The Drache Girl: Hero and Hertzel

Hero and Hertzel Hertling are twins who appear in Senta and the Steel Dragon.  They first made a small appearance in The Voyage of the Minotaur, and by The Dark and Forbidding Land, they had become Senta’s good friends.  The twins, along with Senta and Graham, form a core of characters for The Drache Girl.

In addition to watching the relationships of kids at school, I think I owe a debt to J.K. Rowling for the way these kids connect in the book.  Of course in the later books their relationships change as they do for all of us in real life.

I have always like the name Hero for a girl, no doubt from my love of Shakespeare and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  I picked out Hertzel’s name from a baby name website.  I just needed something to go with Hero.  The twins are Zaeri, which is my fantasy stand-in for Judaism and they have escaped Freedonia, which is my stand in for the Third Reich.  Hero is shy and delicate and I had plenty to draw on for her.  I don’t know where I got the idea for Hertzel to be mute, but it just seemed to fit.

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The Dark and Forbidding Land: Hero and Hertzal

Hero and Hertzel are two characters in the Senta and the Steel Dragon series.  They are twins and Senta’s best friends.  Both arrived in Birmisia colony shortly after Senta from Freedonia, where they escaped persecution for being members of the Zaeri minority.  They along with Senta and her boyfriend Graham form a quartet of (in this book) ten year olds.  The twins lost their parents in Freedonia and now live with their older sister Honor.

I don’t know where the idea for these two characters popped up.  They, like so many characters in this series, just seemed to fit.  Senta needed a best girlfriend and it seemed natural to have a male friend for Graham as well.  Of the two, Hertzal is a much more interesting character because he never speaks.  This is a result of a trauma in Freedonia.  This makes him a more difficult character to write too, but he really comes into his own in this book.

I have always wanted to name a female character Hero, since seeing and reading Much Ado About Nothing.  Hertzal, I looked up, searching for something that sounded good with Hero.