Friday, January 20, 2023

Alan Garner - The Weirdstone of Brisingamen

Based on a folklore tale of The Wizard of the Edge Alan Garner constructed his first novel The Weirdstone of Brisingamen which was published in 1960. It takes place in Cheshire, England.

The siblings Susan and Colin are sent to live with the farmers Gowther and Bess Mossock because their parents have to go overseas. Susan possesses a bracelet with a mysterious stone - the weirdstone. The power of the stone is supposed to guard a group of warriors sleeping in a hill. The warriors should be awoken when the evil Nastrond tries to return - to defeat him a second time. But the stone got stolen and was passed down through generations. When Susan and Colin meet the wizard Cadellin by accident he tells them the story - and Susan realizes that indeed she possesses the stone. But while trying to return the stone to Cadellin it gets stolen again by evil forces... and this is just the beginning of a wild, dangerous and adventurous chase after the weirdstone and a fight between good and evil.

The Weirdstone of Brisingamen is not a light fantasy novel, its forces are quite dark and the main characters are more than once close to despair. In the first part the children accidentally stumble into this other world full of magic and creatures but they accept it easily along with the reader who at least starts with an introduction on how the stone got stolen. The second half of the book is action-packed with danger lurking everywhere. But bravery in the children and the dwarf warriors who aid them helps them escape again and again. The ending was a bit sudden for my taste and I would have loved to have more closure, especially about Cadellin and his dark brother Grimnir. But of course there is more to come - "The Tales of Alderley" are a trilogy

Alan Garner, The Weirdstone of Brisingamen. HarperCollins 2013.

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