Katherine Arden – The Winter of the Witch Audiobooktext
” The Witch’s Winter ” puts an end to the “Winter Night Trilogy”, a series started by Katherine Arden in 2017 (2019 for the French version) and whose different volumes must be read in the order (I would like to clarify this because, with the exception of a small note on the back cover, no mention indicates to the reader that this is not an independent novel but a sequel , which is a bit misleading…). [If you haven’t had a chance to read the previous books yet, Katherine Arden – The Winter of the Witch Audiobook.
I advise you to go directly to the next paragraph at the risk of seeing you reveal important parts of the plot.] We therefore find our heroine, Vassia, just after the terrible events staged in ” The girl in the tour ”, namely the burning of Moscow and the defeat of the sorcerer who wanted to attack the princely family. Although victorious, the young girl remains nonetheless always in an awkward position since Father Konstantin, a priest whom she fascinates as much as she terrifies, and who is aware of his ability to see magical creatures, decided to also to take action. However, his power of persuasion over crowds is immense, so he has little difficulty convincing the Muscovite population that Vassia is indeed a witch, a qualifier that it is not good to wear in Russia. medieval … The “daughter of winter” is not the only one in a perilous situation, since the Tatars are threatening to go to war against Rus’. However, this one then has nothing of the great empire that it will become thereafter since it is made up of several principalities which do not all necessarily intend to answer the call of the prince of Moscow, some even considering fighting on the Tatar side. Finally, another, more insidious threat hangs over Rus’, that of Medved, the spirit of chaos, once again freed from his chains, and who tries to rally to him all the tchiorti (Small People of Russian folklore) eager to fight men so as not to sink into oblivion to which Christianity condemns them.
The first volume of the trilogy was essentially devoted to the reader’s immersion in the religious context of Russia at the time: the various creatures of folklore, the rise of the Christian religion, the specificities of worship in this region … the second volume introduced a number of new geopolitical elements such as the Tatars and the threat they have represented for years, but also the links between the great lords of Rus’, or other cultural particularities, such as the forced isolation of women from the Russian aristocracy. In this third and final volume, the “great story” is even more present, since most of the events related here by Katherine Arden have historical foundations, starting with the great battle of Kulikovo, which actually took place in 1380 on the Don. the historical reconstitution work carried out by the author throughout the series is a great success, insofar as it allows to get an idea of the context of the time, and this on different but nevertheless complementary aspects: the place of religion, that of women, the disparities between the different regions that then made up Rus’… The author also and above all offers us a formidable immersion in Russian folklore, with an original bestiary which is once again expanding in this third volume. The domovoi, roussalka, vazila, banick and lienchi thus succeed bagiennik, ladies at noon and midnight, or even fire bird. Alternately aggressive or curious, dangerous or benevolent, the staged tchiorti are all fascinating, and their meeting with the heroine gives rise to extremely striking magical moments, sometimes frightening, sometimes moving. In addition to highlighting the richness of the bestiary of medieval Rus’, this foray into folklore allows the author to approach the interesting concept of “dvoevierie”, or “double faith”, and thus illustrate another local specificity. historically proven: the surprisingly peaceful coexistence between paganism and orthodoxy in the region.
In spite of all the qualities previously mentioned, the greatest success of the novel lies above all in its characters, and in particular its heroine. of the wild and innocent child of the first volume, there is not much left today: Vassia has become a young woman and has gone through a lot of trials which have severely confronted her with the violence of the world and of men . Endowed with any physique (yes yes, we can stage an interesting female character without necessarily turning it into a bomb …), but with an impressive strength of character, the one we nickname “snégourotchka” (the Snow Maiden) turns out to be an incredibly endearing character. This strength of character can be seen in particular through the relationship she has with Morozko, the famous King of Winter. the bond which unites them seems, it is true, at first glance, completely stereotypical, since we are dealing with a young woman who considers herself quite ordinary and will fall in love with a quite extraordinary “man”, who will serve as her lover, mentor and guide In short: Twilight. However, the love story staged by Katherine Arden has absolutely nothing to do. Vassia is in fact not a Bella: she intends to preserve her independence and not let herself be chained by this winter divinity which, of course, attracts her, but not to the point of forgetting who she is or the responsibilities that lie behind her. weigh on his shoulders. May this love story not put off the less romantic among you: it occupies only a limited place in the plot, and above all it gives the author the opportunity to bear witness to the strength and the determination of his heroine. The other women in the story are also very well placed and all have a very different strength, whether it is Olga, mother of a family and wife of a great lord who shows abnegation and dedication. ‘a remarkable sense of responsibility, or even of his daughter, little Maria, as wild and free as her aunt, and for this reason incompatible with the only two options left to young girls, marriage or the convent. The male characters are also successful and for their part directly take their origin in history since both Grand Prince Dimitri Ivanovich and Alexandr Perevest, T’cheli-Bey or Oleg de Rizan are inspired by real characters. Katherine Arden – The Winter of the Witch Audiobook.
Katherine Arden brilliantly concludes here her “A Winter’s Night Trilogy” devoted to medieval Rus’ and its folklore. In addition to the quality of the historical reconstruction offered, we can also salute that of the characters staged, starting with Vassia, an inspiring heroine whom I will remember for a long time. The trilogy is also worth a look for the themes it addresses, in particular that of the place of women in Russian society at the time, or the coexistence between paganism and Christianity. A very beautiful trilogy which will delight all fans of fantasy.