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Are they ALL EC's?

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  • Are they ALL EC's?

    I tried searching, but couldn't find the answer in Search...

    Are every single one of Mr Moorcock's main characters incarnations of the Eternal Champion? And their companions the Eternal Companion, etc?

    As far as I can tell, the only series I can rule out from this theory is the End of Time series...

  • #2
    This is a question that I don't think can be answered to everyone's satisfaction. The more of Mr M's work that you read the more links become apparent and the possiblities seem endless. If you've read the White Wolf anthologies (Tales of the White Wolf & Pawn of Chaos) then you will be aware that other authors' characters may even be the Champion or Companion.
    Personally, I think they are, other people may think otherwise. Mr M, I suspect enjoys the debate, but would ultimately like us to draw our own conclusions.
    You see, it's... it's no good, Montag. We've all got to be alike. The only way to be happy is for everyone to be made equal.

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    • #3
      I was under the impression that Jherek (from The End of Time Series) was part of the Eternal Champion line... but that doesn't help you very much, does it?

      I'm afraid I agree with the guv'nor above... It would be hard to arrive at a definite answer, and that's part of the fun, imho.
      "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

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      • #4
        Re: Are they ALL EC's?

        Originally posted by Valandar
        I tried searching, but couldn't find the answer in Search...

        Are every single one of Mr Moorcock's main characters incarnations of the Eternal Champion? And their companions the Eternal Companion, etc?

        As far as I can tell, the only series I can rule out from this theory is the End of Time series...
        To some extent, the 'Dancers At The End Of Time' series could be seen as the summation of the quest of the, 'Eternal Champion'. There's at least one book in the 'Elric' series,'Elric At The End Of Time', where Elric travels to the End of Time to discover that the main participants in the 'EofT' series are apparently The Lords Of Chaos themselves.

        I've always taken Jherek Carnelian to be a sort of evolved, or distilled representation of the Eternal Champion. His single minded love, pursuit and winning of Amelia might be seen as a sort of summation of their purpose. Or, perhaps their fate is simply a part of the unending quest. Lord Jagged seems more a sort of Deus ex Machina.

        Others may well disagree.

        ...

        I would love to know when the 'Eternal Champion' first surfaced as an idea, though?

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        • #5
          I'm not the only member of my generation to emphasise the fact that we are all heroes and heroines. It's how we live our lives and what we make of our virtues which determines who is an eternal champion. I've said this in various books pretty much since I started writing. We have to find the heroic within ourselves, seek self-respect (rather than mere self-esteem) and not depend upon the approval or disapproval of those around us. All pretty simple and straightforward sentiments, I'd say, which I've reiterated over and over again through my career. We all have dragons to slay and demons to face and my admiration is quite as great for the modern person who quietly goes about their business doing what they have to do to strengthen their own self-respect as it would be for any doomed sorcerer-king wrestling with inner and outer torments... :) So I see pretty much all my protagonists as aspects of the Eternal Champion. Sometimes they live in an exotic fantasy land; sometimes in a city slum. That's another reason I refuse to distinguish between my 'fantasy' books and my 'realistic' books. Many years ago someone said that I would do better in my career if I published my fantasy books under a pseudonym. I looked at them in astonishment. Clearly that person had never taken in the principles I stood for. Sorry to get pontifical here, but every so often I feel the need to reiterate this idea and to explain why I write many kinds of fiction while refusing to claim that one kind is more 'serious' than another. I believe in heroism and I celebrate human courage. We can all be champions.

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          • #6
            "We all have dragons to slay and demons to face"

            Or dragons to ride and demons to summon as the case may be! ;)

            An excellent author's summation, and I'm really glad the question was raised to bring it out. Love the inadvertant Bowie paraphrase. I'm still confused about Una, but that's undoubtedly how she would want it.
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            • #7
              I was downstairs, making the tea, when I thought, 'What about Oswald Bastable?'

              Now, he appears in the first off, in 'The Warlord of The Air' as a sort of special guest star. It's the first of Michael Moorcock's full length novels that I actually read. I was attracted to it by the lovely picture of Bastable, his clothes in rags, emerging from the time portal cave and gazing in astonishment at the giant airship emblazoned with the Union Jack.

              Oswald Bastable, of course, started out as the oldest boy of the Bastable family in E.E. Nesbit's Bastable Family fantasy adventure books for children 'The FIve Children and It' ( 1902) and 'The Phoenix and the Carpet' (1904). Bastable is the archetypal, Edwardian "good egg," he's sensible and a real child of the Empire. So, when he's faced by the various forms of madness presented by the various alternative realities he visits, we have a first class yard stick to measure them by.

