Today the Dragon Wins

"Today the Dragon Wins" offers information from Fantasy Author and Professional Editor Sandy Lender. You'll also find dragons, wizards, sorcerers, and other fantasy elements necessary for a fabulous story, if you know where to look...

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Sandy Lender is the editor of an international trade publication and the author of the fantasy novels Choices Meant for Gods and Choices Meant for Kings, available from ArcheBooks Publishing, and the series-supporting chapbook, What Choices We Made.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Today’s Old English Poem is About the Mead Hall
Or…an excerpt from Beowulf

(Heorot is the most famous of mead halls, built on order from old King Hrothgar so he’d have a place to hold feasts for his men and hand out rings and other gifts. Hrothgar is in the line of Sceld Scylding – and there’s a name you’ll find in the Taiman genealogy in Choices Meant for Gods – so he’s a worthy king, you see. Heorot means “Hart”.)

The following excerpt is taken from the Donaldson Translation, 1975.

“Then Hrothgar was given success in warfare, glory in battle, so that his retainers gladly obeyed him and their company grew into a great band of warriors. It came to his mind that he would command men to construct a hall, a mead-building larger than the children of men had ever heard of, and therein he would give to young and old all that God had given him, except for common land and men’s bodies. Then I have heard that the work was laid upon many nations, wide through this middle-earth, that they should adorn the folk-hall. In time it came to pass—quickly, as men count it—that it was finished, the largest of hall-dwellings. He gave it the name Heorot, he who ruled wide with his words. He did not forget his promise: at the feast he gave out rings, treasure. The hall stood tall, high and wide-gabled:”

etc.

The problem with Heorot is that a nasty beast dwelt nearby (you all know the story of Beowulf and Grendel) who hated hearing the mirth and happiness exuded from the hall every night. He got fussy and decided to appear, tearing men apart after they fell asleep (read: passed out drunk) in the hall. I have to admit that the ryfel in Choices Meant for Gods were created in Grendel’s image. Don’t ask me why I gave them a completely foreign name, but they resemble the creature that came to my mind when I pictured a monster stalking the king’s hall from the deeps of the fen; a little scaly, a little slimy, poisonous, huge, hulking, no lips, jagged teeth, the whole this-thing-can-rip-you-apart-and-poison-you-for-good-measure kind of monster that little kids would be afraid of finding in the closet—if it could fit in a closet. Nigel particularly hates the beasts, and you can find out why if you feel compelled to pick up the book through one of the online book sources (or at your local book seller). The direct link to get Choices Meant for Gods by Sandy Lender from ArcheBooks Publishing (thus saving 25% off the price) is www.archebooks.com/BookIDX/Indexes/Fantasy/CMG/CMGsa.pdf. And Amazon has it set up as a super saver so you don’t have to pay shipping if you order it at www.amazon.com. Obviously, I’m pushing the fantasy novel shamelessly here. Forgive me.

“Some days, I just want the dragon to win.”

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