“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.” – J.R.R. Tolkien
Though I opened my very first novel, THE LIONS OF LUCERNE with a phrase about bravery, I could have easily opened it with the above from Tolkien.
What is loyalty? Can you be loyal to an idea? Or can you only be loyal to a person? What about to a group of people? Or to a nation?
Loyalty fascinates me, which is why I explore it so often in my work. In fact, the concept of loyalty was at the forefront of my mind when I sat down to write THE LIONS OF LUCERNE. In it, I was introducing my protagonist Scot Harvath to the world, but I only knew so much about him.
What I did know was that he held himself to a higher standard and that he placed a great emphasis on many of the traits we aspire to ourselves – one of the most important being loyalty. No matter how bad it gets, Harvath always remains loyal.
In order to test the boundaries of his loyalty, I devised some of the worst scenarios I could throw at him. With every page, I asked myself, “How would I react in this situation?” Or more appropriately, “How would I hope to react?” because a large part of who Harvath is, is taken from the man I would like myself to be.
In writing him, I wanted Harvath to represent the best in all of us – the best we are capable of as individuals, as a citizenry, and as a nation. When you look at Harvath, I want you to see yourself – both where you are now, and where you could be.
We all stumble, and many of us will fall at some point in life, but it’s what we do at those moments that count. Do we get back up? Do we press on? Do we remain loyal to the people and things most important to us no matter what the cost?
Anyone can be loyal when the circumstances are easy. Loyalty, though, takes its true measure when situations are hard. It is our ability to be true and faithful to things beyond ourselves – whether those things are ideas, people, organizations, or even our nation.
Loyalty gives our lives purpose. And that ability to be devoted and committed to things greater than ourselves is what makes us noble.
Here are a few articles on loyalty that I hope you enjoy:
On Manly Loyalty
It Means You Live Up To A Higher Standard
Debate: Should People Always Be Loyal?