Sunday, 10 July 2016


Poul Anderson, The Broken Sword (London, 1977).

Sometimes the pathetic fallacy is so integral to Poul Anderson's narrative that it goes unnoticed, like the grammar. In Chapter XXV, there is wind, rain, thunder and lightning while Valgard rages. In Chapter XXVI:

"Battle past and sword sheathed, [Skafloc] felt a return of weariness. The storm was dying overhead..." (p. 189)

It is no coincidence that there was a storm during the first battle in the elven reconquest of England because Skafloc's fleet had crossed the channel:

"Under cover of an autumn storm..." (p. 185)

Nevertheless, there is definitely a pathetic fallacy when the storm dies just as the battle ends. I approach the end of The Broken Sword. Several concluding events have still to occur: the recapture of Elfheugh; what did Odin want? etc. After that, I will reread The Demon Of Scattery.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Precious few writers can so smoothly and skillfully write descriptions of the natural background and use pathetic fallacies as deftly as Poul Anderson. So well indeed, that such things often passed unnoticed by the readers. And I'm including "mainstream" as well as SF writers!