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Within this multiverse, Zelazny deals with some interesting philosophical concepts about the nature of existence, compares and contrasts the ideas of Order and Chaos, and plays with the laws of physics—they can differ from Shadow to Shadow; for instance, gunpowder does not ignite in Amber, which is why the characters all carry swords. Other Shadows have green skies and blue suns, cities of glass, and worlds out of our own fiction can come to life. The Castle and City of Amber rest upon a shoulder of Kolvir, a mountain which dominates the land and sea around it.

The city lies below the castle and extends down the mountain's slopes to a seaport. Part of the eastern face of Kolvir is a cliff, thousands of feet high, which can be climbed using stone steps. These form a switchback stair, a path that is broad enough for two men abreast at the bottom, but soon narrows, wide enough for only for a single person.

There are no railings. Below the stairs are a tiger-striped beach and the sea, and the cliff face is riddled with sea caves.

Out to sea and to the southeast of Amber lies first the City of Rebma, and then the Isle of Cabra, noted for its lighthouse. To the north of Amber lie various estates, farms, and small villages and communities, as well as a small port Balyesport. The great forest of Arden lies to the north, west and south of Kolvir. Also to the south is The Vale of Garnath.

This is a lush forest, but "not so thickly or massively wooded as the Arden," and is where the River Oisen travels to the sea. It is also through Garnath that the forces of Chaos eventually come to attack Amber, using their Black Road. Another important southern location, within the Forest of Arden, is the Grove of the Unicorn.

Since Amber "casts Shadow but is not of it," walking in Shadow was not possible in the immediate environs of the City or Kolvir. It was necessary to gain some distance from these locations in order to walk in Shadow, traveling to or from other worlds. This usually meant traveling by sea, or through the Forest of Arden.

This is why the sea patrols and Julian's force in Arden were effective. Amber has two reflections or counterparts. The city of Rebma Amber spelled backwards lies under the sea off the coast. Markers on the beach point the way to an underwater stairway named Faiella-Bionin which descends to the city. The stairway and city are magical, allowing normal breathing, talking, etc. Leaving the areas of magic returns one to normal water, with the potential of drowning or being crushed by water pressure.

Rebma is ruled by Queen Moire. Most inhabitants are a sea people, not shadows of Amberites, and are slightly different in form from humans.

Wace, Walter E.

They can be resentful of Amber, particularly when strife in Amber causes ripples of trouble in their own home. In times of peace Amberites may visit freely. It was during one such time that Random seduced and abandoned Moire's daughter Morganthe, leading her to commit suicide after she bore his son, Martin. Rebma contains a copy of the Pattern, a mirror image of the one in Amber. On moonlit nights, the ghostly city of Tir-na Nog'th cf. It is an imperfect reflection of the Amber, with inhabitants that are shadows and ghosts of people, including those who once, might have, or never existed.

Like Rebma, Tir-na Nog'th is reached by a stair, the bottom three steps of which are of stone rooted on Kolvir, with the rest of the stairs being of the same nature as the city itself.

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As long as the moon is not obscured, the stairway and the city are solid enough to stand on. Amberites visit the ghost city to seek insights and portents of the future. The passage of time and spatial distances differ in Tir-na Nog'th, versus the world below. When doing visiting there, safety suggests staying in contact with someone via a Trump, since the city may disappear without warning if a cloud passes across the moon. Again like Rebma, Tir-na Nog'th also contains a complete copy of the Pattern but this copy isn't reversed, as is Rebma's.

Tir-na Nog'th is visited by Corwin in a crucial development of his story. Ultimately, Amber focuses on a dysfunctional family that is at the center of a cosmic war between many powers. Nine princes and four princesses of Amber, including Prince Corwin as narrator of the first book series, try to deal with the disappearance of Oberon, their father, and an apparent need for succession of the throne. No one trusts anyone, everyone appears to be ready to backstab anyone else often literally , and everyone seems genuinely interested in only one thing: himself or herself.

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In this respect, the Amber series could perhaps be best described as a philosophical , metaphysical , magical , mystical , fantasy soap opera. It has all those things, all wrapped around a cast of characters who are conniving, paranoid, dysfunctional, and often heartless. All of the princes and princesses of Amber have super-human strength and regenerative capabilities. For example, Random and Corwin are able to pick up a car that had become stuck on a soft shoulder and place it back on the road, and Corwin is able to regenerate his eyes after they are burned out, although it takes him almost five years.

Corwin seems to have the fastest regenerative capabilities in the royal family, something he contemplates after his escape from the dungeons of Amber. Each, when negotiated, gives a person the ability to walk in shadow—across the different possible universes. The Pattern is a single, intertwined curve, laid out in a twisting maze-like design, in size larger than a football field. The Logrus is described as a shifting, three-dimensional obstacle course.

Amber's Pattern is located in caverns deep underneath the royal palace. Later, more become evident: e.


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These imperfect copies exist in shadows close to Amber, with the first three being the least dangerous to use, but with the danger increasing the further one is from the original. Navigating Broken Patterns can give an individual some access to magical energies, but it is "foolish" to attempt to use for such purposes any Broken Pattern further than the ninth one from Amber.

