(urth) Long Review Essay on Wizard Knight

brunians at brunians.org brunians at brunians.org
Wed Sep 19 03:46:27 PDT 2007

You know, it's all very well to despise the martial virtues.

But the fact is that without them, you don't get to have any other virtues.

What idiot said 'Violence solves no problems'? Violence solves most
problems, historically, and if it's mostly hidden away violence in modern
society all that means is that people get to pretend that it isn't there,
and indulge in fatuity.


> On Wed, 19 Sep 2007 03:45:03 +1000 Stephen Frug
> <sfrug at post.harvard.edu> wrote:
>>Greetings Urthlings.  I've read this message list before, but
>>posted to it.  (Unless this message is itself a duplicate... the
>>first time seems to have gotten lost...)  But I just wrote a long
>>review of Wizard Knight which I posted to my blog
> Nice piece, thanks!
> To enjoy Wolfe I generally have to hold my nose & swallow his
> political & religious assumptions whole, and then grit my teeth to
> deal with the crappy genre trappings -  but having done that, it's
> usually worth it :)
> I guess for me the most interesting point you raise is the one
> where you say: OK, fine, Wolfe's heroes may be pretty good
> characterisations of what counts as heroic for the kinds of
> societies they find themselves in. But how can a modern kid be
> excused for aspiring and acting as Able does?
> Within the story, the answer is obvious. On one level, he's been
> programmed that way by Dsiri et al. They want him to win renown
> within the society of Celidon, where the martial virtues are
> absolutely predominant, so he can meet the king on equal-ish terms
> and deliver the message.
> To induce him into this, he's been enchanted so that Dsiri is
> absolutely and entirely the most important thing for him, and to
> believe unquestioningly that gaining status in Celidon as a warrior
> is the only way to win her. He will stomp on anything which gets in
> his way, without regret. They've harnassed his adolescent hormones
> to turn him into a Clockwork Orange Lout Knight Wannabe.
> So is Wolfe really holding out the knightly ideal as being a Good
> Thing? His hero character has been co-opted into following, without
> his consent, it by a creature of mud and twigs who is less than a
> dream ...
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