Neil Gaiman Masterclass : Dialogue and Creating Character

How do you feel about your looks? Describe yourself.

-- Everyone keeps telling me I'm the spit of my mother. I only know her through the portraits that's kept around the castle though, so I don't know if it's true. They often say redheads are fiery. My father often has to tell me to calm down so I suppose that can be true sometimes. I like to think I'm no slouch, but how would anyone know when I have to wear these ridiculous dresses and gowns? I don't pretend to be all that tall, but these stupid hats mean I still have to duck to get through some doors. As a girl I often liked to run around the castle, climbing all over the battlements and up the towers. I'd often get told off for that mind you. Maybe that's why father makes me wear these silly outfits. It's really hard to climb stairs let alone a castle wall. 

How old are you?

--Apparently old enough to have to choose my champion. Sixteen is supposed to be close enough to womanhood that I have to choose who will represent me and "uphold my honour" whatever that means. Pfft.

What three adjectives best describe you?

--Mischief. Strange. Friend.

How do you feel about money?

--Well, I'm a princess so I have plenty of gold to my name apparently. Feels kind of strange to have all of this just for being born. I see others who have so much less get on with their lives and they seem happy enough. I would like to help people more when they need it. But father tells me we need to keep that money for things like paying for equipment for the guards, maintaining the castle, buying food and provisions. Bla bla bla. 

What's the worst thing that's ever happened to you?

--So far? Wearing a ball gown for the first time and tripping down the stairs. SO embarrassing! I think it took me at least three minutes to stand up again too. I kept catching my feet on all the layers of petticoats and whatever else they pad these things out with to make it look at if you have no feet and four-foot-wide waist.

Do you see your parents regularly?

--Father's always around. He's often busy. And when I do see him he's always trying to teach me something. I understand why he does it. He says he wants me to be prepared for when I have to take over from him. I'd rather not have to think about that to be honest. It'd be nice just to have a dad, you know? 

What three objects best describe your childhood? Explain.

--Gowns! So many stupid, lame gowns! It is too much to ask to be able to walk without wondering if you're going to trip over? And do you know how long it takes to use the toilet? Why do women put up with this rubbish?

--Books. Mervyn and Marvyn are always trying to teach me things. Father wants me to learn everything I can. Always the books. I do like the adventure stories though. 

--A crown. I am a princess after all. Stupid thing's heavy though. Gets caught in my hair too.

Are you religious?

--Worshiping gods has been outlawed for a long time. Father says that at a time in history we used to worship dragons. Haven't seen one myself so I wouldn't know. 

What scientific invention really rocks your world?

--Trousers! Seriously, why do men and boys get to wear them and girls don't? And shoes that your feet can fit in! Mind you... this is going to sound strange but... I have this picture in my head of these big, four-wheeled carts that don't need horses to pull them. Father says that I have an overactive imagination. Maybe he's right. Still... sometimes they seem so real.

What's your worst pet peeve?

--Have I mentioned the gowns yet? I feel I should mention the gowns one last time. 

--... Okay maybe not the *last* time.

What's your favourite food?

--Honey-cured ham is nice. Though I often have this strange craving for a flat disc of beef sitting between two halves of a bread bun. 

Who's the most important person in the world to you right now?

--Father. I mean, he's my dad and all. Can't really do without him. However I will have to mention my friend Chester. He's the castle jester and everything, so he's meant to be funny. But he and I have been friends since we were little. He always knows how to cheer me up. And he sometimes takes the blame for some of the silly things we get up to. When we get caught anyway.

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