Who would win in a fight: Lord Maccon or Lord Akeldama? In Which Gail Carriger Answers a Whole Mess of Worldbuilding Questions

Fred left a massive comment on my post “Ketchup Blog ~ The Writer’s Native Environment.” It was so long, Gentle Reader, I was faced with no possible recourse but a blog post on the subject.

However, you should know that he asks me about events in all five of the Parasol Protectorate Books. Here we go…


I recently reread the Parasol Protectorate series and I have SO MANY QUESTIONS. Mostly lore-related so nothing too spoilerific. Feel free to answer all/some/none of them and sorry if you get the same kinda questions all the time.


1. So we know Britain is progressive and Italy and America aren’t so which are some other progressive/actively hostile countries?

Well, you may have noted France isn’t too excited about the supernatural either. I’ve been recently thinking hard about the Scandinavian countries, with long nights and all that. You’d think they’d have to, at least, build in a truce of some kind. And there’s the vikings to consider, no doubt they were heavily involved with werewolves, how else to you explain the mythology and the hairiness?

You’re going to hate this answer, because I will be giving it a lot, but… some countries swing one way or another for historical/cultural/religious reasons (Ancient Greeks are notoriously xenophobic, they’re against all supernaturals), others for reasons of political opposition to the UK. In the end, you’re going to have to wait and see what the Custard Protocol series reveals about the rest of the world.

Lilliput cat map victorian stretch helpful vintage cairo egypt

2. When Prudence touches her mother does she become human/normal or does she become preternatural?

See March 17, 2015… Prudence, Book One of the Custard Protocol series.

3. Are the templars autonomous or do they answer to the Pope and if so does the Pope directly control all of Italy?

Considering the historically recorded end of the templars, still the offical on record, after which they went underground, they are very much autonomous, as much as a secret society can be. They probably have friends in high places.

4. Are there regional variations of werecreatures? Like it would be soooo cool if Japan had kitsunes, just sayin’.

Wait for it…

5. In theory could someone have so much excess soul that they became supernatural, die and then become a ghost?

I don’t know, that’s a very good question. Lemme look at my scientific notes. (Yes, I have the workings of preternatural vs. metanatural vs. supernatural calculated out in pseudo-scientific chemical form, because, I’m a dork.) And the answer is… no.

6. Is there such a thing as a female rove or is such a thing totally biologically impossible?

Theoretically yes. But since all female vampires are queens, and all female vampires have a very tight tether, it would be very hard to function in society without a hive. Also, there might be some kind of turf war as surrounding male roves would want alliances for breeding reasons. My feeling is, she wouldn’t last long as a rove, a hive would organically form around her. It’s the same as with bees.

7. What are some of the characteristics of an abundance of soul? Creativity is the obvious one but someone like Angelique did not show any excessive creativity (at least not “on-screen,” except if doing hair counts I suppose) but she did have… I dunno? Character? She was an impressive lady is more or less what I’m getting at, is that kinda thing also indicative of excess soul?

One might ask the same question of Ivy. I’m thinking of creativity in the old fashioned use of the world, a factor of being able to think differently and see the world form alternative angles. Angelique is a manipulator, an infiltrator, and a spy ~ there is creativity in that.

One doesn’t have to produce art to be artistic.

This is one of the reasons pinning down excess soul is so very difficult. And it could be that more females might survive if the society in which humans lived was more relaxed in allowing women autonomy to explore different avenues. In the modern day, there might be more female werewolves, simply because women are allowed by society to be so much more than they were in the past. Not to mention physically stronger, healthier in terms of nutrition, clothing, and surviving childbirth. Then again, perhaps in the modern age someone develops and online quiz that sorts it all out. All that said: you can have excess soul and still not survive the bite. At which juncture you do not become a ghost. I know this fact, the scientists of my world do not.

The men of the Soulless manga, cabinet card

8. One of the books mentioned a loner petitioning Conall to turn one of his clavigers, is that usually the motivation for werewolves to go loner? They want their own pack? If so how unusual is the dewan?

You learn a lot more about the dewan (he’s very unusual) and being a loner in the final two Finishing School books as Sophronia gets drawn into London politics. Loners, like lone wolves, may not want a pack and prefer a solitary life, they may be a bit insane and not function in a pack dynamic, or they may intend to challenge, it depends on the loner. However, they still need clavigers to care for them at full moon so they must build an alliance with a local Alpha who has Anubis form, or why would the clavigers bother? I suppose if one had enough money one could have paid clavigers.

