Monday, October 31, 2016


My father and I just finished Necessity, the final volume of Jo Walton's Thessaly Trilogy.
An awesome and totally unpredictable (and supposedly impossible) hybrid of Historical Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Political Philosophy, I name this series a masterpiece on par with the works of Diana Wynne Jones, J.K. Rowling, and Patricia A. McKillip. In short, among the best of the best after Tolkien. 

Olympian Gods and Plato's Republic, Fate and Necessity, Robots and Aliens, Mystery and Time.
Be the best self you can.
Know yourself.
Bear in mind that others have equal significance.

Farewell dear my friends (both mortals and gods) of Plato: Simmea, Pytheas Apollo, Maia, Sokrates, Arete, Crocus, Ficino, Ikarus, Athene, Jason, Marsilia, Thetis, and Hilfa.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Everything must come to an end, you say?

I think I finally understand why getting to the new Fantasy books that have long graced my shelves is proving so difficult... IT IS BECAUSE THE OLD BOOK SERIES' REFUSE TO END!! First a prequel to the Pellinor Quartet, then a prequel and sequel to the Abhorsen Trilogy, and then an entire prequel series to the Ranger's Apprentice series. Amazing Fantasies all, yes, but even so...

Thursday, October 20, 2016

A Middle-earth romance

Amazing how, even from the Halls of Mandos, J.R.R. Tolkien continues to have books published.

Come, prepare for another journey to Middle-earth, this time during the First Age, to witness the tale of "Beren and Lúthien – a story of the perilous romance between a man and an elf, is one of a number of texts by the author brought 'together for the first time'" and published on May 4, 2017
Apparently Christopher Tolkien has attempted to extract the story of Beren and Lúthien from the The Silmarillion. Moreover, "to show something of the process whereby this legend of Middle-earth evolved over the years, he has told the story in his father's own words by giving, first, its original form, and then passages in prose and verse from later texts that illustrate the narrative as it changed. Presented together for the first time, they reveal aspects of the story, both in event and in narrative immediacy, that were afterwards lost." 
In any event, the romance between Beren of the House of Bëor and Lúthien Tinúviel makes the tale of Aragorn and Arwen look tame.

"Among the tales of sorrow and of ruin that came down to us from the darkness of those days there are yet some in which amid weeping there is joy and under the shadow of death light that endures. And of these histories most fair still in the ears of the Elves is the tale of Beren and Lúthien." - J.R.R. Tolkien

Tolkien often referred to his wife, Edith, as "my Luthien"
- for the Elf maiden in question was inspired from her

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Riddle Maker = Inquiry Teacher

It occurs to me that Inquiry Teaching is synonymous with my Riddle-Maker Philosophy. To expand young minds, those minds must find the answer themselves and with limited hints.

It can either be found by, or given to you, when found you understand it, when given you might not = ?

Designing a curriculum is also akin to making a Riddle; working backwards, first you think of what you want to teach and then how to teach it.
As Patricia A. McKillip, author of The Forgotten Beasts of Eld and The Riddle-Master trilogy says, "When caught between the riddle and its answer there is no freedom," which is exactly why Inquiry Teaching has proven to be such an effective method of teaching children (who, in my experience, are the best riddle-solvers). Furthermore, not only are children typically the best riddle-solvers, they, at least in my experience, more often than not become addicted to them and subsequently develop great respect for the riddle-maker.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Winds of Fury started

Just started Winds of Fury, book #3 of The Mage Winds Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey.

Three incredibly strong sadist-mages competing for power while also trying to wreak bloody murder on Valdemar...which itself is only just beginning to rediscover High Magic and is about to see their Herald-Princess turned Herald-Mage and return with VERY strange company.

This should be fun.

(How could it not be with so many friends and enemies old and new gathered on the same, albeit very large, patch of soil?)

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Winds of Change completed

Just finished Winds of Change, book #2 of The Mage Winds Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey.
One sadist-mage down (more or less) and one to go. Honestly, between Kaled'a'in gryphons, Shin'a'in Swordsword (nice veil, Tarma), coupled with magic and love-lives complex enough to make my head hurt it is a wonder Clan k'Shenya survived at all.

But change is in the air...and focused upon Valdemar. Better get moving Elspeth and Darkwind.

Monday, October 3, 2016

The Role and Proper Usage of Magic Thingamajigs

Dare you touch...?
There is often a general complaint that, all too frequently, Fantasy protagonists rely overmuch on Magical Thingamajigs to save their highly sought after skins from the Dark; and in poorly written Fantasy literature this may easily be the case. However, any Fantasy author worth half a wizard's robe knows that such Magic Thingamajigs must supplement the user, not the other way around. 

 In short – and like magic itself – there must always be a price for using such arcane items; a price that the protagonist must be willing to pay, having already weighed it against the dangers of not using the Magic Thingamajig. In even shorter terms, all arcane items should be subject to the idiom "a double edged sword."