Reviews: The Elric Saga
Influencial and important but pretentious and not that good
Personally, I more than disagree with Moorcock's potshots towards Tolkien and Robert E. Howard. Tolkien was a fundamentally different from Moorcock, both as a person and a writer. I never much liked Moorcock as a person or a writer. His main attraction is Elric who is pretty much the original edgy and emo fantasy anti-hero. Though this book series influence is profound in everything from Dungeons & Dragons and Warhammer to Wolverine and Adam Warlock, I never found any real relatable human qualities in any of his characters and frankly can't stomach Moorcock's worldview in any capacity. However, there is something weird and fun about the Eternal Champion stories, which I think serves other media like video games far better than epic fantasy literature made for reading (Gods of Chaos and Law clearly influencing the Daedra and Aedra from Elder Scrolls). I think his ideas are great but he's kind of a sloppy writer, jumping from one scenario to the next in his Elric stories without, interestingly for fantasy fiction, never providing any semblance of conflict or suspense. I don't care about any of his characters enough to care about what happens. We know Elric 'loves' Cymoril, who is supposed to be an 'amoral' Melnibonean yet who can somehow behave as if she understands love and loyalty, okay, so Moorcock says..... He never shows us anything that substantiates that love or the Melnibonean trait. His villains and supporting characters are less than one-dimensional, as is Elric who has the self destructive ingenuity of a lemming. The most interesting thing about his works are the trippy occult-esque elements. I liked reading about Arioch, and his many different incarnations. I liked reading about sorcery, traveling in between planes of existence. Although his 'Pantheon' is really pretty much just a tweaked version of the Ars Goetia and his set-up of Law and Chaos is ultimately empty.
Whining+gloom and doom+evil swords=overrated series
I admit, i find this series a little overrated and i'm not surprised the movie based on these books has been in development hell for years. To me, the Elric saga is like a concoction of Lord of the Rings, Conan the cimmerian(but with none of Tolkien's poetic and larger than life narration or Howard's machismo and spirit of adventure) and the anime of Yoshiyuki Tomino(because the main character is overly angsty and his friends and family members dies like flies). Elric is basically the wet dream of a cynical and angsty teenager: He's an albino prince of a kingdom of evil, hedonistic elf like humanoids who whorsip chaos lords from hell, always dressed in black, doesn't care about hurting innocent people, has an evil sentient sword, does alot of whining and self-loathing like Shinji from Evangelion, and icing on the cake,BIG SPOILERS, he destroys the world at the end of Stormbringer. I'm suprised it didn't get a comic book adaptaion back in the nineties during the dark age of comics, it would have sold copies like peanuts. The main problems i have with the Elric saga are the following:Moorcock's writing is quite clunky, the characters and the setting are barely described(don't give me that is up to the reader's imagination stuff) and too many pages are dedicated to describe Elric's sadness and self loathing, making the main character quite obnoxious. I think theres also a lack of an epic feel in these books, the final duel with Yyrkoon,Elric's evil(er) cousin, and the deaths of Elric's companions and love interests are not memorable or striking as they are supposed to be. On the plus side, there are some things i liked about this series, the concept of the Eternal Champion who is supposed to create a new world free from the influnce of the gods, the conflict between the lords of Law and Chaos, the evil soul sucking sword Stormbringer and some of the action sequences are pretty entertaining. But all these elements are overshadowed by all the flaws i've mentioned earlier, but at least this series is not as painful to read or pretentious like other fantasy books COUGH COUGH,Sword of Truth,COUGH COUGH. Michael Moorcock once said i'm a bad writher with big ideas. I agree, you could have done alot better than this.