Monday, 23 May 2016

Emergency Conference

In James Blish's Black Easter/The Day After Judgment, also published as The Devil's Day, the black magician, Theron Ware, and the white magician, Father Domenico, try to cope first with an unprecedented conjuration of many demons, then with its unforeseen consequences: Armageddon and the breaking of the Law that decrees the prior appearance of the Antichrist. Comparable characters in Poul and Karen Anderson's The King Of Ys are the miracle-working Christian minister to Ys, who will later be called St Corentin, and Forsquilis, one of the Nine Witch-Queens of Ys.

Corentinus and Forsquilis, both anticipating a disastrous intervention by the Three Gods of Ys, share the visions that they have had. No one doubts the existence of these Gods but:

Forsquilis thinks that They are beyond good and evil;
Corentinus thinks that They are demons, thus entirely evil;
Gratillonius, King of Ys but a Mithraist, thinks that They are creatures of Ahriman, thus essentially agrees with Corentinus.

No one doubts the existence of Christ. The only question is how powerful He is - but other Gods have already withdrawn before Him. He has displaced the Olympians in Rome.

Forsquilis confirms that the Three want Gratillonius' daughter, Dahut, to be the priestess of their new Age. The Three wanted Forsquilis to assassinate Gratillonius so that the Ysan Suffetes would appoint a new King who could marry Dahut but Forsquilis would not do this. Corentinus asks, in these extreme circumstances, whether Dahut's death would help but it would not: the Gods, who want Gratillonius dead, would avenge Dahut on Ys. Can Forsquilis cope with her Gods before they destroy Ys? No.

Corentinus and Forsquilis face the destruction of their city by the Triad just as Ware and Domenic face rule by demons.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Very interesting. I need to reread not only THE KING OF YS, but Blish's books. I recently finished Pournelle's PRINCE OF MERCENARIES and I want to reread GO TELL THE SPARTANS, by Pournelle and Stirling.

And I certainly agree with Corentinus and Gratillonius in thinking the "gods" of Ys to be demons.


Paul Shackley said...

the highest praise on the blog is "Very interesting..." from Sean.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Aw, thanks! I do read all your blog pieces with INTEREST. I don't always agree with them, but they interest me.