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White Wolf's Son *SPOILERS* Discussion Thread

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  • White Wolf's Son *SPOILERS* Discussion Thread

    I just finished reading "The White Wolf's Son" late last night, after starting it when I reitred from work the previous evening.

    I found it strange that Mike chose Oonagh as one of the principal narrators, because I recall him stating a dislike of child protagonists, but it all makes the trip that much more enjoyable, seeing the Multiverse and all of its many trappings through innocent eyes. We come to get to know her "real" world well before we are baited and eventually hooked and pulled into the rabbit hole leading to the Off-Moo and the chase.

    Aside from a few joLieutenant typos, the story is quite enjoyable and manages to, perhaps, explain many incarnations of the Champion Eternal, while leaving us where some of us began way back in the original series. It was fun watching all of the pieces fall into place, and the mystery wrapped around intrigue and a bit of slight of hand.

    A return to a different Granbreten was fun, although once again Dorian Hawkmoon is charged with a very depressing fate. Having read all of the Eternal Champion stories at one time or another, my memory is busy tying in all of the disparate incarnations together with the latest, last depiction of The Balance struggle.

    The final battle between Elric and Gaynor was equisite and an altogether new twist on The Eternal struggle between these two. And Bastable was... well Bastable ;)

    I was just a tad disappointed that Elric's son was nothing more than a pawn, and didn't get to take a truly active part aside from being a sacrifice and seer of metal (although his true destiny awaits him).

    A very satisfying ending to THE most incredible series of fantasy and romances that I've ever read. Thank you, Mike, for giving me so much to enjoy, envision and think about these last few decades. You have greatly affected my own creative vision, and gave me lasting memories of characters that are truly iconic and deep, characters that breathe and live and die in strange ways ;)

    Thank you.

    Jeff

  • #2
    Where is everybody? I was sure there would be plenty of discussion by now...maybe everyone is still reading the book...?

    Overall, an interesting addition to the the EC mythos. When I finished reading TWWS, I went and re-read the last few chapters of The Quest for Tanelorn as a counterpoint. The two endings complement each other well.

    Unfortunately, TWWS was a bit of a letdown as a story. There is very little on-screen action, but lots of off-screen action related in dialog. Lots of wordy exposition that felt out of place.

    On the good side, I enjoyed many of the cameos, and the revelations regarding the White Wolf's Son (who he is, and his relationship with Oona) nicely tied up the series. I was also pleased that MM made the Una/Oona and Elric/Zodiac connections explicit.

    RAE

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by RAE
      Where is everybody? I was sure there would be plenty of discussion by now...maybe everyone is still reading the book...?

      On the good side, I enjoyed many of the cameos, and the revelations regarding the White Wolf's Son (who he is, and his relationship with Oona) nicely tied up the series. I was also pleased that MM made the Una/Oona and Elric/Zodiac connections explicit.

      RAE
      Yes, it's been strangely quiet around these parts. Where's the love, people? Mike's LAST EC/Elric story and... I guess folks are just taking there time with it, or waiting for Mike to return to the ranch.

      Anyway, yes, lots of explainations about the multiverse, but I thought the story flowed rather well once it actually got started. But I don't think this was meant to be an action story to begin with, but the final chess game of the Great Game. Lots of cloak and dagger mystery, with the planning taking place well before Oonagh's birth (poor girl was always just a pawn). It was more of a mystery, as in Ancient Mystery where we were the acolytes being lead on our way into full adepthood.

      It was nice to see the Elric/Ulrich/Zodiac idenity explained, since in MMM (the graphic novel), Zodiac was often called Ulrich, or was mistaken for him, and so at the beginning of this trilogy, it was a bit confusing until one remembers to push aside the previous volumes for this latest plane of existence.

      The Oona/Una one was sort of self-evident, but it was a nice follow through, as well as John beginning to have the nightmares (but poor Oonagh again left on the sidelines for Ermizhad... some day). It was a thrilling journey, and I am quite satisfied with it as a chess game and end piece.

