Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Magic Swords II

See Magic Swords. (Also here and here.)

In SM Stirling's The Sword Of The Lady, Chapter Seventeen, p. 523, Father Ignatius mentions Arthur's Excalibur and Roland's Durendal and Harberga mentions cursed Tyrfing. She is glad that the Sword sought by Rudi Mackenzie is not Tyrfing but what is it? How can mere possession of a particular sword make such a difference? The characters accept that this is the case because of a vision but I don't have visions! (My thought processes are verbal, not visual.)

While questing for the Sword, Rudi skirmishes with and weakens his enemies and also forges mighty alliances in every territory across the breadth of the former United States and the future Montival. Is this the significance of the Sword? It is at least part of it.

Poul Anderson never told us what became of Tyrfing.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    Shouldn't Fr. Ignatius have also mentioned Charlemagne's sword Joyeuse and Ogier the Dane's Cortana? After all, the former is an actual sword which still exists. Even the French Revolutionaries couldn't bring themselves to destroy it!

    I understand what you said about your thought processes being verbal, not visual. But aren't your DREAMS "visions"? And I recall how both the OT and NT mentions some being granted visions by means of dreams.

    Yes, the friendships and alliances Rudi made during his Quest will be enormously important and useful for him and Montival. But the Sword he obtains will also play a real role.

    Poul Anderson does show us Imric the Elf Earl taking pains to JETTISON Tyrfing far out to sea and in deep waters at the end of THE BROKEN SWORD. But of course there was no guarantee the accursed sword won't somehow again appear!


    1. Sean,
      I think that it was going to reappear.

    2. Kaor, Paul!

      I agree. But Poul Anderson, regrettably, never wrote a sequel to THE BROKEN SWORD. That sinister sword might have shown up again in such a book!


    3. Paul and Sean:
      Well, remember that Poul Anderson didn't INVENT Tyrfing; he drew it from actual Norse myth. And in *Silverlock*, Odin used one of the title character's white hairs to test Tyrfing's edge.

    4. Kaor, DAVID!

      At least I have read Myers' SILVERLOCK. Yes, PA took Tyrfing from Norse myths and legends. But we did get hints from Anderson about a possible sequel to THE BROKEN SWORD. Here is what he wrote at the end of his Foreword to the 1954 edition: "As for what became of the people of this story, and the sword, and faerie itself--which obviously no longer exists on Earth--that is another tale, which will perhaps some day be told." A statement which Anderson basically repeated in the Foreword for the revised 1971 edition: "As for what became of those still alive at the end of the book, and the sword, and Faerie itself--which obviously no longer exists on Earth--that is another tale, which may someday may be told." Alas, Poul Anderson never got around to writing a sequel!