WeWriWa—Delaying official power

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Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors, a weekly Sunday hop where writers share 8 sentences from a book or WIP. Since I’ve been writing this book out of order and have deliberately left a number of gaps and unfinished chapters to get back to, I’m skipping to the start of Part II, “Awaiting on the Throne,” which opens in August 1922. The Dowager Empress comes to talk to her grandson and is met with a shocking announcement.

This has been slightly tweaked to fit into eight lines.

Maria_Fedorovna_by_V.Makovskiy_(1912,_Russian_museum)

The Dowager Empress took a seat beside her grandson, who was painting a picture of kittens, while Mikhaíl gazed out a window. “Sunbeam, have you put any thought into potential brides?  You’re so blessed to have lived already nearly eighteen years, and you shouldn’t take your blessings for granted by not immediately marrying and producing an heir.  I assume you and Mísha have been discussing when power will be transferred to you.” She grimaced at the sight of Natálya coming into the room.

“We’ve had other types of discussions, Bábushka,” Alekséy said, daring not take his own grandmother to task for still calling him by a baby name. “I’m leaving for Paris soon to study at the Sorbonne; how can I immediately become Tsar on my eighteenth birthday, without much real experience?  Papa was too young at twenty-six when he ascended the throne, which was one of the reasons he had so many problems.”

***

Though an underage Tsar could assume power in his own right at age sixteen, I felt it would be more realistic and better for dramatic tension if Aleksey waited a little longer. The discontinued original version of this story had him coming to power on his 25th birthday in 1929, and I wanted to keep it that way. Even in an alternative reality, the last thing anyone would want or need would be a teenage boy with uncertain health being rushed onto the throne simply because he came of age. Those extra years would give him more time to gain experience, live in the real world on his own, and get even stronger.

Hemophilia wasn’t an automatic early death sentence in that era. After surviving childhood, it was more a matter of learning how to be more careful, what things to avoid, and good old-fashioned time. A number of other hemophiliacs descended from Queen Victoria lived into adulthood, so it’s hardly an implausible scenario. And since I’m the one writing this story, why shouldn’t I make my hero one of the lucky few?

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10 comments on “WeWriWa—Delaying official power

  1. I love how wise Alexey is, even though he’s still quite young. I agree about hemophiliacs living well into adulthood- in some ways it seems more difficult to keep a child out of harm’s way, as long as the adult is responsible, which I’m sure Alexey would be.

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  2. Sarah W says:

    I think Alexey has the right of it. If he wants to do the job right, instead of simply grabbing power, he’ll be the right kind of Tsar. 🙂

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  3. caitlinstern says:

    I can see why people worry he doesn’t have a lot of time, but good is better than merely fast!

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  4. He’s learning from history, which is excellent. And, indeed, why not make your protagonist a lucky person (in regard to the hemophilia)?

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  5. Yes, you’ve already made him lucky, in that he survives in this alternate world so I think the idea that he can deal with the hemophilia is quite sound. I like his plan for further schooling. Wow, that’s a gorgeous painting – I want her dress. Excellent excerpt of “if only”…

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  6. I really like his argument that his father wasn’t ready at 26, so how could he be ready at 18. Yes, a very wise prince. I’m curious though. If Aleksey dies before producing an heir, who inherits?

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  7. I do understand the haste, though. The family would want an heir in case the poor boy didn’t make it. I’m enjoying the story.

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  8. I agree–and it makes for a wonderful story that you’re making Aleksey one of the lucky few. And now he’s to head off to France. 🙂 Hmmm…wonder if he’ll fall in love while he’s there? That would make for a tough situation…

    Another wonderful 8, Carrie-Anne. 🙂

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  9. normandiea says:

    I love this family. What a great premise!

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  10. chellecordero says:

    He is mature for his years, but society pressures may not yield as far as age and responsibility. Great intriguing snippet.

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