The Well at the World's End: Volume I: 1 Paperback – 20 Mar 2000
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Top Customer Reviews
As with all the William Morris stories I've read so far, there is no character development of the conscious, deliberate sort that we've come to expect from modern fantasy writers. The characters are delineated by their deeds, by the difficult and dangerous situations they have to overcome and the terrible tyrants they have to deal with or fight. So in some ways the tale is related almost like a television news story, just telling what happened without going into any depth about the reasons for the events or how those involved felt about them, but perhaps giving a brief description of their reactions to the things that happened. It's clear that Ralph is a good lad and his main faults seem to be a shortish fuse and a lack humour. Both the women he falls in love with are brave and kind. Even though the author hasn't furnished us with their deep and complicated inner workings, we know enough about them to care when bad things happen to them and their lives are in danger.
Morris had a wonderful imagination and I'm glad he shared it with us. When he started writing these fantasy stories, he had no pattern to follow (being the first) and I wouldn't criticise him for not putting in all the ingredients that the fans of modern fantasy have come to expect. The criticism of the previous reviewer, that the story is full of references to Jesus seems quite unfair.Read more ›
When Ralph runs away from his home in Upmeads in search of adventures, little does he realise what awaits him. No sooner has Ralph stepped outside the borders of his father's kingdom than he first hears mention of the WELL AT THE WORLD'S END (capitalised throughout, for no obvious reason), and gradually he comes to see that there his journey will inevitably lead. From escaping danger in the Burg of Four Friths to finding love in the wilderness with the Lady of the Land of Abundance; from travelling with chapmen (traders) to thralldom (slavery) in Utterbol; no amount of hitherfores and meseemeths can keep Ralph from his quest.
'The Well at the World's End' was William Morris' second novel, and apparently both longer and better than the first ('The Wood Beyond the Worlds'). It's set in a different world (which is nevertheless full of references to Jesus and other recognisable Earth beings that no modern fantasy writer could get away with) and tells the story of a young prince named Ralph. In true fairytale style it's very difficult to feel at all attached to the characters (it uses such fancy language you spend half your time translating, and doesn't bother really trying to get inside their heads) but it's still a good adventure, and anyone who can manage the language of Lord of the Rings without a problem should read it, just for the challenge.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It was an old library book with a rather sticky label still half attached to the front cover.Published 15 months ago by Wendy Gerster
Very strange book. I never know that William Morris had been so lauded for his novels and poetry. Reading this I can't really understand why...Published on 4 April 2013 by Jennifer KNIGHTS