      (ps. I received the additional copies that I special ordered at the store I manage, and placed it as my latest "staff pick" and have begun hand-selling it. So copies are available; I just hope that other stores received more than a handful -- or in my case originally one copy).

      Best,

      Jeff

      Comment


      • #4
        I started typing a reply a few days ago, but I was rushing it between jobs here at my workstation, and figured it needed more time and thought!

        I'll be back!

        Anyway, you know I love the book.

        Comment


        • #5
          I read it in a day and a half, after a heavy glance through the night before. I worked the opening shift last Saturday, then had the Sunday off and I got right into it. I picked up on most of the references to past work. Except McTalbayne... names seems to familiar, but I couldn't place it. But every thing else was lovely to see.

          When I have more time, I'll probably re-read all three books of the last trilogy, but I have some writing obligations to contend with first, plus the day job (and planning for the big Harry Potter festivities at said bookstore), so it won't be until later this year.

          I know Guy had read it and loved it. And by now he's probably read it 3 times :) It does get the mind thinking back to all of the past Eternal Champion books, and whets one's appetite to WANT to go back and read the past series (or single books like City in the Autumn Stars). The board just seems kinda quiet regarding something as monumental as Mike's last EC book, that's all.

          Kinda weird.

          But savor it as one sees fit.

          Best,

          Jeff

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: White Wolf's Son *SPOILERS* Discussion Thread

            Jeff, it is a bit "radio silent" around this topic. Many won't have read White Wolf's Son yet. Maybe some are waiting for Mike to come back from Las Cascadas. Since he is taking a chance for an episode of peace amidst the infinite struggles, arguably it behooves us to make our own views known without recourse to answers from The Author.

            Originally posted by Lord Doom
            I found it strange that Mike chose Oonagh as one of the principal narrators, because I recall him stating a dislike of child protagonists, but it all makes the trip that much more enjoyable, seeing the Multiverse and all of its many trappings through innocent eyes. We come to get to know her "real" world well before we are baited and eventually hooked and pulled into the rabbit hole leading to the Off-Moo and the chase.
            I found the Alice In Wonderland references great fun. Oonagh is identified as not being a Von Bek by blood early on, but in such a vague way that one almost forgets it, or puts it to one side, until it is re-iterated at the end. So she has none of the blood and is no way an avatar or even relative of the Champion. Yet she behaves in brave and moral ways, which I think is a reminder to us all that we can all be “champions� even we aren’t The Champion.

            I suppose the fact that she isn’t an albino and clearly couldn’t be the twin of Jack is to be read as an indicator of how crazed the four plotters were with their scheme, how “blinded� by their lust for power to all other considerations. Analogous to the kind of tunnel vision many real-life power-crazies develop. Doesn't stop them wielding power, and bringing disaster, even if their misreading of the situation means they will never fully succeed even on their own twisted terms.

            Originally posted by Lord Doom
            Aside from a few joLieutenant typos, the story is quite enjoyable and manages to, perhaps, explain many incarnations of the Champion Eternal, while leaving us where some of us began way back in the original series. It was fun watching all of the pieces fall into place, and the mystery wrapped around intrigue and a bit of slight of hand.
            I found it more than quite enjoyable, and had great fun watching the pieces fall into place, some anticipated from clues Mike dropped as he went along, others impossible to guess. As with previous finales which have apparently “explained it all,� I think we must bear in mind that the multiverse is a place of almost infinite iterations / re-iterations, and so this John Daker may or may not be exactly the same one whose adventures “started it all� (wasn’t he living in the 20th century, for example? Not the 21st. And if he was an albino with tapering ears, wouldn’t someone have mentioned it? Well, the fact that he’s narrating his own story and is perhaps “in denial� about being Elric’s son may explain that omission!)

