Asexual Myths & Tales

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Legolas - 10 Years On

Yesterday, I went to see The Hobbit.  When I got home, I dug out all my old Tolkien fan fictions and re-read them, something I haven't done for years.  In among them was the very first - actually a fan poem - simply entitled Legolas and dated December 2002.  At the time I thought it was the first and last, a one-off expression of my feelings after seeing The Two Towers.  Little did I know then that it was in fact the spark that re-kindled my imaginative gift, and set me on my own "unexpected journey" through fan fiction and short story, to the point I am now, with my first novel Silver Hands due for release in April 2013.  So it seems only right to print the poem again, ten years on.  Thank you, Legolas.  I still love you.


Under leaf and under tree,
Under moon and under star, 
Long you walked, before the sea
Bore you to the realm afar.

Too fair for man, too stern for maid,
As all that race whose days are long.
Sure of bow and keen of blade,
Clear of vision and of song.

For ever young in face, and in
The joy of life by branch and stream,
With starlit eyes of all your kin,
Reflecting centuries of dream.

Alas, I fade, I die, I age,
Hourly the sand runs from the glass.
Your beauty still runs unassuaged 
Over fern and over grass.

O Greenleaf, Thranduil's son,
Would that those eyes had turned on me
And timeless, ageless, we could run
Beneath the stars, beyond the sea.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Of Kirins and Unicorns

Nothing could have excited my imagination more than the Guardian's recent reports on the alleged discovery in North Korea of Kiringul (unicorn's lair), associated with ancient king Tongmyong who, according to Korean legend, rode on unicorns.

A king rode unicorns in Korean legend?!?  Why did I not know of this before?  I find this especially interesting because in the Korean graphic novel series Bride of the Water God by Mi-Kyung Yun there is a character called Lynn, who appears to be a unicorn.  In fact, he has two forms.  In one, he is a winged unicorn.  (He looks like a horse but with more of a cow's tail).  In his other form, he looks like a human, but with pointed ears and a unicorn-like horn in the middle of his forehead.  He is ridden in his horse form by another character, Huye.

According to the Guardian, Korean unicorns are called kirins or qilins.  They are described either as a 4-legged beast with a dragon's head (doesn't sound much like Lynn) or having the body of a deer, the tail of a cow, hooves and a mane.  (Now that sounds much more like Lynn, doesn't it?)

Interestingly, when I looked up kirin in the Encyclopedia Mythica, it had this to say:

 "Kirin.  The Japanese unicorn, an animal-god who punishes the wicked with its single horn.  It protects the just and grants them good luck.  Seeing a kirin is considered an omenn of extreme good luck - if one is a virtuous person."  (By Micha F Lindemans)

So the kirin is common to Japan and Korea at least.  Interestingly, in one of the Tales of the Otori books by Lian Herne, a giraffe is brought to Japan and they refer to it as the kirin.  

Any professors of East Asian studies out there?  I would love to know more...