I was approached the other week by Sara Jo Easton, author of The Zarder (find my review here) to do a guest post about March 15th, the Ides of March! So without further ado, I give you..... Sara!
Happy Ides of March, everyone!
Well, I suppose the word "happy" is relative when it comes to this day in history. There have been many famous deaths on the Ides of March, from a Roman leader to a horror writer. If you believe Wikipedia, the Ides of March is "a festive day dedicated to the god Mars and a military parade was usually held" in ancient Rome.
So why is it called the ides? Ides just means the middle of the Roman month. You could run around on the 13th day of April telling people to beware the ides, but it wouldn't have the same Shakespearean quality as "Beware the Ides of March!" Ides didn't really get a bad reputation until Julius Caesar was killed in 44 B.C.
Julius Caesar's death was not a pleasant one. He was stabbed over twenty times by a group of senators who felt he was gaining too much power. Shakespeare's play claimed his last words were "Et tu, Brute? Then fall, Caesar," but I am suspicious about his ability to say anything after getting a lethal wound to the chest. You can find out more about Julius Caesar by reading or seeing the play of the same name by William Shakespeare (but don't leave after Caesar is stabbed. Those movies and TV shows that show the play ending at that point are lying).
Some notable March 15 deaths have occurred in the fantasy genre as well. Just open up the appendices of J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" and you'll discover that the Battle of Pelennor Fields took place on March 15. (What follows are SPOILERS for those who haven't read "Lord of the Rings" or seen the films. If you are one of those people, what are you holding out for? It gets better after Bombadil.) Yes, this is the day Eowyn and Merry killed the Witch-King, thus ridding the world of Sauron's powerful servant. Unfortunately, it is also the day Theoden died and Denethor committed suicide. (/end SPOILER) So the Ides have a bittersweet feel for Middle Earth fans.
The horror genre lost one of its masters, H.P. Lovecraft, on March 15, 1937. He was best known for the Cthulhu Mythos, the often roleplayed tales of the Great Old One who drives humans insane. Lovecraft's death came after a battle with cancer of the intestine, and he tragically never saw his works become the popular stories they are today.
The Ides of March are an interesting date in history, to be certain. I'm sure some are wondering why I'd choose to release "The Speed of Wind", the second Onizard novel, on this day while knowing its strange history. (SPOILER ahead) There may be a character contributing to the Ides of March tradition. (/end SPOILER) Plus, it's just easy to remember the day.
Those of you reading to the end of this author guest post are probably expecting a chance for something free, right? Well, you've got it. Comment with your name, e-mail address and favorite Shakespearean conspirator. I'll be sending someone Smashwords coupons for "The Zarder" and "The Speed of Wind".