So last night I curled up and read the end of The Fionavar Tapestry, ’cause I’m a nerdy fantasy fan like that. If you happened to catch my last two “book reviews” you’ll know I was pretty pissed off about that crap that Lev Grossman is passing off as good fantasy, and had taken the plunge to read some Guy Gavriel Kay to recuperate from the crushing disappointment that came from utterly loathing two books I had heard touted as the greatest damned modern fantasy literature this side of A Game of Thrones. Luckily, I enjoyed Fionavar much, much more.
It’s funny I read it after my whole debacle with The Magicians and The Magician King* because it’s really, really derivative as well – it’s obviously heavily influenced by Tolkien and a whole host of mythology – but the difference is Kay can actually do it without causing your eyes to roll out of your fucking head. Instead, it comes out as this awesome blend of all kinds of story lines you already know, which just gel into an awesome and cohesive plot line. I was particularly impressed by the fact that he incorporated the May Babies part of Arthurian mythology** since so few people ever hear that story. Whitewashing our main Anglo mythological hero-king, I suppose.
(You should probably not read the next paragraph if you don’t want a major spoiler, FYI.)
I just have to ask anyone who’s also read Fionavar if they think that, at the end, when Darien (Maugrim’s bastard) sacrifices himself by impaling himself on Lokdal while Maugrim is holding it (thus destroying both of them), also winds up setting Arthur free as a result? My reasoning is that Arthur and Mordred kill each other on Camlann field, so by living to the last battle and having a father and bastard son die in combat with each other, it fulfills the echo of the Arthurian legend but transfers the destiny to someone else, allowing Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot to finally break the death cycle that has followed them for centuries. Kinda like how Dairmuid took Arthur’s death by ritual combat the day before the battle. Thoughts?
*I don’t think my hatred of these books really showed through in the posts. It was bad enough that R. was actually repeating “Just stop reading them!” every time he heard me huff about something dumb from my reading chair.***
**The May Babies is the story of how Arthur gathered up all the babies born on May Day and had them put to sea in an unmanned galleon because he had heard a prophecy that one child born on May Day would end his reign. Unfortunately for him, Mordred wound up surviving and floating back to shore, where he lives to kill Arthur. All those babies, dead for nothing. No one said a Dark Age King was nice, even if he was legendary.
***Yes, I have a reading chair. Don’t you?