Thursday, July 28, 2022

Eragon TV adaptation for Disney+

If you laughed on reading the title of this then rest assured I did the same when reading it on Shur'tugal. Truly HBO's Game of Thrones deserves a vote of deepest thanks! Not only has Amazon created TV adaptions for The Wheel of Time and J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth in the Second Age, plus Radar Pictures working on Mercedes Lackey's The Last Herald-Mage trilogy, but now an Eragon TV adaptation is in the works at Disney+! Eragon being the first volume of Christopher Paolini's internationally acclaimed The Inheritance Cycle, a series which caries a special place in my heart as Eragon was the first Fantasy I read on my own, back in the 5th grade, after my father read The Lord of the Rings to me.

What are my hopes for the show? Well, every Inheritance Cycle fan knows and tries the forget the travesty of a job Fox did with their Eragon movie back in 2004, so Disney+ knows that taking an artistic license to the plot and characters is not something fans will be forgiving about. Beyond that, since Christopher Paolini is co-writing the series my hopes, like his, are quite high. Luck to them as they bring Eragon & Saphira and all the rest from the wondrous world of Alagaësia land of the Dragon Riders and the Ancient Language to the big screen!

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

I just started Froi of the Exiles

I just started Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta, book #2 of her Lumatere Chronicles.
As Lumatere struggles to rebuild, Froi seeks his place in a changing world and trust in himself even though others already trust him... just as a song and prophesy from their hated enemies calls out to him. I love daring missions into enemy kingdoms.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

My father and I have once again finished Alphabet of Thorn by Patricia A. McKillip

My father and I have once again finished Alphabet of Thorn by Patricia A. McKillip.

Her Gilgameshian epic, this was the book that made us - then (2014), now, and forever - rank her as a Fantasy author worthy of standing beside J.R.R. Tolkien, Diana Wynne Jones, The Neverending Story by Michael Ende, and J.K. Rowling. We have not read it since because the book is so awe-inspiring, so vast in thought, deep in wisdom, eloquent in language, that one does not read it lightly. But when we learned that Patricia A. McKillip had died we could think of no better way to honor her and all her works mean to us. To be reminded again of her mighty words that shape themselves out of fish, poetry, and thorn in a palace hewn out of stone perched on the sheer edge of the world.

As I said in 2014, so I say again, well done and do well Nepenthe, Tessera, Bourne, Vevay, Felan, Laidly, and Kane. I will think of you whenever my thoughts stray over sea and under stone.

Until next time.

Monday, July 25, 2022

I just finished Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

I just finished Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta, book #1 of her Lumatere Chronicles.
There are some Fantasy authors who, like Mercedes Lackey, make a brutal and often graphic point of showing the extremely gritty elements of the world, the key being that they counterbalances them with characters of the highest ideals who ultimately, if not unscarred, prevail. Such an author is Melina Marchetta, and it was amazing seeing Finnikin help Evanjalin pluck hope from the darkest despair, the grimmest of circumstances, to win back their kingdom from the shadow of magic and sadists, finding love and a future for all of Lumatere.

Friday, July 22, 2022

Amazon's the Wheel of Time Renewed for Season 3

“The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave birth to it comes again.”

Just as Amazon scheduled Season 2 before Season 1 came out, so they have now declared Season 3 before Season 2 can been released. This turning of the Wheel is, of course, different, from the turning we are familiar with, but the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills, and no eye can see the Pattern of this Age until it is woven. For myself, I am glad of this for while I do not agree with the everything the show has done, namely I think they are speeding it up too much at the expense of the world's rick history and great character moments, I feel that, thus far, the adaption is a worthy one.

