Ulric von Bek

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An Incarnation of the Eternal Champion, an avatar of Elric.

Appeared in

About Ulric(h) von Bek[1]

There is something curious about Ulric von Bek.

The Dreamthief's Daughter is about Ulric von Bek, who was living in the 1930s and at odds with Nazism. He's locked up in a concentration camp in 1935, but soon escapes and thereafter has heroic adventures alongside Elric, an Eternal Champion, and falls in love with the elfin Oona.

Meanwhile, The Dragon in the Sword is about Ulrich von Bek, who was living in the 1930s and at odds with Nazism. He's locked up in a concentration camp at some unknown time, is freed in 1938, and then escapes into the Middle Marches in 1939 after he tries to kill Hitler and thereafter has heroic adventures alongside Erekosë, an Eternal Champion, and falls in love with the elfin Alissard.

So, how are these two stories reconciled?

It might be said they happened to two different members of the von Bek family.

Alternatively, it could be said they happened on different planes of the multiverse, as Moorcock makes some point in The Dreamthief's Daughter about how stories are slightly different on different worlds.

A third answer might be that both stories really occurred: in The Dreamthief's Daughter, Ulric and Oona leave the plane in 1935 and return in 1940, leaving time for an Ulrich who simultaneously did not leave the plane to have his other adventures.

Alternatively in a fourth answer. Elric enters von Bek's story when his daughter, Oona, sends him on a dreamquest into von Bek's world. Von Bek later repeats some of Oona's philosophy, saying, "It seems we were all fated to live identical lives in billions of counterrealities, rarely able to change our stories, yet constantly striving to do so. Occasionally, one of us was successful, and it was the effort to change the story which somehow helped maintain the balance of the universe ..." (p.125). Thus, perhaps the original von Bek story once happened, but by introducing Elric's dreamquest, Oona managed to change the story.

Notes

In The Revenge of the Rose an Ulric is mentioned in a poem by Ernest Wheldrake

  1. Edited version of ShannonA's post[1] on the Xenagia forum