Aprils Past: A-E

The first two years of the blog, I took part in the April A-Z. It’s a cool blogging idea, and Mike has done it with monsters in more recent years. I’m going to plan to do it again next year, but this year, I’m just going to provide a look back at my posts from those first two years. I’d like to revisit some of my reflections, and maybe they’ll be of special interest to folks new to the blog. I’ll do six posts through the month on these by way of retrospective. So below there’s a table with links for a quick catch-up on the first five days. Comments follow.

Alpha20112012
A is forApollo and April FoolsAlbertus and Agrippa
B is forBeauty & the BeastBlood
C is forChestertonCovenant
D is forDungeons & DragonsDispensation and Degenerate Age
E is forEdmundEbeneezer

A Doubling for both of the A’s! I like the connections between the subjects I chose. In 2011, it was my groping towards a distinction between different kinds of fools — the knowing fool and the unknowing fool. In 2012, it was my discovery that Cologne was a hotbed of wizards. It was a university town, after all (though not one of the oldest nor most prestigious). Hey, the cathedral is dedicated to the three magi! Now I’m set for a deep dive into the three magi bringing their baptized thaumaturgy with them into Christianity, preserving the ancient wizardry of the East and lying in state in their shrine, holy liches waiting for the day Christendom needs them again!

B With the Bs, I notice that duality comes up regularly in these blogposts. It seems to be characteristic of symbols and archetypes. It’s there in Blood, too, signaling both life and death, or passion with its negative and positive connotations. Come to think of it, there’s another duality to Apollo that I didn’t explore: the archer as blighter and plague-god. (I’m actually using this in my current campaign with Sol/Harmakhis.)

C Regarding the Cs, I hope I introduce some new readers to Chesterton. He has great style, and while his writing is not always closely argued, he offers some interesting thoughts that will probably be new to lots of folks and some that are worth deeper pondering. People might be surprised to learn that Neil Gaiman, for one, has sat at his feet. Here’s direct links to “The Ethics of Elfland” and “Fairy Tales.”

D is for…the Destroyer! I see these two D posts coming together in my current weekly D&D game with the Scar Barrow group, where I have done a lot of pantheon work as a big part of my behind-the-scenes world building. The group has battled with the evil clerics of the Caves of Chaos, and I decided that these are cultists of Apophis — the yet-to-come incarnation of the chaotic evil numen known as the Destroyer, who brings to an end every age in the setting’s history and sets the stage for the age to follow. This pushed me to develop an entire schema for the setting’s history from the beginning to the current age, and is helping me think more about what kind of threat the cultists might represent. I also note the postscript was the earliest quotation I could find with the phrase “dungeons and dragons” in it. (One-hundred-and-ten years before the game is published!) I keep my eye out for an earlier one. Please let me know if you have one!

E Apparently there is something about E that makes me Anglophile right the hell out. Fitting, though I do so at the flimsiest excuse. The first figure is a powerful symbol who doesn’t exist as a real person for me, even though he is historical, and the second mentions a character who is powerfully real to me, even though he is fictional. I should do something about this and spend some time with Frances Young’s works, including this book. Note his other publications are of interest to readers of this blog, found here. As far as Dickens’ famous creation goes, I am amazed that I focused on the Old Testament background to the name without erupting into the screed that I treat people to whenever I hear them use the name “Scrooge” as they invariably do. Maybe I’ll treat you all to that as a Christmastide post this year.

If you found something worthwhile in this retrospective or its component posts, let me hear from you! They’re be four more throughout the month.

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