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The Virgin and the Volcano (Lythande)

The stories are, of necessity by their publishing history, episodic and tend to follow a fairly standard pattern - Lythande is wandering along a road near some woods and the weather is miserable, so finding an inn is paramount. In the inn the inhabitants are either experiencing a recent or current magical occurrence. Lythande, in exchange for a night's lodging and a meal, agrees to address the problem, maybe charging an additional fee if the problem seems large or dangerous.

Tropes applying to individual stories:

Lythande eats alone, plays the lute or a harp for an audience, maybe rests, then goes out to deal with the issue. All of the interest in the story falls on how the issue is resolved. We learn very little about Lythande besides the rather thin thread of the secret on which many of the stories hang. The situations, themselves, are interesting and appropriate for the worlds of Lythande, but since the reader lacks identification with Lythande, knowing very little about the character, there is no real feeling of suspense or drama developed.

Some of Lythande's solutions are clever, but more frequently the problem is just resolved by the use of magic and the story ends. Any short story collection can be uneven. They make the book worth reading. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. DId you like it as a collection or not? I found it fairly average.

Each individual tale was ok, but it didn't work as a book for me. A collection of fairly and very short stories written over a number of years featuring Lythande the magician. What is most annoying about them is a lack of internal consistency. Sometimes she plays the lute, sometimes she has a harp, sometimes swords, sometimes daggers. Sometimes only she is forbidden to eat int he sight of men, sometimes it's all Adepts. And all the women who can immediately spot that she's a woman, while none of the men can Many of the stories are very short indeed, and so lack any kind of point at all.

Lythande also tends to leave the moment she's completed her assigned task, leaving the consequences of any such intervention unknown. Which is a shame because it's the consequences of magic that re the important bit. There is little if any consisitency in the magic scheme either.

Lythande is and Adept, one of the highest mages around, but she doens't know more than a herb witch on occasions. Most of the stories are about the trouble a secret female magician can get into when the profession is usually open to men, and she is disguised as one. Apart from all the other female magicians she meet, who just happen not to be of her Order. It isn't clear what the difference is. She end's up crossing various women only barriers etc, and having to explain without lying how she can do so. Ditto various schemes to embroil her with courtesans and the like.


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Plus a few more mundane concerns where gender is not so openly the issue, beating evil sorcerers, negotiating with demons and the like. Again only the consequences are interesting and we so seldom get to see them. As inidividual controubtions to other anthologies looking at other aspects these would probably work ok, but they don't suceed as a volume in their own right. Too confused, lacking internal consistency or direction.

Not actually bad, but I was expecting more from a short story collection. None of them are individually amazing. Nov 27, , 1: You know, I liked your review, too! I agree with you on each of the details you brought up. The enemy Lythande is hired to fight is some sort of siren that attracts and kills all of the village's men. Revelations about the life of the creator and her husband make the line about "lips too young for kissing" somewhat painful to read. The Siren makes Lythande think back to her ancient past, before she took the name 'Lythande', making her think of her original name - but this is forcefully defied when Lythande realizes she's about to remember what her birth name was and wrenches her mind away, leaving the reader with nothing but that tantalizing hint.

The siren loses its attractive appearance at the end, snapping Lythande out of its enthrallment. Both Lythande and the siren show off hypnotic music magic. Lythande sings and enthralls most of the town. The siren causes people, mostly men, to come to it by singing. This story shows some of Lythande's backstory, where she and another girl had a relationship.

For the other girl it was a phase and she grew out of it; Lythande did not. This story was written for Thieves' World by Vonda N. McIntyre ; Lythande is a borrowed character. Its canonicity isn't certain; MZB consulted to make sure it fit the character and it was included in the original collection, but it is not in the The Complete Lythande. Crapsack Only by Comparison: A group of people come to Sanctuary and find it appalling. This is not so unusual Sanctuary is a Wretched Hive after all but the reason is that the place they come from is idyllic: Group relationships seem to be normal in Kaimas.

He was named 'Satan' after the caption on a painting of a fiery angel, with no understanding of the connotations. Welcome to the Big City: Four naive Northerners encounter the rough and crude denizens of the city of Sanctuary. One local tries to hire a female party member as a prostitute, and another woman is almost raped and murdered when she goes out alone. What Could Have Been: An early draft of the story had Lythande agreeing to live in Kaimas with Westerly and the others.

