Saturday, September 26, 2009

'The Sorcerer's Apprentice" by Robert Silverberg

In this short story, Silverberg presents an nice twist on the high fantasy trope of the socerer and their apprentice. Instead of presenting the expected young, plucky teen learning from the old, wise, slightly crazy old man (let's call it the Miyagi trope), Silverberg presents a story about an apprentice in his early thirties (Gannin Thidritch), who takes up apprenticeship under a woman of slightly the same age (V. Halabant). As a result of the changes, the story revolves strongly around the power relationship between the two characters, complicated by the character's increasing attraction to one another.

Appropriately, is is Halabant who manages to control this attraction throughout the majority of the story, maintaining her status in the story as the more self-controlled mentor while Gannin descends into a spiral of adolescent obsession. Disappointingly, however, Silverberg sets up a situation in which Gannin can demonstrate his physical prowess over Halabant, balancing it against her superiority with magic, making it possible for the two characters to come together and finally explore there attraction. I will give him credit that Silverberg doesn't seem to imply that they become lovers as a result of this event, although the event itself, along with a few other references in the story, seem unnecessarily sexist. I can't help but wonder if Silverberg himself was a little uneasy with the position of power Halabant assumes in the story, and felt the need to balance it out himself.

No comments:

Post a Comment