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475 pages, Paperback
First published January 1, 1973
“I am nothing, yes; I am air and darkness, a word, a promise. I watch in the crystal and I wait in the hollow hills. But out there in the light I have a young king and a bright sword to do my work for me, and build what will stand when my name is only a word for forgotten songs and outworn wisdom, and when your name, Morgause, is only a hissing in the dark.”
He spoke at length quietly, but with such a kind of inward force and joy that one wondered how he could contain it. What he said surprised me. “Then the sword was yours. You found it, not I. I was only sent to bring it to you. It is yours. I will get it for you now.”And then this Arthur goes to court, and is magically kingly, and does something with incredibly far-reaching consequences after his first battle (HOW do I not remember this from all those Arthurian books I read growing up?) -
But if he kills them now he will never use a sword again in God’s service, and their corruption will have claimed him before his work is even begun.This is probably an accurate portrayal of the attitudes of the time, but I must say I am enraged by the idea that their High King is a) instinctively a brilliant leader and warrior, even as a fourteen-year-old, who b) can only face something negative because the gods don’t want him to have too much glory.
I said calmly... “Has no one ever told you the gods are jealous? They insure against too much glory. Every man carries the seed of his own death, and you will not be more than a man.”
I was reflecting that even at fifteen Cador had been a realist; now, his tough-minded common sense was like a gust of cold air through a musty council-chamber.And even he exhibits a slavish devotion to kingship.