"As the Wheel of Time turns, places wear many names. Men wear many names, many faces. Different faces, but always the same man. Yet no one knows the Great Pattern the Wheel weaves, or even the Pattern of an Age. We can only watch, and study, and hope." - Moiraine Aes Sedai

"I think of time in this world as fixed circular, but with a drifting variation. There are slight differences in the Pattern each time through so that if you thought of the Pattern as a tapestry and held up two successive weaves, you couldn't see any differences from a distance, only close up, but the more time turnings between tapestries, the more changes are apparent. But the basic Pattern always remains the same." - Robert Jordan 

Thursday, July 14, 2022

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power – Main Teaser

Welcome to the Second Age, before the Downfall of Númenor and the War of the Last Alliance, when Gil-galad ruled as High King of the Noldor and trade and friendship flowed to the Dwarven realm of Khazad-dûm that was afterwards in the days of its darkness called Moria. A time when the proud fleets from Númenor sailed the seas and Lord Elrond founded the haven of Rivendell that would outlive the Kingdom of Lindon of which it was part. A time of peace... until Sauron, lieutenant of Morgoth and Lord of Gifts, rose again and the Rings of Power were forged.

Friday, July 8, 2022

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power | Prime Video Sneak Peek

A trailer with nice visuals that tells us absolutely nothing save that a comet will fly across the world and various people will watch it until it crashes.

I just started The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta

I just started Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta, book #1 of her Lumatere Chronicles.
This little trilogy has been sitting on my shelf unread for far too long, hence tis long past time to correct that. Much as it is long past time for the exiles of Lumatere to reclaim their cursed, sealed, Kingdom from the claws of magic and despair, guilt and an imposter king, and, unless I miss my guess, treachery. Or rather, it will be largely up to Finnikin and his friends.
(Point of order, no I have not quit Tiger and Del a second time. But if I start volume seven now then I will have time to read nothing substantial between finishing it and this December when volume eight comes out. So I will pick up Sword-Bound upon completing the Lumatere Chronicles.)

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Just finished Sword-Sworn, volume six of the Novels of Tiger and Del by Jennifer Roberson

He was Tiger, born of the desert winds. She was Del, born of ice and storm.
Just finished Sword-Sworn, volume six of the Novels of Tiger and Del by Jennifer Roberson.
As old songs end, new ones begin. Del's old song was vengeance, Tiger's the life of a wandering sword-dancer. Both ended previously, the prices exile and death. Now the songs of family and love led them, through a fittingly winding way, to make a home and take responsibility for themselves and each other despite any number of sword-dancers hoolies-bent on killing them. Welcome to the world, little Sula.

Friday, July 1, 2022

R.I.P. Patricia A. McKillip

NOOOOOO!! I cannot believe this happened nearly two months ago and I missed it! 😭 Once upon a time my father and I never thought we would find another author worthy of standing beside J.R.R. Tolkien, Diana Wynne Jones, and J.K. Rowling. But we did. Her name was Patricia A. McKillip and we fell in love with her books in a way we never believed we ever would with any Fantasy again. How many can truly stand besides Jones and Rowling as an equal? How many can be judged of skill approximate to Tolkien? So few, and my father and I call them First Tier authors those Fantasy Masters who break beyond the ordinary conventions of the genre, possessing a unique skill and writing style that regularly shocks and delights even veterans of the Fantastic.

"Just begin at the beginning and proceed whichever way you can into hope." - Vevay, from Patricia A. McKillip's Alphabet of Thorn.

I will start from the beginning. When Dad and I finished, after a decade of sheerest delight, the last of the Many Worlds of Diana Wynne Jones, we were at a loss. We had read the best of the best and, though we knew that plenty of excellent Fantasies remained, resigned ourselves to never again reading a true, new, Top Tier Fantasy those magic was comparable to that of J.R.R. Tolkien. Then we found a single-standing Fantasy book called The Bards of Bone Plain. Well, he found. I had actually been vaguely aware of it for some time, but Dad and the lack of Jones brought it to our serious attention. Knowing good Fantasy when we see it, we read it... and loved it. So we bought other McKillip books, knowing that while she could not be another Jones she at the very least was a deeply skilled author who had written a host of one-volume works. Still a little uncertain of this new (to us) author, we picked for our next McKillip book one that looked akin to Bone Plain. That book was Alphabet of Thorn.

