Tuesday, November 24, 2009

[NAM] William Blake, Orc and Blade Runner

William Blake was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Like many artists of his age, he was mostly unrecognized or considered mad while living, but his importance and significance have grown over the centuries. He was something of a mystic and visionary but while he was reverent of the Bible, he was hostile to the church. Overall, he's considered difficult to classify.

In Blade Runner, one of the interesting lines by Roy Batty is a misquote of Blake's poem:
"Fiery the angels fell; deep thunder rolled around their shores; burning with the fires of Orc"
This line was suggested by Rutger Hauer, adapted from Blake's America: A Prophecy.
"Fiery the angels rose, and as they rose deep thunder roll'd. Around their shores: indignant burning with the fires of Orc."
Interestingly, Orc in the mythology of Blake is a complicated figure, and not the monstrous sea monster or humanoid cannon fodder of Tolkein and 20th century fantasists.

Shortly after his birth, Orc transformed from a worm into a powerful serpent. There's all sorts of relationship drama that results in one character using the Chains of Jealousy to confine Orc to a mountain, until the power of Orc's imagination awakens a diety who frees him to then go on a rebellious rampage. Orc is a force of revolution and revival with most interpretations regarding him as a largely positive figure of creativity, passionate energy.

Which isn't to say this makes Blake very easy to read by today's standards, but it's still one of the fascinating, more modern efforts to create new mythologies for the world.


Claire Light said...

OMG, Blake was an SF dork! That explains SO MUCH!

deathvalley69 said...

I love his work. Poetry and paintings