Thursday, 18 October 2012

The Golden Slave: Conclusion

In Poul Anderson's The Golden Slave (New York, 1980), a passage that I earlier quoted in part deserves some further attention:

"Eodan thought sometimes that the North might welcome such a god, more humanly brave than the dark, nearly formless wild Powers of earth and sky." (p. 214)

Anderson shows us human progress occurring in Eodan's mind. To admire personal qualities instead of fearing natural forces is a definite advance.

Tjorr can tell that his king Eodan will be deified:

" 'Will you remember old Tjorr when they begin to sacrifice to you?' " (p. 260)

(A bit like "Remember me when you come into your kingdom.")

Eodan has a strange dream. He is the wind with:

"...the unrestful slain Cimbri rushing through the sky behind him." (p. 258)

- Odin leading the Wild Hunt.

He passes a bloody hound (Garm) en route to hell but finds that "...hell was dead, it had long ago been deserted..." (p. 258)

What is he foreseeing here? A secular age when people no longer fear a hereafter?

In his dream, centuries pass. He rides past his own grave mound:

"...which stood out on the edge of the world where the wind was forever blowing..." (p. 258)

In Anderson's The Time Patrol (New York, 1991), a time traveler believed to be Wodan/Odin has a son who:

"...stayed unrestful...folk said that was the blood of his father in him, and that he heard the wind at the edge of the world forever calling." (p. 239)

Eodan's dream was four centuries earlier. In that dream, on the sheltered side of the grave mound is "...the first flower of spring." (p. 258)

- death and renewal. Earth turns beneath him among stars - knowledge that Earth spins in stellar space?

Eodan and Tjorr fight Romans under a stone roof supported by a pillar (Yggdrasil) that Tjorr smites, thus bringing the roof down on their enemies while he and Eodan escape into a tunnel dug earlier. Eodan, wounded in his left eye and not at this stage expecting to survive, thinks, "...gods and demons die in the wreck of their war." (p. 273)

- a modest beginning for the myth of Ragnarok. 

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