Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain

It’s fair to say that I read a good number of books children’s books. Having kids of my own, I like to pilfer their shelves from time to time. In our house, we like to stock “the classics” as a sort of quality guarantee. Since children’s books became a genre there have been writers who have tried to cash in on the children’s market as a way to make a quick buck with little effort. Reading “the classics” means that you get the best books from every era without having to wade through the formulaic twaddle, most of which has mercifully been forgotten over the years.
It’s a different story with modern children’s books. Picking up a new children’s book means taking a chance on wasting your time, and the modern children’s book publishing machine loves tried and true formulas. After the success of Harry Potter we got books about schools for magical/mythological/specially talented kids who are sorted into groups based on their personalities. After The Hunger Games took off, we’ve have had m…

And Then There Was Silence

Written by Hansi Kursh of Blind Guardian, this song tells the the story of the fall of Troy, combining elements from both the Iliad and the Aeneid. The striking thing about this song is that it takes place as Paris is returning to Troy with Helen, and is told entirely by Cassandra. The song veers into the past where we see Paris giving the golden apple to Aphrodite (Out of three you've chosen misery. Power and wisdom you deny) as well as to the future, foretelling Hector's defeat by Achilles and the Trojan horse and Fall of Troy. The soaring heights and plummeting depths of the music reflect Cassandra's feverish visions, and the entire song is imbued with a deep feeling of despair as we see the destiny of the great city. The only hope the song offers are the lines "Revenge will be taken by Rome," and "In decay, the flame of Troy will shine bright," both pointing to the glory of Rome that will ascend from the ashes of ruined Troy. This is both a beautiful and powerful song.