The Weird of the White Wolf by Michael Moorcock
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
These shorts and novellas almost all revolve around Elric, the tormented anti-hero that sits in the palm of Chaos thanks to his intelligent and willful sword Stormbringer.
As sword and sorcery stories go, this one really stands out. It's not so much Conan as it is straddling the line between shifting realities and the world, wanting to be free of the fate of the Champion of Chaos while being the penultimate brooder with unimaginable powers, seeking peace at any cost.
Whenever I think of Elric, I think of the ultimate archetype, and there's a lot to point at to prove it. The writer walks the careful line of making him and his quest larger than life, full of magic and conquest, sea battles, monster battles, and even going so far as to open the book of life, as stolen by the greatest necromancer... only to have all answers crumble before him.
Chaos and Law are the maelstroms that Elric traverses, and even though the theme is very much done and done again even in this cycle, the quest is always the thing. We're always meant to come away with the same conclusions as Elric, the great and evil Elric, deciding to give the world the misery it so seems to desire.
Pretty powerful stuff, really, and these really should be placed in their proper time, the sixties and seventies, introducing us to the template to one of the greatest tragic heroes and sometimes horrendous villains.
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