            Originally posted by Lord Doom
            A return to a different Granbretan was fun…
            I really loved the return to Granbretan, which seemed more menacing than ever before. The characters and world we knew (or almost knew) from before gave the story an instant weight that some others have lacked, or have had to strive earnestly for. In other words, by taking us to Granbretan, Mike (without typing another word) brings into play the accumulated “literary capital� of the two Hawkmoon series (for those who have read them). (I’m pleased that I re-read them both last summer, so they are fairly fresh in the mind.) Shame about poor Flana this time around! Anyone have any ideas if Baron Bous-Junge is a reference to anyone else, or just his own (vile) man?

            Originally posted by Lord Doom
            …although once again Dorian Hawkmoon is charged with a very depressing fate.
            One thing I didn’t work out was how/why Hawkmoon and Erekأ¶se turned up at just the right time to play their parts in the finale with the Balance; everyone else’s entrances were choreographed in some detail. However I’m prepared to accept that the Multiverse and its Moonbeam Roads have enough twists and turns to bring those two avatars there (and then) without everything being spelled out. Of the Champions, Erekأ¶se is closest in many ways to John Daker (rather ironically) and has come to hate the Balance and what it has made him do. It's consistent then that he is trying to destroy it. Hawkmoon responds to Oona's pleading, or just to his own instincts, and saves the Balance. Not so depressing a fate, perhaps?

            (Aside: is Erekأ¶se in his bitterness half-way to becoming another Gaynor? But also: isn't there a good side to destroying the Balance? After all, one of the Champion's roles is to free humankind from all supernatural manifestations, thus freeing it to seek its own destiny. In WWS the Balance is needed, and so is Stormbringer in its own right, to achieve good ends. In other contexts, both are encumbrances on humankind, it seems.)

            Originally posted by Lord Doom
            The final battle between Elric and Gaynor was exquisite and an altogether new twist on The Eternal struggle between these two.
            The climactic sword fight was fantastic ! Quasi-infinite swords versus quasi-infinite Gaynors! Stormbringer ending up super-energized for it’s role in Elric’s own grand finale back in his own time-stream. (With all the attendant ironies that brings… the Black Sword’s demon living on to promote all sorts of unpleasantness… the serpent in the Paradise Elric apparently creates…)

            Originally posted by Lord Doom
            And Bastable was... well Bastable ;)
            Bastable got a chance to atone (?) for his great Original Sin (unwittingly dropping the Bomb on Hiroshima as a pawn of General Shaw) by dropping it by choice on terrible Londra. Not an easy decision for him to make, and not without its own burden of guilt. An interesting choice by narrator Mike, and a very satisfying turn of events to see out the character with. If characters are to come in some way “full circle� it will not be an easy ride or a cheap resolution in the world of Moorcock.

            As with so many moral and/or political choices made in White Wolf’s Son, Bastable’s choice seems to reflect our own times, especially the Iraq War which our glorious leaders took USUK into (in this case, contain the Dark Empire or annihilate it? Contain Saddam or invade and achieve regime change? Is Bastable right or wrong? It’s a debate not an answer.)

            Originally posted by Lord Doom
            I was just a tad disappointed that Elric's son was nothing more than a pawn, and didn't get to take a truly active part aside from being a sacrifice and seer of metal (although his true destiny awaits him).
            The key thing for me is that, yes, “his true destiny awaits him.� Everything else in his life so far has been a Prologue, one might say. Didn’t bother me that his role in this book was rather passive. He’s got an almost-infinite series of active struggles to come (poor bugger!).

            That’s my response to Jeff’s thoughtful and thought-provoking post (thanks, Jeff).

            More later.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Lord Doom
              I know Guy had read it and loved it. And by now he's probably read it 3 times :) It does get the mind thinking back to all of the past Eternal Champion books, and whets one's appetite to WANT to go back and read the past series (or single books like City in the Autumn Stars).
              I too read the book fairly fast; as with most of Mike's books, first time around, I just devoured it! "Can't put them down" as the old cliche has it.

