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BeautyAndPain

What makes a book a GoodRead? Somehow I seem to react to the concept of Beauty and Pain. There is something delicate and fragile about existence. There is beauty in the passing away of things. There is beauty in the memory of things.

Many writers have used this. When I read my first book that used this idea, I was unable to say what had attracted me. The story unfolds, draws me in. And there it is, a glimpse of another world, gone before. Greaters things had happened in the past. And yet, beauty and wonder were leaving. The Lord of the Rings was an impressive book. When I first read it, I was thirteen years old.

Tolkien's Silmarillion was finished by his son and by GuyGavrielKay. It tells of the first and second age, of the coming of elves. Of the coming of men. Their fights with the enemy. We like to read this, because The Lord of the Rings hinted at the greater past, the glory of elder days, of ages past. And now at last we are given what we craved. More. However, just telling us about it would not have been enough. The Silmarillion is more than just an account of the elder days. It is an account of their passing away. The going away is important. The beauty is heightened by the underlying sorrow. By the pain in our heart. By the passing of time.

Other writers, other stories. MarionZimmerBradley? used this idea in The Mists of Avalon. The world of faery is uncomprehensible to Morgaine, priestess of Avalon. Lost in the mists of time. And yet her world, her island, is also drifting off, passing away. Her struggle for love, respect, control is what the story is all about. The passing of time is now and here. And she wants to stop it. In The Lord of the Rings, there is no helping it. It has happened for ages. We are but seeing the last flickering wonders leave the world. In the Mists of Avalon, we are struggling to stop it.

In The Fionavar Tapestry by GuyGavrielKay, the confrontation is heightened yet again. We are confronted with immediate loss. Here and now. Things happen, beauty perishes, things leave, pass away. The books break my heart. And they elevate me. Beauty and Pain seem intricately linked.


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