Gods of Windemere: Powerful or Powerless

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In Legends of Windemere, people are introduced to the gods and the only law that they are guided by.  This is called the Law of Influence and was created by Zaria along with a council of other gods.  It states that they cannot get involved in mortal affairs beyond visions, casual chats, and blessing their priesthoods with magic.  Crossing the lines that are fairly vague results in being sealed.  The length of containment depends on how badly you messed up.  For example, a god might be sealed for a month if they slightly redirected a stream to help a farmer.  Another might be sealed for a decade if they created several new species after drinking too much.  The extreme is causing a big even like a war, which can result in eternal sealing.  These punishments haven’t really been dealt out because the perpetrators can state their cases.

This brings up a question as to how powerful the gods and goddesses are.  Some have even asked me what the point of them are if they can’t do anything big.  I’ve been told that Windemere could operate perfectly without them if they aren’t allowed to get their hands dirty.  This isn’t true though.  The gods still watch over their spheres and each has a pocket dimension where those who worshiped them go after dying.  So, they act like caretakers for the world and spirits in this respect.  Priests wouldn’t have holy powers without the gods to bestow blessings, which is a subconscious action on their part.  It’s only when they cut a mortal off for an established reason that they are fully aware of this power.  Still, this is fairly minor in turns of influence since mortals are asking for the magic and use it as they see fit.

The main reason I added the Law of Influence is because I was seeing how people reacted to these powerful beings in other series.  Audiences always ask why something didn’t bring about an easy solution.  Gods are a big target for this.  I find it a strange argument because you’re basically asking why the story even happened.  Sometimes people who could solve a problem simply don’t care enough to take action or are unaware.  That doesn’t work with semi-omnipotent deities though.  This is why I made the Law of Influence because it explains why they don’t just wipe out threats like Baron Kernaghan and depend on mortal champions.  It negates that argument and brings the weight of success entirely on the protagonists.

Still, some people found this silly because such powerful figures imposed a massive restriction on themselves.  To understand the reason, one has to know the history, which is mentioned at times.  Not the specifics, which will come out later and even be a few future stories.  I’ve noted that there have been various disasters that have befallen Windemere and some of these threatened the gods.  One of these was self-inflicted because they had been messing with mortals as they saw fit.  This continued until a woman seduced the God of Innocence and used him to get her hands on the Staff of Solar the First God.  She used this artifact to cast several gods out of their homes, transform others into monsters, and enslave the rest.  It was only Zaria and her friends, one of which would become Baron Kernaghan, who saved the gods.  It was revealed that Windemere would unravel if they weren’t put back in place too.  She ascended to become the Goddess of Purity and created the Law of Influence to make sure mortals weren’t pushed to the point of attacking the gods again.

Does this make the gods less powerful?  No, but they are hampered in a way that they can’t flex their muscles all the time.  Gabriel the God of Destiny gets some flexibility since his job requires that he craft vague destinies for mortals.  He can bestow this flexibility on others, but there are limits.  He can’t kill whoever he wants, so he has to create agents that he can help to some extent.  The Law of Influence prevents him from saving them from danger too.  So, it gets a little convoluted at times, but that stems from the gods needing to have some interactions.  This is why they hold court instead of going right to sealing and many can rationalize their actions.  It comes off as them being powerless, but they can do a few things that help move the plot along.

The biggest challenge here might be preconceived notions of gods.  We expect them to be the most powerful beings in the world as well as having no care about what they do to mortals.  Mythology has taught us that gods and goddesses will always get involved in human affairs.  This works for that, but it makes a mess with modern fiction.  You can pose them as bad guys that need to be stopped, but everything else brings in that frustrating question I mentioned.  You need to hamper them in some fashion, especially if they are physical presences.  If they never appear then audiences can assume that they are more fictional beliefs of the world instead of actual entities.  Maybe I should have gone that route, but that would make things weird with the Baron being a former god and Dariana being the daughter of him and Zaria.  That would reveal that they are physically there somewhere.

I hope this helps clear up any questions about the Law of Influence and why the gods don’t get more involved.  I’m looking forward to those stories that touch on how they got to this point.  Hope I can get to them.

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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13 Responses to Gods of Windemere: Powerful or Powerless

  1. L. Marie says:

    The way you handle your pantheon is very interesting–so different from the Greek and Roman system of gods.

    So you’re thinking about doing prequels then to delve into they the gods are the way they are?

    Like

  2. I like this post. It’s almost got that Superman conundrum about it, in that you must have Kryptonite so it doesn’t get boring. LOTR has the same issues, in that if wizards like Sauron are so powerful, why didn’t Gandalf play a bigger role. At some point a big part of this is whether readers enjoy speculative fiction – or not. We aren’t trying to write a two page story about a miracle that solved everyone’s problems. Readers have to have some skin in the game too. We can’t explain everything, lest the story get boring. I don’t want seven chapters about how warp drives work, I wanted a space opera adventure, etc. Great topic today.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I liked the explanation as to why gods just don’t wave their hand and make every problem go away (including the plot)

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  4. Sometimes people thing of gods as all-powerful, but whimsical and even irresponsible. They’re a god — they can do whatever they want! We forget to give them credit for also having divine WISDOM. With their perspective as deities, they foresaw the destruction that could result from “doing whatever they want” and chose to limit themselves for the sake of something greater. Maybe that destruction even happened at one time, and they took responsibility by limiting themselves?

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