The OF Blog: Andrzej Sapkowski, Los guerreros de Dios (God's Warriors)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Andrzej Sapkowski, Los guerreros de Dios (God's Warriors)

– ¡Pero la habrá! – El predicador se sirvió y apuró la jarra de un trago – .  ¡La habrá!  ¡Cuando venzamos!  Todo será común, ya no habrá propiedad ni pertenencias.  No habrá ricos ni pobres, no habrá miseria ni opresión.  ¡Reinarán en la tierra la dicha y la paz divinas!

– ¡Ay, ya parió! – comentó desde su rincón la viejuca, encorvada sobre la rueca –.  Santurrón borrachuzo.

– La paz divina – dijo con gravedad Jan Capek – la conquistaremos nosotros.  Con nuestras espadas.  Pagaremos por ella con nuestra sangre.  Y por eso nos merecemos una justa recompensa, también en dinero.  No hemos hecho una revolución, hermanos, para que yo me tenga que volver a Sány, a ese pueblo de mala muerte.  A mi casa solariega, que da pena verla, a mi hacienda, que por poco no me la tumba un cerdo una vez que le entraron ganas de frotarse en una esquina.  Las revoluciones sirven para que algo cambie.  Para los que pierden, a peor, para los que ganan, a mejor.  ¿Veis, queridos huéspedes, queridos Reinmar y Scharley, ahí en la pared, en lo alto, el escudo?  Es la divisa de Jan de Michalovice, llamado Michalec.  Él gobernó en este castillo de Michalovice, donde ahora estamos, aquí tuvo su sede el clan familiar.  ¿Y qué?  ¡Nosotros se lo hemos arrebatado!  ¡Nuestro es el premio!  Y, en cuanto tenga un rato, agarro una escalera, arranco ese escudo y al suelo con él, y todavía me voy a mear encima.  Y pienso colgar en la pared mi propia enseña, con un ciervo, ¡en un escudo el doble de grande!  ¡Y aquí mando yo!  ¡El señor Jan Copek de Sány, aposentado en Michalovice! (p. 189)

"But there it will be!"  The preacher was served a pitcher and he took from it a swig.  "There it will be!  When we shall conquer!  All will be held in common, with no property nor belongings.  There shall be neither rich nor poor, nor shall there be misery or oppression.  Bliss and heavenly peace will reign on earth!"

"Ay, it's already born!"  the little old woman commented from her corner, hunched over the spindling wheel.  "Sanctimonious drunkard."

"Divine peace," Jan Capek said with gravity, "we shall conquer it.  With our swords.  We will pay for it with our blood.  And for that we shall earn a just reward, also in money.  We have not made a revolution, brothers, for me to have to return to Sány, to that miserable slum.  To my ancestral home, which gives me pain to see it, to my estate, where I once was almost knocked down by a pig that had entered wanting to jerk off in a corner.  Revolutions cause things to change.  For those that lose, worse, for those that win, better.  You see, dear guests, dear Reinmar and Scharley, there on the wall, up high, the shield?  It is the motto of Jan de Michalovice, called Michalec.  He governed in this castle of Michalovice, where we now are, here he had the seat of his family clan.  And what?  We have taken it from him!  It is our prize!  And, when I have the time, I will climb a ladder, take that shield and bring it down to the ground, and everyday I am going to piss on it.  And I am thinking of placing on the wall my own motto, with a deer, on a shield twice as big!  And here I shall rule!  The Lord Jan Copek of Sány, lodged at Michalovice!"

Los guerreros de Dios (God's Warriors is one way of translating both the Spanish translation and the original Polish) is the second volume in Andrzej Sapkowski's Hussite Trilogy.  The action largely takes place in 1427, during a particularly violent stage of the Hussite Wars, when the Catholic Church has called for crusades against the Hussites (divided into two factions regarding the Sacraments and the degree to which the more radical faction, the Taborites, desires to separate from the Church) in order to quell the violence that has spread from Bohemia (modern-day Czech Republic) into Silesia and Poland.  Like its predecessor, Narrenturm, the story is a mixture of historical fiction and folk magic, revolving around the characters of Reinmar/Reynaven and Scharley.

God's Warriors contains a mixture of battle scenes (which involves some magical fighting) and discourses similar to the one provided above.  Sapkowski is interested in the apocalyptic tenor of the Hussite factions and how these desires for a reformed Church are mirrored in the desire of many for a fairer, truer, perhaps more "Christian" (depending on how one chooses to interpret passages from the Gospels) society.  Although the translated passage above is a very rough first draft that barely contains the nuances present even in the Spanish translation, one can see the interplay here of the divine and the profane, between the desire for a holier society and the wish to piss on symbols of a vanquished nobility.

There is a lot more action here than in Narrenturm, but the novel depends heavily upon dialogue and interactions between Reynaven and Scharley and the people they come in contact with during their search for Reynaven's lost love, Nicoletta.  Sapkowski's writing is full of clever commentaries and satires regarding historical and religious practices, yet there is not the sense that he dismisses either lightly.  Instead, he tries to capture the contradictions of 15th century Bohemian/Silesian/Polish societies and to a large degree, he succeeds, as the "local color" feels true to the period that I remember studying in a class nearly twenty years ago.

Leaving aside the necessity of an incomplete narrative due to it being a middle volume, there are not many weaknesses in God's Warriors.  Perhaps there could have been a bit of clarity here and there for the links between the events that the fictional characters experience and the historical moments of which they played a small (fictitious) role, but other than that, God's Warriors perhaps is the best singular volume of Sapkowski's works that I have read to date.

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