Those days you did not intend to spend all of reading but do so anyway are some of the best days.
Hall of Fantasy
- The Spirit of Tolkien
- Types of Fantasy
- The Nine Magics
- I am Ian E.S. Adler
- The Bookshelf
- Hidden Gems
- Triad of Songs
- Riddle Mastery
- Heroes of Light
- Females in Fantasy
- The Role and Proper Usage of Magic Thingamajigs
- GRRM the Anti-Tolkien
- Rumors of the Wheel
- The Final Lesson
- Artist vs. the Art
- Fantasy Book Tiers
- The History (and Golden Age) of Fantasy
- How to make your own System of Magic
- Seas Uncharted
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
Wednesday, October 7, 2020
Growing up reading Fantasy and mythology coupled with having parents who raise one to genuinely despise profanity and other forms of crude language is a blessing. Why? Because in place of such base and/or simplistic words, one learns to be creative. I say "silence" and, in place of swear-words, oaths like "Thank the flame", "Gods and sacred Goddesses", "Fire and hemlock!" "Darkspawn", "Freya's tears", "By all the gods above and below the Earth", "Sacred flames!" and, when in physical pain, "Bones, body, and blood!". In other words, having one's manner of speech and style of writing forged by binge-reading Fantasy literature works out great! Even my mother says "Thank the flame" now, though her personal favorite is that time I swore "By Odin's empty eye socket!" (I was reading The Sea of Trolls trilogy by Nancy Farmer at the time, I believe, which is filled with oaths invoking the Norse gods. In fact, that is where the "Freya's tears" swear comes from. As to the rest, the "Fire and hemlock!" oath came from the Diana Wynne Jones' book of the same name, and "Thank the Flame" from Tolkien in that, back in middle school, when happy I would say "Thank the Flame or Anor" and when upset "By the dark fire of Angmar!" – i.e. "Thank the Flame" is a contraction of the former.)
Thursday, October 1, 2020
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
clip clop clip clop clip clop....hoofbeats...
I have just started Firebrand, book 6 in the Green Rider series
by Kristen Britain. Of all my thousand friends of Fantasy, few have my
heart quite so much as Rider Sir Karigan G'ladheon – making it an
unrivaled joy to return to the land of the Sacor Clans. But the shadow
of a terrible future looms large as the grasp of winter clenches, for
Mornhavon the Black and those loyal to his legacy are determined to
restart and win the Long War he lost long ago. Which might be why
Eletians have come and want to search for an old ally in the north.
clip clop clip clop clip clop....hoofbeats...
Sunday, September 13, 2020
I just finished The Fork, the Witch, and the Worm by Christopher Paolini, sequel to his The Inheritance Cycle.
Such a delight to see old and dear friends again while the mysteries of Alagaësia increase exponentially! From Murtagh to Angela to Urgal legends, Paolini never disappoints. Best yet, a new day has dawned for the dragons!
Until next time, Ebrithils Eragon and Saphira!
Atra esterní ono thelduin. Mor'ranr lífa unin hjarta onr. Un du evarínya ono varda.
Friday, September 11, 2020
I just submitted the first book of The Cynnahu Saga, the Fantasy series I wrote, to DAW Books!! Send good vibes, folks, and watch for the red ship on the horizon with its crimson-eyed captain!
Sunday, September 6, 2020
My favorite authors did not stand idle while I read Robert Jordan, so now begins the delight of catching up.
I just started The Fork, the Witch, and the Worm by Christopher Paolini, sequel to his The Inheritance Cycle, international bestseller and the first great Fantasy series I read on my own in the 6th grade (my father having read The Lord of the Rings to me the year before).
Such a delight to see old and dear friends again! Eragon and Saphira, and others from the wondrous world of Alagaësia - land of the Dragon Riders and the Ancient Language. Honestly, I would say more to express my excitement as my love for this series is second to none save The Lord of the Rings itself, yet cannot without violating my Stars Uncounted law of never writing spoilers.
Kvetha Fricai, sé onr sverdar sitja hvass!
Friday, September 4, 2020
Once again I am amazed anew at the genius of the Father and Founder Modern Fantasy! Such a short book yet brimming with lovely characters, unforgettable places and adventures, all woven with timeless lessons old as the roots of the Lonely Mountain where the Arkenstone was found. How great wealth and the lust for it can poison even the noble-hearted but that, in the end, food and cheer and song and friendship are ever the keys in which victory, joy, freedom, and still greater friendships are unlocked; all girded of course with great courage, even when one's sword arm is small, in the face of overwhelming odds. Such is the nature of Tolkien, and the magic of this most extraordinary adventure of Mr. Bilbo Baggins cannot be overstated.
