(urth) WK psychological cosmology

James Wynn thewynns at earthlink.net
Wed Nov 2 19:31:50 PST 2005

Chris said:
>I am pretty sure I am not inventing this idea myself - though I didn't find
>it in a cursory search of the archives - but one semi-obvious way to look
>at the layered worlds in the Knight is as a sort of map of the human mind,
>a sort of psychological theater. I couldn't tell you where to find it, but
>I am pretty sure that I've read someone, somewhere, present this as a
>way of explaining certain myths.

Perhaps, maybe, this was me.
I said:
>The ambulance? That's Arthur Ormsby being taken to the hospital
>of course! They found him in a coma possibly near death from
>hypothermia in that valley where the Moss Aelf took him.
>Presumably, when he reaches the Most High God, he will awake.

I'm not convinced one can map the entire story upon a theory of the human
psyche. Maybe it can be done. I don't know.

But I think that two things are surely true about this story.

1) The first is that lower worlds represent lower human desires (gods).
Aelfrice is Romantic love. I'm not sure what else. Muspel is lust..for sex
and power. Nifelheim...I don't know. Physical hunger? The Most Low God is
anybody's guess. What is the most basic human desire after all other desires
are stripped away? To continue to live regardless of the consequences?
Mythgarthr is a tough one, I think. The desire to create? For Wolfe of
course this means storytelling, so that would explain why Mythgarthr means
"the place where story's are told." Skai is the desire for honor. Who knows
what Michael's realm represents, but he tells Able that as a knight, he must
command his lower gods just has *he* causes, by simple will, Valfather to
bow before him. When Able learns to do that, Disiri transcends her world to
become something more. He can enjoy his relationship with her, in Aelfrice,
without being debilitated by her or being dominated. He can even take her
with him to Skai.

Unless, I don't know this list at all. Not a few people will be revolted by
this interpretation.

2) The second thing I'm sure of is that Able and his family...his brother
and his mother...perhaps Ben's girlfriend too have aspects (natures) in all
of the worlds; multiple aspects probably. (Heck! Perhaps they all are
*wink*) Valfather and Michael are higher aspects of Able (there is a
mythological and archeological connection between Odin and St. Michael).
Arnthor is a lower aspect. I wanted Garcecg (Arnthor's dragon brother) and
Setr to be lower aspects of Able but there is no denying the naming
convention. Anyway, if Garsecg is a lower aspect of Able, why doesn't Able
kill him or rule him? (But what of the Thor/Arnthor connection?) Arnthor is
what Able would become if he did not succeed in dominating his lower gods.
Able eventually rules Arnthor's house and thus doing what Arnthor failed to
do, because Arnthor is the slave of his lusts. Setr and his siblings were
each "consumed" by their lower natures (lust for power and glory) which in
turn were consuming Arnthor and Morcaine.

I can't defend this interpretation by showing that every event and person
conforms to it in every way. And don't that is possible because I don't
think Wolfe writes that way. But I think these things are true as far as
they go.


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