The Sorcerer's Conspectus:

A comprehensive view of Andre Norton's Witch World

by Lotsawatts


A Novella in the [Witch World Saga] by A.C. Crispin


See Also: [Martinez ~ Glossary] [Martinez ~ Races] [Schlobin ~ Survey] [Coulson's Index]

[Expanded Reading Order] [Bibliography Page] [Read it Here[Return to Contents]


Edition Used for Analysis:
[Tales of the Witch World 1] (1989) Published by TOR, PB, 0-812-54757-8, 978-0-812-54757-3, $3.95, 343pg ~ cover by Victoria Poyser


The Were-Riders, while still living in the Grey Towers in Arvon, are approached by Treyval, Overlord of the Silvermantle Clans, to retake a village that had been annexed by Penmyre of Goldmantle.  His request is that the Were-riders destroy the village, killing most of the inhabitants as a worning to any other villages that might think to allow themselves to be annexed by Goldmantle.  The Pack holds a conference at supper, and all are asked for their opinion.  Herrel states that he believes the Were-Riders reputation as warriors would be debased by doing Treyval's commission.  The Pack votes to reject Treyval's employment. nevertheless, the Pack offers Treyval and his supposed niece guest chambers for the night.  Herrel wakes during the night to find the woman in his room, attempting to educe him; just in time, he realizes that she is a Dark sorceress, and the consequences to him would be disastrous.  He rejects her by Changing to his Were form, that of a snow cat.  A few days later, an offer comes from Penmyre to hire the Pack as Border guards.  Their journey to take up this duty takes them past the village Treyval wanted destroyed.  Suddenly, a Dark magic forces the Change on all of them, and they wind up attacting the villagers after all.  Herrel had made himself an amulet.which helps him resist the bloodlust, and he manages, with help of two mages (or are they Old Ones?) to force the Change back to human on the rest of the Pack.  However, it was obvious that the Pack is a source of trouble in the land of Arvon, so they are exiled to the Wastes of High Hallack, but a way is left open for them to return after a fixed period of time.
NOTE:  This is the beginning of the story of Herrel and Gillan of YEAR OF THE UNICORN.  They will be the parents of Kethan,  THE JARGOON PARD ~ SL

Timeline Points:

  1. p66. "…Herrel started back towards those gaunt Gray Towers he still could not count as "home"—even after some ten years within their sorcery-rimed walls."
  2. p67. "So it was that for the first seven years of his existence, Herrel had led the typical life of a young clan lord…" (referenced in The Jargoon Pard) "Then one day when Maleron, Margrave of the Heights, came visiting, Herrel's life changed forever."1
  3. p91. Afterword: "Andre first introduced the Were-Riders in Year of the Unicorn, which told the story of how Herrel and his fellow Riders were finally allowed to return to Arvon…after spending thousands of years exiled to The Waste near High Hallack."


Sorcerer's Notes:
Herrel mentions he was at the Gray Towers for 10 years, he was 7 when he first changed & his mother, the Lady Eldris disinherited him- which would make him 17 at this point.
Canonicity is called into question by the appearance of Ibycus and Neevor as two separate people here. Though by The Warding of Witch World, Andre has decided that "Neevor" was one of Ibycus' names/a persona he created when he traveled.

Aside from The Warding of Witch World there seems to be no other text that puts Ibycus and Neevor as the same person. Peacock Eyes places Neevor as a Dalesman (see: Dalesfolk), though given his description in The Crystal Gryphon this seems highly unlikely. It could, theoretically, be possible for Ibycus to have simply been friends with a Dalesman named 'Neevor' and the two of them to somehow be in Arvon at this time and when 'Neevor' died, Ibycus took up his name.

1. Maleron later appears as That-Which-Runs-The-Ridges in Year of the Unicorn and in Gryphon's Eyrie.

The Sorcerer’s recommend that you read next: The Judgement of Neave

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Formatted and Edited by Jay Watts ~ May, 2022

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