Elric of Melniboné

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Elric of Melniboné[1] is a fictional character created by Michael Moorcock, and the antihero of a series of sword and sorcery stories centering in an alternate Earth. The proper name and title of the character is Elric VIII, 428th Emperor of Melniboné. Later novels by Moorcock mark Elric as a facet of the Eternal Champion.

Elric first appeared in print in Moorcock’s novella, "The Dreaming City" (Science Fantasy #47, June 1961); subsequent novellas were reformatted as the novel Stormbringer (1965), but his first appearance in an original novel wasn't until 1973 in Elric of Melniboné. Moorcock's albinistic character is one of the better known in fantasy literature, having crossed over into multimedia, such as comics and film, though efforts towards the latter stalled over the years. The novels have been continuously in print since the 1970s.

Contents

Fictional history

Thus described by author Michael Moorcock in the first book, Elric of Melniboné, Elric was the last emperor of the stagnating island civilization of Melniboné. Physically weak and frail, the albino Elric must take drugs — later retconned to mean special herbs — in order to maintain his health. In addition to herb lore, his character becomes an accomplished sorcerer and summoner, able to summon powerful, supernatural allies by dint of his royal Melnibonéan bloodline. Unlike most others of his race, Elric possesses something of a conscience; he sees the decadence of his culture, and worries about the rise of the Young Kingdoms, populated by humans (as Melniboneans do not consider themselves such) and the threat they pose to his empire. Because of his introspective self-loathing of Melnibonéan traditions, his subjects find him odd and unfathomable, and his cousin Yyrkoon (next in the line of succession, as Elric has no heirs) interprets his behavior as weakness and plots Elric's death.

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