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RE: [mythsoc] Re: Guy Gavriel Kay's work

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  • dianejoy@earthlink.net
    For you Butterburra-hobbits: Want to discuss his latest in BW this next year? I think it s *Light of the Sun.* Anyone know if it s a stand-alone or part of a
    Message 1 of 5 , Jun 29, 2004
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      For you Butterburra-hobbits:

      Want to discuss his latest in BW this next year? I think it's *Light of
      the Sun.* Anyone know if it's a stand-alone or part of a series? ---djb

      Original Message:
      -----------------
      From: David Lenander d-lena@...
      Date: Sun, 27 Jun 2004 21:57:11 -0500
      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [mythsoc] Re: Guy Gavriel Kay's work



      I'm with Alexei on his work. I read only the first volume of his
      initial trilogy, and was not inspired to read more. However, many
      years of being on the MFA committees have forced me to read a number of
      his later works, and I think he's become progressively better as a
      writer, starting with a giant leap forward in _Tigana_. I liked one or
      two books along the way better than that one, and "The Sarantine
      Mosaic" was a masterpiece. It's quite a different sort of book from the
      early trilogy, a loosely fictionalized and fantasied historical novel,
      set in an alternate world Byzantine empire, so people who are allergic
      to that sort of book (the main complaint I remember from a Butterbur's
      Woodshed discussion was that if he was going to so thinly fictionalize,
      why didn't he just go ahead and write a historical?) may need to avoid
      it. But it's beautifully written, and the work of the protagonist, a
      mosaicist, as well as the characters and the philosophical ruminations
      are quite marvelous. It is two volumes long, by the way.

      David Lenander
      d-lena@...
      2095 Hamline Ave. N.
      Roseville, MN 55113
      651-292-8887
      http://www.umn.edu/~d-lena/RIVENDELL.html




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    • Leelan Lampkins
      ... Beowulf has four main episodes. They are Breca, Grendel, Grendel s mother and the Dragon. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns was originally sold in four
      Message 2 of 5 , Jun 29, 2004
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        > > I like seeing how old stories are given new treatments. What follows
        >is
        > >one example that comes to mind.
        > > "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns" is a very strange retelling of
        > >"Beowulf". It is very intense and includes ALL of the episodes and
        > >characters of the ninth century story. The fun is picking out"who is
        >who"
        > >and "what is what".
        >
        >This is hardly the first reading that comes to my mind of "Dark Knight
        >Returns". But whatever, I suppose it can be made to fit "Beowulf" too.
        >(Is it just supposed to be the dragon scene, or what?)
        >
        >- David Bratman

        "Beowulf" has four main episodes. They are Breca, Grendel, Grendel's
        mother and the Dragon.
        "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns" was originally sold in four issues. They
        dealt with Two-Face, Mutant Leader, Joker and Superman.

        In the first episode, the hero contends with someone who was once a good
        friend, someone that had the same struggles that they had but who did not
        finish the race. In Breca's case, the race is literal. In Harvey Dent's or
        Two-Face's case, it is spiritual.

        In the second episode, the hero faces a monster. Beowulf faces Grendel
        and Batman faces the monstrous Mutant Leader. Beowulf tears Grendel's arm
        off. At the end of the second match, Batman breaks ML's arms and legs one
        by one.

        The third episode, the hero faces the mother of monsters. Beowulf tracks
        Grendel's mother to the bottom of a dark foul lake where he kills her after
        a terrible battle. Batman tracks the Joker's trail of sensless murder
        through a carnival where he defeats him deep within the Tunnel of Love where
        the Joker dies.

        The end comes when the hero faces the supernatural. Beowulf faces the
        Dragon and dies in victory. Batman faces Superman and kicks his butt but
        "dies" of a heart attack.

        There are differences in some small details. But on the whole they are
        the same story.

        Hrothgar's country is menaced by monsters that only Beowulf defeats.
        Commissioner Gordon's city is savaged criminals that only Batman can match.

        Unferth doubts Beowulf and tries to hinder him. The new commissioner not
        only doubts Batman but does her best to bring him in under arrest.

        Wiglaf stands beside Beowulf against the Dragon. Carrie Kelly takes
        Robin's place much earlier in the story but stands beside Batman even up to
        the battle with Superman.

        As I said, there are differences but the main details are there and in
        the right order. There is not much of a struggle to make the pieces
        correspond.

        And, I have to admitt, that I did enjoy seeing the Joker kill David
        Letterman, Paul Shaffer and Doctor Ruth. And the author of "Seduction of
        the Innocent", Fredric Wertham, was also killed in the persona of the
        Joker's doctor, Dr. Wolper, who also treated Harvey Dent. Both doctors had
        very unpleasant things to say about Batman.

        But the clue for me was that one word in "Beowulf", "aglaeca" which means
        both "hero" and "monster". Batman fits that to a "T". As a character he is
        very familiar to most Americans and possibly to many outside the States as
        well. Maybe as familiar as Beowulf was to his original audience. As such
        they are mythic in stature if not in reality. Batman is both hero and
        monster. A hero because he stands between the people and the monsters that
        threaten them. A monster because only a monster could be strong enough to
        fight another monster.

        -Leelan

        P.S. As for the Fionavar Tapestry, I will agree that Kay is clumsy in many
        ways. Some of the story is painful to get through. But his use of the
        Arthurian Cycle is for me the saving grace.

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