Tuesday, April 10, 2018

G is for Ganelon: Zelazny A to Z

In the Matter of France, Ganelon is the knight who betrayed Charlemagne's army to the Muslims, leading to the Battle of Roncevaux Pass. His name is said to derive from the Italian word inganno, meaning fraud or deception. He is based upon the historical Wenilo, the archbishop of Sens who betrayed King Charles the Bald in 858.

Dr. Kovacs asked if I’d be doing “Green Eyes” for this installment, but I changed my mind. What can I say? I’m a rebel.

This post will have spoilers (albeit for a very well-known 40-year-old book on a website dedicated to the works of that author), so proceed at your own peril.

Ganelon undergoes an interesting evolution over the course of the chronicles.  He was a friend to Ganelon Corwin, then an enemy, and progressed through foil, ally and back to friend again.

Of course, that’s not true. The real Ganelon is long dead by the time the Chronicles begin, and the character is Oberon in the likeness of Ganelon, guiding and judging Corwin.

I’m pleased that we never got any stories delving into the backstory of Oberon.(Shut up! There were no prequels) I prefer an ancient and unknowable monarch of Amber. That said, I like to think he grew and changed a little bit alongside his son.


  1. Oh, you rebel.

    You're confusing readers by saying that Ganelon was a friend to Ganelon. Hmm. I think you meant Ganelon was a friend to Corwin...

    1. You underestimate how cunning Oberon really was. He even feigned friendship to *himself*