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Showing posts from August 16, 2007

Over Sea, Under Stone

Cooper, Susan. Over Sea, Under Stone, Aladdin Paperbacks, 1965, 196 p.

Stop me if you've heard this one before: Three young people, two boys and a girl, are on a quest to find a mysterious object before it falls into the hands of an evil, almost indestructable man. Along the way, they are befriended by a mysterious, bearded old man who mutters wise things and protects them from bad things. Yes, it's a quest store and no, it has nothing to do with Harry Potter, Ron Weasley or Hermione Granger. Rather this book was written more than 40 years ago, long before J. K. Rowling had her flash of inspiration about a school for wizards and the adventures it held for the students there.

Of course, the quest story is old, going back hundreds of years and the one archetype that continues to inspire authors like Cooper and Rowling is King Arthur. And like Arthur, most of the time we find a Merlin character around to keep the hero out of trouble or at least alive. In Rowling's books, the Me…