Examining Light Novels: Direct Access vs. Mediation

Reading Slayers called to my mind a salient difference between Protestantism and Catholicism: direct access worship vs. mediated worship.  What do I mean?  Catholicism--and Orthodox Churches, for that matter--have an order of the priesthood.  Three levels exist within the priesthood: diaconate, presbyterate, and episcopate.  The bishop has full power to perform any of the seven… Continue reading Examining Light Novels: Direct Access vs. Mediation

Examining Light Novels: On Rebellion

I'm now reading the fourth volume of Slayers: "The Battle of Saillune."  If memory serves me right, the original three seasons skipped over this story arc.  The novel concerns a palace intrigue to slay Prince Philionel in order to stage a coup d'état.  Lina, Gourry, and Sylphiel sneak into the city of Saillune in order… Continue reading Examining Light Novels: On Rebellion

Examining Light Novels: Medieval and Modern Castes

I have every intention of making this my last article on Spice and Wolf.  Nine is the elvish number for luck, and nine articles of Spice and Wolf ought to whet anyone's appetite to explore this series further and perhaps even the Middle Ages.  (I'll save my next series as a surprise.)  Over the course of… Continue reading Examining Light Novels: Medieval and Modern Castes

Examining Light Novels: The Rotund Angel Physician

This time, a passage on the culinary excesses of clerics in Spice and Wolf struck me.  It was not remarkable for bringing out how much priests love fine dining.  The joke runs that one thing modern bishops and the apostles have in common is never turning down a meal.  Instead, I was surprised by the following… Continue reading Examining Light Novels: The Rotund Angel Physician

Examining Light Novels: On Good Works and Goods

Those of you familiar with Spice and Wolf know that much of the plot centers on trade.  On the other hand, the conflict often concerns how Lawrence must weigh intangible goods like friendship against his more tangible business deals.  Lawrence must make a living, but he recognizes the poverty of commerce in comparison to richness of… Continue reading Examining Light Novels: On Good Works and Goods

Examining Light Novels: On Female Deacons

Volume thirteen stands as the most interesting of Isuna Hasekura's three "Side Colors" volumes of Spice and Wolf so far.  This volume features a novella about the shepherdess Nora and her dog Enek.  From her adventure with Lawrence at Ruvinheigen in volume two, she gains the capital necessary to enter a seamstress apprenticeship program.  However, her… Continue reading Examining Light Novels: On Female Deacons

Examining Light Novels: A Bored God

Volume twelve of Spice and Wolf can only be described as boring.  (The Japanese have a proverb that only a fool buys complete collections of books.  It just might be true!)  The story features a journey undertaken by Lawrence and company with a famous silversmith named Fran Vonely.  Fran has a near encyclopedic knowledge of local… Continue reading Examining Light Novels: A Bored God

Examining Light Novels: Pray at All Times

Found in volume eleven of Spice and Wolf, the novella "The Black Wolf's Cradle" counts as Isuna Hasekura's best short work by far.  We see Eve Bolan in her early days of being a merchant.  Her husband has recently lost both his favor with the crown and his head, and Bolan has lost her noble privileges--even… Continue reading Examining Light Novels: Pray at All Times

Examining Light Novels: Latin in the Middle Ages

The eleventh volume of Spice and Wolf includes a set of two short stories and a novella.  Like in volume seven, the two short stories remind me of something an author might write for his eyes only in order to get to know the characters better.  I have decided to put off reading the novella… Continue reading Examining Light Novels: Latin in the Middle Ages

Examining Light Novels: the Monastic Origin of European Civilization

Volume ten of Spice and Wolf is remarkable for how much mercantile intrigue is centered around Blondel Abbey in Winfiel, which no doubt has its antecedents in England's Cistercian Abbey of Rievaulx.  Both favored wool production and became their country's chief exporter of wool.  (Yes, Winfiel is essentially England.  The country is an island, wool is… Continue reading Examining Light Novels: the Monastic Origin of European Civilization