Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Powers

"'Sir,' said Merlin, 'what will come of this? If they put forth their power, they will unmake all Middle Earth.'
"'Their naked power, yes,' said Ransom. 'That is why they will work only through a man.'"
-CS Lewis, That Hideous Strength IN Lewis, The Cosmic Trilogy (London, 1990), pp. 349-753 AT Chapter 13, 5, p. 653.

"'...we have made the Sword for you, to sever their power and show humankind the truth of things. That much we can do in this turn of the Wheel, without breaking reality asunder with our contentions. All the rest is your burden.'"
-SM Stirling, The Sword Of The Lady (New York, 2010), Chapter Twenty-One, p. 653.

Merlin and Artos are human instruments of the Powers which must work through such an instrument if they are not to unmake Middle Earth or break reality.

Cosmic!

8 comments:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Ah! C.S. Lewis used "Middle Earth" in his Space Trilogy! "Middle Earth" is well known to all readers of JRR Tolkien. So either Lewis took it directly from Scandinavian sagas or from his friend Tolkien.

And, despite the explanation provided by Stirling, I'm still not quite happy about Artos' Sword. It still comes too close to be a deus ex machina, IMO. I wish the Sword was at least somewhat LESS powerful.

Sean

Paul Shackley said...

Sean,
From the Preface (dated 1943) of THAT HIDEOUS STRENGTH:

"Those who would like to learn further about Numinor and the True West must (alas!) await the publication of much that still exists only in the MSS of my friend, Professor J.R.R. Tolkien."

Paul.

S.M. Stirling said...

'Middle Earth' is a translation from Old Norse, 'Midgard', which means pretty much the same thing -- and assumes the Norse cosmology of the Nine Worlds. It's probably originally common to all the Germanic speakers.

Paul Shackley said...

Mr Stirling,
I read that "gard" = "enclosure," maybe like "guard"?
Thus: Midgard = middle enclosure; Utgard = outer enclosure; Asgard = enclosure of the Aesir.
As = a god; Aesir = the gods.
Paul.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

NOW I remember that bit! Esp. how I hesitated over Lewis' misspelling of Numenore! But we know both Lewis and JRRT were members of a literary club called the Inklings, whose members often read from their works at their meetings. Which Tolkien himself often did.

Sean

Sean M. Brooks said...

And I'm happy Mr. Stirling so often leaves comments here, despite being so busy writing his own books!

Sean

Paul Shackley said...

Seconded.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Mr. Stirling seems to be one of those writers who ENJOY hearing from their readers. As was Poul Anderson, who often honored me by saying he found my sometimes far too long and argumentative letters INTERESTING.

Sean