hammerheart, northern gloom, viking heroes and the moon

Thanks to a distant but friendly colleague of mine I once again have a chance to listen to some of my favourite childhood teenage songs these days. Bathory, the band concerned started out as something terrible (yet in an utterly dark sense very hip thing) to listen to, and later on evolved (well, ask the true fanatics, they may say: devolved) into utterly heroic “viking metal”, with song titles like Twilight of the Gods and Hammerheart.

These latter two examples are classic favourites of mine, and have served as background music for countless (A)DnD campaigns and unpublished short stories. ;) And now, as I’ve already said, I have them again. It’s weird how much their effect on me has changed. No, their heroic quality is not lost at all – it’s the sorrow, the gloom of the northern landscape and mythology that they’re infused with that gets way more room in my head and heart now… Well, I’ve never been a lighthearted guy in my life anyway.

Sure, it’s the events of the past year’s end (and this one’s beginning) that seem to tincture almost everything I come into contact with with an umbral gray. Yet I think that this grayness is a kind of mystic threshold, with its traditional and symbolic keepers, of course, and that if we manage to pass it… Well. We’ll see. And not all is gray, fortunately. Not everything, at all. No, it’s not the silver lining that belongs to the cloud – this cloud doesn’t seem to have that. It’s that there remain clear, unspoiled tracts in the sky… And the “heroism” of these ancient records – to turn back to the beginning of the post – may even help keep them clear by bringing back… strong and positive memories of old. Memories that will never be lost as long as we live. As long as I live.

Hmmh. Were I in my usual cynic mood, I’d most likely laugh myself to tears at certain parts of what I’ve just written… But I am not in that. Quite the contrary: I’m overwhelmed by feelings my cynic self doesn’t and would never dare face: the cold white light of its reason simply shrinks away from them. (And indeed I’m sure there were, are, or will, unfortunately, be times when even the most cynic of you had, would or will feel the same.)

* * *

On a lighter (moonlighter – hint, hint) note: I’ve finished a new, rather esoteric and weird short story (about the Moon and other things) for an upcoming fantasy anthology consisting of remixed and rethought Hungarian folk tales. No, I haven’t received any editorial response yet (but am awaiting one eagerly) – yet I dare have high hopes, as BoSzi liked the story a lot. (And that matters a real lot to me.) Of course, our ways (and images!) of thinking and feeling are quite, what’s more, amazingly similar, so perhaps someone different will have a… different opinion as well. Yet i hope not. I hope all my readers – be they editors, friends or strangers – will like and understand it.

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