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text 2014-06-25 17:45
Reading progress update: I've read 61 out of 480 pages.
The Snow Queen - Joan D. Vinge

So, obviously, I knew this was a sci-fi retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen, and I must admit, as a lover of Dune, the hardcore sci-fi world-building is definitely a palate cleanser after recent "soft" sci-fi reads. But I was unaware that it is, too,  a retelling of the Welsh/Celtic myth of the dying king, replacing the king with, in fact, the Snow Queen herself, named after Arianrhod, the Welsh goddess most associated with death and rebirth, her name meaning 'Silver Wheel' and symbolizing the turning of the year.


Her consort Starbuck's true name is Herne, an ancient British spirit assassinated with Cernunnos, the horned god, the Horned King, the hunter and symbol of virility and fertility. I can already predict that Moon will take the place of the dying king's daughter, his successor, while Sparks will challenge Herne for the right as consort, therefor bringing about the turning of the year, the great change from old to young.


Interestingly, reenactments of this struggle took place at Midwinter and Midsummer, between the holly king and the oak king (Herne is associated with oak) and is the basis for pagan British Yuletide. They're part of a whole, making the year a ritual cycle.


Looking forward to see how Vinge uses both the stories, how she twists and adapts them!

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