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‘Old Cankered Malice’
The Worm Ouroboros, Chapters 20 & 21

As the final quarter of The Worm Ouroboros is discussed I must abandon the cliff note style treatment for vaguer means so as not to ruin the story but encourage its reading.

The conquest of Demonland, of the heroes most dear to the reader, by the minions of the Witch King is chronicled in exacting detail and regard for these conquerors is not utterly besmirched but enhanced by the narrative voice. The reader begins to think of the Witches and Demons as human and of the same racial strain.

As Corinius takes Demonland as his fief, as king under the Witch King [who seems ever more like the Persian King of Kings in Eddison’s mythos] the wax seal of the Worm Ouroboros graces the document of state. The ring of the dragon eating its tale is not only a supernatural swastika symbolizing rejuvenating continuity of the cycles of life, but one of hierarchal continuity. This transcendent and political synchronistic element is the core of this grand novel.

The pale, beautiful form of the lady Mevrian, physically the image of “the divine Huntress” takes center stage for the crucial apex of the story as Gro finds in this woman—in form Artimus and in plight Penelope, besieged by cruel men lusting for her as both symbolic possession and lush conquest—the portal to heroism. Gro transforms from the sympathetic wronged and wise man to a vector for right in a world taken a wrong turn. For Corinius becomes a far worse tyrant than his cruel master, and is his own best biographer:

“I will have my own violent deed, that she and her stiff-necked Demons may know that I am their king, and master of all that is theirs, and their own bodies but chattels to serve my pleasure.”

Diction of note:





A Well of Heroes

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