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.

3 comments:

  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?

    Sean

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    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.

      Sean

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