“…I like libraries. It makes me feel comfortable and secure to have walls of words, beautiful and wise, all around me. I always feel better when I can see that there is something to hold back the shadows.”
“He mentioned a sort of archetypal city. I couldn’t tell whether it sounded more like Sodom and Gomorrah or Camelot–all the adjectives he used. He called the place Amber and said it was run by a half-mad family, with the city itself peopled by their bastards and folks whose ancestors they’d brought in from other places ages ago. Shadows of the family and the city supposedly figure in most major legends and such…” page 628.
“…Amber casts an infinity of shadows. A child of Amber may walk among them, and such was my heritage. You may call them parallel worlds if you wish, alternate universes if you would, the products of a deranged mind if you care to. I call them shadows, as do all who possess the power to walk among them. We select a possibility and we walk until we reach it. So, in a sense, we create it. Let’s leave it at that for now.”
I’m not normally the type of person that becomes so enamored of anything that I would consider myself a “fan.” A fan being an enthusiastic admirer of something. However, I have to classify myself as a true fan of Roger Zelazny’s series of books about Amber, an archetypal city inhabited by an amazing family possessing incredible powers. The series consists of ten books which have been compiled into one great tome called The Great Book of Amber.
As the above quote says, the books are about this incredible immortal family possessed with the gift to walk between what could be called parallel worlds or “Shadows.” The books chronicle a struggle for supremacy between members of the family which is part of a larger struggle between the forces of Chaos and Order. It includes some of the best writings of Zelazny and is at times mesmerizing.
(Note: I just recently discovered that what I am attempting to do on this page has been done before…numerous times! Nevertheless, I shall continue doing what I am doing on this page, and when I am through, I’ll look at these other sites and provide links)
List of Books in the Amber Chronicles:
Nine Princes in Amber 1970.
The Guns of Avalon 1972
Sign of the Unicorn 1975.
The Hand of Oberon 1976.
The Courts of Chaos 1978.
Trumps of Doom. 1985.
Blood of Amber 1986.
Sign of Chaos 1987.
Knight of shadows 1989.
Prince of Chaos 1991.
Oberon, the father, heads the family which is a diverse mixture of his offspring from at least eight mothers. There are at least nine brothers and four sisters that play major roles in the series along with other siblings which play minor roles.
Family Matters: page 168 Corwin talking to Benedict about his disagreement with his brother, Eric. “Naturally, the old arguments were resumed as to who was more legitimate. Of course, you and Eric are both my elders, but while Faiella, mother to Eric and myself, was his after the death of Clymnea, they—“
Observations on the family: number of Oberon’s offspring:
1. “There had been fifteen brothers and six were dead. There had been eight sisters, and two were dead, possibly four.” page 60
Page 173: “Actually, I am surprised that the family is not much larger. The thirteen of us, plus two brothers and a sister I knew who were now dead, represent close to fifteen hundred years of parental production. There had been a few others also, of whom I had heard, long before us, who had not survived. Not a tremendous batting average for so lusty a liege, but then none of had proved excessively fertile either.”
Family Relations: “I am going to tell you something Benedict should have told you long ago, ” I said. “Never trust a relative. It is far worse than trusting strangers. With a stranger there is a possibility that you might be safe.” (Corwin talking to Dara, page 188).
“Despite our major hatreds and petty animosities, we Amberites are a very family-conscious bunch, always eager for news of one another, desirous to know everyone’s position in the changing picture. A pause for gossip has doubtless stayed a few death blows among us. I sometimes think of us as a gang of mean little old ladies in a combination rest home and obstacle course.” Page 199
SIBLINGS AND OTHER MAIN CHARACTERS FROM THE TRUMPS. All page numbers refer to The Great Book of Amber. Corwin, the narrator, describes his siblings as he views them on the family Trumps, pages 17-19.
Benedict: “Then there was Benedict, tall and dour, thin; thin of body, thin of face, wide of mind. He wore orange and yellow and brown and reminded me of haystacks and pumpkins and scarecrows and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow. He had a long strong jaw and hazel eyes and brown hair that never curled. He stood beside a tan horse and leaned upon a lance about which was twined a rope of flowers. He seldom laughed. I liked him.”
Corwin’s reaction when Ganelon suggested that Benedict having lost an arm might need a good man to help him. “Excuse me, please. You do not understand. You do not really understand who it was we talked with in the tent that night. He may have seemed an ordinary man to you–a handicapped one, at that. But this is not so. I fear Benedict. He is unlike any other being in Shadow or reality. He is the Master of Arms for Amber. Can you conceive of a millennium? A thousand years? Several of them? Can you understand a man who, for almost every day of a lifetime like that, has spent some time dwelling with weapons, tactics, strategies? Because you see him in a tiny kingdom, commanding a small militia, with a well-pruned orchard in his back yard, do not be deceived. All that there is of military science thunders in his head. He has often journeyed from shadow to shadow, witnessing variation after variation on the same battle, with but slightly altered circumstances, in order to test his theories of warfare. He has commanded armies so vast that you could watch them march by day after day and see no end to the columns. Although he is inconvenienced by the loss of his arm, I would not wish to fight with him either weapons or barehanded. It is fortunate that he has no designs upon the throne, or he would be occupying it right now. If he were, I believe that I would give up at this moment and pay him homage. I fear Benedict. ” (page 204)
When I picture Benedict I can’t help thinking of Patrick Stewart, the actor who played Captain Jean-Luc Picard, the Starship captain. Patrick would be the absolutely perfect Benedict (of course he’d have to have some hair)!
