Saturday, 31 July 2010

Fafnir and Friends

I’m glad to see that Morris’s Story of Sigurd the Volsung features in the ‘Ten of the Best’ column in today’s Review supplement of the Guardian newspaper, which is devoted to ‘Dragons in Literature' (p.11). Morris’s Fafnir features alongside such familiar literary rivals as J.R. R. Tolkien’s Smaug in The Hobbit or the fearsome beast defeated after three days’ battle by the Red Cross Knight in Spenser’s The Fairie Queene, but also, more surprisingly, alongside the dragon tattooes in such recent novels as Thomas Harris’s Red Dragon and Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

This blog has already mounted its own ‘defence of Fafnir’, on the model of Morris’s ‘defence of Guinevere’; for the great dragon, in my view, gets a very raw deal indeed in Sigurd the Volsung (see ‘Enter the Dragon’, 23rd April 2010). More recently, I find myself dreaming of some new Morrisian masterwork in which all of his assorted monsters and villains, from Fafnir himself through the vicious dwarf in The Wood Beyond the World or Glam in Grettir the Strong to the evil shape-shifting witch who kidnaps Birdalone in Water of the Wondrous Isles, would combine forces and launch a fearsome collective assault on the forces of good.

We should not only, as I have suggested in earlier blog entries, aim to complete works which Morris himself left unfinished, but should also turn our minds to releasing further narrative possibilities in and from those which he himself did complete; and compiling an A-Team of Morrisian monsters and their further joint adventures may well be one productive way of attempting to do just this.

3 comments:

Ben Cartwright said...

Good to see Morris's 'Sigurd' in the list of Literary Dragons, certainly, but very disappointing to have the poem referred to there dismissively as a 'cod-epic'!!! It's surely one of Morris's most impressive achievements (he himself certainly thought so).

linda said...

Interesting reference to 'fire-drake' (meaning dragon) in Child Christopher -- thought it might be of interest to you ...

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