Saturday, 25 June 2016

Animals And Plants

Poul Anderson, Hrolf Kraki's Saga (New York, 1973).

If there are intelligent supernatural beings, are there also animals and plants? Is the "Half-world" a world?

The Stone Age

There were mammoths, bears and cave men but also dragons, centaurs, elves and even "half-world...plants..." (p. 126). Dead half-world organisms dissolve in sunlight and natural chemistry and therefore leave no fossils. This difference caused human fear or abhorrence so that Stone Age art shows little or nothing of the half-world. Some shamans contacted it but warlocks and witches mainly tried to control the elements.
-copied from here.

"White too were [the elves'] horses, slim and wind-swift, bounding from worldedge to worldedge in a few heartbeats."
-Poul Anderson, War Of The Gods (New York, 1999), p. 35.

In Hrolf Kraki...:

"'...a great and horrible beast...a winged and flying thing...'
"...a leathery rustle and a rushing as of mighty winds...
"...a featherless thing of huge sickling wings, cruel claws and beak, tail like a rushing rudder, scaly crest above snaky eyes...
"The monster hissed...
"The troll-being...
"A rank smell...
"The heavy body...
"...grinning sharp-toothed jaws...
"...its cold blood..." (pp. 176-177)

Bjarki not only kills the troll-being but makes the weakling and coward Hott drink its blood and eat its heart. The effect is remarkable:

"'Why, the world is beautiful.'
"'I feel if I'd wakened from death.'" (p. 178)

Addendum: See also Alfheim.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Until I checked your link to the Stone Age portion of this blog piece of yours I thought you had "Interloper" mind. I see I will have to think hard about rereading OPERATION LUNA again, because of how the latter books draws out more fully some ideas which may have been only implicit in OPERATION CHAOS.

And it was interesting what Bjarki had done for Hott. Obviously, he saw at least a potential for better things than cowardice in Hott.