The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

The five stories in Jirel of Joiry first appeared in Weird Tales between 1934 and 1939. “Quest of the Starstone” (1937), a story of Jirel not appearing in this volume, is notable as the first collaboration between C. L. Moore and Henry Kuttner, whom she married in 1940.

In “Black God’s Kiss” (1934), when the conquered Jirel is savagely kissed by Guillaume, she attempts to sever his jugular vein but is cuffed into unconsciousness. After awakening in the dungeon of Joiry, she escapes and finds her mentor, Father Gervase. She then attempts to find the perfect weapon to avenge her insult by descending into a spiral tunnel to a hellish land. Only after abandoning her crucifix can she see the strange supernatural dimensions of this netherworld and journey toward the statue of the black god, whose pursed lips inspire her to punish Guillaume as he has ravaged her—with a kiss. When she gives him the weighty kiss that both slays him and enslaves his soul, she realizes that she has killed the only man she will ever love.

The second story, “Black God’s Shadow” (1934), involves Jirels pursuit of Guillaumes soul to free it from the despair and freezing half-life of the black god. Through the same hell, Jirel combats the gods coldness with the warmth of her anger and her love.

The third story, “Jirel Meets Magic” (1935), has Jirel invading another magical landscape to pursue the wizard Giraud to avenge...

(The entire section is 551 words.)