Cassandra Clare just took to her tumblr to share yet another Queen of Air and Darkness snippet with her fans. (Don’t read on if you haven’t read Lord of Shadows!) Since today is International Transgender Day of Visibility, it’s a snippet about Diana Wrayburn, the first transgender character in Cassie’s books, and Diana’s love interest (and leader of the Wild Hunt) Gwyn ap Nudd:
Will we see more development on the Gwyn and Diana story line in qoaad? I really love them, they are my favorite paring and I’m really exited to see what’s next for them. P.S if you could give us any type of spoiler or tiny snippet about them is truly appreciated too. I really can’t wait until the book is out.
Gwyn and Diana are some of my favorites, too! I always love the adventure of a mortal human finding love with an ancient and mystical being, and I love how Gwyn supports and loves Diana. Also it’s Trans Visibility Day, which seems like a great time for a snippet!
“They fear your influence,” said Gwyn. “They know others listen to you. You are very persuasive, Diana, and startlingly wise.”
She made a face at him. “Flatterer.”
“I am not flattering you.” He stood up. “I am afraid for you. Horace Dearborn may not be a dictator yet, but he yearns to be one. His first move will to be to eliminate all who stand against him. He will move to extinguish the brightest lights first, those who illuminate the pathway for others.”
Diana shivered. “You are cynical, Gwyn.”
“It is possible I do not always see the best in people,” he said, “as I hunt down the souls of slain warriors on the battlefield.”
She raised her eyebrows. “Are you making a joke?”
“Maybe.” He looked puzzled. “I think I might have. Was it funny?”
I love their dynamics, these two are so great together!
In case you didn’t know, Cassie did a lot of research when she created Diana. Here’s what she shared with TMI Source when we interviewed her last year:
Can you explain your research process for Diana, your transgender character?
Sure! Two of my best friends are doctors and one of them works very closely with the head of a transgender program/clinic in Western Massachusetts. He put her in touch with me when I started creating Diana, she put me in touch with several trans women and over six months I would meet with them in different coffee shops and in places near my home. It was complicated because first I had to familiarize them with the books. This was before Lady Midnight so I gave them The Bane Chronicles and I gave them one or two of The Mortal Instruments to try to say, ‘This is the world, this is how it works so within this fantasy world there is this character, so how might she evolve?’ I sketched out what I thought was Diana’s character arc and then they helped me fix things that they felt I had gotten wrong. It was their idea that Diana would get her medical transition stuff done in Thailand because that’s very common, and not in the US. Having Diana in Thailand was definitely their idea. We talked a lot about the kind of therapy and groups and what she would need while she was going through her transition, the difficulties of going through transition and also the good things about it. Just an enormous amount of information. It’s such an integral part of a person so it was definitely something where I didn’t want to do it without talking to people who had experienced it. They were extremely helpful. I had a couple of trans readers who wrote to me and I bounced some questions and ideas off them, but I didn’t want to ruin the plot so I was like, ‘How about this and that?’
I think the hardest thing was in fact working with the idea that the Clave is not rejecting Diana because she is trans, they are rejecting her because she used mundane medicine. But had she been able to go to them and say that she was trans in the first place, she wouldn’t have had to make that choice. We went through that, how to balance that. What does that mean? Is the Clave transphobic or is it more like they just don’t acknowledge that there are trans people in the world, in the same way that they don’t acknowledge that there are neurodivergent Shadowhunters?
Then after I had finished the book, Anya DeNiro read it. Anya is a trans woman, a writer, and a friend of my friend Kelly Link. Kelly asked her if she’d be willing to read my book and give feedback on it, and she was, so she went through it and gave me really interesting notes.
It’s interesting because you’re not just telling a story of an invented person, you are also making a work of art and you’re also creating a story where the pieces of the story have resonances and you want to make sure that the resonances are all the ones that you intended.
Anya was really helpful. Obviously, all mistakes are m ine and anything I got wrong is my fault, not the fault of my early readers. It was wonderful to work with these women and to have the combined assistance of their wisdom.
Are you excited to see more of Diana and also Gwyn in the final The Dark Artifices book? Sound off in the comments below!
Queen of Air and Darkness is going to be published on December 4, that’s in less than 250 days! Read all the snippets that were shared so far here.