Tuesday, September 1, 2020
Monday, August 24, 2020
As I am still more than a little shell-shocked from finishing The Wheel of Time (quite understandable as it was a two year business and ended with a thousand-page heart-stopping climax) I thought it wise to go back to my roots. Which for me, and quite appropriately, is a hole in the ground. "Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort."
Indeed, I have just begun The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien! Thus do I and with delight travel once again with Mr. Bilbo Baggins in the company of thirteen most eminent dwarves and of course the wizard Gandalf! I do not intend to read The Lord of the Rings afterwards as, oddly, I seldom read the two as such, but this will be the most splendid transition and, frankly, my soul needs the nourishment of Tolkien.
Sunday, August 23, 2020
The great journey ends.
I have just finished A Memory of Light, the 14th and final Volume of The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan (and completed posthumously by Brandon Sanderson).
The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In one Age, an Age of Prophecy, called the Third Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, the World and Time themselves hung in the balance. A balance decided by the Last Battle. Tarmon Gai'don. A battle not at the end of Time but to keep it turning. So it is that the Karaethon Cycle comes to pass, the Dragon Reborn entering Shayol Ghul to wrestle for the fate of the world with the Dark One as, beyond, Tarmon Gai'don rages in the longest battle I have I ever read, detailing true apocalypse where the very laws and fabric of reality rip amid the desperate efforts of humans to live free and with hope. Willing to die so that other may live, and charging death unflinchingly to do so.
Never in my life have I read a book series such as this. Vast in every sense of the word, spanning the world and all quite distinct cultures within it, populated by the largest cast of characters I have ever seen. Unique in way seldom seen in Fantasy: Tolkienesque in spirit and, in the very beginning, plot, but soon something else entirely. A mythos that is truly Robert Jordan's own, epic by every definition in that it, per its scope, the story is not just about the Dragon Reborn and his friends but, in addition and as is so fitting said by the website Dragonmount, it is the story of an entire world's struggle to deal with war and change, destruction and hope. Yet these are only a bare fraction of the themes, or a gross simplification rather, for each is viewed through the eyes of very different people.
"A woman, torn and beaten down, cast from her throne and made a puppet. A woman who had crawled when she had to
It was about a man that love repeatedly forsook. A man who found relevance in a world that others would have let pass them by.
A man who remembered stories and who took fool boys under his wing when the smarter move would have been to keep on walking.
It was about a woman with a secret, a hope for the future. A woman who had hunted the truth before others could.
It was about a man whose family was taken from him, but who stood tall in his sorrow and protected those he could.
It was about a woman who refused to believe that she could not help, could not heal those who had been harmed.
It was about a hero who insisted with every breath that he was anything but a hero.
It was about a woman who would not bend her back while she was beaten, and who shown with a light for all who watched."
It is about them all.
Tuesday, August 18, 2020
I know that I try to avoid all real-world matters here on Stars Uncounted, but this just too good because, in a nutshell, it shows just how high class John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was. As in known, Tolkien fought in the trenches of the World War I on the Western Front, most notably in the Battle of the Somme, yet he would much later pull off a much cleaner victory against a German Nazi publishing house. To cut a full history lesson to a more reasonable length, in 1933 Hitler's chief propagandist, Joseph Goebbels, established a team of of regulators to monitor the works of Jewish artists in film, theater, music, fine arts, literature, broadcasting, and the press for the purpose of eliminating Jewish people from engaging in mainstream German culture by requiring them to have a license in order to do so. This attempt by the Nazis to purge Germany of any culture that wasn’t (their incorrect definition) of Aryan in origin led to the questioning of artists from outside Germany.
One of these artists was the English J.R.R. Tolkien, whose publisher had a mind to get The Hobbit published in Germany. His publisher, not Tolkien himself – who loathed Nazi ideology, had many Jewish friends, and was considering abandoning the notion of a German translation of The Hobbit entirely. But his publisher convinced him to try and, predictably, the German publishers sent Tolkien a letter asking for proof of his Aryan descent. Tolkien's letter in reply is that clean victory I mentioned above, both correcting and slamming Nazi propaganda with sheer and utter class. Here is the link to the letter.
Sunday, August 9, 2020
My father and I just finished Moonheart by Charles de Lint.
A strong urban Fantasy that, despite the gritty language, seamlessly blends and thrusts many elements and social perspectives of our modern world with and into the traditional if sometimes conflicting Ways of Celtic and Native American mytho-history in a rapidly shifting story in which The Dread That Walks Nameless must be confronted.
