Remember the old writers' adage? Write Chapter One. Write Chapter Two. Throw away Chapter One. It's meant to keep writers from pouring all the background material, especially the characters' history, into a grand opening info dump. Apparently it's not as old an adage as we might think, because Morris clearly didn't follow it with this book!
Four chapters or so -- maybe more, maybe less -- are given over to the history of the Lady of Abundance, who by the way has no name. Talk about telling and not showing? The whole thing is done in her narration to Ralph, and I have to say it's pretty damn boring.
This interlude, however, serves to set up Ralph's decision to actively seek the Well at the World's End, which had only been a kind of thought in the back of his head prior to her tale.
The Lady of Abundance (also known as the Lady of the Dry Tree) isn't the only character without a name. We have various Knights of the Dry Tree, the Sorceress, the Knight of the Sun, and so on, which makes it difficult to tell who is who. The girl from Bourton Abbas, a place Ralph stopped at along the way, is now coming back into the story, but she was so unremarkable at her introduction that I don't remember anything about her. Now she's being brought back into the story as Dorothea. I may have to go back to the pages in Bourton Abbas to refresh my memory as to who she is.
Another difficulty in reading this book is that people and places change sides frequently. So Ralph meets people along the way who claim the village of Hampton under Scaur is a place of evil, but other people he meets say it is a haven for travelers. Some encourage him to seek refuge in Hampton, while others urge him to avoid it head instead for the Burg of the Four Friths. It's very confusing.
Like places, the people are confusing. Is Walter the Black a good guy or not? What about the Knight of the Sun? And who was the guy Ralph kept encountering with ominous comments like, "The first time"?
Also, a map would be helpful.
Brief update on me: I spent most of Friday and all of Saturday in bed, in excruciating pain with the back spasms. Big doses of ibruprofen helped only a little. Last night (Saturday) I was i such extreme pain that against my better judgment I broke out a 2013 prescription of Flexeril that I had got another time I had bad spasms. Though it didn't work at all that time, it worked last night and allowed me to sleep. I took another around 2:00 a.m. and slept off and on until 9:30. I'm laying off the Flexeril for now, and am still in pain but not quite so much.
The one thing I managed to get done this morning was change out all four tumbler barrels. One small batch of stones is now done -- there wasn't anything spectacular in that barrel -- and the other three are progressing. I would have liked to fill that fourth barrel with new stones, but the back just wouldn't let me.
BF is on his way home from umpiring another softball tournament and then I think we're going to the Asian buffet . . . if I can stay awake that long! I think I'm having a Flexeril flashback. . . . . . .