The Saints and Their Dogs

I have an interest in Goreddi Saints (and their dogs). What I’d like to do, as an ongoing side project, is make a little compendium of Saints, with pictures and brief hagiographic blurbs. This is just a very preliminary list at the moment; I’ll update as I can.

For Scott, so he’ll stop bugging me.

St. Abaster – called “Heaven’s bulldog”, patron of law and scriptural enforcement

St. Agnyesta – patroness of farmers, cheesemakers, and mushrooms

St. Brandoll – patron of hosts and charity, bids us be generous to strangers

St. Capiti – patroness of scholarship, education, and books (Seraphina’s psalter-saint)

St. Clare – patroness of wisdom, observation, and deduction (Prince Lucian’s psalter-saint)

St. Dann – patron of romantic love; martyred lover of St. Masha

St. Eustace – leads souls up the Heavenly Stair; pray to him for a gentle death

St. Fionnuala – lady of waters; patroness of sailors and anyone who could use some rain

St. Gobnait – patroness of diligence and toil; hers is the cathedral in Lavondaville

St. Gravidia – watches over childbirth; patroness of midwives and new mothers

St. Ida – patroness of musicians and performing arts

St. Jobertus – patron of medicine and the poor

St. Kathanda – patroness of birds and animals and those who care for them

St. Loola – patroness of children and fools

St. Masha – dispenser of Heaven’s justice, righter of wrongs

St. Mauve – patron of horticulture

St. Munn – patron of folklore and painting

St. Nola Yaris – had prehensile hair; defender of the helpless and cautioner of the reckless

St. Ogdo – developed dracomachia, the martial art Goreddi knights used to fight dragons; patron of warriors

St. Polypous – his multiplicity of legs represents hidden talents; patron of the devious and diplomatic (Glisselda’s psalter-saint)

St. Prue – patroness of historians

St. Vittorio Alexandros (St. Vitt) – known for his smiting of unbelievers; patron of priests

St. Willibald – the merry patron of marketplaces and news.

St. Yane – patron of marriage and fertility

St. Yirtrudis – a heretic who appears not to have believed in Heaven

91 thoughts on “The Saints and Their Dogs

  1. I hope you will indulge Scott and bring on the dogs! My dog, Sylvie, is very interested.
    Can hardly wait until 7/10. I’ll order a couple for my early teen grandkids. ….and read it myself…..I love your nerdy wit, Rachel.

    • Thanks, Claudia! I meant to do more on this page by now, but I’ve been swamped with other things. The nice thing about dogs, though, is that they love you anyway, even when you fall short in your own eyes! I’ll get there eventually!

  2. I got your book this morning on my kindle and just finished it moments ago. l loved it. I only wish I had found and loved it after you had written more so I wouldn’t have to wait. Thank you for sharing your little world. I look forward to reading your work again.

  3. You know, when I first read about St. Yane when he was mentioned in passing when Seraphina was out during those plays, I thought he was a trickster like Loki (The Original, not the Marvel one,) or possibly Lukas the Trickster from 40k. (Obscure reference, that one, wouldn’t expect many people to recognise it.)

    I never would’ve guessed he was a patron of marriage.

    Any of those Saints keep birds?
    I could just see St. Vitt with a trained attack-eagle. 😉

    • The Goreddi saints sometimes are contradictory in nature. I think in St. Yane’s case, he’s been made patron of marriage in an attempt to rein him in a bit. I’m not entirely sure it’s working.

      Good question about the birds. Let me just open up my psalter…

  4. I think I remember Seraphina using the expression ‘Sweet St. Siucre’. Which saint is that? And how can a heretic be a saint?

