Last Updated: 09-25-2008
Sabriel is the main character of a book by the same name, the first novel in what is generally called "The Abhorsen Trilogy," written by Garth Nix. Sabriel is a young woman who, embarking on a quest, comes to learn that she is the next destined Abhorsen. The task of the Abhorsen is to use Charter Magic, an enchanted sword, and a set of 7 ensorcelled bells to return the Dead, raised by Necromancers and Free Magic users, back to the graves they were summoned from.
Doing a book cosplay always means some degree of obscurity, unless you're cosplaying Harry Potter, and indeed, when I wore this at Dragon*Con 2008 for about 5 hours, I had about 12-15 people recognize the character. Doing a book cosplay always also means that those who DO recognize you are deeply appreciative and highly excited to see the character. Those dozen or so people who saw me and indulged in some Abhorsen fannish-ness with me were just fabulous. Thanks, everyone :)
This was a fairly inexpensive costume - the pants and shirt are recycled from my pirate garb, the wig is from my Death cosplay. I only had to make the bell bandolier, the silver key-spangled surcoat, and the sword (I opted to not bother with the armor). The costume was, however, extremely time-consuming. For the surcoat keys (embroidered in the book), I designed and cut a stencil, and spent a few weeks stenciling the fabric with silver paint - I think it came out to 480 individually stenciled keys.
The bell bandolier I made from a leather belt from Walmart and leftover black twill. The book describes the pouches as brown leather - I didn't have any, and opted to just use what I had on hand, rather than buy new material. There are 7 bells, in 3 different sizes, purchased online. They are not tuned, since that would cost something like $1000, which I definitely don't have! I have them arranged by size and the minor tonal differences in their pitches.
The sword is a rushed job - cut from extruded polystyrene insulation foam, coated in Claycrete, Paper Clay, and gesso, and it needed several more coats of gesso and sanding to smooth out. It was 3 days until Dragon*Con, so I didn't have that kind of time: I slapped some silver and gold paint on it, wrapped brown floss around the hilt for a grip, and painted hundreds of little Charter Magic symbols down the blade, along with the blade's inscription: "I was made for Abhorsen to slay those already dead. The Clayr saw me. The Wallmaker made me. Abhorsen wields me so that no Dead may walk in life, for this is not their path." If I decide to upgrade the costume, this will be the first thing I'll improve.
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