Saturday, 26 January 2013

Wisdom II

Incredibly, what I called "wisdom" in the previous post suddenly strikes Thora, Harald Hardrada's usually bloodthirsty leman in Poul Anderson's The Sign Of The Raven (New York, 1980). Sailing at sunset, she suddenly interprets:

"'...blood in the west, and night in the east, like a sign...'" (p. 163)

Reflecting on the planned conquest of England, she asks:

"'...of a sudden I wonder how wise this is. Have we not enough already?'" (p. 163)

They have but it is incredible that she of all people should ask this. When Harald replies, "'No...While I live, never enough...,'" he clearly sets out the irrationality of his own perspective while she realizes that she no longer wants him to risk falling in battle. (p. 163)

Almost immediately, they see a bright three-tailed light in the sky, clearly not "'A new star...'" (nova), as Harald calls it, but a comet, which he interprets as St Michael's newly drawn sword presaging war on Earth. (pp. 164-165) But Thora sees it as drawn "'...against us...' " (p. 165)

Somehow, the horror of all the fighting and killing has suddenly got to her. Yes, people sometimes do learn and change.

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