  5. So is Saint Yirtrudis a full saar or a hybrid? And how is it she was included in the ostensibly “human” religion, especially as the common mis/conception is that “dragons don’t have souls”?
    How early, then did saar and humans learn to coexist relatively peacefully? For that matter, did those compiling the compendia of saints or those that venerated her originally know she was a saar? Or was she defaced when it was discovered later–if so, how?
    Not true, of course their putative soullessness. They’re just different. Like Vulcans. Rationality is their overarching philosophy. With that in mind, is “ard” anything like the Egyptian/Kemetic concept of “Maat”? The term translates, loosely, as “truth,” “rightness,” “correctness,” “balance,” “harmony,” “order, law, morality, and justice.” (

      • At any rate, *IF* she was an ityasaari *AND* her scales manifested on her face, *THIS* could be why she is always–quite literally–defaced in her every remaining image. Certainly, it is a measure to ensure she is forgotten. *HOWEVER*, if this was her most salient/defining characteristic, *AND* this is the reason people especially venerated her, this would be more than enough to have it stricken. More than likely, she is the patron saint of ityasaari.

        • That would make sense.
          The question then becomes what happened to turn her from a ‘venerated saint’ to a ‘feared heretic.’

          • Except… The problem with all this is that the treaty was only 40 years ago!!!! From the book it definitely sounds as if dragons didn’t start entering the city as saars until the treaty, and, even if there had been sneaky ones, that dragons didn’t learn to transform into saars until shortly before the treaty took place. The saints are so old that Seraphina specifically states that no one actually remembers them and that the books contain many contradictions about them. Even if St. Yirtrudis was some exceptionally clever dragon that discovered how to become a saar before the masses, it seems unlikely that she would be discovered as such. Especially since she made it into the Psalter, meaning whatever her crime may be, it was discovered relatively recently. It would be hard to discover that someone was a saar so long after their death that no one even remembers what they looked like anymore.

  6. And, that’s where I stall… But yes, indeed–Did her draconic family come after her and scare the villagers while taking her back for excision, say?

    • It’d make sense…
      But then, so would her dragon family coming after her to kill her due to the fact that being half-dragon was anethema to ard.
      I’m pretty sure dragons can be subject to zeal and take drastic steps to right what they consider wrong,-particularly if they spurn emotion because they wouldn’t feel any empathy for those who might be between them and their goal.

      Presto! There’s a very likely scenario.

      • There is nothing I can say without spoiling, but I wanted to tell you two that this conversation is adorable, and I just want to give you a big hug though the computer. Which probably violates some kind of author code of decorum, but oh well. 🙂

        • Thanks, and while I’m big on dignity and respect, having an Author(ess) who is active in keeping in touch with fans like this is pretty novel and I must say better than most other sites (Shurtugal .com or temeraire .org, for instance) where the most you usually here from the specific author is the odd newsletter, article, etc.

          Not to say that the authors those sites represent are any worse for it, but your method is definitely a pleasant break from the norm.

  7. And *hugs* right back–I, too appreciate the personal touch and the energy you’ve put into corresponding with your fans. “Adorable”–Really? “Thoughtful,” “insightful,” “probing,” certainly, but “adorable”? Perhaps in the sense “worthy to be adored,” in which case thank you very much. In the sense of “aww, wookit the adorable puppy,” maybe not so much… *snickering* Sorry, word usage is a big thing with me. If I could art, I’d probably draw a picture of St. Yirtrudis, face and all. Maybe I’ll give it a shot, anyway…?

    • I mean “adorable” in a (possibly idiosyncratic) combination of the two, in the sense of “so charming and delightful that I am in awe.” I’m just so tickled that anyone cares enough to have this conversation, and I’d love to see that picture, even if it’s a stick figure.

      As for the personal interaction, well, I’m new at this and you’re getting in on the ground floor, as it were. I can imagine the throngs of fans being too many to handle in this way, but it’s not the case yet.

      • *Blushes* You’re killing me here. X)

        As for the throngs of fans, I wish you all the best in that regard.
        If it gets to that, I don’t think it’d be any reason not to handle your own PR work, it’d just mean you’d have to pick and choose which comment threads to respond to.

        Well, that’s my way of looking at it, so take it with a grain of salt lest it be inaccurate.

        Somewhat on the topic for this page again and I’ve recently had the crazy idea that I might write a Skyrim\Seraphina crossover.
        Not entirely sure if it’d involve the Dovahkiin going to Goredd post the main story to lay low, or Seraphina going to seek him\her out, but I’ll probably try and write it and find out.

