language/runes used in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness

Alyx writes…

Hi Michelle,
I hope this question finds you well,
I was wondering if you might be able to clarify the nature of the runes used throughout the series although there is no formal writing. It's one of my all-time favourite series, although unfortunately I have not been able to read the latest addition to the series.
I would like to get a tattoo related to the series as it means a lot to me. If there isn't I was wondering if there is a certain language that you based this on that I could use as a reference instead.
I am hoping to get something related to protection, or wolves (wolves are my favourite animal).

Thank you for taking the time to read my question
Yours Faithfully,

Michelle Replies…

Dear Alyx,

Thanks for your question, and I’m delighted that my books are among your favourites.  You’re correct that there was no system of writing as such in Torak’s time (at least, not that we know of).  And for my stories, I haven’t based the signs on symbols on any particular culture or language – although many have a Nordic or Scandinavian feel.  But I can clarify the origins of a few signs, in case it helps.  Torak’s forest symbol – ie the spiky trees which first appear as scene-breaks in Wolf Brother (eg p20) is loosely based on that of the Sami people.  The hand with three lines of power emanating from one finger (see Wolf Brother Chapter 19, p135) is based on a Stone Age rock carving (I can’t recall where).  Spirals are of course widespread in many cultures.  And many of the other symbols, such as scene-breaks and on the back covers of the books, were devised by the wonderful artist, John Fordham, who tried to evoke the Stone Age by studying Stone Age rock art; see for instance the Soul-Eater symbol of the 3-pronged fork (See Soul Eater p153) – though I’m not sure that you’d want a Soul-Eeater tattoo!  John also designed the gorgeous running wolf symbol which first appeared on the title page of Wolf Brother, and again on the last page, 233.  Over the years, I’ve met fans who have used this as a tattoo.  I’m not actually suggesting it to you as I don’t know whether you’re old enough to get a tattoo; but I mention it in case you are and it gives you ideas.

Anyway, I hope you find the above helpful and inspiring – and thanks for getting in touch! With very best wishes, Michelle