Friday, 10 June 2016

The Twilight Of The Gods

When CS Lewis first saw the words Siegfried and the Twilight of the Gods beside an Arthur Rackham illustration he:

"...thought the Twilight of the Gods meant the twilight in which the gods lived."
-CS Lewis, Surprised By Joy (London, 1964), Chapter V, p. 62.

I think that the twilight in which the gods live is a perfectly valid idea and a potential setting for stories. Perhaps Poul Anderson's character, Hadding, has found it:

"He seemed to be in a hall, alone with Gangleri."
-Poul Anderson, War Of The Gods (Tor Books, New York, 1999), p. 74.

There is gold-inlaid furniture, carved oak and a bearskin.

"But he could not see to the end of the building, nor to the crossbeams overhead. It was too huge, and full of a blue twilight." (ibid.)

A hall in Asgard? Was Anderson's account influenced by having read Lewis? Is the twilight a device to prevent the living Hadding from seeing too much of what might be a hereafter? Or is the gods' eyesight keen enough to see in what is to us twilight? Even if there is no connection between Lewis' "...twilight in which the gods lived..." and Anderson's " twilight...," it is productive to bring them together like this. We have quoted Surprised By Joy before.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

And "twilight" was also used by Anderson in THREE HEARTS AND THREE LIONS as characteristic of Faerie. The elves lived in a twilight because they could not endure the full light of the sun and day.


Paul Shackley said...

Right on.