Books and Movies Reviews

Mary Stearts The Hollow Hills

Critique of "The Hollow Hills" (306/501)
By Mary Stewart
In "The Hollow Hills", the theme is that power can change its owner. Stewart uses many devices to make her point clear, including characterization, dialogue, and imagery.
Stewart applied characterization to demonstrate how power changes people. Merlin thought that, "Kingship had steadied [Uther]; I could see only discipline in his face, as well as lines drawn there by passion and temper, and kingship along with victories clothed him with a cloak" (99). Uther's power defined him. He would not have been kingly if he had been born into a peasant family. Even Merlin confessed that Uther's new authority had altered him. However, Uther did retain certain attributes, such as his temper and passion. Power changed Ygraine, although not in a good way. "Where before she had seemed youngand burning, a wild bird beating her wings against the wires ofthe cage, she now seemed to brood, wings clipped, gravid, a creature of the ground" (70). Power changed how Ygraine looked at life. She had more responsibilities, and a husband who demanded more than she could handle, including sending her only son away. Power changed how both Ygraine and Uther viewed existence. For Uther, it was opportunity and success. However, for Ygraine it meant cages, and grief.
Power even changed Merlin. Merlin had always taken his power for granted, but when he lost it he "found himself an empty husk; blind and deaf as men are blind and deaf; the great power gone" (27). Stewart used imagery to show that Merlin's power had changed him, without it he was nothing. He felt empty, and he knew that. He was significantly different without his power. His sight had changed him permanently. While he had sometimes viewed his sight as a hindrance, he still "stretched for the magic" (28). Merlin needed magic because he knew nothing else, he had no other …

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