William King’s Interview(notes) about Gotrek & Felix saga from Track of Words (Rapid Fire)


PublisherRapid Fire


  • From Track of Words, Rapid Fire (www.trackofwords.com).
  • Posted in June 2020.
  • Note :
    • This is not an direct interview, but for reading purposes this post is like an interview and in a ‘format’ that is more or less the same with each author’s post. So, here you can read William King’s thoughts about Gotrek & Felix saga.
  • Track of Words: Who is Gotrek Gurnisson?
    • William King : He’s dour, determined and not someone you want to get on the wrong side of. That sounds about right under the circumstances, but he’s also the universe’s least successful Slayer – I mean how long is it going to take him to find his doom? That indomitability is undoubtedly a big part of his appeal.
  • ToW: What about Felix(and his point of view in the series) ?
    • WK: I wasn’t really sure about my ability to portray the inhuman mindset of a dwarf, so Felix came along as the point of view character, the person through whose eyes you see the story. It also helped to have a character present who could be scared, intimidated, and experience the usual spectrum of human emotions. It’s kind of hard to build tension when your hero is fighting monsters if he’s actually looking forward to his heroic death.
  • ToW: The history of writing Gotrek & Felix.
    • WK: Gotrek’s conception was all down to playing the first edition of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. I noticed that Slayers were pretty much the favorite character type among my players so when I came to writing about the Old World, they were my first choice. Mostly the stories wrote themselves. One thing led to another, one situation suggested another, stuff happened. I had no master plan for any of it. The first three stories were published by GW Books (Black Library’s far less successful precursor) sometime around 1990 [Geheimnisnacht was included in Ignorant Armies in 1989, in fact]. Some of the stories eventually published in Trollslayer had been published by GW Books; some had been written for a book for GW Books which never saw print. The rest of the stories came from Inferno!. The only bits that were new in Trollslayer were the little linking pieces of text from Felix’s memoires which were put there to join the stories into some semblance of a coherent narrative. The first story Skaven’s Claw, the one about the sewer watch, came from the aforementioned unpublished early 90s pre-BL book. It also appeared in White Dwarf if I recall correctly. The rest were to basically illustrate the various skaven clans, which suggested a collection of short stories and novellas all linked together by a sort of meta-narrative. By the time the Inferno! stories came around, the characters were a bit more developed because there had been a fair amount of stuff written by then although some of it had not published. That said, I think they just became more like themselves. Or maybe Gotrek did. Felix was in the process of shifting from callow student to hard-bitten adventurer – even by that point Gotrek was more or less fixed as a character while Felix was still developing as a person.
    • ToW: What about the longest-serving and most-loved villain of the series who unquestionably is Grey Seer Thanquol who first appeared in Skavenslayer?
      • WK: You mean aside from his unparalleled genius, awesome power and gigantic charisma? (Sorry, I was channeling the Grey Seer there for a moment.) Humour is the simple answer. He’s also a fitting long-term antagonist for the pair. Gotrek and Felix are not exactly typical fantasy heroes, and Thanquol is not a typical fantasy villain.
    • ToW: The favourite adventure from amongst all of these stories?
      • WK: Daemonslayer. Kharag Dum. This was the first real novel I wrote about the pair. It was actually written before most of Skavenslayer. I’ve always loved the Chaos Wastes although I did not create them.
    • ToW: What about the most-loved, favorite companion of the duo in the series?
      • WK: The tragic figure of Snorri, another Slayer and one of Gotrek’s oldest friends. He always made me laugh. He grew out of a throwaway line in one of my early drafts – a hungover Gotrek mentions that the last time his head felt this bad was when he’d lost a head-butting contest to Snorri Nosebiter on a technicality. There was the name and the character all summed up in a sentence. I mean who gets into a headbutting contest with Gotrek?
    • ToW: What will readers get out of these stories?
      • WK: I just wants readers to get as much entertainment as I got writing them!
    • ToW: Of course, given that Gotrek somehow managed to survive the End Times, the question still remains of whether he will – or indeed should – ever find his doom?
      • WK: I suspect he will be seeking it for as long as readers are interested.