Saturday, August 11, 2018

The Wheel of Time

So it begins...
Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time.

Long have said that I would not read this series. I now eat those words to read countless more. I have just started The Eye of the World, book #1 of The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. 

I have just witnessed the tragic death of Lews Therin Telamon, called the Dragon, Lord of the Morning, and lastly Kinslayer.
(Unlike usual, I do not silently swear to finish this series, but by the Light I mean to try!)

Friday, August 10, 2018

My father and I just finished The Cygnet and the Firebird

My father and I just finished The Cygnet and the Firebird by Patricia A. McKillip, the final book of her Cygnet Duology.

I am in awe. Again. Again yet more so. Again. If the first book was of stars and time, this one was of Dragons. Far from Ro Holding there lies the Luxour Desert where Dragons shift themselves out of time and legend, literally. A landscape so vast, wondrous, and timeless that it defies description save that it pulses with the ancient, beautiful, primal wonder and majestic power of the Dragon.

In this distant place Mequet and Nyx found riddles and puzzles writ not in stone but in the human heart for, more than any other book, this story is driven by the question of whom to trust amid a crime that cries as a Firebird and hunts the Cygnet as a Dragon. Most books are driven by events that in turn shape the characters' personalities; yet under the Cygnet it is the opposite, the personalities that drive all which in turn results in the most brilliant conversations I have EVER read. Brilliant, unpredictable, and so filled with human heart.

May the stars guide your paths Meguet Vervaine (& and the Gatekeeper), Nyx Ro & Brand Saphier, and Rad Ilex.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Just finished The Witch's Boy by Kelly Barnhill

Just finished The Witch's Boy by Kelly Barnhill.

I can only say this: Off all the countess books I have read, few possess the heart of this one. It is a fairy tale. Death of family, an ancient and wild and tempting magic managed by a Witch, an Enchanted Forest, a Bandit King, an aging good Queen, a wolf, and Nine Speaking Stones.

And Ned the Witch's Boy. And Aine the Bandit King's Daughter. It has been an absolute delight getting to know you both, sharing in your joys and terrors and heartbreaks and forged friendship. To the sea!

(Caitlin, thank you so much for suggesting this way back when!! It has earned a special place on my shelves)

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Fantasy morality

In the intro page I say that my morality, manner of speech, style of writing, and building blocks of thought may all be traced to Fantasy books I have read. Well, perhaps I ought to compile some of that morality to show, in sum, what said fantastical literature can do for a person. Naturally I am limited to what I have long called "nuggets of wisdom" within books and a more complete set of quotes (not limited to Fantasy literature) can be found on the Quotes page. Yet there is something to be said for conciseness, a simple set of strictures to go by, and this, or near enough as makes no matter, is mine:

The sentiment of the Abhorsens: "For everyone and everything, there is a time to die." 

From Ogion of Gont, Wizard of Re Albi: "To hear, one must be silent." 

Faramir on purpose of war: "I do not love the bright sword for it's sharpness, nor the arrow for it's swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend."

Silvia of Innail: "The law is that the hungry must be fed, and the homeless must be housed, and the sick must be healed. That is the way of the Light."

Chrodechild of the Blades of Night's Veil: "The responsibility of rulers is to protect their country and their people. To that end, naturally, they must employ various techniques. Different faces that depend on the time, the situation and the people with which they are dealing."

The last words of The King under the Mountain: "If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."

Landen, Prince and slave and swordmaster: "Killing the strong to prove your strength is foolish weakness. Killing fools is easy weakness. Killing the weak is evil weakness. Accomplished your ends without killing, mastering your mind when you want to kill - that is strength!"


Cadvan of Lirigon: "To love is never wrong. It may be disastrous; it may never be possible; it may be the deepest agony. But it is never wrong."

Gandalf on legends: "Pay heed to the tales of old wives. It may well be that they alone keep in memory what it was once needful for the wise to know."

Herald Dirk of Valdemar: "There's no such thing as 'one, true way'; the only answers worth having are the ones you find for yourself; leave the world better than you found it. Love, freedom, and the chance to do some good they're the things worth living and dying for, and if you aren't willing to die for the things worth living for, you might as well turn in your membership in the human race."

From the witty and not quite moral scholar: "A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge."

Kerowyn the merc: "Make someone a devout, fanatical anything, and his brain turns to mulch."

