I write fantasy because it’s there.  I have no other excuse for sitting down for several hours a day indulging my imagination.  Daydreaming.   Thinking up imaginary people, impossible places.  Imagination is the golden-eyed monster that never sleeps.  It must be fed; it cannot be ignored.   Making it tell the same tale over and over again makes it thin and whining; its scales begin to fall off; its fiery breath becomes a trickle of smoke.  It is best fed by reality, an odd diet for something nonexistent; there are few details of daily life and its broad range of emotional context that can’t be transformed into food for the imagination.  It must be visited constantly, or else it begins to become restless and emit strange bellows at embarrassing moments; ignoring it only makes it grow larger and noisier.  Content, it dreams awake, and spins the fabric of tales.  There is really nothing to be done with such imagery except to use it:  in writing, in art.   Those who fear the imagination condemn it:  something childish, they say, something monsterish, misbegotten.  Not all of us dream awake.  But those of us who do have no choice.
—  Patricia McKillip
Anyone who has read the 'Riddle-Master' trilogy

These posts aren’t usually my thing but…

is there ANYONE out there at all who has read the Riddle-Master trilogy (The Riddle Master of Hed, Heir of Sea and Fire, Harpist in the Wind…also sometimes called Riddle of Stars) by Patricia A. McKillip? Seriously I cannot be the only one.

So if you have read these books, or liked them, or post about them, or want to talk about them, like or reblog this so I can follow you?

Odd things draw my attention. Happiness, sorrow, they weave through the world like strangely colored threads that can be found in unexpected places. Even when they are hidden away, most secret, they leave signs, messages, because if something is not said in words, it will be said another way.
—  The Changeling Sea - Patricia McKillip
A riddle is a tale so familiar you no longer see it; it’s simply there, like the air you breathe, the ancient names of Kings echoing in the corners of your house, the sunlight in the corner of your eyes; until one day you look at it and something shapeless, voiceless in you opens a third eye and sees it as you have never seen it before. Then you are left with the knowledge of the nameless question in you, and the tale that is no longer meaningless but the one thing in the world that has meaning any more.
—  Raederle from Heir of Sea and Fire by Patricia McKillip

Heroism. Death. Magic. Quests. Mythology. Sorceress princesses, bard kings, and the Assistant Pig-Keeper. With its classic fantasy feel, memorable characters, wry humor, and complex takes on morality and heroics, the Chronicles of Prydain were a touchstone of so many of our readerly developments. Here are a few books to read three, five, ten, or twenty years later. 

The Riddle-Master of Hed, by Patricia McKillip

A world of dangerous riddles and farmer-kings, a mysterious sigil, a quest… The Riddle-Master trilogy contains that alchemical combination of intriguing characters, adventure, magic, wry wit, darkness, whimsy, and moral exploration that made the Prydain Chronicles so compelling for so many of us, with Patricia’s McKillip’s keen eye for imagery and lovely prose.  

The Mabinogian

The essential book of Welsh mythology, from which so much of Prydain was drawn.

The Gawgon and the Boy, by Lloyd Alexander

A loosely autobiographical story of boyhood, monsters, friendship, learning, and possibilities.

The Curse of Chalion, by Lois McMaster Bujold

After years imprisoned as a galley slave, Cazaril wants only home and rest. Instead, a post as secretary-tutor to a young noblewoman draws him into a world of intrigue, both human and divine. Bujold creates a world of complex theology and morality grounded in compelling characters and dilemmas, and the series only gets better from here.

Daughter of the Forest, by Juliet Marillier

Juliet Marillier retells the story of the six swans with grace and power.

Gods and Fighting Men, by Lady Gregory 

Lady Gregory’s collection of myths of the founding of Ireland.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by N.K. Jemisin

When Yeine is summoned by her mother’s powerful, estranged family, she is thrust into a world of power struggles, gods, ever-changing stories, and shifting lines between good and evil and enemies and friends.