  8. *OR* she tried to stop the Drachomachia conflict as proof both sides could live in peace and both sides vilified her for it, so she was stricken from the record.

    • I think I may have seen something similar to that used elsewhere…
      But now that you mention it, that sounds slightly more plausible than my theory.

    • Yes! Seraphina will be published in Spain by a publisher called Nocturna. I don’t know whether they have distribution into Latin America, however, or whether you’d have to order it internationally.

  9. I’ve just finished going through all of these comments and have to admit they’re all very interesting. I’m trying to convince my friend and fellow writer to read Seraphina but she hasn’t gotten there yet. At this point I have no one to discuss Seraphina with. I loved the novel and I pretty much devoured it once I started reading it. I couldn’t put it down and I’m already wanting a sequel, I’m really hoping that Abdoh/Fruit Bat will play a big part in it. He was my favorite of the grotesques. He was adorable! I will probably reread Seraphina once I finish up my three new books or I will try and convince mom to read it. I need to discuss it with someone! I am looking forward to seeing the world expand honestly as I read the book so fast I need to go back and reread it to take in some of the details.

    • I’m so pleased you liked the book, Rogue Princess! You are welcome to chat with the fine folks here, assuming they drop back in occasionally, but may I also direct you to the Seraphina Wiki:

      In particular, there are a few pages there that have been created especially for chatting, but no one seems to know about them yet. I’m sure Aly of the Crooked Eye would love it if somebody else joined the conversation!

      • I’ve checked it out and left a comment on Abdo’s page so hopefully I’ll have someone to talk with, as I said earlier I just loved Abdo. He seemed to adore Seraphina as much as she adored him and he was seeking her out before she thought to seek him out. Who wouldn’t love Abdo?

        • I loved abdo too!!!! He wa hands down my favorite character!! After I finished shadow scales, which was an amazing read, I got a little Teary eyed to think that I may never hear from abdo again. He’d felt like a friend… I really hope there is someday a book written from his characters point of view, that would make my life complete 🙂

  10. When you get back from your last week of summer vacation I’m hoping you might could clear up something for myself and Mistress Aly. We’re wondering if Seraphina, Abdo, and Lars are all going to stop aging at some point and have an extended life like Lady Orka does or if the latter is an exception even among the ityassari.

    • Considering long-life is a given for all dragons, I’d say it’s safe to guess extended life is a common side-effect for Ityasaarii, even if we have only one case to judge by right now.
      There’re some achetypes you’ve just got to stick with.

      • Ah, Princess, I have a certain amount of difficulty answering these kinds of questions because a) I don’t want to inadvertently give spoilers, and b) I don’t want to get too explicit on the “science” of dragon/human genetics. Sometimes fantasy doesn’t benefit from too much justification (eg. “midichlorians”). So while I have ideas about all this stuff, I really believe discretion is the better part of valour here. Nobody needs to hear me blither on about gamete compatibility

        With that caveat, I think it’s ok to say this much: most ityasaari will live longer and age more slowly than ordinary humans. Dame Okra hasn’t stopped aging, right? But she’s more like a spry 70-year-old than her true age.

        • Considering that DNA recombination in humans during pregnancy isn’t all that interesting, so long as you avoided the before part, the after bit would probably just put people to sleep.

          • Eh, I’d just put my father and brother on the case. They’re big on genealogy right now so I’d leave them to do all the boring bits and then smile and nod my head when they try and explain it. I know nothing about my mom’s side of the family because I didn’t pay attention to my brother and all I know about my dad’s side is that he has family in Slovenia and I know that because I met a cousin when he came through on his recumbent bike. The man was awesome.

            Either way, I’m not good enough at biology to figure that stuff out so if you tell me it’s fantasy and magic I’ll go with it with a smile.

