Monday, 5 September 2016

Wolves On The Wold

Poul Anderson, Three Hearts And Three Lions (London, 1977), Chapter Twenty-Three.

Is a "wold" a wood or a moor? In either case, it is the occasion for yet another pathetic fallacy. Holger and his companions bury the dwarf Hugi who had been mortally wounded by the troll:

"Afterward they heaped rocks above, and stabbed Hugi's dagger into the cairn with the hilt up. Wolves howled, miles away on the wold." (pp. 147-148)

Just as they stabbed the dagger, wolves howled miles away. Coincidence? In Anderson's works, the pathetic fallacy is almost like the grammar. A sentence ends with a full stop - and, when appropriate, is immediately followed by an echo in the natural world. A body is buried. Wolves howl.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    MY thought was to wonder if those wolves were NATURAL wolves or possibly something far more evil. Hugi's knife was stabbed into the earth hilt up? That meant it looked like a CROSS. Were the wolves howling because the Cross was now protecting Hugi's remains from being devoured and torn apart?


    1. Kaor, Paul!

      And that was partly because of you! Your frequent analyzes of how Anderson uses the pathetic fallacy and similar methods means, I hope, I'm paying more attention to seemingly "small" details. And how they might contain multiple layers of meaning.