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Off with you

“Off with you” is a phrase used by people who lack the courtesy to say something more polite, such as “If there’s nothing else you require, I must be going,” or “I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to ask you to leave, please,” or even “Excuse me, but I believe you have mistaken my home for your own, and my valuable belongings for yours, and I must ask you to return the items in question to me, and leave my home, after untying me from this chair, as I am unable to do it myself, if it’s not too much trouble.”

– Lemony Snicket,
in chapter 3 of The Penultimate Peril,
Book the Twelfth of A Series of Unfortunate Events

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The hubris of mankind

Why should not God have come to the earth as an earth-worm? There are a great many more worms than men, and they do a great deal more good.

– Merlyn, in
The Book of Merlyn, chapter 3, page 45,
by T. H. White

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Legal residence

Are you guys from the Housing co-op? Because it’s perfectly legal to win an apartment in a duel.

– John Constantine,

in “Necromancing the Stone”, episode 3×15 of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow

 

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Timey-wimey

Merlyn, […] was a staunch conservative – which was rather progressive of him, when you reflect that he was living backwards

The Book of Merlyn, chapter 3, page 35,
by T. H. White

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Where you please, and when

“Chain! Chain you! What! Run you not, then,
just where you please, and when?”
“Not always, sir; but what of that?”
“Enough for me, to spoil your fat!
It ought to be a precious price
which could to servile chains entice;
for me, I’ll shun them while I’ve wit.”
So ran Sir Wolf, and runneth yet.

– Le Loup et le Chien
by Jean de la Fontaine, in Elizur Wright‘s translation

Illustration by J. J. Grandville.

The Once and Future King

“If I were to be made a knight,” said the Wart, staring dreamily into the fire, “I should insist on doing my vigil by myself, as Hob does with his hawks, and I should pray to God to let me encounter all the evil in the world in my own person, so that if I conquered there would be none left, and, if I were defeated, I would be the one to suffer for it.”

“That would be extremely presumptuous of you,” said Merlyn, “and you would be conquered, and you would suffer for it.”

“I shouldn’t mind.”

“Wouldn’t you? Wait till it happens and see.”

– Chapter Twenty of The Sword in the Stone,
by T. H. White

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The Quest For The Time-Bird (La Quête de l’oiseau du temps) by Serge Le Tendre and Régis Loisel

In this graphic novel, we follow a gruff heroic knight forced out of retirement and a beautiful warrior maiden with a temper as they search for the magical ingredients the maiden’s sorceress-princess mother requires to stop the return of a despotic imprisoned god.

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With an interesting tonal mix between the typical epic fantasy stakes, typical low fantasy character flaws and splashes of irreverent blue comedy, the story is rather engaging, even as it to some extent goes through the motions of the typical genre Quest. This is, however, greatly alleviated by the ending, which feels both surprising and inevitable at the same time.

What really sells one on this story, though, is of course the gorgeous artwork, which really gets a chance to shine in the huge page format this book has.

However, the English translation is unfortunately rather erratic, sometimes making it hard to know exactly what a character is referring to with a given statement, and I often had to pan back and forth between several panels to make proper sense of what was being said. If you can read it in the original French, I therefore suspect you’ll get a much better experience.

But even with the translation’s issues, I really enjoyed this, and would not hesitate to recommend it to any fans of epic fantasy who are looking for something pretty to read that is both tried and true, but also ever so slightly different.