Myself... I have been going back and giving another deep read of the Chronicles of Corum, and also the Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock. I have always strongly identified personally with both the Elric and Corum characters, and certain aspects of the character of Corum in particular are so much like myself that I once gave a copy of the first book in the Corum series, The Knight of the Swords, to my first love Andrea and told her that she should think of me whenever she reads about Corum in that story, and that this will help her to understand me better as a person. She saw what I meant when she got around to reading the book, and that was one of the ways we both connected with each other so deeply during a time in my life when I found it hard to communicate certain things about myself to people. There is a strongly romantic nostalgia that I find in revisiting these particular stories, given how greatly they sang to me during my teenage years... and how much of an impact they had on me philosophically in life. They showed me that darkness does not always equal evil, and that light does not always equal good. Sometimes, the reverse can be far truer! Heroes need not always act heroically... and can be deeply flawed, even tragically so. And grief can change you, both in visible and subtle ways. The protagonists in Michael Moorcock's stories for me always felt quite real in ways that characters such as Aragorn or Conan simply do not. They are not conquering heroes who are destined to win no matter the odds... instead, they struggle with inner demons (and sometimes actual demons as well), and sometimes fail in their quests as much as they succeed. And success can at times not be a great of a thing as was expected! Yet, they keep striving, keep trying, and in the end their stories do not always conclude with a happy ending. Which is why when happy endings do occur in these stories, they shine so much brighter... and the first Corum trilogy ends with a very happy ending for both the Elven prince Corum and his human wife Rhalina. To me, Andrea was my Rhalina... she did for me what Rhalina had done for Corum and showed me that not every human being will necessarily seek to hurt me in life. For just like Corum, I had experienced certain... tortures... that had led me to be distrustful of humanity. Rhalina's death at the beginning of the second Corum trilogy impacted him the same way that Andrea's death impacted me. It drove him to retreat from the world for a time in order to figure out how to proceed from there, how to go on living, and how to regain his old strength, so much of which came from his love for her. I cannot read that part, in the beginning of the book The Bull and the Spear, without crying because of that. And Andrea's death was so much more heartbreaking because of how senseless it was. Her father murdered her and her little sister. At least Rhalina got to live to old age and died of that, with the tragedy being that because Corum was of Elven blood... he was still young when she grew into an old woman and died. But Andrea and I were both still young, both only sixteen years old when we were together, so for me the torment I felt over her death was perhaps worse than what Corum felt. Because it made me feel a seething rage, and a renewed hatred for humanity that took a long time to overcome. I found a semblance of peace through embracing my spiritual path, and though I would go on to suffer some bitter betrayals and more periods of ever deeper introspection... I in the end pretty much remade myself and rebuilt myself from the ground up. There is a parallel there, to my past life as the ancient Fomorian king Balor, during which there was a time when I was suffering the loss of someone I had deeply loved and cared for above all others in that life, and it led to me literally having to remake myself in an almost literal sense. Though that remaking was partially the doing of another... and was done mostly, to save my life since I would have otherwise died quite literally. (You can read all about it in my new series of works "Otherworldly Memories" of which there are currently six parts, with more to come.) But it is an excellent parallel, and perhaps in many ways this current life of mine's own version of the same event, because had I not remade the way that I did following the betrayals I mentioned... I would have just as surely died, but this time likely by my own hand, due to how lost in despair I was at the time I speak of. But the good part is, I found love again as the years have passed, and saw so much good in the hearts of certain people that I was able to put aside the notion that people were inherently evil in nature. There was a girl whom I will refer to only as Ameline, who showed tremendous love and kindness to me when all was darkest and most terrible in my life. And eventually there was Zoey, and Camilla, and Sybil too. And they all showed me that I was worthy of being loved, and that life was worth living for me after all! So now, as I read those old books that I had turned to so much when growing up, it is easier to bear those parts that make me cry, because the grief of Andrea's passing (which sadly will always be with me) is made less bitter for me now that I have so much love in my life and have known so much love in life since those dark days during my youth. It is amazing to me how much the way I see all of Michael Moorcocks works and characters has changed and evolved over the years, as time has gone on. But because I have changed so very much, and my life as changed so much, I see certain things with new eyes and a fresh perspective. That is why I sometimes revisit old books, or movies, or TV shows, or comics... or even video games, that I used to love. To see what has changed about my own perceptions of things! And the interesting thing I have learned is that it is an interesting bit of duality at work there... nothing has changed at all, and yet everything has.