Welcome All- A Few Things to Know

Welcome All- A Few Things to Keep In Mind:

1. Hi all. I'm Storyteller Knight. You can find me on Fictionpress where I write novels about King Arthur, Superheroes and Vampires (but not at the same time) and at Pardon My Sarcasm where I rage about how the republicans are ruining all things.

2. Here is the Master List of books read, books owned and books needed to complete a series. Superscripts next to title links to reviews on this site. Or you can search using the lables.

3. I'm approaching this blog with the assumption that everyone reading already knows the ultimate spoiler of the King Arthur Legend: Everyone Dies. Those who read King Arthur books do so to see different interpretations of the characters and the stories. My goal here is to analyze the effectiveness of those interpretations. Thus, all my reviews will include spoilers.

4. This is not an Arthurian 101 blog. As I said above, I'm assuming that everyone reading already knows the legend and is looking for different interpretations of that legend. Therefore, I'm not going to take time to explain who the characters are and what roles they traditionally play. Links to Arthurian Encyclopedias at the bottom of the page.

5. These reviews are my opinions of the books. I may hate a book you love or I may love a book you hate. If you have a different opinion, write it up. I'd be more than happy to have some guest posts.

6. Please don't ask me (or any of the guest bloggers) to do your homework for you. As I said above, this is a blog dedicated at looking at these books from an Arthurian perspective. If you comment on posts asking us what the theme is or such, we're just going to screw with you.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Crystal Cave Discussion

This is part 3 of 3 in SamoaPhoenix and my joint review/discussion of Mary Stewart's The Crystal Cave.  My review can be found here and SamoaPhoenix's review can be found here.


Our discussion begins right after I sent my review to SamoaPhoenix and she finished reading it.  I had already read her review earlier in the day to prep it for posting.

Warning for Spoilers

Crystal Cave Discussion

SamoaPhoenix 7:21 pm
Wow, even without you reading my review they're word for word very similar

 Storyteller Knight 7:22 pm
I know
I was pretty disturbed

 SamoaPhoenix 7:30 pm
We seem not to differ much in our opinions on this book

 Storyteller Knight 7:32 pm
We don't

 SamoaPhoenix 7:32 pm
First part is boring

 Storyteller Knight 7:32 pm
The beginning was boring, Merlin is a sociopath, Ambrosius is awesome and Uther can't keep it in his pants

 SamoaPhoenix 7:33 pm
The only major difference is I liked that scene at the end and you preferred the whole scene with the fake dragons

 Storyteller Knight 7:33 pm
That's probably because of lack of exposure to it
I've read a ton of versions of how Uther snuck into Tintagel.  Very rarely do you see the Dragon prophecy.  So just the fact that I hadn't seen that as much probably made me love it more

 SamoaPhoenix 7:36 pm
I was hearing the mission impossible theme during the entire ending
I found it really funny and ironic
After 400 pages of mostly boring it was welcome

 Storyteller Knight 7:37 pm
I haven't seen mission impossible, so I wouldn't know
But I really didn't care for how Stewart had that play out

 SamoaPhoenix 7:38 pm
Ok, i know you've seen James Bond
For me, the end was kind of like the sneaking-in part of an action movie where even the bumbling sidekick (Merlin in this case) has to go all commando and knock someone out
Except it takes him a lot more work and injury to do it than it should, like that guy in Iron Man 2 who goes into the stronghold with Black Widow
Plus seeing Merlin getting the snot beat out of him was satisfying

 Storyteller Knight 7:41 pm
That was rather satisfying
But, I don't know if I really buy him winning that fight.  I kept expecting Uther to come down and save him

 SamoaPhoenix 7:45 pm
Blah, i was half hoping he'd die despite his powers
He was so darn smug

 Storyteller Knight 7:46 pm
I hope Nimue takes him to task for that later.  And, as a note, I'm pretty sure she's called Niniane in later books, but I'm going to use Nimue for now to not confuse her with Merlin's mother

 SamoaPhoenix 7:47 pm
That's creepy

 Storyteller Knight 7:47 pm
It's very creepy
Reading Stewart's notes in the back, it makes me wonder if, like, she wasn't all that familiar with the Legends and only researched up to where she was in the story.  But I have a later edition, so I'm pretty sure that can't be right. 

 SamoaPhoenix 7:49 pm
I think she chose to name Merlin's mother Niniane on purpose
What is it with authors and their Oedipal stuff?
Anne Eliot Crompton does it too

 Storyteller Knight 7:49 pm
Well, I know she did.  This is what her note says:
"I gave Merlin's mother the name Niniane because this is the name of the girl who according to legend seduced the enchanter in his dotage and so robbed him of his powers, leaving him shut in his cave to sleep till the end of time.  No other women are associated with him.  There is so strong a connection in legend (and indeed in history) between celibacy and power, that I have thought it reasonable to insist on Merlin's virginity"
It just reads to me like she wasn't intending on including Nimue.

