Monday, August 26, 2013

What is a Geas?

I have been asked numerous times to explain what a geas is. I thought I would put up an explanation.  This word is more commonly known as a geis.  I did not spell it wrong.   This spelling is actually a Scottish Gaelic form.  It is also commonly used.

A geas is very similar to a spell or vow.  Usually in literature, this geas is forced upon the unsuspecting hero or villain.   Therefore it can be either a curse or a blessing.  Sometimes both because when under a geas, the individual cannot help themselves.    For example, if the hero does not want to help the villain but the villain words his demand in a way that activates the geas, he may be forced to do so.

In literature, a geas is often the downfall of a hero when they try to act against it.  Another common storyline is having more then one that are counter-productive and compelled to both.   Villains sometimes hide behind them and consider themselves invincible. However, such geas are only given because they can come true.  Shakespeare is a great example of this. Macbeth believes himself safe because "no man of woman born shall harm Macbeth." Macduff, an enemy, was "from his mother's womb untimely ripp'd" (i.e., born by Caesarean section) and was therefore not "of woman born".

In the case of the Dragons' Geas novels, it is the dragons that are imposing these vows or spells.  What do I mean?  Well now, you will have to read one to find out.  Coming soon:  Dragons' Geas - "Bloodstone"