Shelves: british-and-irish-fiction , sff , ya , england Alan Garner is widely considered one of Englands most beloved childrens authors, so naturally I had to investigate what the fuss was about. The problem with beloved childrens authors is that a lot of people love them because they were raised on them, and if you come onto the scene decades later as an adult, you may fail to see what the appeal is, only to be met with wintry glares from everybody else, trying to enjoy their nostalgia binge. Cardboard cut-outs Susan and Colin I just finished the book and still had to check their names are sent to live in rural Cheshire with friends of their parents, who have gone overseas on business. In the habit of rural London children throughout the annals of fantasy, they soon find themselves embroiled in a magical adventure involving wizards, dwarves, goblins and magic stones.
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Share via Email The power of place Wenlock Edge, near Alderley Edge, Cheshire. Unlike most, this map shows a real place — albeit one containing such evocative place names as Stormy Point, Iron Gates and Golden Stone. A place, better still, that plenty of Reading Group contributors have visited. Nikto tells us : Alan Garner was young and learning his craft, and he set the books in the modern world and in real places that can be visited, which gives a hell of a buzz to the reader.
All you need to do is to go where he tells you, sit down, wait, and let the atmosphere and the stories get to you. He really does know the power of the places he writes about.
I first visited in while at university, a lot of the locations were still open ish , but on a more recent visit I was saddened to see that many of the interest points on the Edge have had to be fenced off to protect them from the pounding boots of tourists.
The Golden Stone , which has its own history. Errwood Hall — dare you go at full moon? And the location of the dolerous blow … Cleulow Cross. I could go on really! If you like the stories, do go and visit … And all there is to say about that is: wonderful. Thank you Dan Collins. Mind you, Collins does also include a word of warning: "The Edge has lost some of its magic, as it has become a real tourist hotspot not the fault of AG alone.
But wander off to Shuttlingsloe or other far-flung locations and you can feel the magical landscape Garner describes. As Wikipedia tells us: Alderley Edge, like its neighbour Wilmslow, is famous for its affluence and expensive houses. It has a selection of cafes and designer shops, and has attracted numerous Premier League footballers, actors and multi-millionaire north-western business people that live in and around the Wilmslow area.
It is one of the most expensive and sought-after places to live in the UK outside of central London. It sounds like a candidate for Crap Towns. Does the Morrigan attend Wag parties? Many of the stories he tells in The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and The Moon of Gomrath are, if not as old as the hills, at least as old as the mines and paths that have helped shape the Cheshire landscape.
Anyone can walk around a beautiful place and learn a few local legends. It takes a rare talent to breath them into passages like this: After a while they left the hedges behind, the land became broken and uneven, but they did not falter.
Wide trenches opened under them, one after another, dangerously deep; and ghostly, broken walls, gaping like the ruins of an ancient citadel, lowered on either side. It was as though they were rising out of their own time back to a barbaric age, yet they were running only by the peat stacks of Danes Moss, a great tract of bogland that lay at the foot of the hills.
This: Colin turned off the road on to the track that ran along the wood side. On his left were pine and oak, on his right the fields and hills.
He came to the grey block of sandstone that stood at the border of the path and was called the Goldenstone. It was so crudely shaped that few people would notice that it carried the mark of tools, and was not one of the many outcrops on the Edge, but had been placed there at some time of the world for a forgotten purpose.
And this: About half a mile from Highmost Redmanhey, round the shoulder of Clinton Hill, there is a disused and flooded quarry. Where the sides are not cliffs, wooded slopes drop steeply. A broken wind pump creaks, and a forgotten path runs nowhere into brambles. In sunlight it is a forlorn place, forlorn as nothing but deserted machinery can be; but when the sun goes in, the air is charged with a different feeling. The water is sombre under its brows of cliff, and the trees crowd down to drink, the pump sneers; lonely, green-hued, dark.
Alan Garner to conclude Weirdstone of Brisingamen trilogy
File:Weirdstone-brisingamen Published originally by Collins, whose head at the time was looking for more fantasy novels in order to cash in on the success of The Lord of the Rings , The Weirdstone went on to critical and commercial success at the time and has remained popular ever since though not so much with its author. The story of Weirdstone draws heavily on the local folklore of Cheshire, specifically a folk tale called The Wizard Under The Hill which revolved around a wizard guarding a cave in which King Arthur and his knights slept. Garner also borrowed other elements from Norse and Celtic mythologies; the lios and svart-alfar, the Morrigan, Ragnarok and mixed them all together to create a story of his own. Weirdstone starts out with a retelling of a local tale of the Wizard Under The Hill, who needed a white mare to complete his set of horses for the Sleepers.
The Weirdstone of Brisingamen
Clulow Cross Mythology and folklore[ edit ] The legend of The Wizard of Alderley Edge revolves around a king and his sleeping knights who rest beneath the hill, waiting for the day when they must awake to save the land. In this tale a wizard, whose job it was to guard the king and his knights, one day encountered a local farmer riding upon a horse. And so my first two books, which are very poor on characterization because I was somehow numbed in that area, are very strong on imagery and landscape, because the landscape I had inherited along with the legend. Other terms are taken not from Norse mythology, but from the Welsh mythology encapsulated in Mediaeval texts like the Mabinogion. For instance, Govannon, one of the names with which Garner addresses Grimnir, has been adopted from the mythological character of Govannon ap Dun. Literary critic Neil Philip also argued that further folkloric and mythological influences could be seen in the character of Grimnir, who had both a foul smell and an aversion to fresh water, characteristics traditionally associated with the Nuckalevee , a creature in Scottish folklore. Accompanying this, Philip opined that Grimnir was also "half identified" with the creature Grendel , the antagonist in the Old English poem Beowulf.
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