Friday, May 15, 2015

The King of Elfland's Daughter by Lord Dunsany

I wish I read this book earlier. It's apparently a huge influence on the fantasy genre, and it's beautiful. Simply beautiful.

The King of Elfland's Daughter is, like the title says, about the princess of Elfland. She falls in love and marries Alveric, the Lord of Earl, they get married and have a son, and then when she reads a rune by her father, she's spirited back to Elfland. Alveric goes looking for her, and the son grows up.

The second story is about searching for magic. The reason why Alveric and the princess meet is because the parliament of Earl want a magic lord, in order to get the country in the history books. As they start to get exactly what they wish for, they realise that it's not the good thing that they want.

What I love about this book, apart from the language, is how dreamlike it is. It combines the fantasy and the mundane. Things seem, like how C.S. Lewis describes the Real Narnia, to be realer than real. It reminds me of Chesterton, who talks about seeing the extraordinary in the mundane. And yes, the fairies and the trolls rejoice in the mundane things of earth - the fact that there's a dawn, the flowers, the joy of running at full speed. It is amazing.

If the book has a flaw, it's that the characters aren't very developed. Because everything is like a dream, the characters are never quite real. I don't understand them, and I won't be dreaming of them.

But overall? This short book is wonderful. I adore the language and will happily read it over and over again. I need to go find a copy to buy.

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