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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 621

Roger Zelazny originally planned at least three books in the series. Changeling and Madwand were to be completed by Deathmasque . Until his death, it was thought that he might well finish the series with one or more books; he did, after all, complete the “Dilvish, the Damned” stories after...

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Roger Zelazny originally planned at least three books in the series. Changeling and Madwand were to be completed by Deathmasque. Until his death, it was thought that he might well finish the series with one or more books; he did, after all, complete the “Dilvish, the Damned” stories after a twelve-year hiatus.

Little has been written about either Changeling or Madwand. One review described Changeling as a good, competent novel but not up to Zelazny’s best work. These novels nevertheless are important in Zelazny’s career, marking a conscious effort to return to using myth, a predominant aspect of his earliest, and some feel his best, work. In Changeling, he uses the myth of the twins to provide structure. In the prototypic story, twins acquire great powers, abuse them, and become sickened or frightened of the power of power itself to corrupt. Either they agree to live in a state of permanent rest or one of them dies. Either resolution reestablishes the equilibrium of the remaining individual and the community. The plot of Changeling is Zelazny’s version of that prototypic story.

Madwand carries Pol’s personality development to the next logical level. Like Ged in Ursula K. Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea (1968) and Mickey Mouse in Walt Disney’s film Fantasia (1940), Pol is the sorcerer’s apprentice, participating in an involved and symbolic rebirth and learning to discipline his natural talents. In this respect, Madwand reflects many fantasy stories. The novel also incorporates the “education of a young man” theme used in such novels as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship (1795-1796), Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield (1849-1850), D. H. Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers (1913), and James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916).

These two novels use myth, have clever and complicated plots, and present complex and interesting characters. In addition to the twins, the novels refer to other mythic figures, including Orpheus and Theseus, and even draw in Snow White, who is a variation of Sleeping Beauty. Merson’s daughter, Taisa, is asleep under a spell cast by Henry Spier. While the lady sleeps, so does her kingdom, but when she wakes, the kingdom is literally or figuratively restored. In Disney’s film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), the dwarfs and all the animals lose the happy mood that Snow White instilled in them. That mood is not restored until the prince wakes her. By association, Taisa’s awakening should prefigure the remaking, or at the least the saving, of the physical worlds of the story.

Both novels are also heavily influenced by Jungian ideas. Joseph Henderson, one of Jung’s disciples, discusses the twins myth as the final phase of the hero archetype, a stage of development in early maturity. That Pol is the hero of both Changeling and Madwand is not debatable. Mark’s death symbolizes his new level of maturity, but the process of achieving maturity is never complete in Jungian terms. The hero phase is followed by a period of transition, itself marked by various forms of initiation. Madwand initially concerns initiation, complete with a symbolic birth scene as Pol goes through Belken Mountain. Jungian material thus helps structure Madwand.

The plotting, which appears almost childlike in Changeling, becomes much denser in Madwand and full of interesting devices such as Belphanior, the personified family curse. Pol certainly is an interesting character, and Spier promises to be one. These novels came at a time when Zelazny was exploring. Treating magic as if it is a talent to be developed, hanging spells, and introducing extrasensory vision to see the strands that compose spells makes magic more interesting. It is unfortunate that this series was never completed.

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