Wednesday, 31 August 2016
The swan-may, Alianora, has the same name as a former lover of Neil Gaiman's Dream/Morpheus. See image and here. A swan-may is not a were-swan but a woman who wears a white feather tunic that empowers her to transform into a swan. The tunic had belonged to the Valkyries who, like dead Pan, have existed in the Carolingian universe so it is another mixed mythology place. Like Holger, Alianora was found as an abandoned baby.
Like Poul Anderson's Tabitha Falkayn, she was brought up by non-human beings, in Alianora's case dwarfs and animals. In this universe, animals can talk. Alianora gains intelligence from swallows, moles, badgers, otters, kingfishers and crows. Thus, she knows that a Saracen seeks Holger and has described him, his horse and his coat of arms accurately. Holger still does not get it that he belongs here. He thinks that he must have:
"...made off with the horse and equipment of a man who, coincidentally, resembled him." (p. 33)
However, he experiences deja vu... (p. 30)