 SamoaPhoenix 7:55 pm
I think you might be right. There was some other comment she made that made it sound like she only intended to write the Crystal Cave and then later decided to continued

 Storyteller Knight 7:56 pm
Well, also in her notes in Wicked Day she talks about how she included Merlin's prophecy of Mordred's betrayal because that's what you do, but when she actually read how Camelot fell she wished she hadn't included that.

 SamoaPhoenix 7:58 pm
She might not have researched all the way. Poor decision on her part

 Storyteller Knight 7:59 pm
I don't know.  If she really did only research up to the point where she was in the Legend, I find the whole series so much more fascinating.  Like, you put yourself in a bind for where the Legend goes next and have to find a way out of it.
So, Are you looking forward to the next book?

 SamoaPhoenix 8:07 pm
Not really

 Storyteller Knight 8:07 pm
Why not?

 SamoaPhoenix 8:08 pm
Because almost half this book was setup
And i don't really like merlin
The thought of two more books from his perspective is...

 Storyteller Knight 8:09 pm
I'm really hoping that raising Arthur softens him up
I mean, Arthur can't be treated in the same way Merlin has treated his servants

 SamoaPhoenix 8:09 pm
One would hope not
Because he really didn't seem to care much about them until they were gone

 Storyteller Knight 8:10 pm
The treatment of Cadal by Merlin was just terrible

 SamoaPhoenix 8:11 pm
He seems to take everyone in his life for granted
For a kid with no status, he really acts from the beginning  like he's entitled to a lot.  It's no wonder his uncle thought he was a threat
He's like "of course I'll have my servant to look after me and cater to my every whim"

 Storyteller Knight 8:13 pm
Especially considering how everyone treats him like shit
I think the reason I liked the dragon prophecy section is because that was definitely where he was most relatable.  Everything he did there he did for concern of his mother.

 SamoaPhoenix 8:15 pm
And the servant's all "Of course I'm happy about going to live in a freaking cave that's about 6ft square. Whatever you want, master"

 Storyteller Knight 8:16 pm
Poor Cadal
He really took loyalty to another level for nothing

 SamoaPhoenix 8:17 pm
They seemed to have a sort of friendship thing going, but from the beginning Cadal is fanatically loyal for no particular reason. Merlin doesn't really do anything to earn it

 Storyteller Knight 8:17 pm
No, he doesn't.
It kinda ties into the power of fate.  Merlin tells Cadal that he'll be with him till the end, and so Cadal is.
I wonder how much free will there is in Stewart's book

 SamoaPhoenix 8:20 pm
There doesn't seem to be much. Ambrosius and Niniane are clearly fated and know it. They seem fine with never seeing each other again and never marrying anyone else. Ambrosius is clearly fated to retake the kingdom. Uther and Ygraine a fated to create Arthur. Everyone is so darn passive about it

 Storyteller Knight 8:22 pm
But with Uther and Ygraine, there was clearly a risk that they wouldn't come together at the right time to conceive Arthur.  Merlin was worried about that.

 SamoaPhoenix 8:23 pm
Or that they would get killed and Arthur would never happen
The ending was people not being passive about what they were fated to do, but that seems to be the exception

 Storyteller Knight 8:24 pm
But they still ended up where they were fated to be

 SamoaPhoenix 8:24 pm

 Storyteller Knight 8:25 pm
I'm interested in seeing what happens next.  I'm interested in seeing how Arthur grows up and how Nimue turns out and the portrayal of Morgan and Morgause.

 SamoaPhoenix 8:26 pm
The whole thing with Ambrosius and the war could have been exciting.  But because everyone was so passive about 'fate' it all seemed inevitable and boring

 Storyteller Knight 8:26 pm
It was super summarized to.  Merlin wasn't there for any of it, so we only saw what he did and what he didn't see he told us

 SamoaPhoenix 8:27 pm
Like the battle in Eclipse

 Storyteller Knight 8:27 pm

 SamoaPhoenix 8:28 pm
So in the end I'm not looking forward to the next book

 Storyteller Knight 8:29 pm
I am, but warily

 SamoaPhoenix 8:30 pm
The Sword in the Stone (movie) stuff might be interesting, except, wait, merlin doesn't have any magic. No turning wart into a bird

 Storyteller Knight 8:31 pm
That will probably be boring.  I've read lots of tales with Merlin having no magic and training Arthur.  It's the same teaching Galapas gave Merlin. 

 SamoaPhoenix 8:33 pm
Which is pretty much what merlin promised to do

 Storyteller Knight 8:34 pm
Yeah, so we need to get to Nimue and Arthur as King

 SamoaPhoenix 8:34 pm
I do want to see Merlin finally getting seduced
Getting a prick in that smug balloon of his face

 Storyteller Knight 8:35 pm
I hope there are no mommy issues

 SamoaPhoenix 8:35 pm

 Storyteller Knight 8:35 pm
I guess we'll see

 SamoaPhoenix 8:35 pm

That's all now from us, folks.  Check back in December for our Joint Review of The Hollow Hills, book two in Mary Stewart's Merlin Trilogy.  

~Storyteller Knight

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