Just finished the Weirdstone of Brisingamen and……….loved it!
A bit of Arthurian legend (the sleeping knights) mixed with Lord of the Rings fantasy and some very good characters make for a totally engaging story whether you are of school age or old age.
I bought the 50th anniversary edition and it dawned on me as I was reading how the story and style must have influenced a lot of writers since it was first published in 1960. I would say it is a sort of blueprint for Harry Potter but without the complexity of JK Rowling’s books.
There are all the classic archetypes to enjoy, the fallen angel Grimnir, the guardian of the cave Cadellin, the battle between good and evil, ancient spells, hob-goblins and all.
I read about Alan Garner that he based a lot of the story on where he grew up in Cheshire but I found the accents and local dialects echoed more of West Country.
Take Gowther’s wife, Bess, for example, this sounds like it could be Devon or Somerset:
“Happen you’d best have a word with yon. It sounds a bit rum to me. I think she’s up to summat.”
Or, as the strongest local character, Gowther himself:
“By gow, lad, theer’s summat rum afoot toneet.”
And I loved expressions that I remember from my youth that have almost gone out of fashion now:
“He seemed in a fair owd paddy.”
It takes a bit of patience to ‘tune-in’ to the dialect but once you do, it’s a joy.
Thanks for the tip.
For me it was a far more accessible and engaging intro to fantasy than Tolkein.