Saturday, 3 September 2016

The Quest

Poul Anderson, Three Lions And Three Lions (London, 1977), Chapter Fifteen.

Holger Carlsen, the hero of a heroic fantasy novel, must find out who he is and what he has to do. But so must everyone! The passage of a hero through a novel mirrors the passage of anyone through life.

Holger takes an unusually long time to find out. On p. 103 of 156, a magician tells him:

"'I'll use my try and find out who you are and where the sword is hidden.'" (p. 103)

The sword Cortana has been blessed to defend Christendom now that other swords and their owners are no more. But Morgan le Fay has hidden Cortana somewhere just as she hid Holger on another Earth. Thus, to find and wield Cortana becomes Holger's Quest and, now that we think about it, a Quest is just what he has lacked so far.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

It is the task of all of us to find out who we are and what we must do? True, but most of us are hardly likely to be great heroes or rulers in whose hands lies the destinies of entire worlds. I suggest we like to read about such heroes because we wonder how WE would do if we were in their shoes.

I argue that the first part of THREE HEARTS AND THREE LIONS shows us Holger on a quest, to find out who he is and what he must do. The second part then shows us on Holger's quest to find Cortana and to fulfill his destiny as the Defender of Christendom.