The seed of this story popped into my head after I read What Do You Do With an Idea? and was left in awe of the artwork. Then I remembered that Darlene had done sketches of a similar style for Princess Hiccup, when crafting the initial designs of the characters. Wouldn’t it be great to put together a book with such gorgeous artwork?
Add in a dash of inspiration from my children, reciting the colors of the rainbow, and you get The Rainbow Knight.
Some parts of this book surprised me. It was going to be a basic story about gathering some common items, but then, on a lark, one of the items became a living butterfly. And not just any butterfly: the Emperor of Kaleidoscopes*. A king of kings, if you will.
And so to restore the creation to its rightful order, to bring the light of color back to the world, a humble king must lay down his own life. And the king does it willingly. Add to this symbolism the fact that the lifecycle of butterflies is itself a vibrant picture of resurrection…
It was an emotional punch I hadn’t expected.
It became the hinge of the whole story, its beating heart. I fell in love with a blue butterfly. That’s not something I deliberately set out to do.
Don’t get me wrong. Overall, this is still a goofy, light-hearted story. It also features an arrogant parrot and a hipster witch involved in artisanal jam-making, so please don’t take it too seriously. But the depth is there for those who want to see it.
You always hear of writers being surprised by what their characters do, and about how the story unfolds in ways they never expected. I gave superficial assent to the fact, but never really believed it in my bones. Now, after two books, I understand it. And I’m grateful for it.
Please help bring The Rainbow Knight to life. Please help tell the butterfly king’s story. And in so doing, perhaps help hint at the life of another sacrificial king, whose actions form the hinge of the Greatest Story.
*A kaleidoscope is defined as a group of butterflies, one of those true English gems. It is a perfect word.