Merriman Lyon, sometimes called Great Uncle Merry: "For ever and ever, we say when we are young, or in our prayers. Twice, we say it. Old One, do we not? For ever and ever ... so that a thing may be for ever, a life or a love or a quest, and yet begin again, and be for ever just as before. And any ending that may seem to come is not truly an ending, but an illusion. For Time does not die, Time has neither beginning nor end, and so nothing can end or die that has once had a place in Time."

Od: "Power shaped by wonder and curiosity; even love. Not by fear and laws that shut out instead of inviting it."

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The tales that really mattered

One of the most memorable, an thus justly memorialized moments from Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers movie was Sam's moving speech in Osgiliath about the tales that really mattered.


Yet, seeing as in the books Frodo and Sam never went to that ruined city, it is easy to think that said speech was nothing but a brilliant piece of script writing on Peter Jackson's part.
It is not so. Nay, in the books and also near the end of The Two Towers, Sam makes a similar speech to Frodo as they near and climb the Stair of Cirith Ungol:

'I don't like anything here at all.' said Frodo, `step or stone, breath or bone. Earth, air and water all seem accursed. But so our path is laid.'
'Yes, that's so,' said Sam. `And we shouldn't be here at all, if we'd known more about it before we started. But I suppose it's often that way. The brave things in the old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo: adventures, as I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull, a kind of a sport, as you might say. But that's not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have been just landed in them, usually - their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn't. And if they had, we shouldn't know, because they'd have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on - and not all to a good end, mind you; at least not to what folk inside a story and not outside it call a good end. You know, coming home, and finding things all right, though not quite the same - like old Mr Bilbo. But those aren't always the best tales to hear, though they may be the best tales to get landed in! I wonder what sort of a tale we've fallen into? '
`I wonder,' said Frodo. 'But I don't know. And that's the way of a real tale. Take any one that you're fond of. You may know, or guess, what kind of a tale it is, happy-ending or sad-ending, but the people in it don't know. And you don't want them to.'
'No, sir, of course not. Beren now, he never thought he was going to get that Silmaril from the Iron Crown in Thangorodrim, and yet he did, and that was a worse place and a blacker danger than ours. But that's a long tale, of course, and goes on past the happiness and into grief and beyond it - and the Silmaril went on and came to EƤrendil. And why, sir, I never thought of that before! We've got - you've got some of the light of it in that star-glass that the Lady gave you! Why, to think of it, we're in the same tale still! It's going on. Don't the great tales never end? '
'No, they never end as tales,' said Frodo. `But the people in them come, and go when their part's ended. Our part will end later - or sooner.'
'And then we can have some rest and some sleep,' said Sam. He laughed grimly. 'And I mean just that, Mr. Frodo. I mean plain ordinary rest, and sleep, and waking up to a morning's work in the garden. I'm afraid that's all I'm hoping for all the time. All the big important plans are not for my sort. Still, I wonder if we shall ever be put into songs or tales. We're in one, or course; but I mean: put into words, you know, told by the fireside, or read out of a great big book with red and black letters, years and years afterwards. And people will say: "Let's hear about Frodo and the Ring! " And they'll say: "Yes, that's one of my favourite stories. Frodo was very brave. wasn't he, dad?" "Yes, my boy, the famousest of the hobbits, and that's saying a lot."'
`It's saying a lot too much,' said Frodo, and he laughed, a long clear laugh from his heart. Such a sound had not been heard in those places since Sauron came to Middle-earth. To Sam suddenly it seemed as if all the stones were listening and the tall rocks leaning over them. But Frodo did not heed them; he laughed again. 'Why, Sam,' he said, 'to hear you somehow makes me as merry as if the story was already written. But you've left out one of the chief characters: Samwise the stouthearted. "I want to hear more about Sam, dad. Why didn't they put in more of his talk, dad? That's what I like, it makes me laugh. And Frodo wouldn't have got far without Sam, would he, dad? " '
`Now, Mr. Frodo,' said Sam, 'you shouldn't make fun. I was serious. '
`So was I,' said Frodo, 'and so I am. We're going on a bit too fast. You and I, Sam, are still stuck in the worst places of the story, and it is all too likely that some will say at this point: "Shut the book now, dad; we don't want to read any more." '
`Maybe,' said Sam, 'but I wouldn't be one to say that. Things done and over and made into part of the great tales are different. Why, even Gollum might be good in a tale, better than he is to have by you, anyway. And he used to like tales himself once, by his own account. I wonder if he thinks he's the hero or the villain?
`Gollum!' he called. `Would you like to be the hero - now where's he got to again?'