We tend to have a specific image of a character in our head when we read. Often enough, despite being told exactly how the character is supposed to look, we create our own version of them. Sometimes we model them after other characters we’ve fallen in love with or even people we know personally. While reading the trilogy, Innon was a short-lived yet impactful chapter of the story’s development. My brain automatically linked him to Maui, the heroic and charming figure that has recently been made popular.
As the boisterous leader of the island of Meov, his personality just came across as inviting. I didn’t fully register Innon’s description despite having read it multiple times. Instead, I had begun to correlate him with the promoted version of this demigod. Everything seemed to link. He was ‘black-skinned’ and ‘built more like a strongback than a resistant’ with ‘a huge make of braids’ to adorn his appeal. His figure gave off an immediate sense of authority and trustworthiness. I began to wonder how, by just picturing this character, I was ready to depend on him. I had an idea of what Innon himself represented and I filled the blanks in his description with the first figure of heroism that came to mind.
It’s been proven that physical traits tend to invoke certain feelings about a person. The typically masculine figure sends out a feeling of extrovert behavior and power. Bigger figures tend to be linked with paternal instincts and a warm deposition. These features only contributed to his social status. So why exactly did I relate him to Maui in the first place? The demigod’s profile was similar. Thousands of viewers fell in love with his playful attitude. But it was more than just physical traits. Both islanders possessed a sense of leadership. They were the pillars of their community. Maui, much like Innon, held on to his accomplishments and beloved cultural aspects by wearing them on his sleeve (literally). In the way that Maui physically displayed his life story, I pictured Innon doing the same, both physically in the form of tribal tattoos and in his emotional transparency.
In the Polynesian mythology, Maui was the demigod to bring light back to the moon and have a first-hand role in the creation of land. Similarly, it can be said that Innon was a figure of creation within Syenite’s life. He was the one that pushed Alabaster and Syenite to a new world outside of the system. He was the character that presented a new version of the classic orogene that we knew. Innon was the beginning to the life our main characters believed they deserved. It was natural for me to connect the two since both were such necessary figures for the creation of life. This correlation to Maui was my way of installing a rich narration to Innon. It was my way of developing a pattern of behavior and a corporeal form for the character.