Friday, 2 June 2017

A minor mystery solved

A couple of months ago, posting about the material I'd found in a box in the loft, I mentioned a Dwarf called Tholinn and his magic hammer. I think I've tracked down the source (though the spelling in the probable source is 'Tholin').

I've been reading Raymond E Feist's Magician, which is (in essence) a story of how a young man grows up and develops his magic powers while becoming involved in the great events of his time, Which I'll grant you could describe a lot of fantasy stories.

In this novel, there is a character called Dolgan, who is a Dwarf chieftain. About a third of the way into the book, Dolgan finds a magic hammer, that belonged to a Dwarven hero called Tholin, in an underground location connected with dragons.

My 'hammer of Tholinn' is a magic hammer, previously belonging to a Dwarf-hero called Tholinn, that is to be found in an underground location connected with dragons (the entrance to the dungeon is dominated by a colossal dragon statue). I think the close connection in conception is pretty strong evidence that I had Magician in mind when writing the notes. The extra 'n' was possibly a typo, or maybe etymologically I wanted to get a bit further from 'Tholin/Thorin' (which I'd regard as being philologically equivalent). But I think the typo, or perhaps 'scribal error' (as these were hand-written notes) is probably more likely. I think, when I wrote the notes, I possibly didn't have the book in front of me and was going from memory of what I'd been reading. And having perpetrated the error, I'd likely just keep doing it (it occurs a couple of times in my notes), as I didn't necessarily ever compare manuscripts.

I have at least started reading Magician before. In mid-1993, I borrowed it from one of my house-mates, who was a friend from college and also a big fantasy and sci-fi fan. I gave it back unfinished some time later - so when a couple of months ago (about the same time as my original post two months ago) I saw a second-hand copy in a charity sale, I bought it, thinking 'ah, a second chance to finish that!'.

So that would suggest that the notes were written in or after the summer of 1993. Not long after, as 'Tholin(n)'s dragon-connected magic hammer' was it seems a fresh enough idea in my mind to require no explanation whatsoever. Possibly not immediately as I might have forgotten how to spell 'Tholin' (though that's not conclusive, I might have been just too lazy to check the spelling in the book). So my guess (using other evidence, like handwriting - I know this wasn't done when I was 15 for instance) of 'about 1992' is not so bad - 'mid-late 1993' is now my guess for this.

I like the symmetry of  coming back to the dungeon (at least partly-) inspired by Magician at the same time as starting to re-read the book. It made finding the reference to 'the hammer of Tholin' seem like a real discovery - a reference to my own forgotten (or at least legendary) past!

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