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A Victory of Essence over Mechanics
The Internally Triumphant Conclusion of the Worm Ouroboros, Chapters 26-33

I would like to conclude these impressions of The Worm Ouroboros by stating that Eddison achieved a rare work of anti-modern, anti-materialistic, heroic fiction, a work which to this man’s mind rivals the Iliad, the Odyssey and Beowulf in its own definitive way, a story promoting a hope of mass psychic healing in the wake of what had been the worst cataclysm of modern times, The great War, a war which maimed the heroic ideal and made man into a cipher in an engine designed to eat his soul.

The central message of the final acts of the Worm Ouroboros is that our enemies define us, suffer a like us and fall to the same terrible fates they attempted to visit upon us and which we visited on them, and that to hate them, to make them inhuman, to build the foundation of our society on the bones of their defeat, is to erect a house of hate without a firm foundation. After a great victory, there is even a call from a goddess [Britannia?] that the victors not mourn their enemies but war on lesser folk in a bid for global dominion down to the most humbly detailed locality.

Eddison says it best, beginning with the malefactoring person of Gorice, the Witch King, eternity-knowledge symbol, in the form of the Worm Ouroboros, on his finger:

“Gorice the King sat silent. One lean hand rested on the iron serpent-head of his chair’s arm, the other, with finger outstretched against the jutting cheekbone, supported his chin. Only in the deep shadow of his eye-sockets a lambent light moved.”

And, in regard to the prospect of vanquishing even such a formidable—or perhaps due to the foe defining quality of this enemy—as Gorice, one of Eddison’s chief heroes of the people residing in the place called Demonland, but whom are most human, says:

“A grave is a rotten foundation.”

E. R. Eddison left us a masterpiece.

“These wretched eminent things

Leave no more fame behind ‘em than should one

Fall in a frost, and leave his print in snow;

As soon as the sun shines, it ever melts

Both form and matter."

Ire and Ice: Winter and A White Christmas

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