Delving into the world of fantasy fiction, most mainstreamers are familiar with J.R.R. Tolkien and, more recently, J.K. Rowling (though some hardcore fantasy fans may take exception to her inclusion). To be a true fantasy geek you must travel roads less populated, and in doing so, you discover gems others pass on by. One of those gems is Michael Moorcock’s Elric. Moorcock penned a few tales involving Elric of Melniboné, the most comprehensive being The Elric Saga. Aside from the requisite Tolkein books, I am of the opinion that Moorcock’s Elric is required reading for any fantasy geek. Moorcock’s description of Elric is a good starting point in understanding the character.
Moorcock’s description of Elric:
It is the colour of a bleached skull, his flesh; and the long hair which flows below his shoulders is milk-white. From the tapering, beautiful head stare two slanting eyes, crimson and moody, and from the loose sleeves of his yellow gown emerge two slender hands, also the colour of bone.
Elric is one of the best anti-heroes ever written and I am a big fan of anti-heroes. From Deadpool in the comics to Leon in The Professional, I am drawn to the anti-hero. I absolutely love books like Lord of The Rings and Dragonlance, both of whom have their anti-heroes (Boromir and Raistlin Majere respectfully). But Moorcock does one better by making the main character the anti-hero. Elric is ravaged inside between being the good guy who has to do bad things to produce good results. It’s an absolute joy of a read.
Moorcock weaves such a different world than you normally find in other fantasy series. The magic and mystery throughout is unique and mostly dark, but a necessary darkness for the greater good. Moorcock’s treatment of Elric’s sword, Stormbringer, is brilliant. Treating it as a character itself and not just a mere trinket, not unlike the One Ring from Tolkien’s masterpiece. If you have yet to read Moorcock’s works, The Elric Saga is a good starting point and highly recommended. Check out the red links below and pick up the first three books, you really won’t regret it!