A few nice long links to occupy my readers' time while I complete the next installment of my Hiero's Journey review:
1. Ana Mardoll has been working on a chapter-by-chapter deconstruction of C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia and their cruel governing philosophy for much of the past year. She has posted her book-length review of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe in .pdf and .doc form here (scroll down a bit), and it's a very engaging read. One hopes she will do the same with Prince Caspian, which she recently finished giving the critical thrashing it deserves.
(Apropos of this, Mardoll reminds us that Prince Caspian ends with Aslan sending most of the Telmarines back to the Pacific Island where their pirate ancestors were shipwrecked. He doesn't warn them that things on their home world might have changed a bit since the Days of Sail - and one of Mardoll's commenters notes that the deportees would have arrived in the Pacific region right at the start of the Second World War. Now THAT would be an interesting premise for a story...)
2. Ms. Mardoll also provided her readers with a link to this extraordinarily well-written essay on the horrific racism and misogyny of Robert Howard's Conan stories. While the piece is over 20,000 words long, it provides a thoughtful, humorous, and suitably horrified summary of the Conan oeuvre. Here's an example of the reviewer's prose:
Having fulfilled his titillation quotient, Howard has his tribe of
undomesticated homosexuals try to sacrifice Livia to a giant bat,
because that is totally what lesbians do to nice straight white girls
who fall into their clutches, and Conan charges in to save the day.
Plus, the author provides a summary of the Silmarilion, for the benefit of those of us who A) haven't read the book, and B) never plan to do so.*
3. Speaking of misogyny, it seems to have been an important component of George R.R. Martin's "gritty," by which we mean "creepy," fantasy novels, A Game of Thrones et al. So sayeth Good Queen Sady, in last year's excellent blog post, "Enter Ye Myne Mystic World of Gayng-Raype." Sady wrote shortly after the publication of the fifth novel of the series, so her review only covers volumes 1-4, but I don't think she misses much by leaving out A Dance with Dragons, which in your humble blogger's opinion was a waste of everyone's time.
* (Update, 21 Aug. 2015: One can also watch this short video.)