friday's food for thought

I had yet another spooky coincidence with my books. There is a character called Saul Oman in the story. He started out as bit character in earlier drafts, but he's emerging as one of those grey guys we love to hate. His heart is in the right place, and he is quite wise, but his singlemindedness to his goals corrupts his every effort. He's a classic double agent, switching sides seamlessly. He also enjoys working both sides. Think Snape, only much more confident and less of a bully.

Anyway, one of my critters was saying... "Yeah, so Saul Oman... OH! Saul Oman. I get it. Solomon."

I quirked an eyebrow. "Er..." Just in time, I played it cool: "Wow, I didn't even mean to do that!"

"Must have been subconscious," he said.

Subconscious, yeah, that's it. Past-life-or-telepathic-subconscious, because while I've heard the name, I'm not really up on my biblical figureheads. I wish I were, but I'm not. So, after a few sage nods and a quick subject change, I rushed home to fire up Wikipedia.

Some things struck me as similar between Solomon and Saul Oman. Solomon was best known for his building projects. And like any smart king who covers all his bases, he built temples to all the gods, waiting to see who would out himself as the forerunner. The god who eventually emerged was Yahweh, and Solomon is credited with finishing the temple that protected the Arc of the Covenant.

Saul Oman builds a figurative temple--an organization to protect Sentinel's living Arc--The Weapon, God's law, the ultimate casting of goodness that will finally defeat the demon. The protection and deployment of these people, called The Ternion, is his Saul's one goal. And, with much sacrifice, he finally sees it done. One point that the article makes is that Solomon's building a huge temple to Yahweh shouldn't be regarded as any particular devotion to that god; he built lots of temples to lots of gods. In a way, this fits, too. In later books, Saul is referred to as Tiger--a tiger of many stripes. Saul's loyalties change with a whim, so long as that loyalty leads him closer to his goal of bringing the Ternion into full fruiton.

But here's where shit gets weird.

From Wikipedia:

The judgement of Solomon is a metaphorical expression for a decision which destroys the subject matter of a dispute rather than allowing either disputing party to share in it.

In my book, Saul Oman makes a deal with the devil. He promises an unborn child that is not his own, someone who will become powerful in his own right, Kaelin, to an enemy underling who will try to usurp the demon. (This, of course, is based in large part on the United States foreign policy--support the faction that we can hopefully control. And, like US foreign policy, the concept backfires.) Naturally, there is a great deal of pushing and shoving over this deal amid the enemy and home ranks. But, in the end, the deal itself, and the arguments, are rendered null by the subject in dispute: Kaelin himself, who is emotionally destroyed by the betrayal. No one really benefits from all the fenagling, and, in the process, Kaelin becomes a character figuratively split in two, his loyalties divided, which makes him useless as a bargaining tool.

These books have constantly freaked me out in this manner. Latin terms have taken on multiple meanings. The number nineteen pops up frequently. Simple character descriptors: earrings, tattoos, hairstyles--chosen just cuz I think they looked cool--grow into deep symbolism. I'm not smart enough to make such connections like these beforehand. I'd love to take credit, but I'd barely ever thought of Soloman before my friend mentioned him the other night. I just don't think I'm that smart. But someone, or something, is...

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