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But even as the vast story had become a solid, living thing that gave me a great deal of pleasure and hard work, of course , the rest of my life was developing serious mechanical difficulties.
About the time I finished the Stone of Farewell manuscript, near the end of the s, irreparable cracks had appeared in my marriage. Things were starting to change, but even I couldn't guess how much. The other matter that I didn't sufficiently understand was that in the book itself I had spread the net of characters and plotlines so wide through the end of Stone that it was going to be very difficult to resolve everything in my promised last volume.
Williams, Tad - Memory, Sorrow & Thorn 1 - The Dragonbone Chair
However, I'm a stubborn guy, and if I said it was going to be a three book series, I was going to make it a three book series, however the folks in the book-binding industry might curse me. So the ghastly, oversized thing that is To Green Angel Tower began to grow. Of course, Life was not going to let me concentrate just on trying to finish an overly long and complex story-that would be too easy.
So a heavy dose of confusion, anxiety, marital separation, counseling, and re-separation leading eventually and painfully to divorce was thrown into the mix as well.
On top of that, I moved to England, thus giving up not only all the ordinary parts of my ordinary life, but my house, most of my possessions, and even my country.
Tad Williams - The Dragonbone Chair - MST#1
In my own defense, I can say that I had already outlined most of the terrible things that happen to Simon, the main character, in the last volume. Even in that earliest "Sons of Prester John" outline I had talked about what I planned for his time on the wheel, and how it would change him. What I couldn't have known five or six years earlier when I put together that outline was that by the time I was actually writing that section, I would be on my OWN sort of wheel, and not enjoying it much at all.
I often wonder if Simon suffered a bit more than he would have if I had been in sunnier times. Whatever the case, the dislocations of life and address were pretty massive, and certainly added to the difficulties of writing a very, very long last volume. I think that last book took three-and-a-half years or more, all together.
It wasn't fun, but it was sure nice when it was finally finished, and I'm proud of it, still. I am amazed that somebody who was as dislocated as I was at the time managed to do it at all, let alone make it something that stands on its own I feel, with all due modesty as a very good book.
So here we are in a different world, and I'm trying to remember those far-away times so I can write this introduction.
I'm glad to say it's not all that easy, at least the painful parts. I'm happily married now, the father of two children and guardian of four most ungrateful, poorly behaved pets and settled back in California again, surrounded by hills and beautiful trees.
What I do remember, and will never forget, is how Simon and Miriamele and Binabik and Jiriki and Aditu and all the others became a part of my life-became real people, almost-and how thrilling it was to realize as the years passed that they had become that for readers as well. If you're meeting them all for the first time, I hope it will be a fortuitous encounter, and that their stories of sadness and happiness will be meaningful for you.
If, as with me, they are old friends, then I thank you for visiting them and their author again, and undertaking this long journey once more. We've come a long way, haven't we? Tad Williams October 28, Woodside, California This book is dedicated to my mother, Barbara Jean Evans, who taught to me a deep affection for Toad Hall, the Hundred Aker Woods, the Shire, and many other hidden places and countries beyond the fields we know.
She also induced in me a lifelong desire to make my own discoveries, and to share them with others. I wish to share this book with her. Author's Note "I have undertaken a labor, a labor out of love for the world and to comfort noble hearts: those that I hold dear, and the world to which my heart goes out. Not the common world do I mean, of those who as I have heard cannot bear grief and desire but to bathe in bliss.
May God then let them dwell in bliss! Their world and manner of life my tale does not regard: its life and mine lie apart. Another world do I hold in mind, which bears together in one heart its bitter sweetness and its dear grief, its heart's delight and its pain of longing, dear life and sorrowful death, dear death and sorrowful life.
In this world let me have my world, to be damned with it, or to be saved. My thanks go out to: Eva Cumming, Nancy Deming-Williams, Arthur Ross Evans, Peter Stampfel, and Michael Whelan, who all read a dreadfully long manuscript, then offered support, useful advice, and clever suggestions; to Andrew Harris, for logistical support above and beyond the call of friendship; and especially to my editors, Betsy Wollheim and Sheila Gilbert, who worked long and hard to help me write the best book I could.
They are great souls all.
Author's Warning Wanderers in the land of Osten Are are cautioned not to put blind trust in old rules and forms, and to observe all rituals with a careful eye, for they often mask being with seeming. The Norns and their fell queen Utuk'u, eldest and most powerful of the Gardenborn, removed to the north of the world, taking the two northern-most cities for their own.
