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Nov 6, 2023Liked by Jane Psmith

What a delightful review. Thanks for reminding me of how great this book is. I haven’t read it for years but now I need to dig it out of storage and give it to my sons to read. Thanks.

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"Nerds are still capable of telling stories about friendship or self-actualization or rebellion against oppression, but fantasy in particular is so deeply occupied with kings and wars and high politics that the inability to come to terms with why those things matter leaves the genre empty."

My favorite telling of how jarring it is to displace a king, even a bad king, is Shakespeare's Richard II. I've only seen the Hollow Crown production, so that's what I'm going with, but they made the scene where Richard is dispossessed of his crown excruciating. And the production in no way believes he's a good king or even a tolerable one! But you get such a clear sense that the king that follows cannot be king in the same way, and that removing a bad king badly breaks something.

The other good example of how different a king might be than "the one who is currently in charge" comes in Macbeth, when Edward the Confessor never appears on stage, but he is curing scrofula nearby off stage when Malcolm is in England, and it's Malcolm's reverence for/awe of Edward that establishes he might be able to restore his nation, not just remove Macbeth.

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I read this book completely by chance. Library of America had a sale on books and I picked up the four volume 1950's and 1960's Sci Fi collections. I have since pushed it on a number of people (And I seldom read science fiction). But it is just good story telling with a highly entertaining cast and story arc. Interesting tidbit about SCA, had no idea.

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