              Wish I had manged to read it one or two more times, but alas the world of OR (original reality) is one in which shekels must be earned, laundry done, etc. I will read it again before too long!

              Absolutely agree it makes one want to go back over previous EC ground. I had to dip back into the ending of "The Quest For Tanelorn" just now, to remind myself how the last Hawkmoon / Erekأ¶se finale played out, after writing the above post.

              Whereas that finale really does seem to be an ending, WWS brings us an apparent finale that is much more of a beginning.

              If we must try to impose some kind of linearity on the multiverse, that is!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by RAE
                When I finished reading TWWS, I went and re-read the last few chapters of The Quest for Tanelorn as a counterpoint. The two endings complement each other well.
                Quite so!

                Originally posted by RAE
                Unfortunately, TWWS was a bit of a letdown as a story. There is very little on-screen action, but lots of off-screen action related in dialog. Lots of wordy exposition that felt out of place.
                Can’t agree about a “let-down� at all, but I can see how it might be that for some. The later EC books have had more exposition, less outright action. At first I found this hard to get into, but it’s grown on me.

                If the last confrontation between Elric and Gaynor had been a heated philosophical debate over a cup of tea I would have been a tad disappointed, admittedly.

                (Grand finale: 'His argument finally defeated by Elric's canny fusion of existentialism and logical positivism, Gaynor grimaced, attempting a threat, but the fight had gone out of him. “Curse you, albino! Why do you have to be so bloody right all the time?� He rose to his feet, and clad his formerly menacing bulk once again in his stinking furs, now the fitting raiment of a whipped cur. “I’m going down the pub,� he snarled. “You coming, Klosterheim?�)

                Originally posted by RAE
                On the good side, I enjoyed many of the cameos, and the revelations regarding the White Wolf's Son (who he is, and his relationship with Oona) nicely tied up the series. I was also pleased that MM made the Una/Oona and Elric/Zodiac connections explicit.
                I was also very, very pleased to have the links between Elric’s Thousand Yard Stare (sorry, Thousand Year Dream) and the mysteries of Count Zodiac, especially, spelled out explicitly. I am a fairly literal soul, and need this kind of explanation from time to time. Couldn’t figure it out before and it bugged me. I previously thought Zodiac was a descendant of Elric (through the Von Bek line).

                In Moorcock’s Multiverse (the comic / graphic novel) it is made fairly clear that Elric had come to a medieval time in “our world� or something like it, in search of the Horn Of Roland (as in Stormbringer) but lacked the courage to go back to his own world and fulfil his destiny. In the Moorcock’s Multiverse time-line he seems to be literally living out a life in “our world�, fighting on the side of the Saxon king of England, etc., not living this out as part of the Thousand Year Dream. Then he leaves our world, still in (or from) medieval times, to confront King Silverskin. He doesn’t stay a Thousand Years, doesn’t live on as Zodiac.

                But he leaves behind twin offspring, whose blood-line appears to lead to Count Zodiac in the 20th century.

                Now we have an alternative possible explanation; the storyline of Moorcock’s Multiverse may be intersecting with a world in which Elric is living out the Thousand Year Dream as Count Zodiac.

                Or not!

                My own belief is that the Multiverse creates similar scenarios from slightly different cloth in different planes. Hence an almost infinite number of stories can be played out.

                I doubt if Mike has really written his last. At least one movie and several more comics, please, Sir Scribe.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by GuyLawley
                  Now we have an alternative possible explanation; the storyline of Moorcock’s Multiverse may be intersecting with a world in which Elric is living out the Thousand Year Dream as Count Zodiac.

                  Or not!

                  My own belief is that the Multiverse creates similar scenarios from slightly different cloth in different planes. Hence an almost infinite number of stories can be played out.

