Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wayback Wednesday

Elric of Melnibone: Book One of the Elric Saga
Author:  Michael Moorcock
Publisher:  Berkley
Publish Date: 1972 (ish)
ISBN: 978-0425060445
Pages:  181

Elric is a melancholy and cynical ruler.  He doesn't really want to rule, but it's his duty.  His people are kind of mean and think of torture as a form of amusement.  Elric is described as an albino with milk-white hair and slanting crimson eyes.  He must take herbal drugs in order to maintain his health.  Ahh, but there is joy in melancholy Elric's life - his cousin, Cymoril.  She loves him and tried to convince him to rule as it was done in the past.  But Elric can see that the times they are a-changin'.

Elric's cousin, Cymoril's brother, Yyrkoon, is a Prince of Melnibone and is in line for the throne if Elric has no son.  He believes Elric to be weak and plots his demise.  Elric must find strength and restore himself to power - so he enlists the aid of a demon, Arioch and a bloodthirsty sword, Stormbringer.  Stormbringer devours the souls of the men he kills and feeds them to Elric so he doesn't need the herbal drugs to stay healthy.  Kind of morbid, eh?

The characters are well-written and I certainly have always had a soft spot for Elric.  Elric has been called an "anti-hero" in quite a few reviews.  I suppose I can see why people think that, but technically "anti-hero" means: protagonist who lacks the attributes that make a heroic figure, nobility of mind and spirit, a life or attitude marked by action or purpose.  Hmmmm...Elric certainly has a nobility of mind and spirit, that's what makes him different from his people.  He's full of action and purpose - watch him go!!  I believe that people don't know how to classify Elric, he's moody and basically says 'hey, I don't like what you're doing, but you do, so go ahead, but don't expect me to join you or watch.' He doesn't try to change everyone and he'll do what he has to, to get to where and who he needs to.

He's not the typical hero type, but he does try to go out of his way to keep people safe; if they don't listen...well, that's that.  He's not evil or a villian - he slays who he feels he has just reason to.

I really like Elric and if you're looking for something a bit different, Elric might be it.  Don't read it and compare it to modern novels, it was written in a different time by a marvelous man that was born in the 1930's. 

Michael Moorcock wrote Elric as one facet of the Eternal Champion.  The Eternal Champion is a hero who exists in all dimensions of the Multiverse (pretty fancy for an old guy!).  The Champion is chosen by Fate to fight for Cosmic Balance.  The chosen Champion usually doesn't know he's been chosen and so is going into the whole thing blind, although often he has a companion and a romantic interest.  Oh yeah, the hero is also a 'warrior without peer' - yep, he kicks butt ALL the time!  All the Incarnations are facets of each other - the Eternal Champion runs through all of Mr. Moorcock's books.  Kind of like how Stephen King's characters show up in book after book playing some role or another.

No comments:

Post a Comment