9. How willing are hive queens to create new queens? Vampires seem pretty possessive as a rule, wouldn’t they be wary of the upstart deciding to stick around and try and take her territory?

Always willing to try, almost never successful. The survival of the species is in play, not to mention its the only way vampires can migrate to other lands. Also it’s a huge status symbol. It’s like a bee queen creating a new bee queen, the existing hive is not under threat. The new queen is always weaker and will swarm to a new location once she has matured out of larvae stage.

10. What happens if a queen swarms and she can’t find a place she deems “safe” soon enough? Or if she’s actively stopped from settling?

Considering the strength of a panicked hive I think that highly unlikely. So far as I know, in my world’s history it has never happened. I suspect all local roves would be vested in keeping her safe, all else fails, one of them could offer up his home and relocate.

Lord Akeldama (vampire) pretends to be a werewolf for Alexia in the Soulless manga

11. So we know queens will actually die if they live long enough because they can’t really feed through natural means anymore (do vampires die if they don’t feed? Or just go into a coma or something?) does something similar happen to male vampires?

Maybe. So far, none of them have lived long enough.

12. How much decay is too much decay for a ghost? Is it safe to assume that with the right kind of technology that ghosts could stick around forever?

Maybe, that would take some serious preservation tech to keep flesh in tact but also allow contact with some air/aether to maintain a tether. Air, by nature, is corrosive to organic matter (says the archaeologist) so the answer in truth is you might keep a ghost sane for a long time with the right technology but I can’t conceive of a way to do it forever.

13. How old is Lord Akeldama? This is probably venturing into spoiler/leave-them-guessing territory but I figure either REALLY old or not that old at all. Cuz he either has to be an Englishman who ventured to Egypt relatively recently or not an Englishman at all but a foreigner that has acculturated seamlessly. Not impossible for someone of his intellect but I’m going with the latter. Which must make him very old because he must have been turned before this ennui/extreme weakness gripped Matakara. Then again Matty’s right hand man did say the other vampires were still “young” whatever that means to a vampire. Woops this kinda wandered away from question territory didn’t it?

He’s pretty old. I’ve dropped a number of clues as to who he really is. Yes, he is someone. Read Prudence as there is a big fat hint in the first Custard Protocol book. Living with her vampire father gives Prudence a unique perspective on him and an ability to see beyond his facade. She also has a daughter’s curiosity plus disregard for his privacy (she doesn’t fear him) that other characters can’t afford. Prudence, can find things out. That said, some readers have successfully figured it out already.

Gail Black Velvet Suit Prudence Cover

14. This is kinda morbid and gross but when Alexia dies can she, conceivably, have some of her skin cured and turned into leather? Lord Akeldama could wear her and watch the sun come up/set whenever he wanted to then. Assuming he’d ever wear something like that ofc. I have reservations.

This presupposes that it it skin alone that has preternatural abilities, remember the Templar’s hand was a whole hand and the mummies in Timeless included bone. It also supposes the tanning and preservation process does not mess with the chemistry of the soul. Is your leather jacket actually a cow’s soul? There’s our existential quesiton for the day.

15. How far in the future is the new series set, the one with Prudence?

Prudence is about 20 years old. The first book is set in 1895.

16. How is killing a supernatural looked upon in pro-supernatural societies? Because I’m with Alexia on this one, the idea of killing something immortal is repulsive. All that knowledge. 🙁

Pretty severely, unless you are a sundowner. And even then the paperwork is insane.

Fan Art Conall lord_maccon_in_anubis_form_by_mommyspike-d4al8wa

17. How many of their drones/clavigers do loners/roves actually try to have changed? Cuz it seems like such a waste yah know? The use of Akeldama’s drones goes down significantly if they’re actually successfully turned. The only reason I can think of is for love/companionship. Then again why sign up to be a drone to a rove instead of a queen? Maybe they just want something to do in their younger years. Better than badminton I suppose.

Any that ask, so long as they have served an appropriate time of service (time depends on hive/pack rules and society standards) and the Alpha/Queen thinks it wise. However, some drones and clavigers are indentured as punishment, some are artists who would like a rich patron and these often don’t want immortality. Some do it for love, or money. Some do it for protection from other threats, like family, or society. Hives and packs are powerful options if, for example, you are homosexual. You still have a chance at immortality with a loner or a rove, that’s what metamorphosis petitions are for.

