Saturday, June 12, 2010

Three Hearts and Three Lions

I am suddenly having a hankering to have another read of Poul Anderson's classic, Three Hearts and Three Lions.  Though Anderson was most well known for his science fiction, he demonstrated he was also an able fantasy writer as well.  Though the book was written five decades ago, it strikes me as fresh and poignant today as it was then.  Some topics on the human condition do not change.  Besides the interesting influence it had on the RPG hobby and other fantasy writers, it is just a darn fine read.  Around 250 pages, accessible and easy to read but with a hidden depth of character it is long a favorite of mine.  

What say ye in the RPG hobby?  Does this story of the Dane and the Swan May resonate for you?  How many of you old timers have read this before, and how has it influence you or your game?


  1. I read Three Hearts and Three Lions last year. It's just the type of "swashbuckling" adventure that I enjoy reading. I'm reading Anderson's Brain Wave at the moment and I'll have to say, it is great sci-fi literature. I also have The Broken Sword and a few other Anderson works on my shelves waiting to be read. Oh yeah, turns out my DM has just read The High Crusade.

  2. I have not read Brain Wave, so I cannot comment other than to say if Poul Anderson wrote it, it is likely a good read.

    A friend from gaming group also blogs about literature. There was an Anderson post not too long ago.

    I like the characterization of the Dane and the struggles he encounters as a holy warrior. Anderson is a master of the light touch with amazing depth.

  3. Three Hearts and Three Lions is excellent. If I recall correctly it inspired the green-skinned regenerating troll trope in D&D (I believe Gygax himself said so), as well as the paladin character class.

    My favorite Anderson novel remains The Broken Sword, which I can't recommend highly enough.


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