Bleys: “Then came a fiery bearded, flame-crowned man, dressed all in red and orange, mainly of silk stuff, and he held a sword in his right hand and a glass of wine in his left, and the devil himself danced behind his eyes, as blue as Flora’s, or Eric’s. His chin was slight, but the beard covered it. His sword was inlaid with an elaborate filigree of a golden color. He wore two huge rings on his right hand and one on his left; an emerald, a ruby, and a sapphire, respectively.” “…the tracery on his blade, I suddenly realized, flared with a portion of the Pattern.” p. 67
Brand: “Then there was a figure both like Bleys and myself. My features, though smaller, my eyes, Bleys’ hair, beardless. He wore a riding suit of green and sat atop a white horse, heading toward the dexter side of the card. There was a quality of both strength and weakness, questing and abandonment about him. I both approved and disapproved, liked and was repelled by, this one.”
Caine: “Then came the swarthy, dark-eyed countenance of Caine, dressed all in satin that was black and green, wearing a dark three-cornered hat set at a rakish angle, a green plume of feathers trailing down the back. He was standing in profile, one arm akimbo, and the toes of his boots curled upwards, and he wore and emerald-studded dagger at his belt. There was ambivalence in my heart.” (More on page 258) His funeral (Pages 662-669)
Corwin: The major character and narrator of the first five books had green eyes, black hair, dressed in black and silver, portrayed on the cards in a cloak slightly furled as by a wind, black boots, like Eric’s and wore a blade heavier but not quite as long as his. His gloves were silver and scaled and the clasp at his neck was in the form of a silver rose. First confession of his amnesia: p. 46-47.
Dara:–“She stood about a dozen paces from me, a tall, slender girl with dark eyes and close–cropped brown hair. She wore a fencing jacket and held a rapier in her right hand, a mask in her left. She was looking at me and laughing. Her teeth were white, even and a trifle long; a band of freckles crossed her small nose and the upper portions of her well-tanned cheeks. There was that air of vitality about her which is attractive in ways different from mere comeliness. Especially, perhaps, when viewed from the vantage of many years.” Page 181
Diedre: “…and then there was a black-haired girl with the same blue eyes, and her hair hung long and she was dressed all in black, with a girdle of silver about her waist. My eyes filled with tears, why I don’t know.” page 18.
Dworkin: “He was a small man. Tiny, might be an even better word. He was around five feet tall and a hunchback. His hair and beard were as heavy as my own. The only distinguishing features in that great mass of fur were his long, hook nose and his almost black eyes, now squinted against the light.” page 110 Dworkin is the founder of Amber and rebel of Chaos…his exact relationship to the Amber clan is revealed (See page 405 for Dworkin’s description of his founding of Amber).
Eric: “Then there was Eric. Handsome by anyone’s standards, his hair was so dark as to be almost blue. His beard curled around the mouth that always smiled, and he was dressed simply in a leather jacket and leggings, a plain cloak, high black boots, and he wore a red sword belt bearing a long silvery saber and clasped with a ruby, and his high cloak collar round his head was lined with red and the trimmings of his sleeves matched it. His hands, thumbs hooked behind his belt, were terribly strong and prominent. A pair of black gloves jutted from the belt near his right hip. He it was, I was certain, that had tried to kill me on that day I had almost died. I studied him and I feared him somewhat.” Eric states once that he was Corwin’s elder (page 64). More on page 249.
Fiona: “Then there was Fiona with hair like Bleys or brand, my eyes and a complexion like mother of pearl. I hated her the second I turned over the card.” His opinion later changes about her. Fiona is by far the most capable and intelligent sister.
Flora: “…there was Flora in a gown green as the sea…” (page 18). “The woman behind the desk wore a wide-collared, V-necked dress of blue-green, had long hair and low bangs, all of a cross between sunset clouds and the outer edge of a candle flame in an otherwise dark room, and natural, I somehow knew, and her eyes behind glasses I didn’t think she needed were as blue as Lake Erie at three o’clock on a cloudless summer afternoon; and the color of her compressed smile matched her hair.” (page 8-9) Flora is portrayed as beautiful but not as bright as the others.
Gerard: “…a big powerful man… He resembled me quite strongly, save that his jaw was heavier, and I knew he was bigger than I, though slower. His strength was a thing out of legend. He wore a dressing gown of blue and grey clasped about the middle with a wide, black belt, and he stood laughing. About his neck on a heavy cord, there hung a silver hunting horn. He wore a fringe beard and a light mustache. In his right hand he held a goblet of wine. I felt a sudden affection for him.” page 18
Julian: “…dark hair hanging long, blue eyes containing neither passion nor compassion. He dressed completely in scaled white armor, not silver or metallic-colored, but looking as if it had been enameled. I knew, though, that it was terribly tough and shock resistant, despite its decorative and festive appearance. He was the man I had beaten at his favorite game, for which he had thrown a glass of wine at me. I knew him and I hated him.”
Llewella: “Next was Llwella, whose hair matched her jade-colored eyes, dressed in shimmering gray and green with a lavender belt, and looking moist and sad. For some reason, I knew she was not like the rest of us.” More description on page 871.
