May 24, 2010

Harpist in the Wind

Title : Harpist in the Wind
Author : Patricia A. McKillip
Reading Dates : 22 May - 24 May 2010

The Riddle-master's Game (Fantasy Masterworks)
The Riddle-Master's Game Trilogy. Harpist in the Wind is the 3rd and final book in Patricia A. McKillip's The Riddle-Master's Game trilogy. The books in the trilogy include :
  • The Riddle-Master of Hed
  • Heir of Sea and Fire
  • Harpist in the Wind

Book Summary of Harpist in the Wind.
Hoping for answers to the riddle of his destiny as the Star-Bearer, Morgon and Raederle journey to the broken city of Lungold. There, the surviving wizards Morgon freed from Ghisteslwchlohm's compulsion are gathering. Burying their dead and preparing either to avenge themselves upon the Founder  of Lungold or die trying. 

Morgon wins the battle against the Founder but is in turn defeated by the shape-changers. He escapes and manages to hide himself.

Drawn back into battle by the riddle Raederle brings him, Morgon prepares once again to fight. Treading into the domain of the High One, Morgon crosses the realm in order to gain the power of land-law. It is also the power of an Earth-Master. And the only thing which would give him enough power to battle other Earth-Masters. For that is what the shape-changers are.

Travelling with Morgon is Raederle and the blind wizard, Yrth, who had crafted both the Star-Bearer's sword and harp a thousand years ago. Unbearably touched by Morgon's kindness to his tormentor, the High One breaks his long silence. Both in the incarnation of Deth and Yrth, he has always been by Morgon's side. He reveals that the Star-Bearer is the land-heir promised to him thousands of years ago by his own dead son.

In the meantime, unknowingly drawn by the High One to the place of his birth, the land-rulers start to gather with their people. Miners, farmers, vesta and wraiths join the remnants of the Ymris army  in Wind Plain to end the war against the Earth-Masters.

In the end, Morgon inherits the High One's land-rule during the height of battle and wins back the realm from the Earth-Masters. To prevent them from further mischief, he binds them to Erlenstar Mountain.

Book Review of Harpist in the Wind.
There isn't enough I can say about Harpist in the Wind specifically and The Riddle-Master's Game in general. I love the way the author describes the use of wizardry and land-law in the High One's realm. There is the battle in Lungold, Morgon's flight from the shape-changers, his learning of land-law and final battle in Wind Plain. Reading the words crafted by Patricia Anne McKillip, it is difficult not to fall in love with her world and the people living in it. And on another level, learn to see and love the beauty of our own world. Here is a sample taken from the time Morgon first sets out to learn the land-law  :
"He let his brain become stone, rich, worn, ponderous. He drew all knowledge of it into himself, of its great strength, its inmost colors, its most fragile point where he might have shattered it with a thought."

Besides this, there's also Morgon's actions taken at the start of this third book. Similar to J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, the writer has Morgon gathering an army of ghosts to protect the land he loves. What is different and makes it better for me, is that Morgon uses love and understanding to gather his army. The dead kings and warriors of  An come and pledge themselves to him not out of a past broken promise but because they understand his pain and need.

Finally, there is the message woven into this tale. The Earth-Masters and the Founder of Lungold seeking power and knowledge destroyed themselves by their thoughtless use of their gifts. Disregarding the effects of using their powers indiscriminately, the Earth-Masters destroyed their own children and their cities. The Founder's quest for more power, ended with him bound by the one he sought to enslave. It is the Star-Bearer, valuing love above power, who wins through by refusing to yield the lives of those he cares for.

Oh, this is one of those books that is truly well worth every cent I paid for it.

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