Way One: Chapters 5 through 9

Chapter 5: A Day and a Night

Sigurd is a popular Norse name (Heimskringla); the Sigurd referenced here, however, is Sigurd the Stout, Earl of Orkney, who had 2,000 Vikings in mail at the Battle of Clontarf, which is the incident that Shandon and Golias are caught up in. (Desmond's Concise History of Ireland)

Heorot, where Golias tells Shandon to met up with him if they are separated in the Battle of Clontarf, is the site of the heroic epic Beowulf; the Norse king Hrothgar built a great hall, Heorot, which was then plagued by the monster Grendel, and delivered by the hero Beowulf.

Golias recognizes the locale because he came through on his way to the Second Battle of Moytura, which took place at the same time as the Fall of Troy, roughly 1869 B.C. The Tuatha Dé Danaan fought and defeated the Fomorians near Lough Arrow, County Sligo, in Ireland. Nuada of the Silver Hand was killed, and Lugh Lámhfada became king. Dates in Irish Myth and Legend

The Brian referred to is Brian Boru, the most famous high king of Ireland.

seven cross roadsSeparated from Golias after the battle, and seeking his way to Heorot, Shandon wanders through the forest of Broceliande and comes across a young woman named Rosalette. Rosalette is in love with Aucando, who is the son of a king who has forbidden him to marry her and planned to kill her to prevent it. She has run away, but she is determined to seek out her Aucando. I have not been able to locate a specific story like this, but it sounds -- especially with later events -- very much like a plot from Shakespeare, who took his own plots from older literature and from folklore.

Fred Lerner points out that Aucando and Rosalette are portmanteau-names, combining "Aucassin" and "Nicolete" from the original Provencal chantefable (part sung, part spoken) Aucassin et Nicolete, c. 1200, by the ever-prolific Anonymous, with Orlando and Rosalind from Shakespeare's As You Like It. The song of Rosalette, "Seven roads could bring you here..." is in the rhyme and meter of Aucassin and Nicolette; Nocolette built her forest bower at a place where seven roads met.

Chapter 6: Random Faring

Shandon's finer sensibilities are already awakening under the influence of the Commonwealth. He treats Rosalette in a much more chivalrous manner than he treated Circe, and upon being separated from her he starts out after her with vague notions of protection beginning to percolate in him. The next character he meets in Broceliande (remember I said this forest stands for All Forest?) is Pathfinder, the hero Natty Bumpo from the series Leatherstocking Tales (which included The Last of the Mohicans) by James Fenimore Cooper. Hunter, scout, pathfinder and trapper, Natty Bumpo was nicknamed Deerslayer, Pathfinder -- and Hawkeye. (Thank-you to Bruce Pelz for pointing out to me that these are all the same character.)

After watching feats of marksmanship from Pathfinder, Shandon gets to see a knight slay a dragon and rescue a fair (and so far unidentified) damsel. The knight's name is Calidore, and he cannot go with Shandon to help Rosalette because he must pursue the Blatant Beast. Calidore was the hero of the sixth bookof Spenser's Faërie Queene, and is supposed to have been modeled on Sir Philip Sidney.

As night is coming on, Shandon is waylaid by some men in green -- including a very BIG one. Now Broceliande incorporates Sherwood Forest. In looking for some online references on Robin Hood, his band of Merry Men, and Little John (the big one), I found a nice picture gallery. Check other Robin Hood references at Yahoo.

The Merry Men make a reference to the Cardiff Giant, one of the famous hoaxes of history - a 10 1/2 foot gypsum statue claimed to be the fossilized remains of an ancient man from the age of giants.

Chapter 7: Under the Leaves

Shandon's adventures with the Merry Men continue with his introduction to Robin, John, and Scarlock, all members of the legendary band. Shandon is the guest for the traditional Lady's Day, which is part of Robin Hood folklore.

Robin is also introduced to a young runaway who has just joined the band, Nicolind. Nicolind is not directly from literature or legend, but is a character made up by Myers to resemble types from Shakespeare; this character is related to Rosalette.

Chapter 8: Two Big Cats

M. Tensas, M.D.: Fred Lerner was kind enough to send me some background on this character, when I told him my copy of A Silverlock Companion hadn't arrived yet. "Madison Tensas, M.D., was the pseudonym of Dr. Henry Clay Lewis (1825-1850), a physician whose experiences in the old Southwest form the basis for Old Leaves from the Life of a Louisiana Swamp Doctor (American humorous narrative, 1850).

Shandon also meets Puck, a central character from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Text With Pictures

Puck goes on at some length about the extent of the things he knows, including:

Chapter 9: A Guide and No Guides

After catching Shandon up in the final events of a Midsummer Night's Dream, Puck takes pity on him and gives him directions to Heorot.

Since Shandon is as hollow as Finnegan's legs, Puck mentions that he can pick up something to eat at a "day and night joint" he will pass on the way. The "day and night joint" is the Mad Hatter's Tea Party.

One landmark Puck tells Shandon he will pass is Sandhills, but I haven't determined the reference yet. Fred Lerner says it is "A region in north central Nebraska inhabited by many cows and few people."

Another landmark is Wayland's Forge. Wayland the Smith was the greatest smith of Norse mythology. The Lay of Wayland in the original language

At last Silverlock comes to Heorot. In Chapter 10 he gets to hear Golias summarize his travels, as well as compose a skaldic saga for the heroes of the Alamo, and that will be an entire page to itself.

More to come ...

by John Myers Myers
ISBN 0-441-76674-9
Ace Fantasy Books
The Berkely Publishing Group
200 Madison Avenue
New York, New York 10016

A Silverlock Companion:
The Life and Works of John Myers Myers

edited by Fred Lerner
ISBN 0-910619-02-6
Niekas Publications, 1988
email order from <edmund.meskys@gsel.org>

Way One: Chapters 1-3
East of Agamemnon ...
Way One: Chapter 10
The Ballad of Bowie Gizzardsbane
Way Two: Chapters 11-22
Way Three: Chapters 23-30
Index of Chapters and References
The Women of the Commonwealth
Commonwealth Home Page