Wednesday, 13 July 2016

The Old Phoenix And The Worlds' End

The Old Phoenix is one of several physical locations that become familiar as we read Anderson. Outside, the signboard shows a phoenix near its death and resurrection carrying a branch of cloves to a nest it is weaving and there is an elephant's head door handle. Inside, there are massive ceiling beams, oak floor and walls, a long central table with benches, smaller tables, a log fire in a stone fireplace, intricately carved, ivory-inlaid armchairs, a mahogany bar with a brass foot rail, a door to the kitchen, a staircase to bedrooms, crammed bookshelves, a desk with writing materials and two globes, a mantelpiece with a giant hourglass and two seven-branched brass candlesticks which together with tapers on the walls adequately light the taproom, a ticking grandfather clock, windows shuttered against the inter-cosmic void and wall pictures including what we recognize from its description as a photograph of Saturn.
-copied from here. See also here.

A taproom with a door to a kitchen and stairs to bedrooms and that's it. In this respect, the Old Phoenix differs from Neil Gaiman's Inn of The Worlds' End:

"I don't know how big this place is. If I didn't know any better, I'd think it had grown since I first arrived."
-Neil Gaiman, Worlds' End (New York, 1994), p. 91.

"I lost the staircase for a while. DAMNEDest thing.
"The interior of this inn can be somewhat confusing, if you are unused to it." (p. 115)

A panel where the tables in the inn are suddenly at one end of a larger crowded space under a roof held up by wooden pillars with daylight apparently at the far end. (p 141)

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

This description of both Anderson's "The Old Phoenix" and Nail Gaiman's inn reminded me of the Last Homely House, which we see in THE HOBBIT and THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING. Albeit on a somewhat grander scale. But Elrond Half-elven, the Master of Rivendell, was as friendly and hospitable as the Landlord of the Old Phoenix to all men, hobbits, elves, and dwarves of good will.