In Hounded, book one of the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne, Siodhachan O Suileabhain is warned of doom’s approach by the Morrigan, goddess of war, fate, and death. Siodhachan, or more commonly Atticus, has long been hunted by Aenghus Og, the god of love. The Morrigan warns Atticus that Aenghus once again plans to make an attempt on his life, which makes Atticus contemplate his relationship with the Celtic god of love.
If love and hate were two sides of the same coin, Aenghus spent an awful lot of time on the hate side for a god of love– especially where I was concerned. (p. 23).
Gods being portrayed as full and complicated people, instead of solely representations of one emotion or attribute, always catches my interest. Mostly reading fantasy novels, deities often make appearances in my books. Nothing, to me, makes the concept of godliness less appealing than the lack of motivations or complications. I am just beginning to reread this series, which I loved in my youth, and am remembering all the reasons I love it. Likely first and foremost among these reasons is the depth of each character. Never do I question “Would this character actually do this?” or think “This is only happening to advance the plot, and doesn’t have any justifications as per the natures of the characters.” Often times authors get away with losing that depth when it comes to gods, which are, in most pantheons, representations of specific domains. This quickly becomes boring, and removes any intrigue about motivations. I enjoy that in Hounded the god of love experiences the full range of emotions, rather than just love. Love closely ties together with hatred, so much so that it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say they are two of the most bonded emotions. If a god of love never hates, and a god of hatred never loves, an infinity of possibilities are lost to the narrative. The idea of a god who resembles a regular person in all ways except their power is much more interesting.