Sunday, 5 March 2017


Now we discuss Greek mythology. The blog goes wherever the relevant texts lead. Poul Anderson mentions dryads both in the foreword and in the text of The Broken Sword.

There are dryads in Narnia.

In the Emberverse, the land has:

"...a disheveled dryad beauty."
-SM Stirling, The Protector's War (New York, 2006), Chapter Four, p. 114.

Of course, Stirling merely uses the noun "dryad" as an adjective but the imaginative readers asks: could there be dryads in North America? In American Gods, Neil Gaiman tells us that immigrants to the US took their mythical beings with them.

My own contribution to the literature of dryads is as follows:

"The canal,
"Like the road to Oz,
"rotates to another dimension,
"Where every particle is alive
"And dryads dance to the water.
"We watch
"The light
"From the sun." 

-copied from here.


David Birr said...

Michael Scott Rohan's *The Winter of the World* trilogy posits that colonists from what we know as Europe settled "Brasayhal" (North America) during the last Ice Age, and some of the later legends of Northern Europe arose from this cross-ocean source.

Lys Arvalen (Avalon?) was a hunting lodge in the Meneth Aithen (Rocky Mountains) where a not-remotely-human Power who genuinely thought he was doing humanity a favor slowly reshaped men and women into the sylvan *alfar*.

Getting back to your question about dryads, the *rhuzalkh*, later known in Russia as rusalka, is in Rohan's version very dryad-like, as opposed to the malevolent spirit of the Slavic tales.

Also, from the Appendix to the second volume:
"As a group they were named *helgorhyon*, probably meaning the Wild Hunt, but the individual creatures were called *gourvlyth*, which means approximately the same as the modern word werewolf.... That men knew them only as terrors of the night and the treeshade was perhaps unjust; it is worth noting that while they terrified the company, it was only Kasse the wrong-doer they actually slew. And even his murderous bargain they justly kept."

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

The line from Stirling's THE PROTECTOR'S WAR, "...a disheveled dryad beauty" immediately struck me as Tolkienian. When I checked THE LORD OF THE RINGS I found I was correct and this is what I found in Book IV, Chapter IV: "Ithilien, the garden of Gondor now desolate kept still a disheveled dryad loveliness."

If this was not accidental on Stirling's part I suspect he was giving us a Tolkienian allusion here. Neat!