When we finished it I wrote the following on facebook (for though this was in 2014, two years before I began Stars Uncounted, I posted on facebook when I started and finished books in the exact same way):

"I am in awe. I never thought I would find another author worthy of standing beside J.R.R. Tolkien, Diana Wynne Jones, and J.K. Rowling. But I have. Her name is Patricia A. McKillip.

My father and I just finished Alphabet of Thorn by Patricia A. McKillip. In realm a between sea and sky I have seen legends shape themselves of fish and thorns. I have been through the Gates of Nowhere and back. I saw the Dreamer wake and a Lion turn heel. I saw a transcriptor, a sorceress, and the Queen of Raine make the right choice.

Well met, well done, and do well Nepenthe, Tessera, Bourne, Vevay, Felan, Laidly, and Kane. I will think of you whenever my thoughts stray over sea and under stone."

The book was Gilgameshian in Epicness. We were, utterly and truly, in awe. Just as we finished Diana Wynne Jones we had, against all odds, found an author who could fill the void she left.

"The odd thing about people who had many books was how they always wanted more." - Judd, from Patricia A. McKillip's The Bell at Sealey Head.

And fill it she did, for Patricia A. McKillip was and still is like no author we had ever read. Her books invoke, in old sense of the word, awe, for has a way with words similar to Tolkien – who was a linguist himself – but different in that she glories in their sounds as well as meanings; to the extent that I call her a word-jeweler as opposed to wordsmith. While reading her books one feels the instinctual need to read more slowly, and do not be deceived by the short length of her works. For with McKillip "short" is a relative term as each sentence feels like it carries the weight of centuries, words spoken from myths echoing across the ocean of potential and Faerie into the subconscious part of us where dragons sleep. A word-jeweler who crafts worlds as natural as blooming flowers and more ancient than the first tree whose roots dug deeper than any plant before it. A distant voice is calling across time from beyond a fog-shrouded sea speaking of realms between sea and sky where legends shape themselves of fish and thorns and lettering.

"At its best, fantasy rewards the reader with a sense of wonder about what lies within the heart of the commonplace world. The greatest tales are told over and over, in many ways, through centuries. Fantasy changes with the changing times, and yet it is still the oldest kind of tale in the world, for it began once upon a time, and we haven't heard the end of it yet." - Patricia A. McKillip

This may sound like an exaggeration, so trust me when I tell you it is not. When Dad and I began The Changling Sea we were within four pages enchanted as if by a siren; unable to believe that it was four pages instead of forty and ten minutes as opposed an age of the world. Truly we wandered around for the rest of the evening, clutching our heads, pretending like we had aged a millennia, feeling almost truly as if world history could be divided into two epochs: before and after those first four pages. And the remaining pages were just as good. Long had I sought a book that captures all the wonder and power of mystery of the sea. This book ended that search. 

It’s an odd thing, happiness. Some people take happiness from gold. Or black pearls. And some of us, far more fortunate, take their happiness from periwinkles. - Lyo, from Patricia A. McKillip's The Changling Sea

And she wrote SO MUCH, each and every one a finely wrought gem in a Dragon's hoard sparkling with the distant light of far-off stars and deep as the fathomless depths of the sea. Need more proof? Well, she still holds the record for most Mythopoeic Fantasy awards and nominations (at four and fifteen, respectively). Makes sense seeing as Mytho-poetic captures the essence of McKillip novels to the core.

"My father and I just finished Harpist in the Wind, the final book of Patricia A. McKillip's Riddle-Master Trilogy. In a realm of riddle colleges and wraiths, harpists and wizards, I have seen an ancient war between order and chaos unravel and conclude within the strictures of Riddlery and three stars upon a Farmer Prince's face. I have seen monarchs and the living and dead unite under a single love of the land...and win.

