Wednesday, 31 August 2016

In The Middle World

Poul Anderson, Three Hearts And Three Lions (London, 1977).

The "Middle World" in the Carolingian universe has both an Elf Hill and a Mirkwood (Chapter Seven, p. 42), place names to conjure with.

"'...in Mirkwood do the Pharisee laids hunt griffin and manticore...'" (ibid.)

"...laids..." should be "...lairds..." Holger thinks that "Pharisees" is a misunderstanding of Biblical texts by illiterate Christians. (Chapter Six, p. 41)

"'They do say elves an' trolls ha' made allayance,' said Unrich. 'An' when them thar clans get together, 'tis suthing big afoot.'" (Chapter Five, p. 35)

Elves and trolls do not make alliance in Anderson's The Broken Sword. But the "something big" in the Carolingian universe is an assault of Chaos against Law.

In Holger's guest rooms in the Faerie castle:

glowing carpets;
mosaics of precious stone;
cloth-of-gold hangings;
acres of garden seen through balcony windows;
unwavering tapers;
a moving tapestry;
hot running water, soap etc. (Chapter Seven, p. 45)

And the elves conjure all this up from the air? (ibid.)

3 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    It's no surprise we find such evocative terms as "Middle World," "Mirkwood," etc., in THREE HEARTS AND THREE LIONS. Both Anderson and Tolkien drew deeply on the Scandinavian Eddaic legends.

    No, the elves did not conjure out of thin air the sophisticated amenities Holger found in his rooms. In some ways, partly from sheer necessity, the elves were simply more technologically advanced than their enemies in the Empire. As you will see as you read further!

    Sean

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  2. Paul:
    The use of "Pharisee" for "Faerie" isn't exclusive to Anderson: it appears in the final stanza of Kipling's poem "The Ballad of Minepit Shaw." Two young poachers were being tracked by the gamekeeper's hound, when a mysterious fellow (carrying a GREEN LANTERN, by the way) gave them shelter -- with some rather eerie sights and sounds involved. At the end the poem raises, and leaves unanswered, the question of whether he was another poacher, or a "Pharisee" in a helpful mood.

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    Replies
    1. Hi, David!

      One of my books is a "comprehensive" collection of Kipling's poems. So it should include "The Ballad of Minepit Shaw." I'll look it up!

      Sean

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