Wednesday, 19 December 2012
How King Magnus Went To His Weird
Odin taught the wedge battle formation to men in Anderson's War Of The Gods. That was a book in which Odin was a real being. Here, we must regard him as a myth.
Here again, St Olaf does the next best thing. He cannot interact as a physical being but does appear to his son Magnus in a dream before a battle and offers a choice: follow me or become a great king but at the expense of committing a great sin. This is ominous since this second chapter of the novel is entitled How King Magnus Went To His Weird. Next day, Magnus spends a lot of time with a priest and I must finish rereading the chapter to learn how he meets his death.
" 'Men get dreams and dreams and most of them mean naught.' " (p. 39)
Fortuitously, I have just reread Neil Gaiman's "August." There, no less an authority than Caesar Augustus, in whose reign the new God was born, informs us that:
"Many dreams come through the gates of ivory...and they lie. A few dreams come through the gates of horn, and they speak to us truly." (Neil Gaiman, Fables And Reflections, New York, p. 105)