Merlin: The son of Corwin and Dara and the narrator of the second series of five books, described by Corwin, page 415)
Oberon: His card description: “Oberon, Lord of Amber, stood before me in his green and his gold. High, wide, and thick, his beard black and shot with silver, his hair the same. Green rings in gold settings and a blade of golden color.” page 74
“So far as I knew, Dad’s own origins were known only to himself. I had never encountered anyone whose memory stretched back to a time when there had been no Oberon. Strange? Not to know where one’s own father comes from when one has had centuries in which to exercise one’s curiosity? Yes, But he was secretive, powerful, shrewd—traits we all possess to some degree. He wanted us well situated and satisfied, I feel—but never so endowed as to present a threat to his own reign. There was in him, I guessed, an element of uneasiness, a not unjustifiable sense of caution with respect to our learning too much concerning himself and times long gone by. I do not believe that he had ever truly envisioned a time when he would not rule in Amber.” Page 174
Random: “…A wily-looking little man, with a sharp nose and a laughing mouth and a shock of straw colored hair. He was dressed in something like a Renaissance costume of orange, red, and brown. He wore long hose and a tight-fitting doublet. ” (p. 17). He is later described as a little guy, about five-six in height and weighing perhaps one thirty-five (p. 24) “My brother Random looks and acts, on occasion, like an asthmatic, teenage hood–but once we had fenced together for over twenty-six hours, to see who would call it quits.” page 131
OTHER CHARACTERS (including other siblings)
Bayle, Vinta: Caine’s mistress who is later possessed by the entity/demon and with whom Merlin has contact (Pages 668, 747 plus); Daughter of Baron Bayle the vitner (See Bayle’s Piss for more information on the Baron and his wine, Page 740).
Borquiot: “…the Pit Diver.” (Page 822) Individuals often dived into the pit at the end of time to search for artifacts from creation.
Bors: Amber’s falconer (Page 833)
Brady: Employe at the same company that Merlin worked at in San Francisco. (Page 581)
Cade: Assistant to Ferla Quist the Begman ambassador to Amber.
Coral: “Coral, on the other hand, was taller than either her father or sister, slender, her hair a reddish brown. When she smiled it seemed less official. Also, there was something vaguely familiar about her.” (Page 874) Coral turns out to be another illegitimate offspring of Oberon, and eventually walks the Pattern (Pages 896-900). She later has the “Eye of the Serpent” placed in her left eye socket after an accident which destroyed her eye. She was married as a child to Luke, but the marriage was never consumated. Later she becomes a pawn in the great power struggle between the forces of Chaos (the Logrus) and those of Order (the Pattern).
Dalt: One of the bastard sons of King Oberon, filled with an abiding hatred for Amber. (Page 727). “He was a big, blond-haired son of a bitch, and he had on a yellow shirt and black trousers, black boots, lots of cutlery. The medallion of the Lion rending the Unicorn bounced on his broad chest. Every time I’d seen or heard of the man, he’d been about something nasty, damn near killing Luke on one occasion. He was a mercenary, a Robin Hood figure out of Eregnor, and a sworn enemy of Aber–illegitimate son of her late liege Oberon…He was my uncle Dalt, and I’d a feeling that if he moved too quickly the flexing of his muscles would shred his shirt.” Merlin upon meeting Dalt during the pursuit of Coral and her kidnappers (p. 1217).
Dave, the Hermit: A deserter from one of the forces that assailed the Keep of the Four Worlds who lived in the surrounding hills as a hermit/holy man. He supplied Merlin with important information. (Pages 725-732)
Devlon, Meg: One of the possessed people with which Merlin meets. (Pages 661-665)
Despil: One of Merlin’s half brothers. (p. 752-753)
Dik: A servant who had cleaned Castle Amber for centuries. (Pages 63, 659)
Doyle: “…I thought of Doyle the little wispy-haired jeweler with the brick-red complexion and wens on his cheeks, back in Avalon.” page 197 He supplied Corwin with the jeweler’s rouge which was used in the place of gunpowder in Amber.
Drew: One of Vinta Bayle’s men. (Page 749)
Ganelon: Ganelon was a traitorous Captain whom Corwin had exiled from Avalon centuries before. He came across him again in Lorraine defending the land against the encroachment of the Dark Circle: “He sat at a heavy wooden table near a wide window overlooking the courtyard. He wore a brown leather jacket over a black shirt, and his trousers were also black. They were bloused over the tops of his dark boots. He had about his waist a wide belt which held a hoof-hilted dagger. A short sword lay on the table before him. His hair and beard were red, with a sprinkling of white. His eyes were dark as ebony.” page 129 Ganelon left with Corwin when he left Lorraine and became a trusted advisor. “An unusual mixture of gold and clay, this man. He should have an Amberite.” Page 215 Another clue thrown out…
Gannell, Dretha: Assistant to the Begman ambassador. (Page 915)Hendon: Amber’s steward (Page 877, 915)
Jarl: One of Vinta Bayle’s men. (Page 749)
Jopin: “Jopin, the keeper, regarded me through bloodshot eyes and I smelled whisky upon his breath. He was about five and a half feet tall and so stooped that reminded me somewhat of Dworkin. His beard was as long as mine, so of course it seemed longer, and it was the color of smoke, save for a few stains near his dry-looking lips. His skin was as porous as an orange rind and the elements had darkened it to resemble a fine old piece of furniture. His dark eyes squinted, focused.” (page 114-115) Jopin was the keeper of the Lighthouse of Cabra and had commanded a ship for over a hundred years. He was totally apolitical and wished only to be left alone and tend to his lighthouse on the island of Cabra. It is interesting to note that the inhabitants of Amber seemed to have lives that extended for centuries like the Princes and Princesses of Amber. See also Dik (page 63) who cleaned the palace and who had known the family for centuries.
