LevGrossman

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Epitaph for an Epigraph

See what I did there?

A moment of silence, please, for my epigraph for The Magician King. It has suffered the same fate that has brought low many buy klonopin a mighty hero: it has been Dinged by Legal. I knew that the book it came from (it was The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) wasn’t in the public domain, but I figgered epigraphs were protected by Fair Use … nah. Apparently they’re a special case.

Now I’m in search of another one, but it’s not coming to me. I don’t absolutely need one. (I definitely don’t need two. I think more than one epigraph for a book is kind of de trop.) But The Magicians had one, and it would be nice to keep things parallel.

My brother suggested an excellent quote from Titus Andronicus (Shakespeare lifted it from Ovid): “Terras Astraea reliquit.” Which means: The goddess of justice has left the earth.

Good, right? My Latin is terrible (I learned it in three months to pass the requirement in grad school, then immediately forgot it), but I still like it. And it fits. Because she has.


10 comments on “Epitaph for an Epigraph

  1. Jaimie says:

    I wouldn’t want to force an epigraph… but I see what you mean about parallelism.

    My roommate and I were looking at my bookshelf last night and, your book being prominently displayed (partly due to its having a tree on it), she asked about when the sequel was coming out. She was bummed it’s not coming out NOW, dude. Me too.

  2. Jessica says:

    Hmm. I think you’ve said that Magician King is very much a warrior-quest type story, right? Perhaps something in that same genre/archetype… Homer? King Arthur? Gilgamesh?

  3. What were you planning on using from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe? If you are so inclined to share.

  4. Ever thought to actually use a fictitious one? I mean, adding unnumbered parallel worlds to ours should give you some insights in scriptures of those otherworlds, don’t you agree?

    And it would help to illustrate or simply tease us to find out who lived in that empty city with all the fountains …

  5. Leverus says:

    I thought it might be cheeky to quote it up top, but comments seem like fair game. I was going to use this quote, from the last scene in Narnia:

    So they alighted and tied their horses to trees and went on into the thick wood on foot. And as soon as they had entered it Queen Susan said,
    “Fair friends, here is a great marvel, for I seem to see a tree of iron.”

  6. Adrienne says:

    You could try: “And when he came back to, he was flat on his back on the beach in the freezing sand, and it was raining out of a low sky, and the tide was way out.”

    But a) doesn’t fit the book, really and b) still runs into legal issues.

    So I’m no help at all, really. My vote is for the Latin thingy.

  7. Church says:

    IP law is pants.™

  8. M says:

    I C WUT U DID THR. (I dont have anything intelligent to contribute…)

  9. amybillingham says:

    Along the lines of a fictitious quote… it could be interesting if the epigraph were from one of the Fillory books. Or maybe that’s cheating?

    But I do like the Latin/justice quote (since you have kindly translated it for us). Is there a reason to quote Shakespeare quoting Ovid, rather than just quoting Ovid?

  10. Karen Attaway says:

    Would a quote from Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell be too modern to use for an epigraph?

    “What does he know of magic? Nothing! I can teach you to raise up mountains and crush your enemies beneath them! I can make the clouds sing at your approach. I can make it spring when you arrive and winter when you leave.”

    I think this would have been a great epigraph for The Magicians, but not sure if it will apply for the new book. Either way, I’m still searching.

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