18. Are we gonna see some of the old characters in the new books?

Some, but not as primary agents.

19. Can the position of muhaj (sp?) ONLY be filled by a preternatural or is that a post Prudence would also be able to fill? Then again I suppose creating an entirely new role might make as much sense.

Only a preternatural, which is why it is often vacant.

Quote Only The Fabulous live forever Lord Akeldama

20. Do metanaturals live longer than the muggl- normal people? [daylighters] Cuz if Prudence spent every night (unlikely as that is) as a werewolf or vampire she should in theory live to be at least twice as old as a regular person right?

Sure, if she did that. The supernatural person she steals from would also age, however. Prudence, so far, is entirely uninterested in immortality.

21. Can children be turned into vampires/werewolves? Pretty questionable ethically of course but interesting to think about. If a 10 year old was turned into a vampire at 10 would s/he stay that way forever? I.e. 10 year old intellect/naivety and etc? Man that could be so dangerous.

No. Excess soul is contingent on post puberty in my world. Girls have to have gotten their period and boys have had their voice break before they can even petition for drone/claviger status. And then there is, usually, years of indenture. It also helps if full growth has been reached, something to do with the flexibility of bones. And, of course, the successful presence of wisdom teeth is a plus.

22. Can we get a spin-off about the adventures of Lyall & Biffy? Man I’d read the shit out of that. Favourite book couple in a looooooong time.

I’d love to, some day.

RTW Teacup Octopus Broach Jewelry SS2 Romancing the Werewolf

23. OH! OH! OH! That reminds me! You have a lot of LGBT characters in your books which makes me wonder. Is this kind of relaxed standards because the books take place in a pro-supernatural setting and immortals have a more relaxed view on this kind of thing or is the setting as a whole just less stuck on sexuality?

Yes and yes, and historically we forget things were somewhat more relaxed before the Wilde trial. Still underground, but often overlooked.

24. What would happen if someone in the royal family actually became a supernatural? They’d be disowned I’d imagine. Or killed? Can’t risk having an immortal monarch now can we.

Right up there with divorce, I imagine.

25. Assuming he had his sword who would win in a fight, Lord Akeldama or Lord Maccon? That needs to happen Gail. IT NEEDS TO HAPPEN OR MY LIFE WILL NEVER BE COMPLETE.

If they met as mortals before metamorphosis (not possible because Conall wasn’t yet born)? Lord Akeldama. After? We all know Lord Akeldama is a lover not a fighter. I think it would probably be a kind of comic avoidance with Lord Akeldama flitting about just out of reach and Lord Maccon chasing after him in an increasing frustrated manner destroying all the furniture until dawn.

Cinnamon roll Lyall Alexia Genevieve Lefoux Conall Maccon

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Quote of the Day:

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~ Around the Tea Table, by T. De Witt Talmage (1875) 

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Posted by Gail Carriger

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  1. Fredward said:

    Thanks for all the answers Gail. I'm looking forward to Prudence more than ever now, which is saying something since I've been running out of stuff to read from all my favourite authors for a while now and Goodreads is not as good as you'd think with providing suitable substitutes.

    So thanks and I hope Prudence kicks ass (arse? derriere? caboose?) both metaphorically and possibly literally.

  2. Hermione Jane said:

    Oh my goodness, this is so helpful! I was especially intrigued by the fact that excess soul doesn't come into its own until puberty.
    And I too would like to petition for a Biffyall (is that an acceptable ship name?) short story. When you're not writing something else brilliant that is.
    Very intrigued by who Lord A might be in history. I have two ideas, both of which might be completely wrong. One takes into account his preferences, and the other his first name.

  3. phaedrine said:

    This is amazing! Thank you, Gail. (Also, the amazingly fuzzy and very well-dressed adventures of Lyall and Biffy? Yes, please.)

  4. phaedrine said:

    This is amazing! Thank you, Gail. (Also, the amazingly fuzzy and well-dressed adventures of Lyall and Biffy? Yes, please.)

  5. Cara said:

    Thank you for all the wonderful answers. I did have a question that was not asked and I'm not sure if this is a place I'm allowed to ask it but I'm going to because I'm really quite curious. When Prudence has children, will they be metanaturals?

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