Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Naming Raven

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is my very favourite book. Susanna Clarke painstakingly (brilliantly, humorously, horrifically) reimagines a Victorian-era Europe in which magic exists, but its practice has fallen into near-obscurity. During previous centuries a powerful faerie-raised human known as John Uskglass and/or the Raven King kept English magic flowing freely from his stronghold in the North, but he and his company have forsaken the human world in exchange for...elsewhere. They are, however, not above abducting the occasional pretty girl:

Not long, not long my father said
Not long shall you be ours

The Raven King knows all too well
Which are the
fairest flowers

The priest was all too worldly

Though he prayed and rang his bell
The Raven King three candles lit

The priest said it was well

Her arms were all too feeble
Though she claimed to love me so

The Raven King stretched out his hand

She sighed and let me go

This land is all to shallow
It is painted on the sky

And trembles like the wind-shook rain

When the Raven King goes by

For always and for always
I pray remember me

Upon the moors, beneath the stars

With the King's wild company

When I bought Raven her name was Ebony, which was too unsubtle for my tastes. Family and friends made several suggestions but she quickly struck me as a creature belonging partly to the Raven King. That poem has been lodged in my head since being confronted with the possibility of losing my black beauty, so I thought I would share it with you.

For her part Miss Thing is doing better each day. She has the endearing habit of pawing at the air with one hoof when she's really excited about her feed, and she did that tonight for the first time in a week. Warmed the cockles of my heart. Tomorrow we cut the bandage off to assess the joint and the medications from herein, but I strongly suspect that none will be needed.


Brandy said...

Oh, that book is AWESOME!!!! And it does give me some insight into Raven's personality, if you named her from that poem!

She's a spunky, strong, yet sweet and loving girl. Her practical magic will amaze you all her life, and you never know what she'll do next!

I'm very glad that she's returning to her strength and health! Whew!

Brandy said...

PS, I've been trying to read "Quicksilver" by Neal Stephenson, it's also historical/magic/alchemy/fiction. It's one of those books where you need a dictionary next to you, he uses some seriously obscure words! Love it!

Funder said...

DP, that book sounds totally awesome. My library system has it, so I'll order it when I go next time!

Brandy - Stephenson is one of my all time favorite writers. The Quicksilver series is good, but I possibly like Cryptonomicon even better. Do you like Jack Shaftoe? You'll LOVE Bobby Shaftoe in Crypto.

Anyway... my friend has a little half-Arab gelding who does the happy dance while he eats. He will paw at the air with first one foot then the other while he eats. It's the cutest thing you'll ever see!

Brandy said...

Funder, that sounds really cute! Flickr video may be needed, LOL!

I did buy Cryptonomicon, but I'm trying to finish 4 other books right now, so it's been waiting! I look forward to it, Jack Shaftoe is quite the character!

Sigh, it's hard to keep up on the reading, I've needed new glasses every year, and now I'm in high index bifocals, sooo expensive!