Fair winds to you Morgon of Hed and Raederle of An and Yrth who knows "even death is a riddle", to Danan of Isig, wolf-king Har, King Astrin of Ymris (I am sorry), Mathom and Rood of An, the Morgol and Lyra of Herun, to Eliard and Tristan of Hed, to the wizards of Lungold and the Masters at Caithnard - College of Riddle-Masters. I will never look at Riddles the same way again.

Beware the unanswered riddle. Beware another riddle-master. The wise man knows his own name."

 - What I wrote on facebook when we finished the Riddle-master Trilogy. (Here is my blog post from recently finishing it a second time.)

"My father and I just finished In the Forests of Serre by Patricia A. McKillip.

As Brume is the Mother of All Witches, so this was the mother of all fairy tales and further proof that McKillip ranks alongside J.K. Rowling and Diana Wynne Jones in the tier below Tolkien. Why? Because in an Enchanted Forest a Prince killed the favorite hen of a witch and got cursed and lost as his unwilling bride, a foreign Princess, approached with her wizard bodyguard.

What happens next is a secret I shall leave with the Firebird, but I have always said that Heart is the most important aspect of a person and that without its unwritten language singing within you, one is lost; a fact this tale proves most aptly.

May you live happily ever after Prince Ronan of Serre & Princess Sidonie of Dacia, Wizards Unciel (hopefully now you can rest) and Gyre, scribe Euan Ash, and the rest.

And if you see a white hen and/or cottage made of bones, steer clear. Seriously."

 - What I wrote on facebook when we finished In the Forests of Serre.

"My father and I just finished The Tower at Stony Wood by Patricia A. McKillip.

Inspired by Tennyson's The Lady of Shalott, this book takes the tale to truly mythopoetic heights. A mystery woven in fine thread between several towers, we walked with valiant yet impoverished islanders desperate for freedom from their overlord, a knight journeying through a land of subtle magic and beauty, and a seal-like baker and her children seeing and weaving stories from a mirror in the tower at Stony Wood. And we met three fey sisters who know that an outwardly simple mission can weave the tangled threads of fate and chance together to restore magic and peace.
Happy days to Cyan Dag & Cria Greenwoode, King Regis Aurum of Yves & Gwynne of Skye, Thayne and Craiche Ysse, Sel and Melanthos of Stony Wood, and Idra, Sidera, and Una."
- What I wrote on facebook when we finished The Tower at Stony Wood.

I could go on and one. Could and have, for searching "McKillip" on the searchbar here on this my not always entirely humble blog will reveal all I have said on her since 2016. So I will end by stating the obvious: the world of literature, Fantasy in particular, is a lesser, dimmer place without Patricia A. McKillip and she will be deeply missed. Indeed, I learned about her death because ever since her last book, Kingfisher, was published back in 2016, Google search her every few months hoping few news on a new book. Except this time I learned that there will be no new book.

Rest in peace, Riddle-Master of Caithnard and Weaver of mytho-potic Words. You are already deeply missed.

“I think readers like faerieland because it is a source of power, a source of imagination which becomes a very powerful tool.  Maybe that’s why I keep digging into it, because it is something that’s totally imaginative, and yet it’s also a very ancient way of looking at the world. Maybe people look at these characters as symbols of something they want to be or to have. It’s also a way of looking at real people. If you look at a person that way, they become more powerful because you don’t know them; all you can see of that person is something that you want to be or to possess. Maybe that’s partly where faerie comes from.” - Patricia A. McKillip

"The idea of fairyland fascinates me because it's one of those things, like mermaids and dragons, that doesn't really exist, but everyone knows about it anyway. Fairyland lies only in the eye of the beholder who is usually a fabricator of fantasy. So what good is it, this enchanted, fickle land which in some tales bodes little good to humans and, in others, is the land of peace and perpetual summer where everyone longs to be? Perhaps it's just a glimpse of our deepest wishes and greatest fears, the farthest boundaries of our imaginations. We go there because we can; we come back because we must. What we see there becomes our tales." - Patricia A. McKillip