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Saturday, December 26, 2020

 See Why I Immersed Myself So Deeply In. . .

The Lady of the Lake

Well, this is one for – excuse the pun – the books. What a story. And what a way Andrzej Sapkowski has of presenting it:

Sir Galahad, a knight of King Arthur, stumbles upon a maiden bathing in an enchanted lake. He suspects she may be of the faërie, and in that assumption, he’s not far wrong. Although this lady’s countenance is marred by a hideous scar, she has travelled through time and space to be in this particular place at this particular time. Yes, Sir Galahad has happened upon the legendary Child of Prophecy, Ciri, though she is a child no more.

Their exchange sets the basis for a detailed recapitulation of the events surrounding Ciri’s arrival at the lake, and as we see, the Lake itself plays a pivotal role in the unfolding of prophecy, one that touches multiple perspectives as the ages pass.

For example, we are introduced to the fabled Lady of the Lake, Nimue, who delves into the truth of things, no matter how veiled they are by the passage of time; we look in of Geralt’s adventures, and join him and his companions – Regis, Milva, Angoulême and Cahir – as they charged from adventure to adventure in their haste to track Ciri down; we see how Yennefer fares during her imprisonment at Vilgefortz’s hands; are peeved to find enemies of old – Stefan Skellen & Bonhart in particular – are still alive, kicking, and itching to wreak mayhem; and mystified by Ciri’s time among the elves, where she struggles to comprehend the sylvan realm and the future they have planned for her.

We even get to look in on an old friend from long, long ago. Do you remember the Urcheon Prince, Duny, who was cursed to change into a creature that looked like a cross between a hedgehog and a boar? The guy who fell in love with Princess Pavetta? Well, he makes an appearance too, and just wait until you find out the role he’s been playing all along.

Yes, the Lady of the Lake is a marvelous coming together of pieces first places out decades ago, and which now find their place in a complex puzzle for a grand revelation, helping explain why Ciri is hunted by so many factions, who all want to influence the Witcher girl in any way they can.

I thoroughly enjoyed it. The Lady of the Lake is an incredibly complex and compelling revelation that draws you in, hangs on tight, and never let’s go. A page turner, if ever there was one, because you “just have to find out what happens next!”

But what I liked about it is Geralt & Yennefer’s obvious influence on Ciri. They may have been parted for long periods, but they managed to make a great impression upon her. And no matter how many trials she faces, no matter what torture she endures, she remains her own woman. She never accepts the course any of the manipulators try to steer her along, and chooses her own destiny for herself. A destiny strengthened by Geralt and Yennefer’s loyal love.

Obviously, there are consequences to Ciri’s actions. But isn’t that what makes fairytales so fascinating? The bittersweet seduction that keeps you chomping at the bit until the end?

An excellent story, and one that won’t disappoint. 

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