How I Discovered Glorantha
I HAVE BEEN FASCINATED with mythology for most of my life.
My first mythology book that I recall reading is Manual of Mythology, by Alexander S. Murray (published 1935). I still have that old book. It is a thick tome full of the euhemerized versions of Greek myth, with many pictures of marble statues and renaissance paintings.
Like most people, I was interested in the strange and interesting stories. I began reading other versions, like Bullfinch, which was not much different, really. And then other mythologies too — well, other mythologies readily available to a pre-teen with a library card. I was lucky in that by the time I was in sixth grade I had access to the adult library, too.
Then I started reading books about mythology. I was convinced by every book that I read. If it was about how all myths are variants of Sun Myths, then I was convinced of that. Then I read one about how they were all Seasonal Myths, and they were that; or whatever subject the book was about. It didn't take too long to realize they couldn't all be right, that none were entirely right, and that mythology was something else. So I kept reading.
When I got into college I was delighted to find a huge section of even deeper books that I’d never had access to before and dove into those. We even had Joseph Campbell’s Hero of a Thousand Faces in one of my courses.
But I always had loved reading the stories, and those were in short supply. That is, there weren’t any new.
Now, at that time I’d never seen a book of fantasy fiction. I didn’t have that outlet, which was limited at the time anyway — we're talking 1966 here.
So one day I decided, “I’ll write my own mythology.”
I wrote one document, (reproduced below).
Then I wrote a little story about a guy named Snodal fighting a demon guardian, and put some notes about what he’d be doing. And thought, well, I need to know where his people came from, and so I wrote some stuff about Loskalm. But then I had to know where those people came from, so made some notes about the destruction of Seshneg. And had to know where they came from, and so on and so on.
The earliest materials weren’t as dense or sophisticated as the later ones. I didn’t have the breadth of knowledge to pack it in. It wasn’t until college that I started cramming on archeology, history sociology and religion.
But I did start writing the stories of the earliest kings of Seshnela. The first was the reign of King Froalar, which begins at the dawn of the first New Year in the world. It is about how Hrestol broke the Seshnegi caste system and instituted the new order of knights in order to combat the Pendali barbarians at the gates of his land.
And so it began. I felt fantastic, documenting fantasy dynasties, enchanted realms, invented history, a made-up world.
Then one day I came across a copy of this weird book called The Hobbit in a book store, and then found Lord Of The Rings. I read the cover blurb and thought, “Damn, I’m not the first guy to do this.”
Ah, sweet innocence of youth, so long fled!
As, wonderful ignorance, so long driven out…
The First Glorantha Writing
I wrote this one night in 1966, in a moment of creativity, and it bore me into Glorantha. I laer discovered hat this is the only remains of a log of travellers who were fleeing the destruction of Seshnela at the end of the Second Age by the Luathela, and they later were instrumental in the foundation of the kingdom of Fronela.
Obviously, it was written in flet tip pen which has suffered slightly from some water, but it's still here!