Jurt: Merlin’s obnoxious, murderous brother. (introduced on pp. 752-753).
Lorraine: a kingdom in which Corwin tarries to do battle against the Dark Circle and a woman with whom he fell in love. “Her hair was rust-colored with a few strands of gray in it. I guessed she was under thirty, though. Eyes, very blue. Slightly pointed chin. Clean even teeth inside a mouth that smiled at me a lot. Her voice was somewhat nasal, her hair was too long, her make-up laid on too heavily over too much tiredness; her complexion too freckled, her choice in clothing too bright and tight. But I liked her.” (Page 140)
Luke: aka: Lucas Raynard; real name “Rinaldo.” One of the major characters. He was the best friend of Merlin. “…six feet tall, red-haired, handsome in spite, or perhaps because of an artistically broken nose, with the voice and manner of the salesman he was.” (Page 581) More on pages 878-879.
Mandor: Merlin’s helpful stepbrother…and who has designs… He is a delightful character, one of my favorites. (Pages: 762-753, 856-857 and elsewhere).
Martin: Random’s illegitimate son whose blood was spilled on The Pattern in order to provide a pathway for the forces of Chaos. Random took no interest in his welfare until Martin was grown and had been injured. Random then tried to make up for the lost years. (Pages…833); first mention p. 54
Marienbad, Last year at–Page 809.
Merlin’s half brothers: Jurt, Despil, Mandor, Sawall (mentioned elsewhere): page 857.
Merlin’s Uncle Suhuy: also mentioned elsewhere, Page 810.
Morganthe: Martin’s mother who had committed suicide after Random left her; Random was forced to marry Vialle as punishment.
Michael: A kitchen worker and servant in Amber (page 871)
Miller: Merlin’s employer in San Francisco. (Page 581, 584).
Moire: The regent of Rebma: “A woman sat upon the throne in the glassite room I almost recalled, and her hair was green, though streaked with silver, and her eyes were round as moons of jade and her brows rose like the wings of olive gulls, Her mouth was small, her chin was small; her cheeks were high and wide and rounded. A circlet of white gold crossed her brow and there was a crystal necklace about her neck At its tips there flashed a sapphire between her sweet bare breasts, whose nipples were also a pale green. She wore scaled trunks of blue and a silver belt, and she held a scepter of pink coral in her right hand and had a ring upon every finger, and each ring had a stone of a different blue within it.” Page 53 Later in Corwin’s chambers she came to visit him: “When do we eat I asked. “Whenever I declare it,” she said, and faced me more fully. So I drew her upon me and found the catch to the buckle which covered the softness of her belly. There was more softness beneath, and her hair was green.” (Page 56)
Nayda: The daughter of Orkuz, possessed by the demon: “Nayda’s was a more pleasingly sculpted version of his (Orkuz) face, and though she showed the same tendency toward corpulence, it ws held firmly in check at an attractive level of roundness. Also, she smiled a lot and she had pretty teeth.” (Page 874)Orkuz: Prime Minister of Begma, father of Nayda, stepfather of Coral. (Page 873) “…of medium stature and stocky, his black hair tastefully streaked, the lines on his broad face seeming to indicate that he did a lot more frowning than smiling…”
Quist, Ferla: The Begman ambassador at the dinner with the Begman Prime Minister (Page 915).
Randel: A courier of the palace (Page 873-874).
Rein: “I remembered Rein as a child. I was already full grown by then and he was a candidate for court jester. A thin, wise kid. People had kidded him too much. Me included. But I wrote music, composed ballads, and he’d picked up a lute somewhere and had taught himself how to use it. Soon we were singing with voices together raised and all like that, and before long I took a liking to him and we worked together, practicing the martial arts. He was lousy at them, but I felt kind of sorry for the way I had treated him earlier, what with the way he had dug my stuff, so I forced the fake graces and also made him a passable saber man. I’d never regretted it, and I guess he didn’t either. Before long, he became minstrel to the court of Amber. I had called him my page all that while, and when the wars beckoned, against the dark things out of Shadow called Weirmonken, I made him my squire, and we had ridden off to the wars together. I knighted him upon the battlefield, at Jones Falls, and he had deserved it. After that, he had gone on to become my better when it came to the ways of words and music. His colors were crimson and his words were golden. I loved him, as one of my two or three friends in Amber.” (Page 103) Rein brought food and drink to Corwin when he was blinded and imprisoned.
Rolovians, Prince: Of Chaos, father of Prince Tmer (p. 1125), of the Ways of Jesby.
Roth, Bill: A man of Earth, a lawyer, who knew Corwin when he lived on Earth. Bill is brought into the story as an almost incidental outsider, bewildered by Corwin’s escapades, and who ultimately becomes the Counsel of Amber. (Pages 331, 337, 817-819 and elsewhere).
Swayvill, King of Chaos: ailing for many years before finally dying, setting off plots and assasinations in complex manuevers to place Prince Merlin on the Throne of Chaos. (pp. 1126
Sharul Garul: The magician of the Keep of the Four Worlds, deposed by Luke’s mother. (Page 727).
Suhuy, Lord: Uncle of Merlin and a Lord of Chaos (p. 753,1123, and elsewhere).
Ted: A guard in Amber castle (Page 822).
Tenniel: Page 843: the illustrator of Alice in Wonderland.
Tod: A guard in Amber castle (Page 823) at the door leading to to the spiral stairs and the Pattern.
