Fantasy books: Spoiler alert.

There is the general spoiler page for general questions.

I’m making this set of pages for more specific questions.

The rule is: do not ask or comment about a book until it has been at least a month in issue. I think that will make everybody happy re spoilers.


  1. sleo

    And WHAT IS ELFWYN? And why did he get away so easily? And he still has his hate and his anger! And what is the Sihhe? And why does everyone forget around Elfwyn? And what is this dragon that Tristen becomes? I shudder at the threat to Tristen and Cefwyn, not to mention the boys! Is Elfwyn redeemable? And can someone please zap the Quinalt?

    I have to reread this whole thing.

    PS. I ordered Faery Moon but DO NOT use Paypal after many problems with them. Hope you can respond to my order!

  2. sleo

    Oh, never mind on Faery Moon. I just bought Rusalka, as a Paypal guest, so I’ll try that. Thanks.

  3. JeriJ

    Hi CJ. I’ve been a long time fan and love your books. I just keep scanning the shelves hoping to find a new one. I can’t wait to pick up Faery Moon and see what you’ve done with it.

  4. motherofgirls

    Adding my two cents to the “Love Morgaine and Vanye” pot. Just finished re-reading Exile’s Gate for the upteenth time. I also support the sequel idea, although with the current ending, I can imagine they get a respite somewhere, enough time for a foal and whatnot. It would be interesting to see what not being in imminent danger would do to their dynamic (as I wonder about Bren and Jago). Thanks for writing!

  5. EmryYew23

    Hi! I’m a fan of the Fortress series and an aspiring writer. In case CJC has another book in the works, I don’t want to ask questions that a book would more properly answer, but I am _dying_ to know whether, as the author, you always had a definite destiny and identity in mind for Tristen or if you decided in the course of the series what he had been and was made to do.
    As of the Fortress of Ice when Tristen has that memory of being in the Hafsandyr mountains and seeing Mauryl coming towards him, it’s clear that Tristen was Barraketh. So many characters thought as much all along but, as I’ve seen you comment on this site, the reader is only getting a certain perspective at any given point; it’s ambiguous who named Elfwyn, Tarien’s son, for example. The memory in the Fortress of Ice was the only confirmation I could find that Tristen was Barraketh–the fifth book in the series–and I was just increasingly curious whether that was a deliberate withholding of information on your part (if so, it really works as a writing technique! I’ve been puzzling and puzzling over it…) or whether you toyed with the idea of other identities in books I-IV before deciding on Barraketh in Book V. In the same vein, did you always intend Tristen to lead a quiet, separate life at Ynefel once Cefwyn was well-established?
    Minor points and no pressure to reply, but I’d love it if you did. 🙂

    • CJ

      I’d love to continue it, but Harper has gone through uncertain times, and dropped a bunch of its story lines. That was one. I intend to do some e-books to continue some books which have gotten caught in that.

      • lszeto

        Just wondering if Tristen’s story will continue soon? Can’t wait to read how you play out the relationship between Tristen and Elfwyn.

        • CJ

          I so much want to write that. But it’s kind of stuck in the queue. Jane getting sick threw us so far behind last year…
          It doesn’t change my determination to do it one of these days.

  6. LovelyLocks

    Hi Ms. Cherryh! Just wanted to let you know that I spotted someone reading The Gate of Ivrel on the metro in Sevilla, Spain! It’s one of my favorite books and I was so pleased! My barely passable Spanish made me too shy go up to the gentleman and make a comment, but I thought you might get a kick out the story. I recognized the book by the semi-ridiculous cover that has Morgaine clad in the white bikini outfit. The whole thing made me laugh! But I was glad to see the book, especially in a place where I definitely didn’t expect it.

  7. smartcat

    I’ve been rereading The Fortress books lately. Somehow I think of them as winter books, not only because so much of the action takes place in winter, but the mood feels like frost, snow blindness with the otherworldliness that winter has. Snow and ice are the worlds’s masks. And the majick slithers, almost touched yet always just out sight and touch. Maybe I need to get out more.

