During Rick Riordan’s tour for The Sword of Summer, we had a chance to ask him about his first book in the Magnus Chase series.
During the author’s tour, he made an exciting announcement that has Percy Jackson fans very excited about Riordan’s future books — he’ll be writing a whole new series in the Percy Jackson world centered around the god Apollo.
But before we lost our collective minds over that news, Hypable had a chance to talk to Riordan about his newest book, and how it will tie in with Percy’s world, too.
How did you work to make Magnus different from the other narrators you’ve written?
I just sort of made the decision that I wasn’t going to worry about it too much. I was just going to write a story as it came to me and not be overly concerned about, ‘Was he too similar to Percy? Was he not similar enough?’ But it wasn’t a big deal. He just kind of let me know what his personality was going to be. He’s a little tougher. He’s a little grittier, a little edgier than Percy was. But that’s because of his situation and because he’s older.
— Seale Ballenger (@SHB6964) October 7, 2015
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Now that you live in Boston, did you incorporate any of your favorite places into the book?
Absolutely, yeah. I mean, Fenway. We go there a lot. We’ve become big Red Sox fans, it’s a lot of fun. I love to go to the park, the public garden. I take my dog for a walk there all the time, right under Magnus’ bridge where he hangs out. It was neat because it was fun to put in stuff I discovered from my new hometown.
Obviously there are a lot of differences between the Greek myths and the Norse myths, but what sort of similarities are there between the gods we’ve seen before and the gods new readers are seeing now?
There are a lot of similarities. There’s been talk about how much the Greek gods did or didn’t influence the Norse gods. One thing I never really realized when I was reading one of the primary sources, the Prose Edda from Iceland, [is that] one of the theories this guy proposes is that the Norse gods were actually from Byzantium in Greece. They were basically the Greek gods, and they came north, but they were actually humans, but everybody thought they were gods because they were so much more advanced and their names were Odin and Thor. I don’t know what the truth is, but it’s really interesting seeing the similarities between Zeus and Odin. Ares and Thor. There’s a messenger god named Hermóðr, who is very obviously Hermes. So there’s a lot of crossover.
Which Norse myth was your favorite one to explore in the book?
I loved the crafting competition where the dwarves are asked to make items, and they have to decide which ones were the best magic items. It’s an actual Norse myth, but I just modernized it and made it happen for Magnus.
Were there any myths you weren’t particularly familiar with that you had to delve into in order to incorporate them?
Some of the gods are not as well documented as others. For instance, there’s the thing about Heimdell, the god of the rainbow bridge, having seven mothers. It’s a really interesting concept, but we don’t really know much about it. Like, what does that mean? But it’s just fascinating, so I looked into that. And the dwarves and the elves, I had to do a lot of research on what they were like.
Which was your favorite character to write other than Magnus?
I love Sam — Samirah — she is a really fascinating character, and I felt very close to her and enjoyed bringing her to life.
What was the most challenging part of writing The Sword of Summer?
Any time that I’m starting a new world, it gets tricky because I have to get the dynamics of it right, and how the nine worlds are going to interact with the modern world. And you have these societies, entire societies of elves and dwarves, and how they interact with humans. It was finding a way to do elves and dwarves so they’re not just The Lord of the Rings all over again.
There is a lack of romance in the first book, especially for Magnus. Is that something you plan to carry throughout the series, or will we see anything else later on?
I don’t know. It was intentional. It came from the interplay between the characters. Obviously Sam being who she is, that’s not an option. You’re just not going to see that with her. She’s not that kind of girl. Whether there will be romance in the later books, I don’t know how that will play out.
And, of course, fans are very excited that Annabeth showed up. Can we expect to see her in later books too?
You will see her again. I can’t say too much about it. Again, it’s not going to be a whole lot about her, but she will have a role. Not a huge role, but a role.
The Throne of Fire graphic novel just came out. How much influence do you have over the adaptation of that?
They let me advise them. They show me artwork and I get to give ideas. It’s not really my forte. I don’t know too much about graphic art. I don’t really know what to tell them. But mostly what they show me is really great.
Do you expect Magnus will get his own graphic novel?
That’s a great question. I don’t know yet. That would be a fun thing to do. If Disney is up for it, that would be super.
Which Norse figure do you think would be your godly parent?
You know, I haven’t really thought about that. I would love it to be Loki because Loki is just completely awesome. But I don’t know if that would be true or not.
Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer is on sale now. Read our review.