Friday, January 28, 2011

Review of The Well at the World's End: a tale

Messeemeth as though William Morris' The well at the world's end, a tale may be one of those books one might either loveth or hateth. I, loved it! Although it is hard not to like a book which has a character named "Gandolf" and which predates Tolkien's work by close to 100 years! The book is also chock full of archaic expressions, i.e. forsooth, meseems, betwixt, etc. If reading such fanciful language is a turn off to you, run far, far away, and very fast. Actually, even if you are into it, digesting those old words takes a while to get used to but that's part of the charm. Besides, the book is so long, (more about that in a bit), those words will soon begin to seem like old hat. What's it about? Here's the plot: Young knight goes in search of adventure far from home, encounters lots of dangers in a variety of perilous woods, (a lot of talk about a group called "The Men of the Dry Tree"....I never quite figured it out), meets the love of his life, she's murdered, he seeks revenge (sort of), becomes very sad, falls in love again, the two are married, they continue their quest which is to drink from the WELL a the WORLD'S END. (It's all part of the plan, you see). They do and come back and the Shire ain't what it used to be, (whoops, wrong story)...Anyway, you get the point. On their way back home, after drinking from the WELL at the WORLD'S END, Ralph of Upmeads, (our brave young hero), and the dainty Ursala, conquer all their enemies. She and he are crowned the new queen and king and live happily every after. A simple tale, right? Yes! but Morris took his time spelling out the details. I can see the length of a book like this turning some people off. But the glory of it is in the telling of the tale. And "glory" forsooth! 119 chapters and 800 pages. Forsooth, indeed!

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