Tmer,Prince of Jesby: A chaos lord that preceded Merlin in the succession (1125,1129-1130, 1189). He was the…” eldest son of the late Prince Rolovians, and now lord himself of the Ways of Jesby–spade beard, heavy brow, sturdily built, not unhandsome, in a rugged sort of way; by all report a brave and possibly even sensitive fellow.” (p. 1125).
Tubble, Prince of the Ways of Chanicut: Another chaos lord preceding Merlin. (pp. 1125, 1189). “Then there was Prince Tubble of the Ways of Chanicut, phasing back and forth between human and swirling demonic forms. Placid, heavy, subtle; centuries old and very shrewd; he wore a fringed beard, had wide, innocent, pale eyes, was master of many games (p. 1125).
Vialle: The sightless wife of Random. Random had to remain in Rebma for a year and marry Vialle as punishment for a prior crime against Rebma. Much to his surprise he fell in love with this remarkable lady. “Vialle is only a little over five feet tall and quite slim. Brunette, fine-featured, very soft-spoken. She was wearing red. Her sightless eyes looked through me, reminding me of darkness past; of pain.” (Page 393-399); first mention p. 55.
Amber: First mentioned on page 14. “The word was charged with a mighty longing and a massive nostalgia. It had, wrapped up inside it, a sense of forsaken beauty, grand achievement, and a feeling of power that was terrible and almost ultimate.” page 19 “Amber was the greatest city which had ever existed or ever would exist. Amber had always been and always would be, and every other city, everywhere, every other city that had existed was but a reflection of a shadow of someplace of Amber. Amber, amber, Amber…I remember thee, I shall never forget thee again. I guess, deep inside me, I never really did, through all those centuries I wandered the Shadow Earth, for often at night my dreams were troubled by images of thy green and golden spires and thy sweeping terraces. I remember thy wide promenades and the decks of flowers, golden and red. I recall the sweetness of thy airs, and the temples, palaces and pleasances thou containest, contained, will always contain. Amber, immortal city from which every other city has taken its shape, I cannot forget thee… even now, I remember thee with love, city that I was born to rule…” page 60-61.
Arbor House: House of Lord Bayle on his estate (p. 754).
Avalon: Avalon was a kingdom found/created by Corwin in his early wanderings. It had knights, fair maidens and brave doings.
“Have you ever heard of Avalon?” he finally asked [Ganelon]
“Yes,” I replied. “There is a verse I heard long ago from a passing bard: ‘Beyond the river of the Blessed, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Avalon. Our swords were shattered in our hands and we hung our shields on the oak tree. The silver towers were fallen, into a sea of blood. How many miles to Avalon? None, I say, and all. The silver towers are fallen.'” page 133
“Yes, I remember Avalon,” he said, “a place of silver and shade and cool waters, where the stars shone like bonfires at night and the green of day was always the green of spring. Youth, love, beauty–I knew them in Avalon. Proud steeds, bright metal, soft lips, dark ale. Honor…” thus spoke Ganelon page 135
Benedict, Corwin’s brother, found a close shadow of Avalon during his search for Corwin after his disappearance, and took it upon himself to restore it and become its protector in Corwin’s memory.
Avernus: The shadow where Corwin recruited his troops on his assaults upon Amber. (Page 76,)
Ballad of the Water Crossers: “…the song of Amber’s great merchant navy. Amber is not noted for manufacture, and agriculture has never been our forte. But our ships sail the shadows, plying between anywhere and anywhere, dealing in anything. Just about every male Amberite, noble or otherwise, spends some time in the fleet. Those of the blood laid down the trade routes long ago that other vessels might follow, the seas of a double dozen worlds in every captain’s head. I had assisted in this in times gone by, and though my involvment had never been so deep as Gerard’s or Caine’s, I had been mightily moved by the forces of the deep and the spirit of the men who crossed it.” Page 395; first mention p. 54.
Bandersnatch: Yes, the monster from the mind of Lewis Carrol (Page 842).
Bayle’s Piss: The lesser white wines of Baron Bayle. “Baron Bayle owned a number of vineyards about thirty miles to the east. He was the official vitner to the Court, and his red wines were geneerally excellent. He was less successful with the whites, though, and often wound up dumping a lot of second-rate stuff onto the local market. It bore his emblem and a picture of a dog–he liked dogs–so it was sometimes called Dog Piss, and sometimes Bayle’s Piss, depending on who you talked to. Dog lovers sometimes take offense at the former appellation.” (Page 740, 792-793)
Begma: One of the “countries” of the Golden Circle which had privileged trade status. Page 872.
Black Road: The way into Amber from Chaos that Corwin opened inadvertently with his curse against Eric: “Perhaps three-quarters of a mile distant, running from left to right for as far as I could see, was a wide, black band. We were several yards higher than the thing and had a decent view of, I would say, half a mile of its length. It was several hundred feet across, and though it curved and turned twice that I could see, its width appeared to remain constant. There were trees within it, and they were totally black. There seemed to be some movement. I could not say what it was. Perhaps it was only the wind rippling the black grasses near its edge. But there was also a definite sensation of flowing within it, like currents in a flat, dark river.” (Page 214) “I was trying to shift away from the thing now and there was some sort of resistance. It was not the same feeling of monolithic immovability as occurs when you try to move through Shadows in Amber. It was altogether different. It was a feeling of—inescapability.” (Page 216 ) “There were heavy grasses at the edge of the black and patches of it, here and there, about the foot of the hills. Bits of mist scudded among them and faint, vaporous clouds hovered in all the hollows. The sky seen through the atmosphere that hung about the place, was several shades darker, with a smeared, sooty tone to it. A silence that was not the same as stillness lay upon, almost as though some unseen entity were poised, holding its breath.” (Page 217)
Blackwatch: A close watch that was placed upon the heirs to the throne of Chaos in order to prevent assasination. (1125, 1128)
Cenotaph: When Corwin was presumed dead, his family raised an empty tomb for him on the side of Kolvir. (Pages: …820-821)
Chaos: The antithesis of order which represented by Amber and The Pattern. This is the “mother country” and is described on pages 350, 412-413.
