Thursday, 7 July 2016

The War Of Elves And Trolls

Poul Anderson, The Broken Sword (London, 1977), Chapter XVII, p. 120.

How can trolls invade and conquer the Faerie realm in Europe without European human beings noticing any of the conflict? They do notice something:

distant fires;
galloping shadows;
a brazen clangor;
murrains on livestock;
spoilt grain;
bad luck;
trampled, bloody fields;
half-seen ravens eating inhuman corpses.

People call on their gods who, of course, protect Midgard from the worst excesses of the elves and trolls. For the most part, human life is unaffected. In that sense, this is something that could have happened long ago.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    Your comments here reminded me of Poul Anderson's "Nightpiece," because, altho in different ways, both "Nightpiece" and THE BROKEN SWORD deal with non human races most men are not aware exists. With "Nightpiece" showing us how that was possible in a hard SF way.


    1. Sean,
      Would you be able to elucidate "Nightpiece" for us?

    2. Kaor, Paul!

      Your question is a good one, and one I've been thinking about. The problem is that "Nightpiece" is one of the oddest and one of the most difficult to understand stories written by Anderson. I simply don't know if anything more CAN be said about "Nightpiece" which Anderson himself had not said in the preface he wrote for that story. I'll need to reread that story and decide if I can say anything useful about it.