                  I doubt if Mike has really written his last. At least one movie and several more comics, please, Sir Scribe.
                  Well, Mike said this would be that in the novel format, but left it WIDE open for other formats, expecially comic books (hopefully with Walt again, or even a direct collaboration with Craig Russell). As a last novel of the Eternal Champion, I am quite pleased with it.

                  Zodiac... Yes. Recall in MMM, Von Bek referred to Zodiac as being his cousin Ulrich, or believing it was Ulrich. So, it seems in WWS that perhaps the different parts of Elric's Thousand Year Dream all came together, including his time in the pyramids, and then the Creation of Mirenberg through the Von Beks.

                  Thanks for your own thoughtful remarks, Guy. You are truly a scholar of the Multiverse!

                  What was your interpretation of "There was never a Runestaff." This felt rather odd to me, on an emotional level that is. I haven't quite sat down and recalled all of the other Runestaff bits (except for Hawkmoon, which I re-read last year). Oh, and by Hawkmoon's depressing fate, I meant this incarnation of his world; Isolda captured (and never seen), everyone but him and Ohladahn dead, Count Brass mortally wounded and all sent on a suicide mission. It seemed more desperate a life then the previous ones, even though each one cost him dearly.

                  Cheers.

                  Jeff

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Jeff, I agree there are lots of questions around these areas; there could be a whole thread on the Runestaff/Hawkmoon-related elements of the book.

                    Oona's line about how the Runestaff didn't exist hit me, too, with a real joLieutenant.

                    It felt quite wrong, almost as if Mike were wiping out a whole set of his books or other realities.

                    So I figured, no, he wouldn't do that. In the Runestaff tetralogy and the Chronicles of Castle Brass too much hinges on the Runestaff.

                    So I think this was shaking us up deliberately, and making us think about why, in this reality at this time someone with Oona's broad knowledge of the Multiverse would say such a thing.

                    Two possible explanations came to mind:

                    (1) The Grail is being represented here by the big green stone (I think! No time to check my facts this morning) which has to be there as the base of the Balance, as it is constituted in this reality. So other aspects of itself (such as the Runestaff) simply can’t manifest at the same time. Oona is just plain wrong.

                    (2) The Runestaff is at this time and place only a legend. In other planes of the multiverse it will be called into existence (as a new aspect of the Grail). Why? Perhaps because Hawkmoon (and the others who oppose the dark Empire) needs it to exist so his struggles will be better rewarded. Perhaps it is in part his reward for saving the Balance this time around.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Erekose vs Hawkmoon

                      Anyone have an idea on what killed Hawkmoon?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by GuyLawley
                        Jeff, I agree there are lots of questions around these areas; there could be a whole thread on the Runestaff/Hawkmoon-related elements of the book.

                        Oona's line about how the Runestaff didn't exist hit me, too, with a real joLieutenant.

                        It felt quite wrong, almost as if Mike were wiping out a whole set of his books or other realities.

                        So I figured, no, he wouldn't do that. In the Runestaff tetralogy and the Chronicles of Castle Brass too much hinges on the Runestaff.

                        So I think this was shaking us up deliberately, and making us think about why, in this reality at this time someone with Oona's broad knowledge of the Multiverse would say such a thing.

                        Two possible explanations came to mind:

                        (1) The Grail is being represented here by the big green stone (I think! No time to check my facts this morning) which has to be there as the base of the Balance, as it is constituted in this reality. So other aspects of itself (such as the Runestaff) simply can’t manifest at the same time. Oona is just plain wrong.

