Monday, 17 April 2017

Heroic Life And Legendary Death

Today, the Duchy of Lancaster presented a display of medieval armour and combat in the Castle courtyard. See image. An early Duke was the father of a King and an ancestor of three dynasties - Lancaster, York and Tudor. The Dukedom is held by the monarch.

When we last see Nicholas van Rijn, David Falkayn, Dominic Flandry, Manse Everard and Gratillonius, they are still alive. We know that they will die - indeed, van Rijn and Falkayn have to be long dead by the time of Flandry - but we do not see their deaths. By contrast, SM Stirling gives Mike Havel, Lord Bear, a legendary death. He is literally the King who dies that his people may live. Fatal single combat prevents what would have been a cataclysmic war. It was already a matter of legend how Mike killed a bear and became Lord Bear. The post-Change generation inhabits legendary and mythic time. They confuse stories of President Clinton and of Captain Kirk.

Stirling's alternative histories include at least three trilogies:

the Draka History until the Final War;
Nantucket after the Event;
Mike Havel's lifetime after the Change (Change Years One to Ten).

The fourth Change novel and John C. Wright's first novel should arrive tomorrow.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Absolutely! Lord Bear's death was to become the stuff of legends and epics. I have no doubt heroic poems were composed about his life and death.

I regret that we don't know how Old Nick, Falkayn, and Flandry died. Most likely, of simple old age.

And I look forward to any comments you care to make about Stirling's THE SUNRISE LANDS or Wright's THE GOLDEN AGE.


David Birr said...

I DON'T regret that we don't know how they died — because not knowing means we can IMAGINE heights of awesomeness.

Of course, Old Nick did once say, "At the age of a hundred and fifty, I plan to be shot by an outraged husband." And though I can't find the quote, it may've been Flandry who said something to the effect that he wanted to die in bed — specifically by being stepped on by an elephant while making love at an improbable age.

Paul Shackley said...

The elephant quote or something like it is familiar but I don't think it's from Flandry!

David Birr said...

I should've refined my search more carefully the first time. It turns out to be from Roger Zelazny's *The Guns of Avalon*, said by the narrator, Corwin of Amber. Naturally, I didn't get the wording exactly right. (Closer than I was with the author's name, though: it's the difference between A and Z.)

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, DAVID!

We do know, from MIRKHEIM, what Old Nick planned to do for his extreme old age: lead one last exploratory expedition into totally unknown parts of the galaxy. Heck, maybe even go BEYOND the galaxy!

And we can reasonably think his grandson in law, David Falkayn, spent the last thirty or forty years of his life founding and helping to build up the colony of Gray/Avalon, settled by both humans and Ythrians.

And Dominic Flandry may well have ended his days as a trusted advisor to Emperor Karl. I'm tempted to hope old Hans grandson became Karl the Great, at least partly due to Flandry's influence.