Character Spotlight: General Rariden

Alara sat next to Palon and filled three cups from the tall silver pot. She handed one to General Rariden.

He cradled the china saucer in his brawny, weathered hand. Though retired and more than seventy years old, he was as robust as a man half that. Only thinning gray hair and a deeply lined face revealed his age. In his dark-gray suit and plain black cravat, he made the perfect picture of a distinguished statesman. “Alara.”

That soft tone was unusual. She met his eyes.

“I have known you girls your whole lives.” He made a little sideways smile. “You’re like the daughters I never had.”

Alara fixed her eyes on the coffee cup she handed to Palon. If he kept on that way, she would cry.

Rariden cleared his throat. “You must decide whom you trust more. Me, or your father.”

Alara’s breath shuddered out of her. “You, sir.”

He nodded. “Then do as I say.”


General Noryom Rariden retired from the army long ago, but everyone still calls him “General” anyway. He was a hero in the war that’s part of the backstory in Alara’s Call. After the war, he was elected prime minister and served in that role two terms. Choosing not to stand for re-election—though he could have—he became chancellor of the university.

Harrison Ford

If Alara’s Call were a film, I would cast Harrison Ford as Rariden.

He’s a lifelong friend of Alara’s family, and he occasionally, as a favor, teaches martial arts to his friends’ children, which is how he came to know Alara and her friend Palon.

He’s loosely based on Ulysses S. Grant and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Rariden is absolutely my favorite character in the Prophet’s Chronicle series. Isn’t it funny how often our favorites are the secondary characters? I guess that’s because we don’t have to give them as many flaws, and we don’t have to put them through so much hardship.


About Kristen Stieffel

Kristen Stieffel is a writer and freelance editor specializing in speculative fiction. She's a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association, Christian Editor Connection, and American Christian Fiction Writers.

5 comments on “Character Spotlight: General Rariden

  1. Great snippet of story. I’m intrigued about the relationship between the General and Alara, and especially when it is a choice between trusting him and her father. Great drama there.

    I know what you mean about secondary characters. That happens to readers as well as writers. Yesterday somebody mentioned it as the “Harkness effect” or some such, where secondary characters like Captain Jack Harkness of the Doctor Who series gain even more attention and love from the audience than the main characters.

  2. I love Rariden 🙂 He immediately drew me into the story. I think you’re right about not having to give as many flaws to them. We get to create cool, fun, and exciting characters without the emotional pain that so often moves us to write great stories.

  3. […] Jenna-Louise Coleman or Ginnifer Goodwin could play Alara. Jeff Goldblum could have played Dorrel about twenty years ago. The villain Sturg could be played by Sting (the way he looked in Dune. Yeah, that.) And of course Harrison Ford. […]

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