Thursday, December 22, 2016

Swan Knight's Son: Chapter Eight

Gil finally gets to open the magic door that has pursued him around the country.  No surprise if you've seen the cover of the book, it leads to an attic that contains a wardrobe that itself contains the armor and weapons of Gil's father - the Swan Knight himself.

Hints are dropped that the world outside this attic-that-should-not-be are either the real world or a fantasy elsewhere, with particular attention paid to one castle.  This suggests we will revisit that castle in later chapters in Gil's story, but if so, it doesn't happen in this first book.

The description of the armor and weapons takes up the swan's share of this chapter, and verges on the obsessive, but it works.  For a knight, his armor and sword aren't just the means of saving his life, they are his life.  They are his identifier, and when Gil sallies forth as a knight errant, it will be in this get-up. 

In this case, Gil's new sword being magical, extra time must be taken to establish that it is no ordinary sword.  Attention is paid to the look of the sword, how it acts in battle, and what it may be capable of.

Naturally, Gil's mother catches him in the act of trying on Dad's clothes and faints.  Once revived, she gives Gil the first real pointers on knight-hood that he's ever had from a knowledgeable source.  She reiterates that Gil's sword is everything to him now and cautions him to keep it always near.  They head for a church where one she speaks one of my favorite passages in the book:
The Church Militant is and always has been an armed ark in an ocean of deadly monsters seeking to sink her and drown the world in darkness.
She goes on to explain to Gil that knights serve the Church, and in a way follow the footsteps of the Redeemer by placing their own lives forfeit in order to save others.  That's a key point that's been buried by the Enlightment charlatans and their modern day heirs who prefer to paint knights as uncouth bullies who hide behind the cross in order to justify their wanton evil acts.  It's a bit of feel good pablum designed to quiet the consciences of those for whom the bleach-white hatted good guys serve as a reminder of their own failures. 

Don't get me wrong, characters like this remind me of my failures, too.  The difference is that my response to the shame felt in comparison to characters like Gil who champion of truth, justice, and the Holy Church is not to shut my eyes and ears and accuse knights of being what they are not.  My response is to accept my failures and move on, to try to do better.

It's for that reason that works like Swan Knight's Son are so very important.  They remind us of the evil that lurks in the shadows, and they remind us that, despite our weaknesses, we are stronger than the dark.  They remind us to push against the dark in the small ways, that we may be strong enough to push back against it in the big ways when the times come.

It's also why the Puppy-kickers must fight to ignore, mock, de-platform, and silence voices like John C. Wright's.  As servants of a world-view that would make rapists and thugs of knights, they cannot abide the light of truth.

And that is why this book makes for such an appropriate December read.  This darkest month of the year, when our homes shine brighter than ever in defiance of the long cold winter nights, it is fitting to take the time to read about a young man who does the same.

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