to the Reader: I think I should warn any of you new
to my blog that this A-Z post series is about aspects of Moonblood, the third novel, and if you haven't read it, there are
SPOILERS throughout! So heed this ominous warning or read at your own risk . .
And now, on with the today's post.
One of the more interesting little snippets in Heartless is this passage early on, when
Una lies in her bed and studies the embroidered canopy above her:
mother had embroidered it soon after Una's birth. She had made it especially
for Una, and if only for that reason, Una loved it. Bold threads of gold, which
picked up light from the fire, depicted the contours of Lord Lumé surrounded in
a glowing aura. He wore robes like those worn by the old singer who sang at all
royal christenings and weddings, though those in the embroidery were much
grander and fanned out like flames.
Lumé was the sun, and he sang the Melody.
from him, picked out in delicate silver threads, was his wife, Lady Hymlumé,
the moon, and she sang the Harmony. She wore robes such as Una had never seen
anywhere else, and she wondered how her mother had dreamed them up. Una thought
she would much rather wear the silver garments of Hymlumé than all the
brilliant fashions into which the royal tailors stuffed her. (Heartless, p. 51)
Thus we are first introduced to one of the most
important themes in the Tales of Goldstone Wood series: The Sphere Songs and
those who sing them.
that theme has become more familiar to us, for we have heard references to Hymlumé
and Lumé throughout both the previous novels. But it is in Moonblood that we first learn that these monarchs of the skies are
more than mere poetic imagery. They truly exist, truly sing, truly dance their
patterns through space, great and beautiful and incomprehensible to mortal
One of the most difficult and satisfying scenes to
write was the scene where Lionheart follows Queen Bebo up the long stair of
Rudiobus and steps into the fringes of Hymlumé's Garden. For their Lionheart is
made to look upon things he cannot understand. He must see the vastness of the
skies, the flowing of the Final Water, and then, at last, he is turned to see Hymlumé's
looked again at the enormous moon, wincing away from her brightness. This time,
though only for a moment, he saw her, the Lady Hymlumé. Beautiful and awful and
vision filling, the sun's wife sat crowned in silver light.
that instant, he heard her song.
fell to his knees and might have slipped right over the edge of that precipice
had not Queen Bebo held so tightly to his hand. Tears streamed down his cheeks,
and he turned away from the moon and Iubdan's queen and covered his face in
Looking upon the impossible, Lionheart is first made
to truly face who he is and what he has done. In that moment of clarity, seeing
Hymlumé's face, he must see his own.
And even then, he cannot quite understand . . . Not yet.
It would be easy to think, based upon the
description above that Hymlumé and Lumé were god-like beings. But we know from
the chapter previous, in which Eanrin sings Ordenel
Hymlumé Nive, that such is not the case. Hymlumé and Lumé and all the starry
host sing the Sphere Songs given them by
the Song Giver and dance the pattern of Time and Timelessness across the
sky. But they did not create the Songs for themselves.
And the whole plot of Moonblood centers on the pain of Hymlumé when the Dragon flew into
her garden and poisoned her children.
watched them fall," said the Chief Poet, his voice no greater than a
whisper, though it filled all of Rudiobus. "She watched them step out of their
heavenly dance, the rhythm of the song she and Lumé had sung since the worlds
were first created . . . Those who had never noticed the Sphere Songs singing
in the night heard instead their silencing. And while the thunder of that
silence yet rang in their ears, they heard the voice of Hymlumé crying out."
In her agony and despair, Hymlumé herself cried out:
I but knew my fault!
blessed your name, oh you who sit
beyond the Highlands.
blessed your name and sang in answer
the song you gave."
The mighty singer of the sky begs for answers, to
know if she somehow deserves this sorrow as her own children turn upon her and
pierce her with their horns. In that celestial song, she echoes the hearts of
all those who dwell below, all those in pain who beg for answers from above.
But at the last--as echoed in later ages by Sir
need no answers. Do not answer.
are true and you
right, and your name is mighty.
name is my life.
your name, I accept my doom."
But doom is not to be her fate, for the Giver of
Songs has not forgotten her or any of His loved creation.
Nor has he forgotten the pain of Rose Red,
Lionheart, Oeric, Beana, Eanrin, Imraldera . . . any of the characters who
question His goodness and question His heart.
The original inspiration for this theme of the Moon
and the Sun and the songs came from many old poems and songs. Notably the
lovely lines from the old hymn:
"This is My Father's World,
And to my listening ears
All nature sings and 'round me
The music of the spheres."
The simply beauty of these lines have captured my
heart and imagination since childhood. It did not surprise me as I grew and
read, and grew and read some more, that the theme of the singing spheres has
poured from the pens of poets for centuries.
sun makes music as of old
Amid the rival spheres of Heaven,
On its predestined circle rolled
With thunder speed: the Angels even
Draw strength from gazing on its glance,
Though none its meaning fathom may:--
The world's unwithered countenance
Is bright as at Creation's day."
But no poet ever wrote this theme more beautifully than
did King David when he said:
heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world."
And so in Moonblood I offer my own contribution to this great lineage of
poets and prophets. May my simple words and stories be offered in praise of my