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…

Quotations from Merlin and Arthur

Well, I recently finished reading the Pendragon Trilogy by Stephen Lawhead, a series of books that combines the traditional King Arthur legends with the story of Atlantis and also focuses heavily on the Welsh/Celtic origins of the Arthur stories before the French got ahold of them. Lawhead later went on to had two more books to the series, effectively making it the Pendragon Cycle, but I'm not sure if I'll get around to reading the newer books. Overall the series was good. There were some things that seemed clunky about trying to meld the Atlantis and Arthur legends. However, most of this was fixed by the second half of the second book. Lawhead can be a great author with moments of brilliant prose, but this being one of his earlier books, there are also a number of darlings that should have been murdered along the way. From what I've read of his King Raven Trilogy, which was just written a few years ago, his newer writings are much more consistent.

Anyway, I've been keeping a list of quotations from the last two books in the series, just things that caught my fancy for one reason or another, and I thought I'd share them here.

Quotations from Merlin

“And it came to me while I was singing—watching the ring of faces around the night’s fire, their eyes glittering like dark sparks, gazing raptly as the song kindled and took light in their souls—it came to me that the way to men’s souls was through their hearts, not through their minds. As much as a man might be convinced in his mind, as long as his heart remained unchanged all persuasion would fail. The surest way to the heart is through song and story: a single tale of high and noble deeds spoke to men more forcefully than all of blessed Dafyd’s homilies.” – page 150

“Much in the elder days was evil, I admit; I am not like one of those pig-headed fools who stare into the embers of a dying fire and think to see the kindling of tomorrow’s flame. But neither do I deny the good where I find it.” – page 191

“Better a heart broken in love than a head broken in Latin.”  page 323

Quotations from Arthur

“‘He said that once some men were digging a well and came upon a great, flat stone. It was, they discovered, the foundation stone of this worlds-realm, so they decided to lift it up and see what lay beneath it. This they did. And do you know what they found?’

‘I cannot say. What did they find?’

‘Love,” replied Myrddin simply.

‘Love. That is all?’ I resented myself for being cozened by Myrddin’s children’s tale.

‘There is nothing else, Bedwyr. Love lies beneath all there is and upholds it…’” – page 148

“I knew the words he spoke to be true, but the truths they revealed were too deep for me then. That, or else I was a vessel too shallow. I cannot say which.” – page 369