  8. lschilling

    Just registered on WwaS, spent a few minutes reading the comments on the Fantasy Books. I started re-reading the Foreigner Series this past fall, got to Pretender then got a Kindle for Christmas, and started downloading Cherryh books from Amazon. Got all those read up to, but not including, Intruder as it wasn’t out yet. So downloaded all the Fortress Series and read all those. And I laugh at myself because I marked/noted almost every reference in FoI where the characters kept saying Tarien had named her son Elfwyn. Things like “NO! TRISTEN named Elfwyn, dammit!” And then, voila!, Emuin arrives to confirm my opinion.
    AND – the Elfwyn that Tristen plucks out of the Grey Space was fair haired and blue-eyed, and as he “ages” has the look of Cefwyn about him – but Otter is dark haired, grey eyed, and seems to look a lot like Tristen. And is Sihhe (how does one pronounce “Sihhe” BTW? I’ll take a peek at Linguistics…) to boot, in Emuin’s opinion.
    AND – who is the dark-eyed lady by the well that Tristen seems to remember on his way to the river?
    And – does Tristen ever meet a god/godess, lurking in the background, observing all the foolish things that Sihhe, and wizards, and Men do?
    And – funny how there were Five Sihhe Lords, and the Quinalt has Five Gods. Are these gods the Five Sihhe, and if so, how ironic.
    And – what the heck is under the floor of the Quinalt, and what will happen when the Quinaltine is removed to other quarters?
    And – does Tristen find love, finally, with Aemaryen?
    It’s been six years, CJ, and while I understand that Bren (love his brown turned to blonde head) makes you a living, us Fortress lovers are left wondering… I would buy an ebook from Closed Circle to encourage the venture. After I get Intruder read.
    Love your word-craft, lady, and have bought as many of your books as I have been able to find. 🙂

  9. Sorwen

    Have to ask again. Goblin Mirror?

  10. CJ

    That one is coming! I’m getting Jane to teach me the routine she’s developed for putting up nicer-looking e-books, so I am going to be getting Yvgenie up, and the Foreigner short story, and Brothers of Earth, and, well, I have a little list of projects.

    • Deesha

      Foreigner short story? One almost missed this reference.


      Is this going to be an E-Book? or Hard Copy?

  11. SteveB

    Is there an eBook format of Exile’s Gate available somewhere i haven’t seen?

  12. sweetarete

    Just read on Variety that the screen rights for the Morgaine stories have been acquired up by a producer named Aaron Magnani. This is great news – I really hope the screen writer does the stories justice! If they are smart they will let C J vet the script and void another LOTR disaster.

    Would love to see the Fortress series made into a movie – almost – but not quite – as much as I would like to read book 6 in the series……..

    • sleo

      Oh my! That is exciting news!

  13. joekc6nlx

    Questions: In Fortress of Dragons, Tristen names Elfwyn. Tarien wanted to name him something else, but Elfwyn was what Tristen called him three times in the gray space. Now, in Forress of Ice, Elfwyn thinks that Tarien named him, or didn’t Tarien tell Elfwyn that she named him? Why is Hasufin still around, he was blown apart when Tristen sent the Lord of Magic over the edge, even though Hasufin was reaching for Tarien’s baby, who wasn’t with Tarien, and Orien is also still around, even though she was rebuffed twice by Tarien, the first time when she died in her cell, the second time when Orien tried to call Hasufin to Tarien as Tristen was fighting in Ilefinien.
    I know wizards are persistent, but if Hasufin was so weakened by his attempts that he wasn’t even strong enough to hold together the bits of dust and straw as Tristen destroyed his master, how was he able to come back in FoI? How was Orien? Has Tarien not learned compassion, since she would have seen what her sister tried to do to her? “She’ll never have him. He’s my prince. My baby prince.”

    • joekc6nlx

      Also in Fortress in the Eye of Time, “Tarien never forgave her sister for that minute precedence in their birth and would gladly knife her…”

      I may be missing a very large point here, but I felt as though I were at an edge (not the Edge) at the end of Fortress of Ice, as though there were something pending that just wasn’t ready to come out in that book.

