At some point while wandering through my middle school library, I checked out and immediately fell head over heels in love with the Emelan cycle, also known as the Circle of Magic series. The worldbuilding is fantastic of course, with a setting I’d love to visit and a magic system I’d love to study firsthand, but for me these books’ greatest strength is their vivid, memorable characters, in addition to top-notch worldbuilding.
I’ve seen a lot more buzz for the Tortall cycle (Alanna, Kel, etc.) so, in case you didn’t know, here’s what the Emelan books are about:
Beginning with Winding Circle Temple in the city of Summersea, four young people from very different walks of life come together for an education.
The blurb above and the character descriptions below are directly quoted from the author Tamora Pierce’s website. (But the characters are not in the order Pierce presents them — I put them in the order that I tend to think of them.)
Middle school was also when I got into Tumblr and creating moodboards — which I’ve always known as “aesthetics” so I’ll refer to them as such — for books and characters. And since I’ve wanted to get back into playing around with visuals and images and such, the timing seemed right to combine these two pieces of nostalgia.
These photos are from Unsplash, so my choices were limited, and I went off of what I remember about each character — apologies in advance if anything doesn’t seem in line with the books! (It’s harder than it might seem, to find images that match my ideas of the characters and that look good together.)
Sandrilene “Sandry” fa Toren
a nobleman’s daughter, the great-niece of Summersea’s ruler, whose unladylike preoccupation with sewing, weaving, and the manipulation of anything resembling thread is revealed to be pure magic.
a boy, reared on the streets as a thief, rescued from slave labor to discover he has magic with plants and the making of medicines.
Trisana “Tris” Chandler
a merchant’s daughter who discovers a fantastic magical talent for manipulating the weather.
the daughter of a people who live by trade alone, the sole survivor of her family’s ship, the possessor of the power to work metal in many ways.
What characters did you “grow up” with, and what color palettes and images do you associate with them? Are there any other characters you’d like to see me make aesthetics for?