Wednesday, 29 July 2015


The fifth section of "The Sorrow Of Odin The Goth" is headed 300-302. Thus, it covers an extended period, not just a single incident. It begins with a characteristic Andersonian description of a seasonal change:

"Winter descended and then slowly, in surges of wind, snow, icy rain, drew back." (Time Patrol, p. 362)

In fact, that single sentence summarizes two seasonal changes, winter's arrival and its slow departure.

The viewpoint of this section is collective:

"For those who dwelt in the thorp by the river...the dreariness of the season was lighted that year. Carl abode among them." (ibid.)

Carl narrates alternating sections but in this section we are told in the third person how he appears to others and indeed to an entire community, not just to one individual. It is a fourth century Gothic community that knows nothing of time travel and instead comes to identify this mysterious wanderer with Wodan.

The onset of spring seemed familiar so I compared two passages. In this section:

"Spring stole northward, snow melted, buds burst into leaf and flower, the river brawled in spate. Homebound birds filled heaven with wings and clamor. Lambs, calves, foals tottered across paddocks. Folk came forth, blinking in sudden brightness; they aired out their houses, garments, and souls." (p. 365)

And, in "Star Of The Sea":

"Suddenly springtime billowed over the land. Warmth and lengthening days lured forth leaves. Grass glowed. The sky filled with wings and clamor. Lambs, calves, foals rollicked through meadows. Folk came from the gloom of houses, the smoke and stink of winter; they blinked in the brightness, breathed the sweetness, and set to work readying for summer." (p. 530)

Anderson often describes such scenes. We do not often notice verbal parallels between his descriptions.

I said that I might end this month with the round number of eighty posts. I will definitely end it with one hundred. I want to reread some Stieg Larsson. There is plenty to return to in Poul Anderson next month.

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