              In some ways, he's not really there as a participant, but as an 'Everyman' onlooker, to experience the events for us. Rather like one of H.G. Wells' anti-heroes, I suspect. So, maybe Bastable is not actually a personification of the Eternal Champion, but he certainly learns how to integrate and survive in the Multiverse.

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              • #8
                I haven't read that series yet, it's sitting right here on the desk, but from what I understand isn't he a bit of an incarnation of the Companion rather than the Champion?
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Dead-Air
                  I haven't read that series yet, it's sitting right here on the desk, but from what I understand isn't he a bit of an incarnation of the Companion rather than the Champion?
                  I wonder if chrononauts like Oswald Bastable and Una Persson, permanent travellers of the time streams, don't stand a little apart from the whole incarnation business, altogether?

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                  • #10
                    Hrms...

                    One rather ultraphilisophical buddy of mine proposed this:

                    There is only one human soul in the Multiverse. It is forever reborn, and goes through cycles. In one cycle of its eternal existance, it is the Eternal Champion. In another cycle, it is the Eternal Companion. Another is the Predator, then the Eternal Prognosticator, then the Eternal Layabout, and so on. However, only certain roles are ingrained enough to have the innate "power" that roles like the Champion and Companion have.

                    When a soul is "consumed" by Stormbringer / Mournblade, or "claimed" by a Chaos Lord such as Arioch, the actual core soul is not destroyed - only the vestiges of soul-stuff the Eternal Soul has picked up along the way during its live as a sort of cosmic debris. Things like memories, etcetera.

                    Thus, Michael Moorcock has only ever written about one character, and lots of supernatural entities.

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                    • #11
                      I often feel that I carve out my own little narratives through other writers' work, imagining connexions and allusions on the flimsiest of evidence, so I may not be the ideal commentator (although I know that much MM is designed for freestyle interpretation)...but...

                      I read the EofT series before the Cornelius stories, and kind of assumed that Jherek was Jerry - having travelled to the furthest future (of one alternative anyway!) and suffering chrononauts' amnesia re: his former adventures; which of course begs the question as to how the Iron Orchid (I presume something to do with Steel Magnolias) could be his mum...anyway, I think he must be 'classed' as an EC incarnation. I thought Una was an EC aspect too...

                      Bastable is a bit trickier - he falls less easily into the Elric/ Corum/ Cornelius 'type(s)'. He seems to be 'doomed' in a subtly different way to Elric, for instance (an interesting comparison can be drawn between Bastable and Tibbets, the Captain of the Enola Gay - see interview in 'The World at War' series - watch the eyes.

                      Nice observation, by the way Androman! - Dammit, I grew up obsessed by Nesbit (who fuelled my eternal desire to visit 1903 Camden) and I didn't spot that one!

                      Thanks for the excellent 'grand overview' Michael - which I haven't encountered before! Perhaps becoming a little general and I hope not too mawkish, your sentiments struck a chord. I find myself increasingly feeling like L'Etranger in our celebrity-obsessed society. To decant it down, I get sooo pissed off when I hear some cretin talking about 'ordinary people' - 'cos I ain't never met anyone ordinary. Our focus on the delusion of 'glamour' and dosh has led to this worrying overuse of the word 'successful' - Successful at what? Success in all aspects of life is impossible - I'm a 'successful' Vet in that most animals I deal with survive the experience and I make a living; I'm not a successful Bass player. How does one 'class' the 'top' lawyer who has had five marriages? I'm not sure that's a very eloquent way of expressing it; I do know that the older I get, the more I admire the unglamorous, unpublicised sheer shitty struggles that underpin the lives of so many people - dragons and demons indeed, but in forms so dark and dreary that they lack even the veneer of drama or glamour. I've never really been prone to having heroes, but I reserve my admiration for the cats that don't tie tin-cans to their tails...

                      Oh, and successful fantasy authors >chortle!<

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Valandar
                        Hrms...

                        One rather ultraphilisophical buddy of mine proposed this:

                        There is only one human soul in the Multiverse. It is forever reborn, and goes through cycles. In one cycle of its eternal existance, it is the Eternal Champion. In another cycle, it is the Eternal Companion. Another is the Predator, then the Eternal Prognosticator, then the Eternal Layabout, and so on. ...

                        ...
                        That sounds a bit familiar, maybe it's even mentioned in something like,
                        'The Quest For Tanelorn'?

