Wednesday, 8 June 2016

The End

"Demolition had continued... By the time of his death, likely no trace whatsoever of Ys would remain."
-Poul and Karen Anderson, The Dog And The Wolf, Chapter XXV, section 3, p. 498.

Even the ruins will have been destroyed by the time the last King of Ys dies.

Black Easter by James Blish ends with an exorcism that fails. Blish's A Case Of Conscience ends with an exorcism that works, maybe. The Dog And The Wolf ends with an exorcism that works. Dahut's dead body is no longer reanimated. Gratillonius buries her at sea with the Queens of Ys.

Corentinus, the exorcist, accepts this outcome:

"'So be it. They'll remember her with Ys, a legend, a hearthside story on winter nights.'
"Gratillonius stared at the bundle. 'That's all that will be left.'"
-section 4, p. 502.

Corentinus and his colleagues have ensured that Christianized Europe is no longer haunted by such remnants of paganism, except as legends and stories.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

There seems no end to the spite and malevolence of the Ysan "gods," if not even a few ruins of Ys were spared.

And Corentinus' remark about Dahut: "They'll remember her with Ys, a legend, a hearthside story on winter nights" reminded me of this bit from WE CLAIM THESE STARS (Chapter VIII), "You'll be around--most of you--long after the Empire is a fireside legend."


David Birr said...

But if I understood the line about "demolition" correctly, it's the survivors who're destroying the ruins to build anew with what they take from those ruins, not the malevolence of forsaken gods.

And about remembering Ys as a legend:
John Brunner's 1966 short story "Break the Door of Hell," later collected in *The Traveller in Black*, gave HIS take on Ys. It'd been somehow transferred into the Traveller's world, which had no clear temporal relationship to our own.

The city came to a bad end not in the traditional way, but because MANY of the inhabitants practiced a variety of horrific evils ... which came back to bite them, with the Traveller's help. I particularly recall a woman LITERALLY bitten -- EATEN -- by the revived ghosts of children one of her ancestors had fathered and then locked up to starve.

At the story's end, though, the Traveller consoled one survivor with a false etymology claiming that Paris, when built, would take its name from "Par-Ys" meaning "like Ys" -- like the BEST aspects, the GRANDEUR, of fabled Ys. This is anachronistic, as Brunner's Ys had a late-medieval/early-Renaissance sort of culture, while in REALITY, the Parisii founded Paris in the 3rd Century B.C.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, David!

I have to concede you are correct. I looked up where Paul quoted the "demolition" text from THE DOG AND THE WOLF, and it's plain survivors of Ys or people who lived nearby were gradually taking apart and reusing the stone from the amphitheater.

And it was interesting to know a bit how John Brunner used the legends about Ys. But I don't recall reading "Break The Door Of Hell." I've read some of Brunner's stuff, but I clearly recall only his STAND ON ZANZIBAR and "An Elixir For The Emperor."