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The "Sacred King" concept in Lammas Night

Started by DesertRose, December 18, 2018, 09:18:56 PM

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So I have long loved this book; it's probably my favorite of KK's works outside the Deryni-verse.  I re-read it recently (snapped up the e-book edition when it was on sale in October), and then the winter holiday season came along and I was reminded of first two lines of the fifth verse of "We Three Kings," which is as follows:

"Glorious now behold Him arise,
King and God and sacrifice."

Gray speaks of Jesus being one of the possible examples of a sacred king sacrificed for the good of the land/the people several times in Lammas Night, and I wonder if this particular bit of Christmas-song-lyric was at least in the back of KK's mind when she wrote the novel.

"If having a soul means being able to feel love, loyalty, and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans."

James Herriot (James Alfred "Alfie" Wight), when a human client asked him if animals have souls.  (I don't remember in which book the story originally appeared.)


Quote from: DesertRose on December 18, 2018, 09:18:56 PM
Christian beliefs and legends had spread through the Pagan world for over a millennia before we have any records. While researching for my Arthurian game, I was constantly amused to cross the claim of Arthurian stories and heroes having been snurched from the Irish Fianna - despite the Irish heroes fighting the Fomorians, who seem to be Danish: and the Danes didn't hit Ireland for some 4 centuries after Arthur.

There's a similar situation with the Norse legends: the Eddas have a genealogy of the gods tracing back to Noah via the Trojans, and include a hymn of praise to the Christian trinity.

So I imagine that the Sacrificed King in Europe is simply a garbled version of the story of Jesus. Certainly the Fisher King in Arthur is; the names of the characters involved indicates a Greek basis to the legends.


The fourth verse is pretty grime, too, and leading into those first lines of the fifth it makes me wonder. Myrrh was used in Egyptian mummification, and was found in the grave goods of several tombs.

Quote4. Myrrh is mine; its bitter perfume
    Breathes a life of gathering gloom;—
               Sorrowing, sighing,
               Bleeding, dying,
    Sealed in the stone-cold tomb.
5. Glorious now behold Him arise,
    King, and God, and Sacrifice;
    Heav'n sings Hallelujah:
    Hallelujah the earth replies.



I am descended from William de Tracy. Can you imagine the shiver I felt when I read his name in the book, and then checked to see if it was the right person. It was really freaky.


Quote from: janetaba on February 22, 2021, 08:45:13 PM
I am descended from William de Tracy. Can you imagine the shiver I felt when I read his name in the book, and then checked to see if it was the right person. It was really freaky.

I can, indeed! I have a few ancestors in the book, and one very distant, though fictional, cousin. I also get a shiver when places I've been show up in the pages.



I re-read this for the nth time recently.  I think Margaret Murray's The Divine King in England is still around - most likely in the reserve stock of public libraries (UK) - and, if you can get hold of it is a very interesting read. 

"Judith may be found browsing in these dubious volumes" (9 letters)


I think the echoes of the idea of sacred kingship were much more obvious in the King's coronation than the late Queen's - with the removal of much of the homage giving it put the emphasis on the anointing.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
(Psalm 46 v1)


Me too. When he was vested as as a priest the hair stood up on the back of my neck.  I did see QEII's coronation (black and white, Mrs Jackson-across-the-road's telly) but was only four.
"Judith may be found browsing in these dubious volumes" (9 letters)