Unlike the previous two, this question is an easy one for me to answer. The themes in my book sort of unfolded naturally. In other words, I didn’t think up a bunch of themes and then try to write a story around them, I wrote a story, and the themes slipped their way in.
1. Good versus Evil – this is a theme that can often be found in fantasy fiction (as well as many other genres), the battle between the “good guy” and the “bad guy.” “Evil” in this case is a little bit more complex by the end of the book, as the “bad guy” is not just evil for evil’s sake: he has been surrounded by corrupt councilors who are only interested in attaining personal power, he has made some bad decisions in the past that have served to drive him to the brink of madness, and he has been consumed by a jealousy that has driven him to seek revenge where none was truly warranted. None of this excuses his decisions and actions, which just makes those actions all the more evil because he and others have attempted to rationalize his choices.
2. Revenge versus Forgiveness – not as big of a theme in the book, but it definitely plays a part. Is revenge ever okay? Is there ever a point where an “eye for an eye” mentality might be acceptable? Is killing in self-defense or in defense of others ever okay? These are questions that one of the characters deals with throughout the book.
3. Courage versus Fear and Timidity – all of the characters wrestle with fear at different points in the book. What is fear? What is courage? What are the traits of a courageous hero? The story seeks to give some answers to these questions.
4. Heroism, Nobility, Honesty, Strength of Character, Selflessness – these themes appear throughout the book in varying degrees. They are aspects of humanity that I think are important and they are aspects that we all see to some degree in our daily lives. These traits show up in my characters because they are important to me, and I think they are applicable. Although you may never have to battle a dragon or duel a Sith or struggle with whether or not to throw the One Ring into the depths of Mount Doom… you may have to decide between sharing your seat on the bus with someone, or taking a meal to a friend in need even though you are tired and don’t want to cook anything, or to tell the truth about something you did even though it is embarrassing, or forgive a friend even though they hurt your feelings.
5. Loyalty versus Betrayal. This is a theme that permeates the entire series, but if I talk about it too much I’ll end up sharing plot spoilers
I’m sure there are others I’m forgetting, but those are the big ones.