Saturday, June 15, 2019

My father and I just started Silver on the Tree

My father and I just started Silver on the Tree, the final book of Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising Sequence.
The circle of Old Ones stands ready with the Drew children and the Pendragon to face down the Dark's final and greatest rising. But to do that they need the last of the Light's great Things of Power - the crystal sword Eirias.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

My father and I just finished The Grey King

My father and I just finished The Grey King, book four of Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising Sequence.
We have always named this series as among the greatest of the greats, an Arthurian Epic without peer. This book brings the latter element into the fore as in the oldest hills of Wales the Harp of Gold must be found by the youngest of the One Ones to wake the Sleepers so that the Light may in full strength ride to the rescue of the world from the rising Dark.

“On the day of the dead, when the year too dies,
Must the youngest open the oldest hills
Through the door of the birds, where the breeze breaks.
There fire shall fly from the raven boy,
And the silver eyes that see the wind,
And the light shall have the harp of gold.

By the pleasant lake the Sleepers lie,
On Cadfan’s Way where the kestrels call;
Though grim from the Grey King shadows fall,
Yet singing the golden harp shall guide
To break their sleep and bid them ride.

When light from the lost land shall return,
Six Sleepers shall ride, six Signs shall burn,
And where the midsummer tree grows tall
By Pendragon’s sword the Dark shall fall."

Monday, June 10, 2019

Lament for Boromir

Among so many other things, one element of J.R.R Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings that stands out is that so many characters sing songs – with the full and sometime several-page-long lyrics in the books – rather than him simply writing so-and-so person sung a song about such-and-such. Tolkien actually goes the full mile, being the perfectionist he is, and yet these songs are so often ignored! I know that, until recently, I skipped them entirely in my eagerness to get back to the story. Yet when they are not ignored they still go unappreciated, I feel, since we cannot hear them sung they deserve to be.

Until we can. Here is the funeral song sung by Aragorn and Legolas for Boromir:

Aragorn sang: 
Through Rohan over fen and field where the long grass grows
The West Wind comes walking, and about the walls it goes.
‘What news from the West, O wandering wind, do you bring to me tonight?
Have you seen Boromir the Tall by moon or by starlight?
‘I saw him ride over seven streams, over waters wide and grey,
I saw him walk in empty lands until he passed away
Into the shadows of the North, I saw him then no more.
The North Wind may have heard the horn of the son of Denethor,
‘O Boromir! From the high walls westward I looked afar,
But you came not from the empty lands where no men are.’

Then Legolas sang:
From the mouths of the Sea the South Wind flies, from the sandhills and the stones,
The wailing of the gulls it bears, and at the gate it moans.
‘What news from the South, O sighing wind, do you bring to me at eve?
Where now is Boromir the Fair? He tarries and I grieve.
‘Ask not of me where he doth dwell – so many bones there lie,
On the white shores and the dark shores under the stormy sky,
So many have passed down Anduin to find the flowing Sea.
Ask of the North Wind news of them the North Wind sends to me!’
‘O Boromir! Beyond the gate the seaward roads runs south,
But you came not with the wailing gulls from the grey sea’s mouth’.

Then Aragorn sang again:
From the Gate of the Kings the North Wind rides, and past the roaring falls,
And clear and cold about the tower its loud horn calls.
‘What news from the North, O mighty wind, do you bring to me today?
What news of Boromir the bold? For he is long away.’
‘Beneath Amon Hen I heard his cry. There many foes he fought,
His cloven shield, his broken sword, they to the water brought.
His head so proud, his face so fair, his limbs they laid to rest,
And Rauros, golden Rauros-falls, bore him upon its breast.
‘O Boromir! The Tower of Guard shall ever northward gaze,
To Rauros, golden Rauros-falls, until the end of days.

"You left the East Wind to me," said Gimli, "but I will say naught of it."
"That is as it should be," said Aragorn. "In Minas Tirith they endure the East Wind, but they do not ask it for tidings"

Monday, June 3, 2019

Netflix Announces Magic: The Gathering Anime Series

Wizards of the Coast is partnering with Joe and Anthony Russo (the co-directors of Avengers: Endgame) to make a Magic: The Gathering anime Netflix series, naturally with the Planeswalkers as the protagonists and otherwise. For myself, I am torn between blazing hope and serious skepticism, and hope that the Russo Brothers hire whomever makes the set trailers for Wizards.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

I have just started The Fires of Heaven

The great journey continues. The Wheel turns.

I have just started The Fires of Heaven, Volume #5 of The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan.
The Flame fractures as the Fang rises, but at least the Red sisters accept that Rand is the Dragon Reborn and must face the Dark One in the Last Battle. Yet already the world lies torn by wars even as Mordeth walks unhindered in Tar Valon and the Daughter of the Night hatches a new plan to snag her lost love whom she of old betrayed. Luck to you, Rand, and pray to the Light that the Aiel live up to their name.

Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time.

Friday, May 24, 2019

I have just finished The Shadow Rising

The great journey continues. The Wheel turns.

I have just finished The Shadow Rising, Volume #4 of The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan.
"Once the Dragon for remembrance lost, twice the Dragon for the price he must pay." He Who Comes With the Dawn has called the People of the Dragon under one banner. He will unite them. He will destroy them. He will save them. All per the prophesies. Meanwhile the Goldeneye's Wolf banner rises alongside the Red Eagle of Manetheren to stab at the Shadow. Yet a vision of disaster came to pass in the heart of the Light, putting all on the shoulders of the Dragon Reborn who snagged a most unlikely teacher.

Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

My father and I just finished The Foretelling by Alice Hoffman

My father and I just finished The Foretelling by Alice Hoffman.

An incredibly short yet deeply stirring read, we saw prophesy, old sorrow, death and jealousy ride with the Amazon tribe through the eyes of and often directed towards the girl Rain, daughter of rape and a Queen. Yet times change and evil will always betray itself even as Rain feels the forbidden emotions of mercy and love towards that collective foe called men. More I cannot say save that the book thrums with a primal force that rings out in the echoes of myth and deep emotion.

Ride well, Dream Rider Rain, and you Astella, Penthe, Melek, Deborah, Usha the Bear, Io, and the Black Horse.