And this is probably the last of the Michael Moorcock series.
Long time readers of this blog will not be surprised that I somehow never managed to read the last three volumes of White Wolf Publishing’s Eternal Champion reprints.
Raw Feed (1999): Corum: The Prince with the Silver Hand, Michael Moorcock, 1973, 1999.
“Introduction” — Not much here except a listing of Irish writers that influenced Moorcock.
The Bull and the Spear — I liked this second Corum trilogy (at least, this first book of the second trilogy) about as well as the first. The cold-enshrouded, winter-bearing Fhoi Myore were interesting villains. Calatin was an intriguing character. With him, Moorcock seemed to be doing a variation on the mad scientist, a critique of the sort of ruthless scientific questing that sacrifices morality, ideology, and family.
The Oak and the Ram — It was nice to see the enigmatic Gaynor the Damned as well as Jhary-a-Conel. I liked Moorcock emphasizing Corum and Goffanon’s befuddlement at the encroaching magic in the Mabden world. I liked the bits about the rescue of Amergin being rescued from Caer Llud. (Evidently, Gaynor the Damned in the first Corum trilogy, but I don’t remember his appearance.) The Fhoi Myore (not gods of Chaos but Lords of Limbo, a change of pace for Eternal Champion stories) are depicted as not evil but simple-minded, needy entities exiled from their world. The dream visions of Corum into his other incarnations as the Eternal Champion (including worlds depicted in the Eternal Champion novels I’ve read) were interesting. I liked Jhary-a-Conel complaining about the limited imagination of the gods in regard to horns:
“Horns for bringing the apocalypse [a reference to Elric], horns for calling demons – now horns for handling dogs?”
The Sword and the Stallion — This was the most interesting book of the second Corum trilogy. The whole end, where Corum is regarded as a traitor, was an interesting turn on the usual Eternal Champion story. Corum’s story echoes (not for the first time proving that some thought went into the ordering of this White Wolf series of Eternal Champion stories) Elric’s in some ways. He gets a magical sword, Traitor, which has a sinister ability to kill Corum’s friends (in this case Goffanon). His life ends at the point of this sword after greatly changing the world (here helping to purge it of “sorcery and demigods”. Corum and Goffanon worry about the influence of an alliance with the sinister Malibann (who seem an echo, ruby throne, sorcery, empire and all, of Elric’s Melniboneans) on Mabden rationality. They might view the world magically – presumably the reason Corum can not be allowed to remain in the Mabden world. The treachery of Medhbh (a sinister prophecy warns Corum about a harp, beauty, and a brother) was not unexpected but still shocking. I wonder, in Celtic mythology, the importance of Dagdagh who Medhbh is so loyal to.
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I read the Corum series as they were published in the early 1970s. At the time, I preferred Corum to Elric and Hawkmoon. Moorcock refined his concept of the Multiverse in these books. I was worried that WHITE WOLF wouldn’t last long enough to print the second Corum book…but they did.