Locations in Aranrhod


Write about what you know, they say. I live in Worcester, so I know it – but only up to a point. I’ve only lived here for a few years, so I don’t know it intimately. The Worcester of Aranrhod is a mix of the authentic and imaginary.

I see no reason why a ‘real’ location has to be ‘true’ in every detail – not in a work of fiction. The reader should take nothing for granted in a work of fiction. One intention of a novelist is to create the illusion of fact. Even in a fantasy. While we are reading a fantasy novel, we suspend disbelief and the world we enter becomes our factual reality for the duration. It helps novelists achieve the illusion if they include some facts. 

There is a cathedral in Worcester, and it does stand next to a large roundabout, but there isn’t an antique shop called Dredge’s Emporium – if there is, then something weird is going on. There is a pedestrian precinct called The Shambles in Worcester, but there may or may not be a retail market attached to it. I presume there’s a shop in Worcester where you can get body parts pierced, but I wouldn’t know where. If you know of one that is on or near The Shambles, please let me know and that will probably be the shop referred to in Aranrhod.

Worcester suited the story. I wouldn’t have chosen Istanbul even if I’d been living there at the time of writing Aranrhod. I wanted a very English city, one with an ancient cathedral, and it suited me as well that it was near to Wales. I wanted the contrast of cultures – city/rural, English/Welsh, Christian/pagan. When different places are actually close to one another, their differences are more marked.


The Romans failed to conquer the Celts over the hills of south Wales, and so they tried invading by sea from the south. They came up against a line of fortifications known as the Landsker Line, and so North Pembrokeshire, as it is now, was never invaded. When the Saxons had a go a few centuries later, Merlin, originally called Myrddyn, conjured up a hero called Arthur to fight them off. It is a very ‘pure’ patch of the UK, unsullied by foreign invaders. Perhaps for a reason? A deep, spiritual reason? Remember in those hills is the place which contained the bluestone which forms the inner ring and horseshoe of Stonehenge. The builders of Stonehenge valued the spiritual power of that bluestone so highly that they transported tons of the stuff all the way to Salisbury Plain. You can feel this ‘purity’ when you visit North Pembrokeshire today. The light shines directly out of Camelot’s gates.

One Response to “Locations in Aranrhod”

  1. sarsen56 Says:

    Members of the wordpress community who are interested in Stonehenge may like to see:


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