Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Supernatural Beings

Poul Anderson, The Broken Sword (London, 1977), p. 75, pp. 78-79.

Fleeing elves scatter booty to delay trollish pursuit as Hrolf Kraki did when pursued by King Adhils.

Goblins are:

"...a race half-way between elf and troll, green-skinned and squat but of not unpleasing aspect." (p. 78)

Did we know that or has Poul Anderson just made it up? Valgard the Changeling is the son of the elf Imric and his troll prisoner so is Valgard a goblin?

"...a yellow demon-shape..." (p. 78) is explained as:

"'One of the Cathayan Shen (see also here), whom [the elves] took captive in a raid. He is strong and makes a good slave.'" (p. 79)

The Shen, like a beam of light, can move only in straight lines so a dwarf runs ahead to hold a shield across corners for the Shen to rebound from. Thus, elves fight trolls and enslave Shen, goblins and dwarves.


David Birr said...

As best I know, Anderson made that up about goblins. Depending on your source, goblins can be ALL OVER the spectrum in terms of looks and power levels.

In C.J. Cherryh's *The Goblin Mirror*, there are TWO different peoples referred to by humans as goblins. The ones who're more like the Fair Folk DON'T like being lumped together with the others, who seem to be "dumb muscle," as the saying goes. The more advanced "goblins," however, still have "an animal's sharp ears in a mane of dark hair, a jutting jaw, a face human and beast at once." And fangs, and a cover picture painted by Cherryh's own brother shows their fingernails looking more like claws....

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, David!

Hmmmm, goblins having "sharp ears"? I'm reminded of how elves are conventionally described or portrayed as having pointed ears.

I'm pleased that you are leaving comments fairly often in this blog. I hope more and more people get interested enough to do the same!