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August 26, 2004

KYT and Moorcock: Shamelessly stolen, that is to say "borrowed", from the MSP

Charles Craig ( writes:

Just wanted to write in with a little tidbit that applies to the "Facts and Puzzling Things About" section - it generally applies to "The Unformatted KYT Term. Message" (I have been Roland, Beowulf, Achilles, Gilgamesh...) and, to a lesser extent, to "You".

As William Spencer pointed out, it's definitely reminiscent of Michael Moorcock's "Eternal Champion" concept, wherein a lone human is reincarnated, over and over, each live fated to become a crucial figure in the battle between Law and Chaos. In the very first story, within the opening chapters, we see this:

"And the names? Was I John Daker or ErekosÎ? Was I either of these? Many other names - Corum Jhaelen Irsei, Aubec, Sexton Begg, Elric, Rackhir, Iliam, Oona, Simon, Bastable, Cornelius, the Rose, von Bek, Asquiol, Hawkmoon - fled away down the ghostly rivers of my memory."

Even more interesting is that the above is actually the REVISED version of that same text - Moorcock rewrote portions of the story when getting it printed in novel form in 1970. The original novella version, circa 1962, presented a slightly different refrain...

"Shaleen, Artos, Brian, Umpata, Roland, Ilanth, Ulysses, Alric"

Any of those names seem familiar?

In essence, as Moorcock developed the idea of the Eternal Champion, he started to assign many of his other fictional works to that pantheon, making the lead characters of most of his stories (and indeed, a number of minor characters as well) incarnations of the Eternal Champion. However, in the earliest draft, he simply used figures out of actual history. Artos is the Latin of Arthur - the somewhat famous figure out of British legend. Brian is most likely Brian the Blessed, who also figures into Irish and British myth (his head being buried under the Tower of London, protecting England from invasion). Ulysses (or Odysseus) was the main character in the Odyssey, and came up with the idea for the Trojan Horse (he also fought with Achilles). Alric was the leader of the Germanic tribe which eventually sacked Rome. Ilanth MIGHT be Iolanthe (a Fairie, from the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta of the same name). I have no idea about Umpata or Shaleen, though as for Roland, I think we all know him by now...

Moorcock is fairly well-known in fantasy/sci-fi circles - consider that TSR looted his works as well as Tolkien's when they created Dungeons and Dragons. I'm sure at least SOMEONE at Bungie could be pushing for the idea that many important characters in the Bungie mythos are bound by a similar destiny, if not one-and-the-same (consider the Pathways/Marathon/Halo main char connection - it COULD be the same char).

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