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Linda Hilton

Reader, Writer, Merciless Reviewer and Incurable Romantic


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Currently reading

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Guy Gavriel Kay
Progress: 10/383 pages
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Linda Hilton
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Reading progress update: I've read 61%.

The Well At The World's End: Volume II - Lin Carter, William Morris

Prior updates:






The story of Ralph's quest for the Well at the World's End actually begins at the 60% mark.


This would never fly in the market today.


And yet I'm still keeping this book in my personal canon.





At this point, Ralph meets again the girl from Bourton Abbas, an encounter that lasted a few pages way way back in the story.  He never knew her name, but he has fond memories of her as a friend.  Okay, fine.  But in the meantime, he met the unnamed Lady of Abundance, he had a significant sexual liaison with her, and then she was killed by her husband.


After her death, Ralph sets off a little more determined to find the Well, which the Lady of Abundance had been to and to which she intended to guide him.  But Ralph proves over and over again to be a bit of a naif, being duped by numerous folk, male and female, who promise to help him and do anything but.  Eventually he ends up enslaved by the evil Lord of Utterbol -- he doesn't have a name either -- who apparently plans to provide Ralph as boy-toy to his wife the Queen -- nope, she doesn't have a name -- so that he, the Lord of Utterbol, can cavort with another slave, who is presumed to be the girl from Bourton Abbas.


Got that? 


Ralph is really not much of a hero, but he is . . . perfect.  Every woman who sees him falls in love with him.  He turns out to be a champion jouster and a superb archer.  But he also trusts everyone who comes to him with any kind of promise, and he always gets betrayed.


But finally he meets up again with the girl from Bourton Abbas, about whom he had dreamed.  In that dream, he learned that her name was Dorothea.  But when he meets her, he asks if her name is Dorothy . . . but she says no, her name is Ursula!


Now, remember that Ralph had this relationship with the Lady of Abundance, and he knows Ursula was taken as a slave of the evil Lord of Utterbol.  So the first thing he needs to know about her is how she was treated during her enslavement.


Then Ralph looked sore troubled, and he said: "Dear friend, this is the thing hard for me to say. In what wise did they use thee at Utterbol? Did they deal with thee shamefully?" She answered him quietly: "Nay," she said, "fear not! no shame befell me, save that I was a thrall and not free to depart. Forsooth," she said, smiling, "I fled away timely before the tormentors should be ready . . .

Morris, William. The Well at the World's End: a tale (p. 201).  . Kindle Edition.


So, whew! Ursula is still a virgin, even if Ralph is obviously not.



(show spoiler)


And now, back to reading.  This is the part that goes a lot quicker because, hello, this is where the real story is!