Monday, 17 September 2012

The War In Jotunheim

In The Broken Sword (London, 1977), Poul Anderson summarises, we read quickly and soon forget. Before Mananaan Mac Lir and Skafloc Elven-Fosterling can escape from Jotunheim with the reforged sword, they:

struggle against the elements;
devise spells to counteract giant magic, to loose storms and to bring mountainsides down on Jotun garths;
kill individual giants;
narrowly evade pursuit;
forage inland;
burn down a great steading, stealing its horses and other treasures;
receive hospitality from lonely crofters who did not ask whence they have come;
meet well disposed, human-sized women;
encounter a dragon with a golden hoard, a burning mountain, a bottomless chasm, a giantesses' quern, an everlasting battle and a witch in Iron Wood;
fish in a river from hell;
hear the aurora sing.

We are told that, although each of these tales "...would make a saga in itself...they must be left among the annals of Faerie." (p. 166) They are mentioned so briefly that most readers will soon forget them so I have tried to preserve their memory here.

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