(urth) Long Review Essay on Wizard Knight

thalassocrat at nym.hush.com thalassocrat at nym.hush.com
Wed Sep 19 19:51:39 PDT 2007

On Thu, 20 Sep 2007 03:28:34 +1000 Michael Straight 
<mfstraight at gmail.com> wrote:
>See, I think this is one of the more interesting things that Wolfe
>does with his protagonists. In most fantasy, the protagonist is 
>than all his enemies and the drama comes from struggling to 
>overcome a
>stronger foe.
>But in Wizard Knight (and many other of Wolfe's books) the 
>is stronger than most of his foes and the drama comes from the 
>dilemnas of how to wisely and honorably use that strength. 

... which is probably one of the reasons why the stories sometimes 
might not seem to work so well as adventure stories. You're right 
of course: the heroes usually have the deck massively stacked in 
their favor. (IMO, Wolfe even verges on self-parody with stacking 
the deck for Able.)

The horns of the dilemma you mention are highlighted in a few 
places in TWK, I think.

- Riding through the plains of Jotunland Able has fantasies of 
leading a force of knights to make the place giant-rein.
- On Glas, he dreams of riding down from the sky to bring justice 
to Mythgathr (presumably by force), then being swallowed up by the 
- Setr tempting him with offers of crowns and empire.

This reminds me of one of the little puzles we're left with: who 
actually does end up being King? 

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