(urth) Long Review Essay on Wizard Knight

Matthew King automatthew at gmail.com
Fri Sep 21 12:28:57 PDT 2007

On Sep 21, 2007, at 1:40 PM, Adam Stephanides wrote:

> The short story "Golden City Far," which was first published around  
> the same time as The Knight iirc, is even more obviously wish- 
> fulfillment, to the point that I found it embarrassing. And there's  
> no hint of parodic intent in that story, so I doubt that Able's  
> Gary-Stu qualities are parodic.

But Bill, the hero of "Golden City Far", does not begin acting like  
Able when he becomes powerful.  The relationship between the two may  
clinch the case for Wolfe portraying Able as morally problematic.

After browsing through GCF, I think it must have been written as a  
counterpoint to TWK.  The closest thing to Ablean misbehavior that I  
could find in GCF is a brief fight between Bill and two  
upperclassmen.  The older boys attack Bill because he is wearing a  
letter jacket they don't think he has earned the right to wear.  Bill  
incapacitates them without hurting them badly.

Like Able, Bill has a talking dog and a magical sword.   The letter  
jacket is a gift from an odd sort of supernatural fem, and it is a  
clear analog to Able's unofficial knighthood.

Unlike Able, Bill is humble, self-effacing even, and never seems  
threatened by people disbelieving in his stories.  He resists the  
temptation of the superfem.  He has a sense of humor:  When someone  
is examining his sword and comments on the magical incantations  
inscribed in proto-Chaldean, he says, sotto voce, "Made in India".

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