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Creator / Guy Gavriel Kay

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Guy Gavriel Kay CM (born November 7, 1954) is an award-winning Canadian fantasy author. His works are known for hewing close to medieval European history, and for having very little magic.

As a young man, he worked with Christopher Tolkien preparing J. R. R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion for publication.



Tropes common to his works include:

  • Alien Sky: The multiple moons variety.
  • Author Appeal: Masquerade carnivals with anonymous sex. Also, male submission and cheating wives.
  • Canon Welding: Elements from The Fionavar Tapestry show up in other books occasionally.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: Thinly veiled stand-ins for real world religions appear in most of his novels.
  • Deadly Decadent Court: A recurring theme in his novels, the plots of several of them are kick-started by one palace intrigue or another.
  • Disease By Any Other Name: Diabetes shows up in Under Heaven, under the name "the sugar sickness".
  • Double Standard: Kay consistently portrays cheating husbands as scum, but cheating wives as perfectly acceptable.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: He sticks so closely to the source material that individual characters can be matched one for one with historical figures from the original cultures.
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  • Grey and Gray Morality
  • Historical Fantasy: Kay's basic modus operandi is to take a not-too-well-known historical event, change all the names (but keep the original cultural flavourings intact—the country may be called Kitai, but everyone still speaks Chinese and have Mandarin names), add a dash of magic, and construct the character's arcs around it. Namely:
    • Tigana: The unification of Italy
    • A Song for Arbonne: The Albigensian Crusade
    • The Lions of Al-Rassan: The Spanish Reconquista
    • Sailing To Sarantium: The rise of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I
    • Lord Of Emperors: The Nika Riots of Constantinople
    • The Last Light of the Sun: The Viking incursion during the reign of Alfred the Great
    • Under Heaven: The An Lushan Rebellion during the Tang Dynasty
    • River of Stars: The Jin-Song War and the fall of the Northern Song Dynasty
    • Children of Earth and Sky: The aftermath of the Fall of Constantinople and the intrigues between the Maritime Republics.
  • Low Fantasy: While magic is always present to one degree or another in his novels, it usually remains in the background, and plays a small role in the outcome of the events depicted.
  • True Companions
  • Two Lines, No Waiting


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