Sunday, 4 September 2016

Ariel And A Nixie

When I googled images of Ariel, I noticed that there was some question as to the gender of this character. We recently attended a performance where two actors, male and female, jointly played the part, alternating the dialogue. There is no direct connection between a reference to Ariel in Poul Anderson's Three Hearts And Three Lions and a duo performance of Ariel in Morecambe. These are two of the many manifestations of a single dramatic character.

If the Three Hearts... Ariel were real, then he would exist in the Carolingian universe while meanwhile I would exist - and would attend the duo performance - in our universe. Indeed, if the Poul Anderson of our universe were properly attuned to the Carolingian universe, then I would read about the Ariel of that universe while thinking that he was fiction. However, if the duo Ariel were real, then s/he would exist in a Shakespearean universe, or maybe just in a Tempest universe, that would not necessarily coexist with any other universe. The mind boggles.

The next threat after the werewolf is a nixie who pulls Holger to the bottom of a lake. He theorizes that the nixie's spell extracts oxygen from the water for him and that a monomolecular film of oxygen covers his face. But this is just speculation. The novel does not comprehensively rationalize magic. In this case, the nixie acknowledges that she is acting for Morgan le Fay. Holger escapes by igniting the magnesium dagger.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Trying to make sense of the multiple universes theory and its ramifications and complexities can be just as tough and skull splitting as trying to make sense of time traveling!

Oddly, what you said about how the nixie provided oxygen for Holger in her lake reminded of an incident in S.M. Stirling's DRAKON. The Samothracian agent Lafarge had occasion to swim underwater in the ocean. He used advanced technology to extract the oxygen he needed from the water itself (transmitted thru a face mask).