Reviews for The Lay of Orelleos
Complex Variable chapter 2 . 11/4/2012
[Leave not a man behind, forgot; for fame,] - - - why not "with fame"?

[His names are also Wraithsbane, Hands-of-Gold,] - - - why not "are many: Wraithsbane" (or maybe it's a semicolon, "are many; Wraithsbane", I can never tell. XD)

[Then also Frozensteel] - - - what about "And also", instead of "Then also"?

[A gift beyond the mortal realm, they gave, / those gods who touched his skin:
the gold that marked him trueborn Dragonkin. / Within the womb, his hands, when touched by hosts, / were radiant and sleek.] - - - this doesn't quite make sense.

1) The phrase "beyond the mortal realm": does it mean what I think it should mean—that the gift CAME from the gods/otherworld/whatever—or, does it mean that the gift itself is something beyond the "mortal realm"—i.e., that it is a power/blessing of some sort that transcends the mortal realms. Of course, it gets worse... if the gift was something that transcends the mortal realms, this then puts a qualifier on the "upper limit" of what is considered possible in the "mortal realm". If the mortal realm has no magic, for instance, than any kind of magical blessing would be considered "beyond the mortal realm". However, if the mortal realm DID have magic, or other phenomena that we earthlings would consider "supernatural", then a gift that is "beyond the mortal realm" would have to be something rather impressive, wouldn't you say so? Basically: fix that first line to avoid this confusion.

2) Okay, so: "trueborn Dragonkin." What does that mean, exactly? Is it:

—Orelleos' [Father/Mother (but usually the Father)] was a dragon? (Note, if this is the case, then it can have as much or as little of a biological impact on Orelleos as you want. On one end of the spectrum, he could just have super-human strength, endurance, keenness of vision, etc., on the other end of the spectrum, he could have scales, wings, etc.—the whole reptilian package.)

—Orelleos' was blessed with "generic" divine blessings, (long life, superpowers, what have you, etc.), and the "Dragonkin" is just a term used to refer to how powerful those blessings are, not because it has anything to do with dragons, specifically?

—Orelleos had the spirit/magic/strength/soul/whatever of a dragon "infused" in him by an act of the gods? Are the gods (or any single one of the gods) dragons? Was this a "let's take the power of dying/dead dragon X and put it into Orelleos, kind of thing, or what?

[So then therefore with head and chin held high / the very day he came of age,] - - - No. No no no. WAAAAAYYYY too early. Along with the above confusion about "trueborn Dragonkin", I have to say: you need WAAAAAAYYYYYY more exposition in this poem. You haven't told us ANYTHING about his parents (or lack thereof); you haven't told us the *mandatory* "youthful exploit"—the cool/weird/special thing that your hero does before becoming formally trained in whatever it is that he's destined to do. There's a "formula" for this kind of epic poetry, ya know? XD Also, taking the time to tell us the expository details—and that's something you have to do THROUGHOUT the poem, mind you—doing so will give you the opportunity (i.e., the endless amount of stanzas) to make Orelleos' character deeper. That's something you REALLY need to do, too; right now, he's about as deep as a piece of shredded cardboard. And that's NO GOOD. Taking the time to develop your characters and their fantasy world is ESSENTIAL—not just in literature, but in poetry, especially. Since poetry is inherently more disciplined than prose—you have to adhere to form and meter and all that—you need to take extra time to get across all of the necessary information. Without that information, your world and your characters seem shallow and robotic.

Have you read "The Epic of Gilgamesh", or, Byron's "Don Juan"—or, for that matter, anything by the ancient poets or the "epic poets" of the 18th/19th century? I'm not trying to intimidate you—what you have is written wonderfully—I'm just saying that you could make this poem less... dense. Not every stanza has to be wonderful enough to be published as a poem in its own right, you know! XD Spend more time focused on storytelling, and I have no doubt that your natural talents as a "pure" poet will shine through. For something like this, the story really is more important that the delivery; without the story, the delivery doesn't mean much.

For example, I'd like to know: what is Orelleos afraid of? What is his "weakness"? What does he dream of doing with himself? What does he want more than anything in the world? What makes him keep on going, day in and day out? What does he look like? What is his sexual orientation? Is he of noble birth, or is he from a long line of dung-shovellers? Does he have a friend/best friend? Does he have a childhood sweetheart? What are his flaws? What frustrates him? What does he dream of becoming? WHAT IS HIS PERSONALITY LIKE?, etc.

[the Elder Sage, / who taught the youngest of the Kin] - - - Okay, here's a little rule for you: unless it is the actual given name of a thing ("the city of Townsville", the "king of the Formorians", etc.) I FORBID you from giving something a capitalized title unless you have already explained what it is (in DETAIL), or, are about to explain what it is. XD Digressions for the sake of elaboration and explanation are very important in "Lay"s, and other sorts of Epic Poetry. What's an "Elder Sage"? Why is he the "Elder Sage"? What does he do? Who does he do it for? Where does he do it? Ask yourself these kinds of questions more often, and make sure you answer (most of) them in the poem!