Chaos, Houses of: Various Houses of Chaos are mentioned:
Chanicut, Ways of: headed by Prince Tubble (p. 1125)
Jesby, Ways of: headed by Prince Tmer (p. 1125)
Sawall, Ways of: (p. 1126, etc.)
Death Alley: Seabreeze Lane of Amber, called Death Alley because of his reputation, site of Bloody Bill’s the eatery that Merlin likes. (Page 740)
Dragons: Dragons are occasionally mentioned but they never play a role in the books.
A. On the ride from Lorraine, Corwin and Ganelon saw one. “The only dragon we encountered was lame and limped away quickly to hide, singeing daisies as it panted and wheezed.” Page 158, other mentions: p. 561, 737)Eastern Gate (to Amber): Page 817. Part of an ancient fortification; this is the gate Merlin entered returning to Amber from Bayle’s house. Faiella-bieonin: Great stairway to Rebma. p. 52.
Fire Angel: An almost indestructible chaos creature sent to kill Merlin, indulges in a great battle with the Jabberwock (Page 843).
Firedrake: Ganelon’s horse (Page 166)
Fish, Blind Cave: “…that small, still pool in the far corner [of the Pattern room] where blind fish swim.” (Page 898)
Funeral Procession of Oberon:pp. 560-564.
Gardens: Amber had famous gardens (Page 877).
Geography of Amber: (still to be determined) Is Amber on the East or West coast of the continent? Or North or South… The following are clues:
Merlin, in Vinta Bayle’s sail boat, “…out from shore, riding the sea breeze east, passing the great rock of Kolvir.” (page 750). This seems to indicate the city of Amber is on the east coast or on the north or south coast.
Also a bit later on the same trip, “…I watched the black and craggy shorline slide by to port or turned to regard the flickering sea to starboard.” The continent here is on Merlin’s left. If he is still going east then Amber is on the south coast. If it is on the east coast, he is going north; or if on the west coast, he is going south. He is going to Baylesport on this trip
- An ocean is south of Amber: Page 877.
- Also page 820.
- Kolvir faces the dawn. page 48–east?
- Moving south along the coast. P. 48–coastline runs North and South
- Evidence suggests that the city of Amber is on the East Coast.
Golden Circle: A number of shadows near Amber which enjoyed privileged trade status and which had ready access to Amber. (Page 872)
Grayswandir:This is Corwin’s sword which contains a representation of The Pattern. “What a beautiful blade! I’ve never seen one like it.”
“There isn’t another,” I said, and each time that I shifted a little the light fell differently upon it, so that one moment it seemed filmed over with inhuman blood of an orange tint and the next it lay there cold and white as snow or a woman’s breast, quivering in my hand each time a little chill took me.” (Page 144)
Forged upon the stone steps to Tir-na Nog’th by moonlight and had power in this city in the sky (Page 349).
Luke says that Grayswandir is the Nightblade, brother to Werewindle, the Daysword (Brand’s sword).Grandswandir’s pattern inscription was from the beginning of the Pattern (p. 1104) whereas, Werewindle was from the Pattern’s end.
Gryll: A demon childhood friend and family servant of Merlins who is sent to fetch him back to the Courts of Chaos upon King Swayhill’s death. (pp. 1117-1121) “…being a long-snouted, pointed-eared individual, well-fanged and clawed, of a greenish-silver cast of complexion, eyes large and shining, damp leathery wings folded against its lean sides. From its expression, I couldn’t tell whether it was smiling or in pain…Gryll was immensely strong, as are most demons. But I recalled our games, at Pit’s-edge and out over the darkness, in burial chambers, eaves, still-smoking battlefields, ruined temples, chambers of dead sorcerers, private hells. I always seemed to have more fun playing with demons than with my mother’s relatives by blood or marriage. I even based my main Chaos form upon one fo their kind (pp. 1118-1119).
House Law: Page 819.
Hugi: The obnoxious “bird of ill omen” which harangues Corwin and ultimately nourishes him (Pages 531-535; 540-541). He tries to engage Corwin with platitudes from various eastern philosophies (pp. 533-535).
Jabberwock: Another Lewis Carrol creature that does battle with the Fire Angel (Page 843).
Jackal: The sentient creature who offers to guide Corwin on his trip to the Courts of Chaos (Pages 537-539).
Japanese Gardens: Benedicts which were far out back of Amber’s famous gardens (Page 877)
Jewel of Judgement:
Kashfa: Another “country” of the Golden Circle often in conflict with Begma. (Page 872)
Keep of the Four Worlds: A keep resembling Gorhemghast, located at the junction of four worlds which gave it access to large amounts of energy. (Page 725)
Land’s End: Page 881.
Lighthouse of Cabra: The lighthouse where Corwin stayed after his escape from the dungeons of Amber.