                        Definitely sounds like 'Incredible String Band' territory! :D

                        When I was born I had no head
                        My eye was single and my body was filled with light
                        And the light that I was, was the light that I saw by
                        And the light that I saw by, was the light that I was
                        And many's the time that I've passed by the river
                        And saw no tollman and needed no ferryman to cross
                        And I enjoyed the world aright
                        For the sea itself floweth
                        And warm I was and crowned.
                        But one day walking by the river
                        I met a tollman with an angry face
                        And many's the time I passed through his tollgate
                        And paid no silver and paid no fee
                        But rather I did hide my sheep and goats under the bags of oatmeal
                        And cold I was, no crown did I wear
                        But if you're walking down the street
                        Why don't you look down to the basement
                        And sitting very quietly there is a man who has no head
                        His eye is single and his whole body also is filled with light
                        And the streets are his and all the people
                        And even the temples and the whole world
                        And many's the time he walks to the river
                        And seeing the ferryman and seeing the tollman
                        The light within him leaps to greet them
                        For he sees that their faces are none but his own
                        One light, the light that is one though the lamps be many
                        You never enjoy the world aright
                        Till the sea itself floweth
                        In your veins and you are clothed
                        With the heavens and crowned with the stars

                        Incredible String Band: Douglas Traherne Harding

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Valandar
                          When a soul is "consumed" by Stormbringer / Mournblade, or "claimed" by a Chaos Lord such as Arioch, the actual core soul is not destroyed - only the vestiges of soul-stuff the Eternal Soul has picked up along the way during its live as a sort of cosmic debris. Things like memories, etcetera.
                          Hey Val. Fancy finding you here... :lol: As for the Black Blades acting as a soul conduit, I think it was in War Amongst the Angels that it worked the other way, when Lucifer Impaled von Bek, and von Bek was able to use that connection to claim his soul back from Lucifer. Of course, the presence of the Grail might have had something to do with it. I should dig it out and reread it.

                          Your friend's idea is essentially the core of hinduism. The basic idea is that there is one consciousness, or World Soul, called Brahman. The individual soul, or atman, is but a drop in the sea of consciousness. The point of "enlightenment" is the realization not only that you are one with Brahman, but that you always have and always will be. The thing that sets us apart from knowing our true nature is Maya, which is the illusion of perception. Perception preceed that state of divine grace were living beings were aware of their inherent oneness, and allowed for the separation of "I" and "this". The sanskrit phrase "Om sat tat" describes this, and means roughly "You are that" or "I am that".

                          Similar themes have occurred in other religions and modes of though. In the old testament, God describes himself to Moses as "Ehieh asher ehieh". This has been translated as "I am", "I am that which I am", "Existence is existence". I think the epitome of this would be Popeye's catch phrase, "I yam what I yam". *toot* toot*. Meditate on that, and you will break the wheel of Samsara within a week.

                          Last thoughts of this essay post of mine would be the Mayans and Mahayana Buddhism. The Mayans greeting to each other was "In Lakech" which translates something like "I am another you" or "You are my other me". In mahayana buddhism, there is an interesting practice called Mirror Samadhi, which is a meditation where you sit encircled with mirrors, and contemplate each and every reflection. Of course, there are infinite reflections, reflection upon reflection, so eventually you are brought back to the centre.
                          Yuki says, "Krimson used to be known as Kommando, but he rarely uses that name anymore. Sometimes he appears as Krimson Gray as well. Do not be confused, he still loves cats and bagels."

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
                            So I see pretty much all my protagonists as aspects of the Eternal Champion.
                            This made me think of the role reversal in Gold Diggers of '77, where for the most part Jerry Cornelius was the antagonist, and Frank was sort of a protagonist. I really liked that change in perspective, as it gave some insight into Frank's character. Here he is trying to live a straight and normal life, and his brother keeps trying to mess it up. Its like he wasn't a villian so much as an incarnation of the Eternal Status Quo. It would be interest to see a similar role reversal between Elric and Yrkoon, or even Klosterheim and von Bek (I'd toss in Gaynor and the Rose into the mix, but I don't know if we should be seeing the inside of Gaynor's head).
                            Yuki says, "Krimson used to be known as Kommando, but he rarely uses that name anymore. Sometimes he appears as Krimson Gray as well. Do not be confused, he still loves cats and bagels."

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Kommando
                              Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
                              So I see pretty much all my protagonists as aspects of the Eternal Champion.
                              This made me think of the role reversal in Gold Diggers of '77, where for the most part Jerry Cornelius was the antagonist, and Frank was sort of a protagonist. I really liked that change in perspective, as it gave some insight into Frank's character. Here he is trying to live a straight and normal life, and his brother keeps trying to mess it up. Its like he wasn't a villian so much as an incarnation of the Eternal Status Quo. ...
                              Yes. Jerry's an 'unreliable witness' if ever there was. :lol:

                              It's Jerry's adventures I find the most interesting, relevant and exciting. Maybe, it's because his adventures are tethered in something like our own contemperaneous time streams, so there's a lot more free play and experiment in virtually every aspect of his personality, circumstances and even physical being. More exploration of a very tasty, but very complicated World, one all too like our own, yet different?

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