[of all, Arcaine.] - - - don't you mean "Arcane"?

[The rules of One-from-Four the Sage did teach,] - - - What are the rules? Tell me!

DETAILS DETAILS DETAILS!
IronSpockMaster chapter 2 . 2/2/2011
The flow of this poem was near perfect in my opinion because the words slipped off the tongue and the stanzas and lines ran seamlessly. My only problem with it was the line 'and three, less than a score. Completely bare' because to me it felt chunky and unnecessarily broken up. I think it would be better if the sentence had been dragged out a little longer, and then the new sentence (beginning 'completely bare') had started on the next line.

For descriptions and images, my favourite lines were:

'Beseech me not traverse the well-worn road

of legends told of heroes strong at heart' because it gave me a real image of a road with heroes on it in my head, and I think poems should do this. They should actually form the image in the reader's head, regardless of whether it is a metaphor or a description.

And

'His names are also Wraithsbane, Hands-of-Gold,

Lord Hammerfall.

Then also Frozensteel, and Thunder's Call' because the names are brilliant. They are a great description of the character without even needing to do a physical description, because each name says something about his character. I particularly liked 'Frozensteel' because to me it could mean something to do with his weapon, but also to do with his personality.

I do think that there could have been a bit more description in here because a lot of it seemed a bit bare, only focussing on names and action.

I enjoyed most of this poem. I really liked the first few stanzas because of the direct speech to the reader. It felt like a song that would be told in ancient times to tell the story of heroes and all that. As it carried on, it got a bit long winded for me, because I prefer short and snappy poems, that get to the point. I know that the point of this is like an epic tale, so I'm guessing that it's just because it's not my thing, although there did seem rather a lot of excess information.

I love some of the words you have used in this poem because they fit with the era that the poem is supposed to be set in. I really liked 'the syntax of man's speech' because of the alliteration with 'syntax' and 'speech', but also the way that syntax of speech would be used in real life whilst speaking the poem, so it reminded me that the poem is being told to the reader by a narrator who would have been speaking out loud. I also like the use of the word 'Entrench'd' in the second stanza because it seems appropriate to the style of the poem and also the way it has an apostrophe in it helps with the flow of the poem because the reader knows how to say the word.
berley chapter 2 . 12/23/2010
First of all Patrick, I’m sorry this review took so long. I’ve just been busy with work and prepping for Christmas. Secondly, I’m sorry if this review isn’t as good as the one you gave me. I’m still working on being able to break down poetry as well as I can do with prose, especially a poem like this. Also, I’m probably going to comment on each section as I go, so I’m sorry if I start rambling. Haha!

The part of the first section that really stood out for me was ‘fame beyond the grave’. It’s such an appealing idea for so many people and characters, to have the chance to live forever in the minds of everyone for what they did; to be famous for eternity. It reminds me of the story of Achillies, and how he faced his death knowing that he would live on for eternity for what he did. So this poem is about remembering this man, Orelleos, and what he did.

So Orellos was touched by Gods when he was a child, or when he was still in his mother’s womb. Again, this reminds me of Achillies, though I’m assuming Orellos isn’t invulnerable, just meant to be a warrior of some kind. I also like the idea of them being trained at a very young age, it reminds me of the hard core Trojan warriors.

So the Sage is teaching these boys, or preparing them. Magic is involved, but it takes a lot of time and work to achieve. I really liked how you described Latharasel’s magic or art as ‘reeking’. That line alone provided great imagery and showed how evil this character is, and this is expanded on with your next descriptions. Nice job with that.

I think this section is my favourite so far. I can definitely see how this poem is Tolkien inspired with this part, it really is great. I liked how at first everything seems doom and gloom with lines like ‘His scythe came down in bath of blood’ and ‘The center of his wrath the Kin became’, but then the last line shows that the great champion, Orelleos, is ready.

I really liked the idea of Dwarves, and as soon as I read hammers I thought of a very rocky and rough setting where they live. They sound pretty hard core. Haha. So he has a weapon that is made by the Dwarves, and he has to prove himself before he can ally with them to fight Latharasel? The only thing I wanted to know more of was the vision that Orelleos had. What kind of vision was it? Was it self induced or just randomly happen to him?

This was pretty cool, I have to admit, but not something I normally would sit down and read. I’m impressed how well it’s written, as well. It sounded really nice when read out loud, and the rhyme scheme, even though it’s a bit different from what I’m used to, worked really well. Nice job, I’m looking forward to reading more when you update!
thebelltower chapter 2 . 11/2/2010
I really love the idea of this - creating your own mythology is quite a fantastic idea, but also a tremendous feat! I congratulate you for writing this with such eloquence.

The Bell Tower