MZB did not want the character to be permanently reformed and made happy! The Virgin and the Volcano. This story is a crossover with the character Eirthe, created by Elizabeth Waters. Appease the Volcano God: Invoked by the volcano itself; once they pass through the barrier, the volcano says they must sacrifice the virgin with them to stop it from erupting.

Alnath, Eirthe's pet fire elemental , is a salamander who hangs out on her wrist. She seems to like Lythande. The volcano turns out to be able to speak and demand its own sacrifice. The volcano demands a virgin, specifically, be tossed in. Take a Third Option: Given the choice "be sacrificed to the volcano or be killed when the volcano erupts and kills everyone", Lythande figures out a way to feed the volcano a different "virgin" - a magic candle shaped like a woman.

The Gratitude of Kings. The most commonly-mentioned restriction on Lythande, that she may never eat or drink in sight of a man, is apparently completely forgotten for this story, and she eats and drinks at the feast. The Children of Cats. When being stalked by a supernatural entity, Lythande takes shelter in a wayside inn, and seems to have gone from the frying pan into the fire.

Lythande (Literature) - TV Tropes

The innkeeper transforms travelers into pigs, and then slaughters those pigs for food. The proprietess serves humans turned into pigs to the inn's visitors. Inn of No Return: The proprietor of the inn is a witch who drugs, transforms, and slaughters the customers. The "pork" returns to visibly human meat as soon as the witch who turned the visitors into pigs is dead. Lythande comes into a village and is tasked with getting rid of "wuzzles". Magic in this story is described as being rather Literal-Minded. She sneezes while saying "May it be so", and thus curses someone with sneezes.

The banishing spell relies on a pentagram drawn on the floor. The wuzzles are banished through certain candles, on certain places, with a certain spell. Lythande even teaches the farmer the spell; he grumbles and says he could have done that. Put on a Bus: Frennet, the girl Lythande picked up in "The Walker Behind", who knows Lythande's secret and is not really smart enough or sophisticated enough to keep it successfully, and who could be a large enough problem that Lythande considers killing her to keep the secret, ends the story conveniently and happily married off to a guy in town while Lythande wanders off again.

The Complete Lythande, by Marion Zimmer Bradley

Lythande has never heard of "wuzzles" before being called on to get rid of them; every time she thinks of them it's in the form of "— what was it, wuzzles —" or similar in the middle of the sentence. The Footsteps of Retribution. To Kill The Undead.

Lythande must find a way to rid a town of a vampire, but since vampires are already dead, it seems impossible. After the reveal of the vampire's identity and circumstances, Lythande counsels the town to be less petty and give the dead their due in the future so that such things don't happen. Due to the Dead: The vampire is revealed to have been a townsman who committed suicide and was buried in unhallowed ground. He returned as a vampire because of this improper burial. No Man of Woman Born: Lythande tells the townspeople she will not be able to kill a vampire, because it is already dead.

This turns out to be true - however, should that which is dead be returned to life, it can then be killed. Our Vampires Are Different: The vampire is described as being a creature of pure magic unaccustomed to even being in human form anymore. Then it veers back into "our vampires are traditional", because the vampire turns out to have been a man who died of suicide and was buried in unhallowed ground.

Once reduced back to human form, the vampire is immediately attempting to change shape again. To Drive the Cold Winter Away. Lythande comes to a town in which all sorts of happiness and fun have been outlawed. The winter seems to have been extended because music in all its forms was outlawed, and she plays and sings her song, bringing spring back to the land. Here There Be Dragons. Lythande goes up a set of magical stairs into a strange world. The evil nature of the world is revealed by a disgusting metallic sun Lythande finds absolutely abhorrent.

Lythande thinks of them as separate entities, but interchangeably, and what is described as and seems to be a dinosaur breathes fire, which dinosaurs are not known to be able to do Excalibur in the Stone: As this story was written for and published originally in an anthology about Excalibur, the unnamed sword Lythande finds and draws from the stone is implicitly Excalibur. Lythande is carrying a crucifix, despite pointedly not being of the religion, and it proves to be a powerful force of good that hides the nature of the evil surroundings as long as she has it.


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The story has a couple errors within its own continuity, but it also states that Lythande has never carried a sword, which is explicitly false - she has a sword in "The Secret of the Blue Star", "Somebody Else's Magic" is all about her carrying a sword unwillingly, and in the latter she is skilled enough with the sword to show she has used one willingly in the past.