Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Swallow's Tower

The fourth volume of the Witcher Saga, The Swallow's Tower, was a fairly interesting experience. Not only because the viewpoint wanders around in the neat way it did in the previous novel, but also because much of the book is told in flashbacks.

Sapkowski also used this certain technique of repetition -- I do not  know if it has a proper term in literature -- by having almost identical sections that are more frequent in the earlier parts. "If someone had sneaked to the cabin in the swamp that night, would he have seen this and this. But there was no chance for that because it was in the middle of nowhere." [Paraphrased]

I am somewhat resistant to such attempts to impress with uncommon methods, but I cannot deny that it was not pretty fancy. The sections always created a small sense of dread that someone might actually find Ciri and the hermit, but then ended in resassurance that it would not happen. That they were safe in there, in the cabin.

I had to read the novel in Finnish for a change as the English translation is coming out only next year. They sure fucked up with their slacking. I am fairly certain The Witcher 3 would have boosted the book sales if they had been available at its release. I mean it probably did happen for the volumes already published, but would have done even more so if they all had been out.

The fifth part is going to be out in Finnish the next summer. I might postpone the acquirement of the third game till then. Maybe it will have all of its expansions out by then and the whole package can be purchased at once -- for a cheaper price of course.

As far as I can tell, Tapani Kärkkäinen did again satisfactory job with the translation. I think that at some points he had to give up, though. There were some words that were left at that, or maybe borrowed from English. There was 'wight', for instance, which is everything but a Finnish word. There is also this almost comedic undertone, that surfaces in dialogue in particular. It is hard for me to say how the original text is, and if Kärkkäinen stays true to style, but I definitely could not sense the same tone in the English translations.

In The Swallow's Tower I finally started liking Ciri's chararacter. I guess she became more mature due to the hardships she had endured. It also helped that she got a nice sword (which I assume to be one she has in TW3), and towards the very end she evidently became the "lady of worlds" that has made people on internet comments call her the most overpowered character of all time.

The fight scene on the frozen lake in the fog was neat too. Well, I guess it was kind of one-sided with Ciri skating unseen in the fog, cutting the her pursuers without mercy. But I sure have not encountered a similar battle in a book before.

Geralt, as well as Yennefer, still search for Ciri but that goes as before -- they are not very successful. I feel the story was loading its big guns for an epic climax for Lady of the Lake. I have hard time waiting to get my hands on that. Only six months to go...

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