Lir: Moire mentions that Benedict has been gone 22 years: “…Lir knows where his bones may lie.” Possibility a deity of that underwater kingdom?
Logrus: The Logrus was the pattern of chaos. “The Grand Pattern of Amber, Emblem of Order. Matching in power the Great Logrus of the Courts, Sign of Chaos. The tensions between the two seem to generate everything that matters.” Both the Pattern and the Logrus give to their initiates the ability to traverse Shadow unassisted–Shadow being the generic term for the possibly infinite collection of reality variations we play about in. And they give us other abilities…” (Page 823)
Mad Hatter: part of the party that Luke and Merlin find themselves in. Luke is hallucinating and living in his own hallucination. (p. 839).
Mechanical Arm: The glittering, insectile arm that Corwin acquired in Tirna Nog’th during his fight with the phantom Benedict. It plays an important part in things to come…
“That gleaming, mechanical hand comes forward, a thing of moonlight and fire, blackness and smoothness, all angles, no curves, fingers slightly flexed, palm silver-scribbled with a half-familiar design, comes forward, comes forward and catches at my throat…” page 355″
Melka Fruit: “from the Snelters” (Page 819)
Pattern: Corwin describes it just before he walks it in order to regain his memory: “In a room the size of a ballroom the Pattern was laid. The floor was black and looked smooth as glass. And on the floor was the Pattern.
It shimmered like the cold fire, that it was, quivered, made the whole room seem somehow insubstantial. It was an elaborate tracery of bright power, composed mainly of curves, though there were a few straight lines near its middle. It reminded me of a fantastically intricate, life-scale version of one of those maze things you do with a pencil (or ballpoint, as the case maybe), to get you into or out of something. Like, I could almost see the words “Start Here,” somewhere way to the back. It was perhaps a hundred yards across at its narrow middle, and maybe a hundred and fifty long.
“It made bells ring within my head, and then came the throbbing. My mind recoiled from the touch of it. But if I were a prince of Amber, then somewhere within my blood, my nervous system, my genes, this pattern was recorded somehow, so that I would respond properly, so that I could walk the bloody thing.”
“Random took my arm and said, “It’s an ordeal, but it’s not impossible or we wouldn’t be here. Take it very slowly and don’t let yourself be distracted. Don’t be alarmed by the shower of sparks that arise with each step. They can’t hurt you. You’ll feel a mild current passing through the whole time and after a while you’ll start feeling high. But keep concentrating, and don’t forget–keep walking! Don’t stop, whatever you do, and don’t stray from the path, or it’ll probably killed you” page 57
“The Great Pattern of Amber is the key. You must walk it in order to gain the ability. It is inscribed on the floor in a chamber beneath the palace in Amber. It is quite large. You must begin on the outside and walk it to the center without stopping. There is considerable resistance and the feat is quite an ordeal. If you stop, if you attempt to depart the Pattern before completing it, it will destroy you. Complete it, though, and your power of Shadow will be subject to your conscious control.” Corwin, describing the process to Dara (page 190-191) More on page 898.
The turn off to the chamber containing The Pattern–seventh turn (Page 824, 825). A great locked door that pushes in.
Pattern of Corwin’s: Inscribed by Corwin when he thought the Pattern of Amber had been destroyed, and done as a last resort to save the shadows from boiling away. (Pages 541-548). It later shows that it is sentient like the original Pattern and the Logrus. Since it is a representative of order, however, it upsets the balance between the Pattern (order) and the Logrus (chaos).
Pattern, description of the way to the: Pages 823-824.
Pattern, description of walking the: Page: 825.
Rebma: Underwater kingdom reflecting the city of Amber: p. 48, description p. 52.
- The Pit: Page 817.
- Bloody Bills: Page 740.
Scrof, dweller on the threshold: A creature torn out of the stuff of chaos placed beyond the door that lead from Julia’s apartment to the Keep of the Four Worlds. (Pages 721-723). “A huge rotund figure barred my way looking like a purple Buddha with bat ears. Details resolved themselves as I drew nearer: protruding fangs, yellow eyes that seemed to be lidless, long red claws on its great hands and feet. It was seated in the middle of the tunnel and made no effort to rise. It wore no clothing, but its great swollen belly rested upon its knees, concealing its sex. Its voice had been gruffy masculine, however, and its odor generically foul.”
Shadows: “Now, it is written that only a prince of Amber may walk among Shadows, though of course he may lead or direct as many as he chooses along such courses. We led our troops and saw them die, but of Shadow I have this to say: there is Shadow and there is Substance, and this is the root of all things. Of Substance, there is only Amber, the real city, upon the real Earth, which contains everything. Of Shadow, there is an infinitude of things. Every possibility exists somewhere as a Shadow of the real. Amber, by its very existence has cast such in all directions. And what may one say of it beyond? Shadow extends from Amber to Chaos, and all things are possible within it. There are only three ways of traversing it, and each of them is difficult.
“If one is a prince or princess of the blood, then one may walk, crossing through Shadows, forcing one’s environment to change as one passes, until it is finally in precisely the shape one desires it, and there stop. The Shadow world is then one’s own, save for family intrusions, to do with as one would. In such a place had I dwelled for centuries.
“The second means is the cards, cast by Dworkin, Master of the Line, who had created them in our image, to facilitate communications between members of the royal family. He was the ancient artist to whom space and perspective meant nothing. He had made up the family Trumps, which permitted the willer to touch wherever they might be. I had a feeling that these had not been used in full accord with their author’s intention.