                        (2) The Runestaff is at this time and place only a legend. In other planes of the multiverse it will be called into existence (as a new aspect of the Grail). Why? Perhaps because Hawkmoon (and the others who oppose the dark Empire) needs it to exist so his struggles will be better rewarded. Perhaps it is in part his reward for saving the Balance this time around.
                        Guy,

                        Well, it seems to be a new interpretation. Earlier in the novel, one of the Empire's generals thought over the Runestaff and "swearing by the Runestaff" in this version of Granbretan, and Hawkmoon fought for the Runestaff (with black stone still in skull). But Oona's line was sort of akin to saying "They believed in something that didn't really existed -- a lie." Whereas the Balance was represented by only The Green Stone, The Graal cups, and the two Runeswords, Stormbringer and Mournblade made one. Perhaps when the swords are united as one, they are the essence of what otherwise is known as the Runestaff, a misrepresentation of the divine truth.

                        But with the heavy reliance upon the Runestaff in the earlier Hawkmoon books, it felt as if the rug was pulled out from under me with this new direction, especially with Hawkmoon and the Knight in Black and Yellow included in. Perhaps the Runestaff is an "outdated" idea, better represented by Von Bek's Grail and the more popular Runeswords of Elric/Zodiac. Burning the bridges to the past, to unfold the moonbeam roads ahead.

                        But I assume that is why Mike put that in there: to shake things up and get us thinking again. Perhaps we have been too complacent, and have fathomed too much of this ancient mystery and needed to be thrust back into the dark. After all, no one wants the moonbeam roads to start crawling with congestion ;)

                        Best,

                        Jeff

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Finished it yesterday (Midsummer's Eve - how apt!)

                          It occurred to me that Mike used a childs point of view to make us think about the outcome and arguments. Using an adult protagonist would allow that character to consider things and attempt to rationalise them, thus explaining events a little too much. Some of the dialogue was very reminiscent of the Jerry books, where one feels if only a character would say a little more, then things would become a whole lot clearer, a lot sooner.
                          It's a device that lends itself to making a story that can be open to interpretation in many ways, creating a very personal experience. Of course, it also fosters debate, too.
                          A very enjoyable read overall and a very nice feel to it that seems to blend a lot of Mike's styles.
                          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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                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Lord Doom
                            Well, it seems to be a new interpretation. Earlier in the novel, one of the Empire's generals thought over the Runestaff and "swearing by the Runestaff" in this version of Granbretan, and Hawkmoon fought for the Runestaff (with black stone still in skull). But Oona's line was sort of akin to saying "They believed in something that didn't really existed -- a lie."
                            The fact that people in the White Wolf's Son timestream swear by the Runestaff doesn't make it real. I probably say "Oh, Jesus!" several times a week, but to my rationalist mind-set I am swearing by a legend.

                            I'm not sure it is stated that Hawkmoon fought with / for the Runestaff in any concrete way in this timestream. Didn't he turn down the help of the warrior in Black and Jade? By doing that he lost his chance to find out whether the staff was real or not.

                            Mike has stated more than once within the texts that human belief can create reality in the multiverse. Maybe with a bit of help from cosmic forces. Hence my idea no.2 ; that the Runestaff will be called into being in another set of realities.

                            I have no doubt that the Runestaff has reality in those planes where the 7 Hawkmoon/Castle Brass books are set.

                            The questions are: Why did Oona say it doesn't exist in the WWS reality? And was she right or wrong?

                            We tend to assume that Oona / Una is a reliable source of knowledge about the multiverse. Very often she has been Mike's own "source" of information and stories. Is Mike playing with our core beliefs; asking us to question what our "reliable narrator" says?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              having only read of Elric and Bek and naught of Count Brass and
                              Hawkmoon, I can only speculum, errr, speculate...
                              perhaps it is the very belief of the Runestaff by the denizens of Granbretan
                              which calls the actual Runestaff into existence among other branes.

                              The ferris wheel made me conceptualize a model of the m-verse in a
                              new way. Just as Kl and GVM use the wheel to travel to and fro
                              from london to londra, perhaps the different realities are like
                              3D ferris wheels... ferris spheres? gyrating and frictioning alongside
                              one another like a pack of ballons at different speeds, rates and
                              ya know, physics stuff.

                              it's late.

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