Henry the Minotaur - Personality and Background

Image by Artie_Navarre from Pixabay

Rough Trade-off

While Henry is, at his core, a mash-up of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, personality-wise he is modelled chiefly on one of my favourite Star Trek characters—Worf from The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine.

Klingons are by default surly and they live by a warrior code. Henry has a set of rules for battle and they underpin his whole life—in effect, everything to him is a war. This is to be expected from a being who literally had to fight for his life from a very young age.

Henry is rough and unkempt, so I made him the original inspiration for Cinderella along with Romeo and Juliet, both romantic tales not famous for their coarseness. I purposefully gave Henry a doomed romance with Romeo as a reference to Bury Your Gays trope, where gay characters so often have their love interests murdered the moment they find bliss. Not only is Romeo poisoned by Henry’s evil step-family, Henry is framed for the crime, doubling down on the tragedy our poor minotaur had to endure.

I also chose to make Henry the inspiration for the Arthurian sword-in-the-stone trope. There are endless tales that feature a moment like that—where the “chosen one” completes the previously impossible task and is revealed to be the king, saviour, destroyer, or the true hero of the epic. And many of these star slim, heterosexual, Caucasian heroes. I loved the idea of all those characters being inspired by a beefy, gay, blue minotaur.

For added measure, I adorned Henry with a Birthmark of Destiny tattoo. Because why reference one trope when I can reference all the tropes?!

The Blue and the Gay

Henry is the toughest of our lead characters, not a fan of fashion or in any way fussy and in this way he subverts the stereotype of gay male characters who historically have been portrayed as physically frail and prissy. However, we don’t learn Henry is gay until well into Book Two. I’ve had readers ask why I waited so long to confirm his sexual orientation. Did I intend to keep him in the closet for one and a half books?

The answer is: no. In fact, I tried to confirm his sexual orientation in Book One! I kept wedging it into the story—in the early scenes in Port, on the boat, in the everlasting maze, at the end. But it always felt artificial.

I finally realised that Henry being open about anything other than the bare bones of his past was out of character. He isn’t the most forthcoming being so it made sense that, as he gradually became more trusting of the others, he would choose to reveal things about himself, including who he had loved.

Blue's Clue

We don’t know Henry’s true surname or anything about his life before the maze but rest assured, all will be revealed when we learn his entire backstory in Book Six. We have already met his future-husband Yarikh Khoury (don’t worry, Mr K will make a reappearance in Big Blue’s life) and, of course, from Henry’s haxe-in-the-stone moment we know that our minotaur is just as epic a hero as Lucy herself. Or potentially even more epic.

Don’t bother scouring the series for clues to Henry’s origin story because I’ve been very coy with hints, even though I love to plan ahead and have buried clues to other major plot reveals right from the early parts of Book One. There are some sly nods here and there. Big Bear is a character that often speaks the truth so there’s at least one thing he says that points to the truth of Henry’s past.

However, I also love rewarding a diligent reader who finishes an entire piece on my website so here is an actual, bone fide reveal. There is a huge clue about Henry’s true identity above. HUGE! It might as well be a flashing neon sign saying “The Truth”! And that’s no bull!

Bonus Round

It’s only through writing these Behind The Mythic pieces that I realised Henry’s personality being modelled on Worf may have also slightly inspired his looks as well. Henry’s appearance is vaguely Klingon in many ways. If I wanted to overthink this stuff I’d say I unconsciously added yet another layer of inspiration…

Want to learn more about Henry? Try reading about why I wanted to rehabilitate the minotaur myth and how he got his name.