Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Details in War Of The Gods

I continue to appreciate details while rereading War Of The Gods (New York, 1999). First, there is more weather:

"Next day brought clouds, a wrack like smoke flying low. Rain-showers slashed. They made mud of a road that had become a mere track. It wound among fields gone back to weeds. Wind skirled through scattered hursts, tossing their leaves like beggars' rags." (p. 48)

Secondly, yet another dead man is called back. Like Orm in The Broken Sword, he expresses his disquiet in powerful verse:

"You drew me from the dead. Now doom shall fall on you
"Who haled me out of hell. Ill hap and woe be yours." (p. 52)

- and he continues in similar vein.

Thirdly, the Norse myths were inconsistent about the size of the beings involved. Thor sheltered overnight in one of five chambers at the back of a large open hall only to learn the following morning that the hall and its chambers were really a glove dropped by a giant, yet later in the same story he drinks from a giants' horn and wrestles with a giant. Poul Anderson would not have been able to reproduce such inconsistency even in a fantasy so a giantess is also a witch who can shrink to human size to have sex with Hadding. 

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