(urth) FW: Long Review Essay on Wizard Knight
Phill.Springett at dataconnection.com
Tue Sep 25 01:21:09 PDT 2007
Long time reader of the urth list, but not a poster until now.
I also found The Knight troubling in a similar way as was described
originally by Stephen Frug, and although I own The Wizard I've yet to
read it (but I will do).
"If Wolfe chooses to write about a warlike society without any moral
system that opposes the brutality of the sword, why should we react with
shocked indignation when he gives us a character who is a product of
Which I find nothing to disagree with, and yet Wolfe makes it quite
clear that Able is actually a product of _our_ society, and fits in
quite well in Mythgarthr thank you very much, and rises up the ranks
with indecent haste (almost as if he was born to it!). Is Wolfe making
some point there?
Please note that I'm always very cautious with my views of Wolfe books,
it normally takes me a couple of readings to begin to "get" his books,
and I can't claim to really have got a good handle on The Knight yet.
From: urth-bounces at lists.urth.net [mailto:urth-bounces at lists.urth.net]
On Behalf Of Craig Brewer
Sent: 24 September 2007 17:53
To: The Urth Mailing List; Adam Stephanides
Subject: Re: (urth) Long Review Essay on Wizard Knight
On Able's morality, Wolfe did say in an interview that TWK was inspired
as a traditional chivalric romance except without the Christian
worldview of the Middle Ages. Instead, you get the harsher Norse aspect
of the mythology.
To me, you can take that "without the Christian worldview" aspect in two
ways. On the one hand, it looks like traditional "speculative fiction"
in the sense of "what if" novels. (I.e., what if the romances of the
middle ages had been written without
Christianity.) Or, you can take it as a more subtle moral investigation
of knight culture in which Able's troubled morality (or "bully" nature)
is both necessary and inadequate to his society, etc.
Either way, I don't find Able to be in any way "worrying" as if it
supposedly exposes Wolfe as idealizing the school yard bully. It seems
to me that the two books offer much more for thought than whether or not
we "like" the main character and can "sympathize" with him. If Wolfe
chooses to write about a warlike society without any moral system that
opposes the brutality of the sword, why should we react with shocked
indignation when he gives us a character who is a product of that
society? In many ways, I find TWK much more believable than most modern
fantasy in which evil warlords run rampant and the main "good guy"
somehow ends up being an innocent-eyed do-gooder who gets these ideas of
freedom and kindness from seemingly nowhere in his quest to free the
world of evil. If magic and knights were real (and socially dominant),
then I expect the world would look something like Mythgarthr.
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