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Prince Gaynor and the Eternal Champion

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  • Prince Gaynor and the Eternal Champion

    Ever since I read Stormbringer in the late 1960s I've found Prince Gaynor to be one of the most intriguing figures in the whole saga of the Eternal Champion. In his gleaming armour he seems, at first glance, to be an archetypal agent of Law along the lines of Sir Galahad in the Arthurian epics - yet as soon as his helmet is removed it becomes obvious that he's been corrupted to the core. Seemingly damned for all eternity he has been reduced to the status of a low-level functionary in the hierarchy of Chaos - a sort of multiversal Guy of Gisborne to Elric's Robin Hood.

    However, time and again, there are hints that he plays a far more important part in the greater tapestry of the Eternal Champion. As a recurring adversary across the worlds he is comparable to the Champion's lovers and companions, yet there is also a suggestion that he could be much more than that - possibly even an incarnation of the Champion himself. But is he a previous holder of the title, since replaced by Elric and his many avatars? - or could he actually represent their own bleak future? (Another possibility that once occurred to me was that he might share some kinship with the enigmatic Warrior in Jet and Gold from the Runestaff series!).

    Although I accept that the greater conflict between Law and Chaos can never achieve anything beyond a local resolution it seems to me that individual characters deserve to have stories with some kind of a beginning and end. However many times Elric reappears I always prefer to think of that final page of Stormbringer as his last hurrah - similarly I'd love to know whether Mike has a plan to someday tell us the 'real' history of Gaynor the Champion Who Failed - his origins, his tragic fall from grace...and, just possibly, his eventual redemption?

    If nothing else it'd make a great trilogy...!
    Last edited by philcom55; 07-14-2011, 04:14 AM.

  • #2
    On Prince Gaynor.

    'The Dream-thief's Daughter' touches rather heavily on the subject of Prince Gaynor 's Origin Story, you will find...
    Mwana wa simba ni simba

    The child of a lion is also a lion - Swahili Wisdom


    • #3
      Thanks Kymba. That's one of the few Elric books I've not read so I'll certainly make a point of getting a copy. I'd still like to see how Gaynor's story ends though - there seems to be more than a touch of Faust about him, but is it Marlowe's version or Goethe's?


      • #4
        There is more to be found in 'Revenge Of The Rose' .. which I am currently reading!

        Not sure how this fits in with 'Dream-thiefs Daughter' though?


        • #5
          The end of Gaynor

          He is indeed a fascinatingly enigmatic character.

          I'd always thought that if he was somehow the eternal champion that he was an another incarnation of Elric, Corum, Hawkmoon et al. I like the idea, however, that there had once been an entirely different eternal champion who turned into Gaynor........


          • #6
            Julius, I reckon that was likely something a bit more local. It's all a bit difficult to say really, as in Mike's fractal multiverse everything happens at once, making starts/ends/interludes all a bit local. After all, I can't even remeber just how many ends we've counted to date, though I still think The Quest For Tanelorn is the daddy of 'em all!


            • #7
              You could be right Rothgo! I also apologise for posting a "spoiler" - I didn't think about it and am glad somebody managed to cover it up. How do you do that anyway?


              • #8
                When you are typing up a post, the text area has a set of buttons above it, one of which is a speach button with "spoil" written in the bubble: select the text to hide and and press that button and it will add the spoiler tags.

                In general, the buttons allow quite a lot: you can hover your mouse over them and they should help out if their meaning isn't clear. you can also press "quote" on any post that has the thing you want to use and see what the tags are: typically a [text]...[/text] type of form.

                And finally, we have a forum with all sorts of helpful posting and site hints and tips which you can find here.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by mirkmaid View Post
                  I think Gaynor is my favourite villain ever...a shame he doesn't seem to feature so much in all the great art I've seen based around Mike's work...although perhaps I'm looking in the wrong places?
                  In response to the above question from a previous thread on Prince Gaynor, I've always felt that Barry Windsor-Smith captured the character well in this sequence from Conan the Barbarian no.14. (In spite of scripter Roy Thomas's unfortunate - if unwitting - lapse into Frankie Howerd dialogue!)

                  I could be wrong but my early memories of Elric are that he started out as a kind of 1960s anti-hero who looked like a villain (read agent of 'Chaos') but acted - albeit half-knowingly - on behalf of the forces of Good (read 'Law'). By contrast Gaynor provided a nice counterpart in that he looked like a traditional hero but acted for Chaos. If Elric was an unlikely 'Poacher turned Gamekeeper' then Gaynor was an even less likely 'Gamekeeper turned Poacher'.

                  Somewhere along the line, of course, Elric turned on both Chaos and Law, and even his actions on behalf of the Cosmic Balance are increasingly grudging. This leads one to speculate that Gaynor's own damnation might simply be a consequence of his inability to think and act for himself (or others) rather than some dreadful crime committed in a previous existence: in effect he has become a prisoner of his own need to believe in Higher Powers - of whatever persuasion; rather like Klosterheim in The Warhound and the World's Pain.

                  - Phil Rushton
                  Last edited by philcom55; 07-21-2011, 11:12 AM.


                  • #10
                    Personally I think Gaynor acts utterly and only for himself, and thus his doom. It's just a POV though.


                    • #11
                      ...But in that respect one could say there are moments when Elric himself is barely distinguishable from Gaynor - in fact it is almost expected of him as a true Melnibonéan (and in the long run he betrays or kills everyone he ever cared for!).
                      Last edited by philcom55; 07-21-2011, 11:29 AM.


                      • #12
                        Elric does at times, pretends more often, but his pain comes from his empathy which haunts him always. The human condition eh? But even Yrkoon thought he was doing best for Melnibone (and of course himself too!)


                        • #13
                          It's a scary thought that the whole Elric saga could be read as a negative Bildungsroman in which the hero passes through a succession of educative experiences which result in his eventual isolation from everything he ever loved. A kind of ةmile in reverse, with damnation waiting at the end of the road!

                          Maybe Elric actually becomes Gaynor at the end: the ultimate triumph of Stormbringer itself, and the cause of its unholy laughter!
                          Last edited by philcom55; 07-21-2011, 12:22 PM.


                          • #14
                            **Spoiler alert**

                            I always thought Gaynor
                            Last edited by Governor of Rowe Island; 10-23-2014, 01:04 PM. Reason: Added spoiler alert and mask


                            • #15
                              Gotta get me some o' that QFT...the imagery sticks wonderfully; the manner in which Erekose is pastiche Eternal Champion and how Gaynor's face is same, and what is more fitting for a crime to be so Damned than to go against the Cosmic Balance ?
                              Well-done, Una