Friday, 29 April 2016

The Ysan Queens' Homes

Grallon is the legendary last King of Ys. Gaius Valerius Gratillonius is a fictional character created by Poul and Karen Anderson. This fictional character will fulfil the legendary role of Grallon and, as part of this process, his name will change because the Ysans find it difficult to pronounce his polysyllabic surname. The changing of the name begins on p. 158 of Roma Mater (London, 1989) when Queen Lanarvilis says:

"'This Gra - Gra-lo - Gratillonius has met the leaders of Ys...'"

The legend bears two versions of the name, Grallon and Gradlon. The Andersons are careful to account for both versions in the course of Ysan mispronunciations.

Lanarvilis discusses the new King with the Speaker for Taranis in the privacy of her own home and thus we learn more about the Queens' homes. They were built nearly four hundred years previously, plain outside but Roman inside. Thus, there is an "atrium." (p. 157) All are in the neighbourhood of Elven Gardens and the temple of Belisama. They descend from Queen to Queen and each occupant leaves her mark. The knocker on Lanarvalis' door, smoothed by generations of use, is in the shape of a serpent biting its tail. This symbolizes eternal recurrence. The symbolism will soon be rendered false.

Beyond an inner door, the Speaker finds dark windows but soft lamps, blue carpet, crimson drapes, fine furniture, walrus ivory, crystal flagons, cheeses, spiced mussels and Lanarvilis rising from a settee. We vicariously enjoy the wealth of Ys and the secrecy of their conversation as the steward, a well-paid servant, not a slave, leaves them alone.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Hmmm, "...a serpent biting its tail"? I was immediately reminded of the Midgard Serpent of Scandinavian mythology.