Sunday, 25 November 2012

Ys And The Merman's Children

The Merman's Children (London, 1981) is set about a thousand years later than The King Of Ys. Rereading the former immediately after the latter, we notice:

(i) merpeople in both (not only does an Ysan princess become a mermaid but merfolk plural had been mentioned earlier in connection with the Irish sea god);

(ii) a sea god called Lir in Ys and a merpeople town called Liri in The Merman's Children;

(iii) that Ys ends with the exorcism of the mermaid whereas Children begins with the exorcism of Liri;

(iv) in the later work, not Ys but another submerged city whose inhabitants had worshipped a kraken;

(v) characters in both works hoping to cross the Atlantic to colonise a "new world";

(vi) in Ys, Pagan gods retreating before Christianity and, in Children, Pagan supernatural beings almost extinct;

(vii) the Kings of Ys and Liri converting to Christianity but the merman's son sailing "Westward, maybe to Vinland or beyond..." in order to retain his heathen freedom (p. 256).

(viii) St Martin, a character in Ys, referred to in Children - also appropriate references in the latter to Arthur and Ogier.

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