Saturday, September 9, 2017

My father and I just finished A Corner of White

My father and I just finished A Corner of White, book #1 of The Colors of Madeleine series by Jaclyn Moriarty.

How can one describe a book unlike anything one has ever read? Like this, I suppose... In a Kingdom where seasons cycle daily or weekly depending, where Colors (like the normal kind but renegade) attack or enliven people depending on where it is in the spectrum, and where Butterfly Children help crops grow if you let them out on time, dark secrets are hidden behind wondrous yet seemingly simple and grounded eccentricity.

You saw the truth, Madeleine of the World, and I hope you are willing to help the Kingdom of Cello. Elliot Baranski and a certain royal need help. Ah, the joy and danger of rescue missions!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Knights in Shinning Armor

Knights in Shinning Armor. Warriors of Light. True Heroes. Defenders of Truth and Protectors of the Innocent.

We have all heard this before. Indeed, any person with even the barest familiarity with the High Fantasy, be they readers or gamers, will be aware of these concepts. The paragon warrior who is duty and honor up to his or her boots, girded with an almost childlike virtue and an implacable resolve to rid the land of all things evil. In short, the ultimate stereotype of Chivalry, pure and ultimate good versus utter evil. 
"Thou shalt be everywhere and always the champion of the Right and the Good against Injustice and Evil." Think King Arthur's Knights of the Round Table.

"To be a knight is to be the shield
for the meek against the cruel."
Indeed, the stereotype is so old as to be almost cloying, with such depicted knights/warriors described as everything from naive to goody-goodies...because the world and people do not exist in such shades of absolute black and white. And many of the best Fantasy authors, such as Mercedes Lackey, make an almost brutal point of it. GRRM, though I am loathe to use his name, takes it a step further and fills his work with false knights.

I agree with this, and yet the pure core here is one of the fundamental components of the High Fantasy. Why? Because the best Warriors of Light employed by the genre have seen the darkness. They defend the weak and meek not out of any sense of chivalry but because they have seen loved ones die because they, then, had not the power to defend them. What is wrong with honor? Nothing, so long as it does not interfere to the point that one is unduly hamstrung by them past the point of sense. I just feel that the term goody-goody is too often used to describe those filled with true compassion. And I say this as one who has been called a goody-goody more than thrice.
It may seem cliché and even naive, but anyone with a strong moral compass and unrelenting inner strength can be a Hero of Light. The key is being optimistic regarding humanity and believing that a better future truly is possible. Some mistake cynicism for wisdom, yet it is, per my judgement, merely a form of sophisticated surrender.



"It doesn't matter how strong we are. We have something to defend, and that's why we fight." - Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light

Friday, September 1, 2017

"All was well"

These are one of those rare, truly historical days in Fantasy literature.
The day when the children of some very old and unutterably dear friends boarded the Hogwarts express. When, 19 years on, questions were answered, loose ends tied up, and a joyous life went on without lethal flashes of green light butting into the picture. This is the new standard for happy endings, showing their validity, and is easily one of the most treasured scenes in the entire genre.

"All was well"

Luck and joy to you, Rose Granger-Weasley and James & Albus Potter. May you live long and more peaceful lives than your sires.





Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Strictures of Riddlery

It is sad really that the art of making and answering riddles has been so diminished since the advent of modern history, or at least since collapse of the time-honored respectability granted to Bards, storytellers, and others who partake in oral traditions. 

"The riddle-game was sacred and of immense antiquity, and even wicked creatures were afraid to cheat when they played at it." - J.R.R. Tolkien

These days it is only those who works within the realms of Fantasy who wholly and truly appreciate the power and potency of riddles, a far cry from when Kings and Heroes placed great weight upon them.
Then again, why not? For in the Fantasy genre lives the misty mystery of the ancient past, and so we glory in the enigmatic and such puzzles as twists minds into first comprehending and then solving Gordian Knots.
As such, I have taken it upon myself to compile a list of all the best riddle quotes in the Strictures of Riddlery, and while I borrow the term from Patricia A. McKillip's The Riddle-Master trilogy, I draw the quotes from several sources both within and without Fantasy literature (for true and masterful usage of riddles is rare even within the genre).

"Good riddles do, in general, provide us with satisfactory metaphors; for metaphors imply riddles, and therefore a good riddle can furnish a good metaphor." - Aristotle

"The best answers solve more than one riddle." - Magic: the Gathering

"A riddle is a tale so familiar you no longer recognize it." - Patricia A. McKillip

"A riddle is nothing more than a trap for small minds, baited with the promise of understanding." - Magic: the Gathering

"All is a riddle, and the key to a riddle...is another riddle." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Beware the unanswered riddle." - Patricia A. McKillip

"Eyes see only what is possible. A trained mind can explore the impossible." - Magic: the Gathering

"A writer is someone who can make a riddle out of an answer." - Karl Kraus

"The worthy shall cultivate a nimble mind to perceive the glorious wonders that await them." - Magic: the Gathering

"When caught between the riddle and its answer there is no freedom." - Patricia A. McKillip

"Beware another riddle master." - Patricia A. McKillip

It is this last one, however, that is the most important. A fact I learned from painful experience. Talking of which, being a Fantasy reader (& hopeful author) and a riddle-maker with over 200 self-made riddles to my name, I have of course crafted many of my own such sayings. However, I am withholding them for special, later, uses: namely the Fantasy books and plotlines bounces about in my head. Whoever said that writers have total control over their worlds and characters clearly did not speak from experience for, as Victor Frankenstein can testify – albeit in a more physical and dramatic fashion – instilling life in something has consequences. Anyway, for I digress, here is the to critical quote:

"The Riddle Master himself lost the key to his own riddles one day, and he found it again at the bottom of his heart." - Patricia A. McKillip

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Just started Demon's Law

There is a good argument that this book in the
reason for the phrase "do not judge a book by
its cover."
"Bard, come forth; face me."  

Just started reading Demon's Law, book #2 of the Tales of the Bard series by that master of myth named Michael Scott. (Tis a pleasure returning to this most excellent, if a tad odd, series)
The Cataclysm has come and gone and where this tale will bring Paedur the Bard I have no clue, having a story take place in the World of the Dead - meaning new and dynamic friends met will already be dead - is a new one on me.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Just finished The Elenium

Just finished The Sapphire Rose, book #3 of The Elenium by David Edding.

What is there to say upon finishing a  book series you adore a second time, save that it was pleasure to see old friends again and picking up insights you missed the first time? In this case, not much so I shall end it there

Bright roads and a happy spring to Sirs Sparhawk and Kalten of the Pandion Knights, Sir Ulath of the Genidian Knights, Sir Tynian of the Alcione Knights, Sir Bevier of the Cyrinic Knights, and Berit, Talen, Lady Sephrenia of Styricum, and the Child-Goddess Aphrael.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

My father and I just finished The Castle Behind Thorns

Supposedly it is a kids' book. I reject the term. My father and I just finished The Castle Behind Thorns by Merrie Haskell, an outwardly simple yet unpredictable and enchanting, it is truly unique fantasy so filled with heart and humanness it could resurrect the dead. 
And friendship. And forgiveness, for even the most broken of hearts can be mended. Mens videt astra.

"You do not forgive because the person who wronged deserves it.You misunderstand the point of forgiveness entirely. The only cage that a grudge creates is around the holder of that grudge. Forgiveness is not saying that the person who hurt you was right, or has earned it, or is allowed to hurt you again. All forgiveness means is that you will carry on without the burdens of rage and hatred.” 
- Merrie Haskell