        • That’s what Aly and I were thinking. I didn’t know if she actually stopped showing her appearance after a certain amount of years or not. I was simply curious. I figured if the younger Ityassari we’d met did eventually slow their aging down it wouldn’t be for a while. At this point they seem to age like regular humans though I might have missed something somewhere but it doesn’t seem like Abdo has grown that much from her first vision. I’m putting that down to him being naturally small or not hitting his growth spurt yet though. Either way I hope there’s a lot more Abdo in book two, he’s so adorable!

  11. This is the first time I’ve ever written in a blog like this but this book was too good to pass this up! And I’ve enjoyed reading the comments. So articulate! I’m almost afraid to contribute! And now I’m going to stop with the exclamation marks…. I just read this book straight through. I think it took me about 3 hours? Whens the next one due? Please say its soon. This is the problem with discovering newly published first books. You have to wait for the next one! Can we at least get a ballpark on the next book? Even just the year?
    And i just realized that I sound remarkably like a two year old. I’ll blame that on the flu and the fact it’s 3am. I forgot I was sick Seraphina was that good. Can’t wait for the next one.

    • Don’t be afraid to speak up if you’ve got something to contribute, the more the merrier and the more in depth and intelligent the conversation.

      • Marjies, welcome! I’m sorry to be slow saying hi, but I’m preoccupied with upcoming travel at the moment. 🙂

        Jarryd, you make an excellent welcoming committee. Here’s your Official Welcoming Helmet, your Cape of Friendliness, and a plate of brownies. Which are to be SHARED.

        Sorry, I get silly when I’m frazzled. OK, no, not just then.

        • I’ve never really gotten the ‘virtual brownies’ gag, so rest assured, everyone will get one.
          As for the helmet and cape, cool, I’ve always wanted one of both.
          Unfortunately, you can’t wear them in public without looking outlandish.
          Well, unless you’re going to a historical reenactment or you’re in a movie, which I’m not involved in either. 😦

  12. The nice thing about ereaders is that they hide how far in the book you are. So I’d get to a point and be all “omg so much has happened I’m going to be sad when I’m finished!” And then look and only be halfway thru the book. (True thing that happened.)

    And then i follow the link and find the discussion here and i just want to hug everyone here.

    Well, really I want to run around at the wiki and read everything but I really should go to bed.

  13. Besides St Siucre, what about the Saints Louisa Broadwick prays to when Seraphina collapses- St Brance and St Fustian? What are they patrons of?

  14. Okay I know this isn’t really related to the Saints but it’s been driving me CRAZY and I need an answer: What is courtesy? And half courtesy? I looked it up and it is not in the glossary and I do not know if it is a bow or a curtsy or something else. I don’t know what to imagine when I read those passages. Google has been unhelpful.

    • It’s a curtsey if you’re female and a bow if you’re male, done with varying degrees of depth, speed, and elaborateness depending on the rank of the person you’re addressing. It’s a complicated and nuanced system, and I wanted it to be a little amorphous because I wanted to convey that Seraphina is not entirely comfortable or competent with this system of deferential signalling, and is never quite sure she’s doing it right.

  15. So I just finished your book and I really, really loved it! But I had a question about one of your saints and I would really appreciate a response. In my Random House hardback copy, on page 329 (Chapter Twenty-Six), Seraphina narrates, “I meant Abdo. Sweet St. Siucre. It was Abdo, in loose trousers…”

    And I was wondering, who is St. Siucre? He/she was not listed in the Glossary and is not on this list either! It was probably just an oversight on my part somewhere, but I enjoyed the Glossary and being able to understand the expressions in regards to the Saints so much while I read that this stuck out in my mind after I had finished your novel and compelled me to ask.


  16. I just finished Seraphina after getting it for Christmas!! The book was very enjoyable. Some parts could have been very confusing, but they weren’t, and I was happy about that, for I have read some books that are always changing. When will the next book come out? I am guessing that there is another…:)

  17. I have to say that this was one of my favorite books of all time. I picked it up because, sadly, I judge some books by their cover. Lucky for me, your cover looked amazing and I was intrigued by the plot. I am so excited to read more from this series.

