Delvin Cunningham: The Champions’ Shadow

Delvin Cunningham by Kayla Matt

Delvin Cunningham by Kayla Matt

I’ve explained Delvin a few times on this blog, but there really was never much to him prior to this book.  He is a skilled and experienced warrior trained by Selenia Hamilton.  He has a habit of losing shields, flirts with Nyx, and has a strange aura without the ability to cast spells.  He likes coffee and his eyes are blue.  Noticing a theme yet?

I hate to say that Delvin lacks depth, but he pales in comparison to the more colorful champions.  He gets overshadowed a lot with a few bursts of awesomeness, which tends to happen with other characters.  One reason for this is because he is a tactician and many of their challenges have been spontaneous.  Delvin is learning to think more on his feet, but that’s an arena where Luke and Sari seem to excel more.  This is causing him to get left behind and that isn’t helped by him debuting near the end of the same book that Timoran Wrath appeared in.  (Family of the Tri-Rune.)  One would think Delvin is in the story for nothing more than taking space.

That did happen by accident, but it seems to work in his favor.  It brings up a question when dealing with a team of heroes.  What happens with those that fall behind the others or are overshadowed from the beginning?  Do they continue on, have a solo adventure, or carve a support niche for themselves?  Avengers 2 tried to answer this for Hawkeye by revealing more of his life and positing him as the ‘heart’ of the team.  TV shows with ensemble casts create an episode to heighten the ‘weak’ character, which is what I’m doing for Delvin.  I’ve even gone as far as to create a situation where characters within the books are considering him fodder or useless.  Needless to say, this has gotten to him and is a big catalyst for his story.  Not to mention he wants to prove to himself that he’s supposed to be a champion and become stronger for Nyx.

Something to consider with The Mercenary Prince is that it is a nexus for Delvin.  His past, present, and future are going to collide when he returns to the Yagervan Plains.  This is increased by him reuniting with ‘The Frozen Blades’, his former mercenary group that people may remember from Prodigy of Rainbow Tower.  Looking over it now, I can see how Delvin is touching each stage of his life:

  1. Early childhood in Yagervan before he was lost.
  2. Training years with Selenia at the Hamilton Military Academy.
  3. Life as the Mercenary Prince.
  4. Role as a champion.
  5. His future.

I don’t think such a journey could work with most of the other champions given their backgrounds.  Delvin’s been almost background due to his laid back persona and handing off tasks to others.  One might even think that he hasn’t been able to function very well in a group where he isn’t the official leader.  Honestly, there are so many aspects to his situation that it shouldn’t be surprising that an entire book and big adventure is needed to make the poor guy whole.  If nothing else, Delvin will finally put the ghosts of his past into the grave.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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10 Responses to Delvin Cunningham: The Champions’ Shadow

  1. Interesting stuff here. I need to get back to Windemere to see how you pull it all off.

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  2. Fascinating background on a character that more or less is just there. He seems more active in Compass Key (but I’m 20% into the book) and I like him a lot.

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    • He is fairly active in that book and the others. But he isn’t as flashy and out there as the others. Compared to Luke’s stunts, Timoran’s strength, and Nyx’s magic, Delvin comes off as out of place. Seems oddly realistic in a way.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. L. Marie says:

    Characters like Delvin or Hawkeye are more compelling to me in some ways than the flashier characters. I can relate to them more. It’s not that I dislike the characters with more exceptional abilities. But Delvin and Hawkeye have to work harder to keep themselves alive. That makes me root for them more. Maybe I’m weird, but I think even a background character can have an amazing story to tell.

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    • True, but with a long series there seems to be a point where that character has to either step up or step out. It can get ridiculous if the danger is keeping up with the stronger heroes and you have this easy target running around. Not everyone agrees with this though. Staying with Hawkeye, many think him (and Black Widow) made no sense being involved against Ultron’s forces. They were so much weaker than the others that their victories seemed hard to believe. Yet one has to also understand that there is a level of underestimation as well by the villains. All about perspective.

      I just realized a side-effect of Delvin’s story too. If he grows stronger and matches his allies, does somebody else take the role of weakest champion?

      Liked by 1 person

      • L. Marie says:

        In some instances, a hero might not be deemed as effective as others. I think in terms of being “differently abled.” Darkseid should be able to mop the floor with Batman. But sometimes, you see Batman thrown into the mix along with Superman and other Justice Leaguers.

        Hawkeye had his part to play in the Ultron incident. I liked having him and Black Widow around, because they weren’t like everyone else–superpowered.

        Have you read the Furies of Calderon series by Jim Butcher? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codex_Alera) This character is “differently abled.” Some might categorize him as “weaker.” But I don’t. A character without certain abilities can be strong in other ways.

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      • Batman is a tough example to use because writers always make him the most dangerous. Too many stories seem to end with ‘Batman came up with a plan and saved everyone who can bench press an army base’. Gets stretched at times. Honestly, I think there are better ways to make a non-powered character useful. Black Widow is a good one because she has the stealth and spy skills that the others lack. It’s rather realistic given her background and the group dynamic.

        I haven’t read the series. I’ll give it a look though.

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  4. L. Marie says:

    I agree that the Batman plotlines are a bit stretched. Blame fanboys for that.

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