Elric of Melniboné (character)

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An Incarnation of the Eternal Champion. Described in Red Pearls as 'clad in black, silk and leather, hair the colour of milk, skin pale as the thinnest bleached linen. His long head with its tapering ears and slightly slanting brows was as remarkable as his sharp, glittering ruby-coloured eyes.'


Freudian Origins

Moorcock was deep into Freud and Jung when he wrote the first Elric stories and has acknowledged that they owe much to the fathers of modern psychology.[1] In creating Elric Moorcock did not pander to the reader's feelings; the Melnibonéan prince is a hard character to like, but deeply fascinating nonetheless, being a beguiling mixture of the vulnerable, heroic and tragic. In a strange sense, Elric and his sword Stormbringer together represent a dysfunctional compound personality, unable to exist when separated but in constant conflict.

In Freudian terms Elric represents a complex combination of Ego and SuperEgo with Stormbringer his Id. The Id is an important part of the newborn baby's personality because it allows him to get his basic needs met. Freud believed that the Id is based on our pleasure principle; it wants whatever feels good at the time, with no consideration for the reality of the situation. And like Stormbringer, the Id doesn't care about reality, about the needs of anyone else, only its own satisfaction.

Within the first three years, as the child interacts more and more with the world, the second part of his personality begins to develop, which Freud calls the Ego, and is based on the reality principle. The Ego understands that other people have needs and desires and that sometimes being impulsive, selfish or destructive can hurt us in the long term. It is the Ego's job to meet the needs of the Id in a controlled way while taking into consideration the realities of the situation. In the Elric stories, this is represented by Elric's attempts to impose his mastery over Stormbringer.

By the age of five the SuperEgo or conscience develops, which is the moral part of the child and develops through the moral and ethical restraints placed on him by his caregivers and society. According to Freud, in a healthy person, the Ego is strongest so that it can satisfy the needs of the Id, not upset the SuperEgo, and still take into consideration the reality of every situation. In the character of Elric, his SuperEgo is formed by his amoral Melnibonéan heritage tempered by his attempts to understand Human morality. Not an easy job by any means, and if the Id gets too strong, impulses and self gratification take over the person's life. As the stories make quite clear, Elric is not a healthy person and as a consequence he loses the battle of wills with his Id many times.[2]

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Mike Says

  • "I never did more than a few pages of a proposed Conan story for Fantastic Universe. The magazine folded before I could do any more and I put it aside. This is what I first showed to Carnell. He then asked me to do something different, so I did something as different as I could."[3]



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