Stardust, by Neil Gaiman

Gaiman’s beloved fairytale is by turns melancholy, frightening, and hilarious, and it’s always magical.

A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula LeGuin

The classic bildungsroman of magic and power. 

Sabriel, by Garth Nix

Garth Nix’s rich world and dark magic make the story of Sabriel, who is summoned away from her civilized boarding school to confront family secrets and ancient evils in the Old Kingdom, an unmissable middle grade/YA fantasy. 

The Mabinogian Tetralogy, by Evangeline Walton

Walton’s ambitious, novelistic retelling of the tales of the Mabinogian. 

The King of Elfland’s Daughter, by Lord Dunsany

Beautiful, sometimes melancholy, and certainly one of the more influential works of 20th century fantasy. 

Previously in this series: Tamora Pierce’s Tortall books, The Giver Quartet

for a moment, lightly a winter rose playlist | [listen]

Vagabond \ Misterwives | Broken Horse \ Freelance Whales | Within the Rose \ Matthew and the Atlas | Little Waltz \ Basia Bulat | Wading in Deeper \ Katzenjammer | Great Expectations \ Cat Power | Hunger of the Pine \ alt-j | From the Woods \ James Vincent McMorrow |Smoke \ Daughter | The Sun is Going Down II \ Sóley | The Rose Captain \ Sea Wolf | Come out of the Woods \ Matthew and the Atlas

Best artwork ever

This is a book by Patricia McKillip and I honestly don’t know how I’ve missed her books. The artwork is so similar to the Wildwood series from Juliet Marillier that I had to get this book…and 3 others.  

I’ll put up a photo of each books artwork everyday because it’s just so beautiful. And I think I’ll start reading one of her books tonight! :) I’m still reading Seer of Sevenwaters but I have a feeling these books are gonna be good. 

What do you think love is- a thing to startle from the heart like a bird at every shout or blow? You can fly from me, high as you choose into your darkness, but you will see me always beneath you, no matter how far away, with my face turned to you. My heart is in your heart. I gave it to you with my name that night and you are its guardian, to treasure it, or let it whither and die. I do not understand you. I am angry with you. I am hurt and helpless, but nothing will fill the ache of the hollowness in me where your name would echo if I lost you.
—  Patricia A. McKillip, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld

Is anyone out there a Patricia McKillip fan who has also read The Sorceress & the Cygnet? I don’t know if I know of anyone who is a fan of hers and has also read that book and alsdksjlf I am DYING to talk to someone about it.

It was one of my favorite books when I was a teen – it came out in 1991 and I think I must have found it not more than a couple of years afterward, because I remember it being a cornerstone of my mental landscape back then. The prose awed me, the setting awed me, the characters awed me. That book is what gave me my otherwise inexplicable love of swamps and my not-so-inexplicable love of difficult women doing frightening magic.

However, I hadn’t read it in many many years because I’d given away my copies because I wanted to share one of the biggest influences of my imagination. I’d been thinking about buying the omnibus edition that has The Cygnet & the Firebird as well (I’m also very fond of it even though it isn’t quite as much of a cornerstone, as I discovered it much later), but I’ve been putting it off because I worried that after a decade of wide reading, writing a lot on my own, and a LOT of expanding my ability to think critically, my beloved book would unravel into a pile of suck.

Then I found it at the library a couple of weeks ago and could not check it out fast enough. I finished it last night and… oh my god I still love this book so very very much.

Not only that, but I finally GET it. Y'see, I had a lot of trouble with metaphor and symbolism as a kid – for all I had always read far above my grade level, things like metaphor and symbolism and deeper thematic elements eluded my often rigidly logical brain. I had to work very hard in my teens and early twenties (helped along by an awesome film analysis class my senior year of high school) to unravel and understand all that.

So, fast forward to now, where I’ve had a decade of conscious practice at meta, and I finally really understand the climax and ending. I finally actually understand what the Tinker and others were really having Corleu do, and why Nyx was so surprised and in tears. I finally understand, and it’s amazing.