  14. KC

    Well, I try to type a diaeresis and look what happens. Now I’m typing this again from the top. Sihhë… Correct. (rt-click-copy)

    Anyway, from the top. I am not a fan of Fantasy. In fact, outside of Tolkien, I’ve gone out of my way to avoid it because I’m a person who likes realism and “suspension of disbelief” where fantasy is about playing outside those boundaries. Being your name was on it I decided to pick up the first Fortress book a few years ago and was immediately taken with it. I’d just rearranged my bookshelf to give your Science Fiction highest honors on the top shelf so I figured that your character point of view literary style and ambiguity already weighted book in enough realism to pass muster. 🙂 In the end it not only met my expectations but sailed over the top of them into areas surprising and thought provoking. This is exactly how I like to be. I’m probably on my 4th or 5th rereading of the series by this point.

    That being said, I do have one consistent speed bump in the books. That is the word, (paste) “Sihhë”. I like to be clever in my grammar but I find myself always stopping mid-sentence to second guess my mental pronunciation. The diaeresis isn’t the problem, either. It’s the front half of the word I am over-nuking. You will laugh but on first reading my immediate thought was back to the history of Latin overrunning the northern Ingvaeonic futhark with it’s inadequate phonetic alphabet. The root of all English spelling evil.

    Glad I stopped by today. I had no idea about the CC and your publishing troubles. I’ll have to stop in and see what I can do to help your independent revenue along so that I can eventually have more Tristen mysteries answered. Glad the Foreigner series is coming along as it is my ultimate favorite. Publishers start messing with that I will run riot.

  15. CJ

    It’s SEE-eh. 😉
    Thank you for the kind words. Remember my background is in Mediterranean civ, ancient world, and when I’m doing fantasy, I try to write the world the way the ancients saw it: their lack of understanding about bodily processes, their assumption that the powers that scare the blazes out of you when you’re lost in the woods are real (even the most civilized will start glancing over their shoulders and feeling something is looking at them—which could be true) and they have a very keen understanding of goes-around, comes-around—there are good people and bad, and ill-wishing somebody has a mean whiplash, not just in ethics, but in, they believed, consequences: this is before Christian teachings began to put yet another overlay on it, and advised people to put up with things now in favor of justice in the next world. The regular magics of the ancient world have a kind of wisdom and balance about them, and I hope that my readers in fantasy will end up learning something mind-widening about the world that was, just the same as I hope to bring that sense of wonder to science fiction readers.

  16. KC

    Hahaha! Yes. My second interpretation was the correct one. The first was SHEE-eh. One day I toyed around with a third, more French SHY-eh but by the next chapter I had already dropped it. I think I have consistently bounced between SEE-eh and SHEE-eh in my head every time I’ve come across the word in a paragraph. Thank you for resolving this.

    Lost in the woods? Never! I always know where I am. Just sometimes “am” isn’t easily resolved geospatially with “should be”. 😉

    I have seen you mention background studies in Latin and ancient Med history in the past. I’m more a citizen scientist who pursues this and that subject on a year to year basis with the local colleges. Most of my history background is evolution of Proto-Germanic cultures to a point just after the various invasions that brought changes to the region. That is what comes through to me in the Fortress books. It’s the same story in a different land that I am learning along side the characters with the same hit or miss bits of information from biased sources.

    So you do achieve exactly what you are aiming for in that I mull over conversations with Emuin and snippets of detail such as the Sihhë numbering the same as the gods of men. Men who are though to have originated in a region not too far removed from where the Sihhë were. But, is it the Sihhë who are significant or something in the number 5? As Emuin often says; “That is the question isn’t it?”

    I shouldn’t get started on the Science Fiction except to say that I’m a physics buff and former Navy. It’s not so much that the ships move within well written action but that I “feel” the ships move because you’ve caused them to exist within very clearly defined laws. Good SOP to never aim a ship at station on reentry.

    Thx for the chat. You have a great day!

Submit a Comment