The Sorcerer's Conspectus:

A comprehensive view of Andre Norton's Witch World

by Lotsawatts

Horn Crown

6th Novel in the [Witch World: High Hallack Series] by Andre Norton

horn crown 1981


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:

(1981) Published by DAW, PB, 0-879-97635-7, $2.95 US, $3.95 Canadian, 255pg ~ cover by Michael Whelan


When Elron's people pass through the Gate which gives passage between worlds, they trade the memories of their old land for a future in this strange new place, known only to the Sword Brothers who had come before and scouted it. Yet while on guard duty, Elron is drawn, as though by half-dorment remembrances, to an ancient, eerie shrine of the moon.
After Elron's cousin Iynne confesses a similar attraction for the shrine, she vanishes. Later, banished by his clan - declared kinless, because he had kept Iynne's shrine-visits a secret - Elron meets Gathea, an apprentice sorceress, who claims the shrine's magic powers as her birthright. Determined to seize these powers, she joins Elron in search of Iynne, on a perilous, fast-paced journey through the strange land.
Besieged and captured by creatures of the Dark, separated and reunited, Elron and Gathea are forced to learn and employ the Old Ones' magic. For together, Elron and Gathea learn that only the powers of the Old Ones - the ancient gods, goddesses, and the Horned Hunter himself - can fend off the magical sirens and other life-threatening powers of evil. Finally, in a surprising and terrifying showdown, Elron alone must rescue Iynne from the forces of Dark - and, by restoring the balance between good an evil, determine the future of the land.
Thrilling adventure set in Norton's famed Witch World.

Timeline Points:

  1. p5. 'Those among us who were simple and unlettered, who had never stirred far from the fields they tilled or the herd pastures known to their long-kin before them, muttered together of Glom the Weeper and looked upon the grey sky as if they expected moment after moment to see her two welling, tear-filled eyes above us, her sorrow hanging as heavily as a curse.' (Probably early spring rains. The people of Hallack arrive in the Dales through a Gate in the south of High Hallack. Probably just north of Sorn Fen.)
  2. p5-6. 'Those who rode in the van as our guides [the Sword Brothers] had met us this side of the Gate. They had been near a full moon-tally of days here, spying out what must be faced.'
  3. p13. "The land," he [Ouse the Bard] said, "is empty. Since we have come into it we have sensed nothing which we may term enemy. This night before you came to council, my lords, Laudet and I sang the warn words and lit the torches of the Flame. It burned fair, there was no stir at our invocation. There are traces of old power—of a kind we do not know—but the Flame can burn nowhere when there is war rising and evil moving in." 'It was true that the Undying and One Flame could not survive if evil ringed us round, and I [Elron] am sure that I heard several sighs of relief at that reply.'1
  4. p17. 'This was not Hallack—that lay behind, lost forever. Those of our company had come to call it High Hallack, since it was a country of many hills.'
  5. p19. 'We had been twenty days on our northward crawl.' 'On the twenty-fourth day Lord Milos's people left, us turning westward up the throat of a narrower valley, one of the scouts riding as guide.'
  6. p20. 'It was on the third day of our northern trek that I marked her as one different from the other women…' (Gathea)
  7. p21. 'Thus I discovered that the girl was named Gathea and that she was a foundling whom the Wise Woman had taken for fostering and made her handmaid and pupil.'
  8. p23. Elron of Garn's House. (The narrator is finally named here.)
  9. p28. 'Now against the side of one of those was defined more sharply than any of the other smooth contours of the cloud place, what was surely very like a keep, a square-walled fortress from which arose two towers, one a fraction shorter than the other.' (A castle on a cloud. see: The Warding of Witch World)
  10. p33. Garnsdale. 'Quaine and his two men had stayed with us for ten days and then had gone, heading back westward in a general sweep into the unknown.
  11. p37. Evil black birds.
  12. p41. Gathea: "They [the black birds] are servants, I think, of ancient evil. Perhaps they were once sentries."
  13. p50. 'Though as yet the time for Flame and Cup had not been set.' Garn betrothed his daughter Iynne to the second son of Lord Farkon. (The Flame & Cup marriage ceremony traditional to the people of Hallack.)
  14. p51. 'The bite of fall was in the air soon after we completed the keep. Together kin and clan labored as one to hurry the harvest.' (Autumn of the year the people of Hallack arrived in the Dales.)
  15. p53. Elron is outcast by lord Garn for not telling him of his daughter's visits to the moon shrine when she disappears.
  16. p83. Gruu. (Name of Gathea's great silver cat companion)
  17. p117. Elron looses track of Gathea and Gruu and finds himself alone.
  18. p120. A lair of evil bird people. (Winged Ones - Varks)
  19. p122-123. Elron battles the evil bird man.
  20. p130. A road with sections of black & red symbols in the blocks.
  21. p135-136. The tree goddess. (possibly Neave?) "the old way of Alafian" (name of the road.)
  22. p138. An ancient, abandoned keep with cat carvings.
  23. p150. Elron's spirit travels back in time and meets Gunnora & 'the Hunter' and is given the Horn cup.
  24. p153. Elron rejoins Gathea and Gruu in a moon shrine.
  25. p164. Gathea calls the evil bird people "Varks". (Winged Ones. see also: Zarsthor's Bane & The Warding of Witch World)
  26. p166. The 'Hunter' is called the "Horn-Crowned One" by Gathea.
  27. p173. "The Wings of Ord" is the name of the evil black birds. Elron: "And this Ord?" Gathea: "He is, I think, one of the great Old Ones…"
  28. p175. Elron cries: "Ha, Kurnuous, Ha, Hie Wentur!" after drinking from the cup which summons a wind in the trees, killing the black birds.
  29. p177. Gathea: "Now you have done what even a Bard would not dare to try—you summoned Him Who Hunts and have been answered!" "The Black Ones" - another name for the birds of Ord.
  30. p180. 'I felt as if the breath of the Ice Dragon was spreading outward…' (Gathea contacts her moon goddess.)2
  31. p181-182. Gathea: "Dians" (the maiden aspect of the Moon Goddess.)
  32. p186-190. Giant lizard riding men. (Sarn Riders?)
  33. p193-198. Black tower which weaves an evil illusion trap.
  34. p210. Elron is transported from the black tower to corrupted moon shrine & Iynne.
  35. p216. Elron rescues Iynne from an evil crone and her 4 male lackeys.
  36. p219. "Raidhan" Iynne's name for the crone.
  37. p224. Iynne: "It was Raidhan—she who is the Elder, the ruler of the moon's shadow. She is the Wise One, the one who would bring the Great Lord to life, calling me to form a body which he can use."
  38. p228. Elron finds barrow mounds of the which glow blue.
  39. p234. 'Har-Rests' Elron calls the barrows.
  40. p235. "Dartif Double Sword" (the name of the man buried in the barrow Elron takes refuge with Iynne on.) "This was Farthfell" (the land with the barrows.) "Archon" a Dark One lord they fought.
  41. p239. Raidhan, an evil Varks woman, and a beast man with bull legs.
  42. p243. Kurnous, Gunnora, and a brightly shining winged woman of Light appear.
  43. p246. Cuntif- the name of the evil beast lord. Gunnora: "We shall have no devil child born in Arvon!" (It appears the black tower sent Elron into Arvon.)
  44. p247. "Once before," Kurnous took up that attack of words, "there was strife of Light and Dark—there followed death, in spite of deeds for good. Harm and destruction rent wide this land and we were near spent—near banished because of it." (This seems to refer to The Waste but throughout this book there is no other direct reference to it. Could he be talking about the battlefield of Farthfell they are near? And is The Waste formed a bit later as Peacock Eyes implies?)
  45. p254. Elron & Gathea wed in a moon shrine.

1. The Dames are not mentioned which implies their order & abbeys were founded sometime after this story, probably when the Bards and Sword Brothers die out without replacements. At some point the Flame is passed on to the newly formed order of Dames.
2. Ice Dragon becomes the name for the first month of Winter.

The Sorcerer’s recommend that you read next: Peacock Eyes

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Formatted and Edited by Jay Watts ~ May, 2022

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