  18. I just finished this book and I haven’t read something so different from other dragon books….I’ve read of dragons turning into humans but never the diffuclty of change and half-breeds, I am truly awed by your word use, love of saints, character conviction and protaying dragons difficulty with emotion so well! your characters truly do come alive on the paper and I have to say Abdo is a favorite of mine!

  19. I have just finished reading Seraphina, i absolutely loved it. So much so i jumped straight on to my computer to try and find out if there was going to be another book and when. So excited to see there will be a sequel. Can’t wait for it to be release.

  20. Congratulations for your admirable work!!! I love reading and books just like yours made me go on ever and ever. Wish you a huge success !!! Ps..Please, find a handsome prince from another kingdom to Glisselda, then she can kick Lucian to Phina.

  21. I was so glad when I found out that you were making a sequel that I almost had a happy heart attack! I hate cliff-hangers. please make the sequel good and get it out soon! my life is in your hands.

  22. Absolutely love this book, i’m already trying to get my friends to consider reading it. For me as a tabletop roleplayer and sometimes writer, it’s inspirational, too. I’m really tempted to make a homebrew race for my d&d group based Ityasaari. You’ve made me entirely reconsider possibilities for dragons outside of what has become fantasy norm, and rekindled a desire to be creativity that lately has been only embers.

  23. Dear Rachel,

    I have now read, nay consumed, your book four times. I think that’s a record for me. What a fantastic pleasure it is. Thank you so much! I would love to know how someone can keep working on a book for 9 years – and still have it be so fresh and wonderful. Your characters are so funny and humane (if that’s the right word!) It gives me an incredible lift every time.

  24. One thing I don’t get is if Dragon’s don’t have souls, what happens to them when they die? What do they think happens? What do humans think happen to them? Plus, as a Catholic, which is what this religion seems to be based on, I’ve heard that everything has a soul in some form, but not a rational soul, which is what separates humans from other organisms. Obviously the dragons are rational, so wouldn’t at least one theologian been confused, maybe spoke up? Perhaps, THAT was St. Yirtrudis’ heresy; to say that dragons have souls.

    • I interpreted the ‘no soul’ thing to mean that they don’t convey emotions.
      Which in the main run is very much true.

    • I agree about your guess about yirtrudis becoming a heretic based on her saying that dragons actually have souls. I also entertain the notion that she may have been discovered as being a half-dragon as well. I’m anxious for next March when the next one comes out!!

  25. I just finished Seraphina for the second time and I love it. I’ve managed to get my brother to agree to read it, or read a few chapters to see if he’ll like it too, which I’m hoping he will. I can’t wait for Shadow Scale, and another chance to dive into your world. I loved all the characters so much that I can’t really choose a favourite right now.
    Also, I’ve enjoyed reading the comments and questions about Seraphina. There are so many interesting theories and the like on here, and they’ve got me thinking now too.
    Thank you so much for writing such an awesome book.
    I hope you have an excellent day.

  26. I love seraphina and I was wondering if one day you might be able to write an “extra” book about the saints perhaps with pictures and stuff. Just an idea

  27. Your complex patron Saint system and eloquent writing remind me of Fly By Night and Fly Trap by Frances Hardinge. I absolutely loved Seraphina! I am going to get Shadow Scale from the library as fast as I can. Your dragon world is one of the most creative that I have had the pleasure of reading. Thank you for writing

  28. Dear Rachel Hartmen,
    I’ve just finished Shadow Scale (after intense rationing of it, blended inbetween studying for my GCSEs – I’m from the UK) and, firstly, I’d like to say how much I adored it. I loved the concept of the inside-out house being the cottage in my mind (and proud that that possibility had crossed my own mind). Yet, if I fail my GCSEs, I’m blaming you…
    However, I miss the Necans quotes! Currently, ‘The world inside myself…’ is something I literally go around saying daily; it’s supreme. I know you have talked about planning on doing other stories in the same world, and I was wondering if you’d consider writing some of Necans’ books, or perhaps even the book Kiggs gives Phina, itself (despite it not actually being Necans). I love the philosophy in the worlds you’ve built and I think it would be fantastic to see more.

    I hope you get to read this, and if so, thank you for your time.
    Erin 😀

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