Worldbuilding Wednesday 8/21/19: Let’s Talk About Elric

Elric of Melniboné, that is.

elric of melnibone

The many moods (and artistic depictions)of Elric. Clockwise, from top left: demented; wistful; murderous; lovely (not Elric, but would make a very good one); kingly and world-weary; and, finally, whimsical, as he plays a game of peekaboo with Stormbringer.

Elric was a creation of SFF writer Michael Moorcock and made his first appearance in 1961, in a novella titled “The Dreaming City” in the pages of Science Fantasy magazine. More stories followed later in the 1960s and eventually they were compiled, with added material and edits, into a a series of paperback books, a lengthy saga that intertwined with Moorcock’s other worlds and heroes, all serving as reincarnations of a Jungian “Eternal Champion” through time and space.

But Elric always proved the most popular, for his intriguing mix of vulnerability and superpowers, questioning of morality, and all-too-human weaknesses. Born a sickly albino, he must take drugs to live a normal life and takes up the practice of sorcery to make up for his physical defects. Heir to a dying, decadent kingdom, he nonetheless swears to defend it.  When he acquires a magic sword, Stormbringer, he gains great strength and power (as Shazam the superhero does when he speaks his own name) yet winds up in deadly thrall to it, as the sword needs freshly killed souls as fuel. This sets up a series of adventures as Elric calls on evil gods and demons, travels the world, ousts usurpers from his kingdom, and deals with the deaths of those close to him caused by Stormbringer’s deadly thirst. He’s perhaps the most widely recognized fantasy hero out there outside of Tolkien’s Frodo and Gandalf and Robert E. Howard’s Conan. He’s served as inspiration for heavy metal lyrics as well as role-playing games and characters beyond count, among them Drizzt Do’Urden and Raistlin Majere of AD&D fame.

Need a name for a character like Elric, without it being Elric? Here’s a list.


Variations on Elric

Othret of Malebora

Udrith of Medbindiné

Ismec of Meljubon

Olrac of Marltukmore

Alluv of Murivain

Arctus of Melithone

Ochad of Melnupon

Abmuc of Melpomëne

Achmid of Marnimoine

Umley of Molóbite

Irthsic of Mrelprivone

Elrum of Mylskonië

Ashrit of Melsabro

Ilrac of Metalbrouse

Erkish of Marmoian

Elridh of Memnobonnu

Olras of Melsgaté

Emrit of Mynnydhone

Ushbar of Minnishori

Alshec of Mustheria

Alvir of Murnalbino

Elrits of Mingaloré


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