Merlin's walking of the Logrus appears in a prologue to the initial hardcover edition of the book. The Prologue has Merlin bleeding and experiencing odd sensory inputs. Later we learn that walking the Logrus can leave one mentally unstable for a while afterwards, but this "usually" passes. The Logrus is also described as containing the skeletal remains of those who tried to walk it, but failed. In the Amber universe, the word "trump" is used as both a noun and a verb. As a noun, it properly refers to a specialized type of hand-drawn tarot card depicting a person or a place.

As a verb, it refers to using such a card for teleportation. The original tarot decks used by Amberites had some or all of their major arcana cards replaced or possibly augmented with images of the royal family, and of at least one location, Castle Amber. These original decks were created by Dworkin, and a deck was given to each family member after they first walked the Pattern. Physically, these cards are cool to the touch. The decks may be used like normal tarots for divination, as Corwin does shortly after meeting one of his brothers. The Trumps have the magical attribute of facilitating a psychic link to the person or place depicted on the card, enabling instant communication, travel, and even attack.

If the card depicts a location, the user is able to teleport to that location. If the card depicts a person, the user concentrates on the image and attempts to reach out to the person to initiate contact. The recipient of a Trump contact does not need to have a card in their possession.

An attempted contact may be blocked or declined by the receiving party, by an act of concentration. A variety of other circumstances can also impede or prevent Trump contact from being made, including distance and time-flow differences across Shadows, as well as unconsciousness, amnesia, and magical characteristics of a particular location.

If contact through a Trump is successful, both parties are able to talk to each other, and even see some of each other's surroundings. Either party may end a Trump communication, either by passing their hand over the card, or by an effort of will. During the contact, each person has the option of reaching through the link to make physical contact, generally for the purpose of pulling the other person voluntarily to their own physical location.

This is sometimes called "trumping" a person to the other location. In some cases, one can also travel via Trump to the other person's location without the other's consent or assistance, as long as the contact remains open e. A Trump contact also creates a potential opening for an attack by either party on the other, either with a weapon, or by using the link in an attempt to dominate the other by sheer force of ego and will.

Song Of The Dragon

This can result in immobilization or worse for the victim of the attack. To an observer who witnesses a person trumping to another location, the person becomes two-dimensional before disappearing, and there is a prismatic aftereffect. In Trumps of Doom , Merlin also mentions sensing a kind of electrical charge as Jasra trumps into a room where he waits.

Further details about the nature of Trumps were revealed as the tale progressed; for example, Trumps are not limited to playing cards, but can be drawn on any surface. Dworkin taught several of his descendants to create Trumps, and other initiates of the Pattern or Logrus can be trained in that skill. If one looks "closely enough" at a Trump, one can see parts of the Pattern or Logrus within its design, which may provide a source of power. Anyone may use a Trump — the user does not need to be an Amberite, a Pattern initiate, or of royal blood.

Provided the artist is sufficiently familiar with the subject, a Trump can be drawn for any person or place desired, unless the place is in constant motion and change such as portions of Chaos. Under certain circumstances and extreme conditions, the technique for creating a Trump can be used to make contact without drawing on any surface at all. Similarities appear in the theme and in specific instances: some character names are common to both works, and they share the fantasy literary device of moving a present day, realistic character from the familiar world into a fantastical, alternate reality world, exposing the character to this shift as the reader experiences it.

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Given Zelazny's academic interest in the Medieval European period, it is not a stretch to see a possible influence in Henry Adams ' work Mont Saint-Michel and Chartres , wherein he discusses the building of Chartres Cathedral, and the tidal-islet of Mont Saint-Michel , on the Normandy coast of France. However, these possible influences are not supported by Zelazny's own commentary about the origins of the Pattern.

He indicated that he loosely based the Pattern in part on the Tree of Life or Sephiroth of Kaballah , and preferred to allow the reader to imagine what the actual Pattern looked like. Zelazny cited Jessie L. Weston's book From Ritual to Romance as a key influence: it examined the pagan and Christian roots of the legends of King Arthur, the Wasteland myths, and the Holy Grail. For example, the Celtic Wasteland myth ties the barrenness of a land to a curse that a hero must lift; Corwin's curse is in part responsible for the Black Road.


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  5. Philosophical texts have influenced the series as well: many similarities exist between Amber and Plato's Republic see the Allegory of the cave and the classical problems of metaphysics , virtuality, solipsism , logic , possible worlds , probability , doubles and essences are also repeatedly reflected on. Sometimes the references made by Zelazny could be considered foreshadowing. For example, the name Ganelon was taken from the Matter of France , a body of classic French legends and literature that includes the Song of Roland.


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    Throughout the Matter of France, Ganelon was often called "Ganelon the Traitor"; thus, for readers familiar with the original Ganelon, Zelazny's use of the name foreshadowed events in The Hand of Oberon where Ganelon purposefully loses a battle to spite Corwin. In the Song of Roland , Ganelon was also the stepfather of the protagonist Roland , which Zelazny may have used to foreshadow the relationship between Corwin and Ganelon at the conclusion of The Hand of Oberon.

    Throughout the Chronicles, Zelazny alludes extensively to plays by William Shakespeare.