The third was the Pattern, also drawn by Dworkin, which could only be walked by a member of our family. It initiated the walker into the system of the cards, as it were, and at its ending gave its walker the power to stride across Shadows.” (Page 77)
“…Amber casts an infinity of shadows. A child of Amber may walk among them, and such was my heritage. You may call them parallel worlds if you wish, alternate universes if you would, the products of a deranged mind if you care to. I call them shadows, as do all who possess the power to walk among them. We select a possibility and we walk until we reach it. So, in a sense, we create it. Let’s leave it at that for now.” (Page 123)
“Amber casts an infinity of shadows, and my Avalon had cast many of its own, because of my presence there. I might be known on many earths that I had never trod, for shadows of myself had walked them, mimicking imperfectly my deeds and my thoughts.” Page 149
Smoke: Merlin’s horse (Pages 793,799, 801,815, 817)
Spikard: A ring of great power found by Merlin in Brand’s rooms. “The band was wide, possibly of platinum. It bore a wheel-like device of some reddish metal, with countless tiny spokes, many of them hair-fine. And each of these spokes extended a line of power leading off somewhere, quite possibly into Shadow, where some power cache or spell source lay (p. 1104).
Star: Corwin’s horse, first mentioned in his ride away from Lorraine and his arrival in the shadow of his Avalon. “I patted Star on the neck and watched a small man with a limp lead him and Ganelon’s mount Firedrake off toward the other horses.” Page 166 Star was killed by Brand (p. 527).
Starburst: The sail boat owned by Merlin in San Francisco. (Page 582)
Strygalldwir: “Then I was looking into two hot, red eyes which were looking back into my own. I dropped mine quickly. The thing stood there on the ledge outside the window and regarded me.
It was well over six feet in height, with great branches of antlers growing out of its forehead. Nude, its flesh was a uniform ash-grey in color. It appeared to be sexless, and it had gray, leathery wings extending far out behind it and joining with night. It held a short, heavy sword of dark metal in its right hand, and there were runes carved all along the blade…When it spoke, it sounded like a bassoon blowing word.”
“’Who are you?’ I asked.
“Strygalldwir is my name. Conjure with it and I will eat your heart and liver.’” (Page 146) Strygalldwir, a demon, was sent to determine the nature of Corwin after his arrival in Lorraine.
Tenniel Illustration: that detailed scenes from Lewis Carroll (Page 843)
A: Between Amber and Earth: About a 1:2.5 ratio, time passes two and a half times faster on Earth as in Amber. Corwin used this difference to heal after his stabbing. (Pages 331, 338, 659)
Tir-na Nog’th: A homologue to the city of Amber, floating in the sky, only accessible on moonlight nights via the stairway at the highest crop of Kolvir where stairs come into being on such nights. One may visit for visions and omens.
“I had come to the place where the ghosts play at being ghosts, where the omens, portents, signs and animate desires thread the nightly avenues and palace high halls of Amber in the sky, Tir-na Nog’th…” pages 348-356.
Towns and Villages in Amber:
Baylecrest: village east of Balesport (p. 767).
Baylesport: Port named after Lord Bayle (p. 753-754, 767)
Murn: A dairy village near Baylesport (p. 767)
Trumps: The family trumps are cards reminiscent of Tarot cards that represent people and places. The cards were made by Dworkin, but others have the skill. First mentioned on page 16 along with a description.
“They are more than a mere sentimental affectation. They are a means of communication. Get hold of mine, stare at it concentrate on it, try to keep all other thoughts out of your mind, pretend that it is really me and begin talking to me then. You will find that it really is, and that I am answering you.” (Corwin describing the cards to Dara, page 191).
Trumps can be used to fortell the future (Pages 72, 63, 338).
Vorpal Sword: “…I stared fascinated at the device which looked as if it were made of moth wings and folded moonlight.” Merlin battles the Fire Angel with this incredible weapon. (Pages 843…)
Weapons, Miscellaneous: Fandon and Trisp used by Merlin and Jurt in their duel.
Weir: page 47 Some of the pursuers of Corwin and Amber could change shape into wolves.
Werewindle the Day Sword: Brand’s sword: This sword was found by Merlin in Brand’s rooms in the palace: “It was a long and lovely gold-chased sheath of dark green, and the hilt of the blade which protruded from it appeared to be gold plated, with an enormous emerald set in its pommel. I took hold of it and drew it partway, half expecting it to wail like a demon on whom one has dropped a balloon filled with holy water. Instead, it merely hissed and smoked a little. And there was a bright design worked into the metal of its blade–almost recognizable. Yes, a section of the Pattern. Only this excerpting was from the Pattern’s end, whereas Grayswandir’s was from a point near the beginning.” (pp. 1103-1104) Luke, after being given his father’s sword said that it was the Daysword, brother to the Nightblade, Grayswandir (pp 1109-1110).
Wyvern: page 562.
Ygg: The sentient, talking tree planted by Oberon at the boundary between Chaos and Order (Pages 530-531). The limb cut from this tree by Corwin was thrust into the ground at the point where Corwin made his pattern. It grew into a great flowering tree with a faint delicate scent (Page 547).
Allusions and References to Things on the Shadow Earth:
“Aupres de ma Blonde” p. 58
Black Davy p. 59
Mother Courage crossing the stage on the night of a Brecht Premiere. P. 58.
Van Gogh: several references to him: p. 52.
Steven Spender reciting “Vienna.” page 57.