Monday, 30 May 2016

After Ys

In the concluding volume of their King of Ys Tetralogy, Poul and Karen Anderson must cast the net wide. The focus has shifted from the King of a city to the survival of his people and the reader may become disoriented.

Ys is gone. Time passes. Seasons turn. Ysans adjust - in different ways. Gratillonius reorganizes and rebuilds. His enemies plot. Rufinus spies. Corentinus evangelizes. The Empire recedes. Barbarians return. Nemeta lives by witchcraft. Midsummer rites become the feast of St John. Drusus, retired soldier, farmer and Christian, employs Tera, former Ysan inlander, because she is a good worker who knows the landwights. Inlanders had called on the local Gods, not on the Three.


is reputed to be the daughter of a God but is really the daughter of an unknown human father;
knew a few spells but no longer uses them;
sees signs in wind, water or stars;
has seen Cernunnos three times;
moves in with Maeloch, the fisher captain, in Confluentes;
delivers Gratillonius' grandson;
accepts that her children will go to Christ;
says, "'They're ghosts of what They were, the Gods are.'"
-Poul and Karen Anderson, The Dog And The Wolf, Chapter VIII, section 5, p. 169.

Ghosts of Gods! The awesome reduced to the eerie. Neil Gaiman, who is surely an authority on such matters, describes five phases in the life-cycle of a God:

the Dreaming;
the land;
back to the Dreaming;
the realm of Dream's older sister, Death;
complete non-existence.

Tera's Gods have entered the third stage or maybe the fourth. Maeloch no longer serves the Three but will not forsake the spirits in the sea. He will remember Dahilis and kindle a torch on Hunter's Moon eve. Corentinus' duty:

"...was to purge the observances of their openly pagan elements." (Chapter IX, section 3, p. 182)

I can only decry this. If there is to be monotheism, then I would prefer that it be an inclusive one on the Hindu model.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Commenting on your last paragraph. I disagree, if pagan customs are to be preserved by Christians, their pagan meanings should be expunged, else why should Christians preserve them at all? No, replace the pagan ideas or beliefs with Christian beliefs.

And Hinduism was not and is not truly monotheistic. Rather, it's a collection of several different kinds of polytheism morphed together by several different waves of invaders of India. The more philosophic or monotheistic elements seen in Hinduism came much later--if my memory is correct, as late as the 1500's. Apparently as a result of contact with Christianity.


Paul Shackley said...

I think that one part of Hinduism focusing on Krishna is clearly influenced by Christianity.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

That's basically what I remembered too. Probably from contact first with the Portuguese and then Jesuit missionaries. And then there's the "Thomas" Christians, but they seem to have little impact with many Hindus.