My review/revisit/recap of/love letter to Anderson's magnificent 1954 novel is up on the blog of Tales from the Magician's Skull. Check it out here.
I wrote this without re-reading the book, but writing it prompted me to pick up The Broken Sword once more and go to war against Trollheim. It's as good as I remembered; I don't feel betrayed by my considerable nostalgia.
TftMS has a 1,000 word cap which I sometimes stray over a little but is nevertheless challenging to write within. I allude to some things in my review that are deserving of a standalone essay. Like Skafloc/Valgard being two halves of a broken sword. Tyrfing feels to me like a symbol of unleashed weaponry best left on the scientists' notebook. I can't help but wonder if Anderson felt the shadow the mushroom cloud, writing as he did in 1953-54. "Yet this is the curse on it: that every time it is drawn it must drink blood, and in the end, somehow, it will be the bane of him who wields it."
We have a potential end to unending conflict in the teachings of the new White Christ. "Was the White Christ of whom she had told a little not right in saying that wrongs only led to more wrongs and thus at last to Ragnarok; that the time was overpast when pride and vengefulness give way to love and forgiveness, which were not unmanly but in truth the hardest things a man could undertake?"
Alas we have forgotten the lesson. No one turns the other cheek, but strikes back with harder force. And so it escalates.
I love this line too; we can meet Ragnarok with bravery at least:
"None can escape his weird; but none other can take from him the heart wherewith he meets it."