Who are these beautiful men, you may wonder? Well, they’re not really men. They’re sylphs! And the leading battle sylphs in L.J. McDonald’s Sylph series, no less. This week–as part of our September sylph series–we’re profiling Claw, the burly, tortured looking man on the far left (the first one with a face). Before we begin, here’s a summary of a sylph for those of you who are new to the series:
Sylph (n): a mythological creature composed of the elements. The term, which originated in Paracelsus, commonly describes sylphs as invisible beings of air or “faeries of the air.” L.J. McDonald’s sylphs are either fire sylphs, air sylphs, water sylphs, earth sylphs, or battle sylphs. Battle sylphs are unique to L.J.’s original fantasy world; they are creatures of magic, unrelentingly male, who were traditionally bound to a male master in a sacrificial ritual. In L.J.’s debut, The Battle Sylph, everything changes when this dark ritual goes awry and a battle sylph is bound to a woman instead.
Without further ado, here’s a profile on Claw:
First Master: Boradel, a cruel general of King Alcor, who was given a battle sylph to defend the kingdom.
First Appears In: We first meet Claw in an epic fight near the end of The Battle Sylph. Bound to a king’s man, he’s supposedly following orders and fighting against the good sylphs, but at last minute he joins his fellow slaved sylphs and escapes his bonds by turning on the king’s men and battlers. Once freed, he’s able to join the Queen (Solie’s) hive as a free battle sylph.
Appearance: Claw is first described in the perspective of King Alcor, who says he “was a hunched thing in a filthy robe, possessed of arms tipped with foot-long claws instead of fingers. Its claws were held up before it like those of a praying mantis, and it started at every sudden noise. Its face as oval, its mouth a round shape overstuffed with fangs jutting out in every direction.” Yeah, Claw’s a frightening one, but keep in mind he didn’t choose this form–Boradel did–so it doesn’t reflect his true nature. Once Claw becomes part of the hive, Solie allows him to choose his own form. For whatever reason he transforms into a “hunched, nervous-looking young man, eyes bulging and hands still held before him like a praying mantis. His skin was very pale, and his hair, bizarrely, was dark blue.” I’d say this is a more accurate reflection of his inner nature…
Second Master: In Queen of the Sylphs, we learn that Claw is given a female master. Battle sylphs respond significantly better to females, as they are essentially wired to adore and pleasure women. He’s paired with Rachel, an elderly and kind school-teacher, who helps soften him through her love and affection.
Personality: Although still ferocious in battle (which is inherent to all battle sylphs), Claw is kind of a fraidy cat. He’s a nervous, neurotic, spastic, broken creature, ruined by his years of slavery. He’s bizarre in his eccentricity, which makes him one of the most amusing and heartbreaking characters in the series.
Claw Quote: “Ril paused, eyeing Claw. ‘How’s the reading coming?’ Um, good,’ the other battler said. ‘I read a story to Rachel last night.’ ‘Nice,’ Ril said. Claw sagged. ‘The math is hard, though.’”
To read more on Claw, delve into September release Queen of the Sylphs, the 3rd book in the series and the installment that gives Claw the most page time.
Next week marks the last profile in our September Sylph Series–we’ll be giving away the entire series in trade paperback to one lucky commenter from this month’s series, so be sure to enter your comment! This week’s question: With his sketchy, blue-haired demeanor, Claw is reminiscent of a glam punk rocker. What 70′s/80′s musician did you have an embarrassing crush on?