Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Druss the Legend

I have been re-reading the first few Drenai books by David Gemmel starting with Legend. I really like Legend. Druss is one of my favourite fantasy heroes. I tend not to like what I think of as fancy pants heroes. Characters who are so kick ass that they can't be touched. Gemmel has a knack of creating fantastic heroes who are not infallible or generally very nice. Like in real life people in Gemmel's universe who act heroically in defiance of good sense, die. Legend is the story of Druss' Swansong. An old warrior last battle. Druss is depicted as a living totem for the Drenai forces in the siege. Druss is a hero but this perception exists mainly in the preoccupations of people who are not in fact Druss. Gemmel crafts a story that resembles the kernel of truth at the heart of good myth and is at the same time a compelling war story. A key element in Gemmel's writing is that he never writes a silly action scene. Fight scenes in his books always have extreme consequences. There is none of the false wrestling style epic combats that too often mar our popular entertainment. Combat on the whole is short and brutal. There is a commonality to Legend and Die Hard which points to one reason why I like them both. This is the feeling of the action scenes. Combat scenes in both are short and decisive. They feel realistic even though by the end the hero has overcome ridiculous odds to win. Contrast to something like Buffy which by the end had some of the worlds stupidest action scenes. Where no one ever seemed like they were scared of dying or concerned about being hurt. When that happens the action loses all tension and becomes pointless filler. The rest of the Drenai tales, at leas the ones I have, All revolve around the same themes and sort of characters and Legend and while fun have much less impact. Gemmel fleshes out the rise and fall of the Drenai empire and we get to see the beginnings of many Drenai myths from a variety of perspective. This is Gemmel's main weakness to my mind his stories are thematically all very similar can sometimes differ only in the minor details. But in Conclusion, Legend is Good

1 comment:

  1. Haha, found you!
    I had to remember what the name is that you always like to use.
    Gemmell's latest, Lord of the Silver Bow, is rather silly and I'm not sure I'll bother to read the rest.

    geyxepm - a medication for the control of flatulence.