Tell me, Muse, of the man of many devices..., I

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Abgeschickt von Birgit am 01 Maerz, 2005 um 12:38:09:

Hier also die wichtigsten Auszüge aus meinem Odyssee/LC Vergleich:

The Homeric themes she weaves into the fabric of her own story go far beyond language and imagery. It has been pointed out many times that there are echoes of the Odyssey all through the LC. The ancient myth, the archaic epos reverberates through all of Lymond's story. This is in no way to say that the LC are a mere retelling of the Odyssey. Odysseus and Lymond each have their own story, told by their own bard. But it is fascinating to see to what extend DD picks up this, let me call it "cultural echo". How deeply it reverberates and how DD's genius transforms it into Lymond's very own story.

With this in mind it is illuminating not only to read the Odyssey but also to delve a little deeper and analyze the myth. To go beyond the surface story and look at what the poet means to convey on a different level. ...

The similarities are striking:

After the Trojan war the gods decide that the Greeks have to pay for their hybris. They send gales, storms and tempests, the flotilla scatters, a number of ships sink, taking down their crew of seaman and soldiers. Few Greeks are lucky enough to return to their own homes. And among those the sea spares, some will meet death on their doorstep (Agamemnon frex). The tempest seperates Odysseus and his companions from the larger part of the fleet. He is alone on the sea with his own flotilla. He faces the same ordeals, weathers the same storms as his comrades in distress.
The overiding theme of the Odyssey is that of Odysseus, the "homecoming hero", having been blown off course, overcoming all sorts of obstacles and hardships in order to return home.


Which is precisely what Game of Kings is about:
After the battle of Solway Moss, Lymond has been unable to return home. He is forced to wander strange countries, he has to overcome hardships and obstacles in order to clear his name, to find his way back "home", literally and metaphysically.

And on a grander scale this gets replayed in all of the LC, again this is the dominant theme.


And so the Greeks sail on, the fleet much reduced. A little farther on, Odysseus aproaches Cape Malea and passes it. From that point he can already sight the shores of Ithaca, his homeland. He feels as if he is home again. But just as he imagines his trip is over, the curtain rises on another part of Odysseus's journey: All he had done so far was the voyage of any naval commander heading back from a military expedition across the sea. When they round Cape Malea, though a tempest suddenly crashes down on the Greeks. It will blow for seven long days, moving the flotilla into a region utterly different from the one in which it had been sailing. Odysseus has no idea where he is; In a way he leaves the bounds of the known world, of the human 'oiumenos', and enters a realm of nonhumankind, a world of elsewhere.

From this point on Odysseus only comes across beings who are either quasi divine, like Circe or Calypso, who feed on nectar and ambrosia, or beings who are subhuman, monsters like the Cyclopes, cannibals who feed on human flesh. For the Greeks the signal feature of man - what defines him as such - is the fact of eating bread and drinking wine, having a certain kind of food and acknowledging the laws of hospitality, welcoming the foreigner, rather than devouring him. The universe into which Odysseus and his sailors have been thrown by the terrible tempest is the complete opposite of this normal human world.

In the country of forgetting

The inhabitants of this country are the Lotophagi, the lotus eaters. Full of smiles they invite the foreign seamen to share their usual meal. Just as man feeds on bread and wine, so they eat an exquisite plant, the lotus. If a human should consume that delicious food, he forgets everything. He no longer recalls his own past, he loses all notion of who he is, where he comes from, where he's going. Anyone who eats of the lotus ceases to live as men live, with the memory of the past in them and the sense of what they are.


This is the danger Lymond faces in QP, in his Thady Boy incarnation. The danger of "losing himself" in this particular aspect of his personality, forgetting everything else, losing the full sense of "who" he is.


Throughout the long journey to follow, at every moment, behind all Odysseus's adventures with his companions, this forgetting - the erasure of any memory of the homeland, any desire to return to it - forgetting is the constant danger, the evil. To be in the human world is to be living in sunlight, seeing other people and beeing seen by them, living in mutuality, bearing in mind oneself and other people.

Here, though, they are entering a world where nocturnal powers - the children of the Night, as Hesiod calls them - will slowly spread their sinister shadow over Odysseus's crew and over Odysseus himself. A cloud of darkness hangs perpetually over the navigators, and it threatens to be their undoing if they fall to forgetting about the journey home.


This is also one of the main dangers Lymond faces. This "Cloud of darkness" that hangs over him, the danger of being lost in the shadows, of forgetting about sunlight, ceasing to try and find a way home, out of this darkness. The danger of being overwhelmed by the nocturnal powers, of giving in to despair, of giving up. DD cleverly evokes this eternal theme in her darkness/sunlight imagery, the leitmotif for Lymond and Philippa's journey troughout the LC. (in a metaphorical sense, Philippa is Lymond's true "Home")


Odysseus himself faces the Cyclops

When they come to the island of the Cyclopes, who live in caves on the mountain tops, the companions urge Odysseus to leave the cave of the Polyphem before the Cyclops returns, but Odysseus refuses. He wants to stay and look around; wants to know who lives in this place.

Odysseus is not only the man who must remember; he is also the man who wants to see, to know, to try out every thing the world has to offer, even this subhuman world he's been flung into. Odysseus' curiosity always urges him farther beyond, which this time could easily be his undoing. In fact, that curiosity does cause the death of several companions.

The Cyclops is enormous, gigantic, he dismisses the laws of hospitality he dismisses the Gods invoked by Odysseus, he starts eating and killing the companions. But he underestimates Odysseus, who, bluffing and dissembling, does not give Polyphem his true name, doesn't let on who he really is. And so he tricks him, blinds him and manages to escape. But he cannot resist showing who he truly is, cannot resist giving his true name.

The Cyclops, in his rage, now knowing the identity of his opponent, having his full measure, pronounces a solemn curse upon Odysseus. He invokes his father Poseidon and pleads for revenge: that Odysseus may not return home to the land of Ithaca without suffering a thousand disasters, all his companions dying, his ship capsizing and leaving him alone, lost, a castaway. If Odysseus should somehow nonetheless get through all this alive, the Cyclops wants him to reach Ithaca as a stranger, on a strange ship - not as the long-awaited seafarer making a triumphal return on his own vessel.

Poseidon hears his son's curse. From that episode dates his determination - which will govern all Odysseus's subsequent adventures - that this man shall be forced to the farthest frontier of the shades and of death, and that his ordeals shall be the most dreadful possible.


Think of Gabriel's wrath: "I shall sink my anvil further into the flesh of your heart...". The fury and menace with which Gabriel tries to punish Lymond for daring to "meddle", for foiling his efforts, for interfering with his plans. Gabriel's wrath, his "curse" is responsible for setting Lymond even further adrift, blow him further off course, put him through the most dreadful ordeals, delaying his journey home.

The Cyclopes are giants. Gabriel is described as being taller than most men..

Lymond's determination to find out about Gabriel, in Malta, and later in Scotland in DK, his decision to take on the challenge, causes the death of many companions (Will Scott, Wat Scott....). In order to win against Gabriel, Lymond has to dissemble, his his true identity, his true nature from him, has to get him to underestimate him. And indeed, Gabriel, who respects no God (!), feels himself superior, underestimates Lymond and is thus tricked and defeated. But at a price. He now knows Lymond's "true identity", has the the true measure of his opponent and is determined t take revenge.


Fortsetzung folgt



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