May you find peace of Grandmother Toad in life and in the Place of Dreaming Thunder that comes after, Sara, Jamie, Blue, Kieran, Thomas Hengwr, Taliesin, Tucker, Pukwudji, Ha'kan'ta & Ur'wen'ta of the rathe-wen'a, and Sims'amin of the quin'on'a.
Saturday, August 8, 2020
Saturday, August 1, 2020
Friday, July 24, 2020
I have just started A Memory of Light, the 14th and final Volume of The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan (and completed posthumously by Brandon Sanderson).
It is time. The storm has come. The Last Battle. Tarmon Gai'don. The World and Time itself hangs in the balance as the Dragon Reborn makes his demands on the Field of Merrilor and marches under the Banners Dragon and Light across the Mountains of Dhoom to Shayol Ghul to face the Dark One and all the forces of the Shadow. Nations shall crumble and humanity shall be unified. Lies shall be torn off in bloody waves as the earth shakes. The world shall be broken and made whole. "He shall hold a blade of light in his hands, and the three shall be one," says the Karaethon Cycle, "Red on black, the Dragon’s blood stains the rock of Shayol Ghul. In the Pit of Doom shall his blood free men from the Shadow." So is the hope of the Light, and the fear of those who love Rand a'Thor. It is time. The storm has come. The Last Battle. Tarmon Gai'don.
Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time.
Tuesday, July 21, 2020
|Mah'alleinir is forged|
I have just finished the Towers of Midnight, Volume #13 of The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan (and completed posthumously by Brandon Sanderson).
Thus do the children of Morgase fulfill the Foretelling of the old false Flame of Tar Valon, the Sunburst giving justice to and serving the newly risen and proud Red Wolf while the Golden Lily claims the Sun Throne and White Boar finds true love in service. Thus does the gambler give up half the light in the world to save the world as foretold by the snakes and foxes to rescue an old friend, a true Servant of All. Yet the world hangs by a thread even as the Light gathers, the White Tower a threat and threatened both even as the Dragon Reborn makes final preparations to face the Shadow, while the City of Queens is aflame and the Uncrowned King charges death. The Age draws to a close and the armies of the world march to Tarmon Gai'don. To the Last Battle. It is time.
Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time.
Thursday, July 16, 2020
|Prince Rhaegar Targaryen|
|Lyanna died in a room |
that smelled of "blood and roses"
Sunday, July 5, 2020
|The Dragon Banner|
|The Coat of Arms of |
House Targaryen of Dragonstone
"A man who trusts everyone is a fool and a man who trusts no one is a fool. We are all fools if we live long enough." - Lews Therin Telamon
"It seems to me that a queen who trusts no one is as foolish as a queen who trusts everyone." - Daenerys Targaryen
|Aerys II Targaryen, also called the Mad King, |
and the father of Daenerys
|Lews Therin Kinslayer|
|The Dragon Reborn|
|The princess that was promised|
|Demons made of snow and ice and cold. |
The ancient enemy. The only enemy that matters.
Moving away now from prophecies but continuing with the comparison, Remember that Dany and others worry about the madness in her blood and if/when she will succumb to it. Well, the same is true of Rand albeit that the madness comes from a different source which I cannot say for fear of spoilers. Finally, both struggle with the burdens of leadership and whom they can trust, which ties into the initially given quotes of Lews Therin Telamon, which Rand heeds, and Daenerys Targaryen.
In ending, I feel inclined to mention that I am not criticizing George R.R. Martin for drawing such inspiration from Robert Jordan. Anything but, as to do so would be hypocritical in the extreme given how the entire Fantasy genre draws heavily from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, and Jordan is as guilty of that as any; perhaps more so. Not much difference between Ogier and Ents, right down to their long lives, love of trees, and "do not be hasty" motto. And just as the White Tower on Tar Valon stands guard against the Dark One Shai'tan, so too did the White Tower of Minas Tirith guard against the Dark Lord Sauron. To say nothing of Pit of Doom beyond the Mountains of Dhoom, which could not be a clearer tribute to the Cracks of Doom on Mount Doom. Finally, recall the name Aemon al Caar al Thorin, the last King of lost Manetheren? Well, Manetheren means "Mountain Home" in the Old Tongue, and quite fittingly as the nation's capital city was built into the Mountains of Mist, making the realm's true wealth based in the gold, silver, and other precious metals. As to Aemon al Caar al Thorin himself, he died defending his home from Trollocs. A fairly clear tribute to Thorin son of Thrain son of Thror King under the Mountain and the Dwarven realm of Erebor (called the Lonely Mountain) from The Hobbit. At the day's end, all roads lead back to Middle-earth.