Last December, author Anne Elisabeth Stengl hosted a read-along party where we all read Heartless together, asked questions, learned cool inside information, and discussed the story. It was awesome. At that time, I had only read Heartless and Starflower of the Tales of Goldstone Wood. So, when we were asked about Prince Lionheart’s actions and choices in book one, I had limited information to go on, and I naively said some things regarding him.
You see, I had a bit of a grudge against him for his behavior in Heartless. I mean the dude played a huge part in the downward spiral of events, but after reading Veiled Rose and Moonblood, I knew why he did what he did. Don’t get me wrong. Reasons don’t excuse a person’s choices or behavior, but it does help to understand where they are coming from, and it helps us give grace. Something that I find true in my own life.
In Veiled Rose, Prince Lionheart yearns for a different life, one not dictated by the showy, yet constrained lifestyle as a prince whose actions are controlled by his mother and tradition. He wants to be a jester and travel the world. He gets his wish, just not how he would have imagined it, and spends the rest of the book and throughout Moonblood trying to do the right thing, but he can’t do it in his own strength.
You know what? I can’t either. Having kids taught me that. Ha! But in steps Prince Aethelbald, and finally, Lionheart finds the strength to do what’s right, what’s honorable, even if it will cost him his life.
Thus, I owe Prince Lionheart an apology.
How could I forget? You know, those voices in his head? Yeah, they are in mine, too. The warring factions of noise, scrabbling to snare my attention; the whispers from the past, dragging us down, giving into insecurity, fear? Yeah. It’s easy to point fingers at others when the Dragon isn’t breathing down my neck, it’s fumes poisoning them not me. But would I have done any different? I can only hope that if I was in the same situation as Lionheart and had been offered help, instead of turning it away like he did in Heartless, I would have accepted it. Because I know I can’t live this life or walk this journey without it.
So, I apologize Prince Lionheart.
Where do you find the strength to do what’s right, even if it’s the most difficult thing to do?