hence why none of the heirs have two parents, and a surrogate is usually welcomed with open arms.

Unlike the other elements, those born of the Light do not have an avatar.  It was decreed by Harmony’s ancestor Lailie that, “In order to be equipped to combat the darkness, we of the Light must be able to harness all our power from the beginning.  To do otherwise is to allow Shadow the ability to gain ground against us.”  Harmony learned to use hers through Helena and a select group of tutors.  Sunlight is necessary for her powers to function, even though she cannot necessarily manipulate it on her own.  Because she is imbued with Light from the moment of her birth, she and all those born of her element give off a subtle glow.  Its intensity depends on the amount of sunlight exposure, and sometimes mood.  The truly powerful, such as Helena, emit a glow even in the dark.

One of Harmony’s chief abilities involves utilizing light given off from one source to construct an image using another.  It can be likened to using a mirror to peer around a corner, or underneath a locked doorway.  She is also able to reduce or brighten light, and create invisible barriers so long as there is a source to be had.  Should she be kept in the dark for an extended period of time, her life could be at risk.

In Conclusion

Harmony and Braeden, together

 

Given Harmony’s origins, I have to say it was worth all the revisions to discover who she is, and what kind of inspiration, if any, she could be.  If I were to liken her to one of my favorite characters, it’d have to be Aerith Gainsborough.  They share many good qualities.  I think that if given the choice between her life and those she cares about, Harmony would have done the same thing as Aerith.  Of course, Braeden might have a thing or two to say about that.

Well, I hope you have enjoyed this introspective into Harmony’s character.  There’s plenty more where she came from, so stay tuned! Also, don’t forget to check out the main story! The Shadow Conflict


 


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Comments»

1. destinare - January 10, 2012

I really liked this. The progression from what she started out as to what she’s become is a fantastic example of how characters seem to change as a project is worked on. I’m looking forward to reading the other character studies that you have planned. 🙂

Serena - January 11, 2012

I’m glad you enjoyed it! I’m working on Braeden’s now and it is going to be longer. Funny much how character studies reveal huh? 😀


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