Three cities were also given to the Tinukeda'ya, one was sea-bound Jhina't'senei which went to the Niskies and the other two were deep under the earth which went to the Dwarrows, the smaller tribe of the Tinukeda'ya. In the greatest of them all, Asu'a, the High King ruled. But Men began to prosper and advance and the sea empire of Nabban rose and fell without it disturbing the Gardenborn.
The Sithi also had great friendship with the Hernystiri of the west.
Then the Rimmersmen came with iron and to them the Gardenborn were devils and demons, to be killed on sight. Unfortunately the Gardenborn suffer from a severe allergy to iron and even with their magics and their own iron-hard witchwood weapons, they were beaten back, one after the other.
The Hernystiri were the only ones who stood by the Sithi in the final battle where both armies were destroyed. The remaining Sithi withdrew to Asu'a and there awaited the end. Ineluki, the King's younger son, wove terrible magic at the end with five of his servants and there they and Asu'a were destroyed. However, the spell gave the remaining Sithi time to flee to Aldheorte forest, where they continued to live in secrecy.
During the five hundred years that follows the fall of Asu'a, six different kings ruled in the castle built on the Sithi ruins, called Hayholt.
The latest of these is king John Presbyter, who is dying as the story opens. Simon is an ordinary scullery boy who is taken under the tutelage of Morgenes. When King John Presbyter dies and his son Elias ascends the throne, the way opens for a long-dormant evil to enter the realm. Elias, driven by his evil advisor, moves to eliminate his brother Josua. Caught in the struggle, Simon is forced to flee as best he can, and the young man soon finds himself taking part in adventures he had only dreamed of.
Plot summary[ edit ] Simon , a fourteen-year-old kitchen boy and servant in the great castle Hayholt, muddles his way through the daily routines of castle drudgery in the last days of the long reign of King John Presbyter.
Simon is thrilled when luck turns his way and he finds himself apprenticed to the good Doctor Morgenes, the castle's healer and wizard, after which Simon alternates his time between his menial chores and learning to read and write, under instruction by the doctor.
Shortly after the death of the great King John, his son Elias, whom many say is a pawn of the evil cleric Pryrates, takes the throne. Shortly afterwards, King Elias's brother Josua mysteriously disappears, and the new reign begins to curdle in suspicion and discontent.
Elias, blinded by his desire for power, creates a pact with the undead Sithi ruler, the Storm King, who himself seeks to regain his lost realm through a pact with one of human royal blood. When Simon accidentally stumbles into the castle dungeons, he discovers that Prince Josua is being held captive, so he and Morgenes conspire to rescue the prince.
Simon and Morgenes are successful, and Josua is able to flee the castle. Soon after, Elias's soldiers, led by Pryrates, storm Morgenes's office.
Morgenes is slain by a dark magic, and Simon is able to flee the castle through a secret passage at the back of the doctor's office. Armed only with his mentor's biography of the good King John, Simon is lost and despondent.
After endless hours in the tunnels beneath Hayholt, which is actually the remains of the Sithi castle, Asu'a, Simon stumbles back into the open beyond the castle and town. There, he accidentally witnesses a scene of evil magic involving the king, Pryrates and a few white-faced and white-haired demons.
Horrified, he stumbles through the woods on the road north towards Naglimund, the seat of Prince Josua. About halfway to Naglimund, he stumbles upon a strange creature, caught in a cotsman's trap.
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Simon realizes it must be one of the Sithi, an elven-like folk who was thought to have disappeared from the lands. He rescues him from the trap and in answer is shot at with a white arrow.
At that moment, he encounters a troll by the name of Binabik. Binabik tells Simon that the white arrow is a symbol of an obligation towards Simon, and together they travel further towards Naglimund. While traveling through the Aldheorte forest, they save a young servant girl and her sister from vicious hounds.
They finally reach Naglimund, where they meet with Prince Josua. Simon begins training to be a soldier, as it is common knowledge that Elias is leading an army towards Naglimund.How would his writing show the changes? May God then let them dwell in bliss! Things were starting to change, but even I couldn't guess how much. He tells Simon he was only passing by, but now he will accompany the boy to Naglimund. Simon realizes it must be one of the Sithi, an elven-like folk who was thought to have disappeared from the lands.
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