Friday, April 8, 2011

Benedict, Knight of Amber

Roger Zelazny's "Amber" series was popular in the late 1970s. The five-book series featured interdimensional swashbuckling fantasy, with plenty of adventure and fantastic scenes. The main characters all belonged to an extended royal family who could pass between the worlds and who all tried to get the throne of the realm, either by warfare, assassination, or intrigue. Each one of them had a Tarot card which had his/her portrait on it, and this was the token through which they could traverse the dimensions. Benedict was one of the older brothers, an experienced knight and warrior, who wasn't that interested in taking power.

In 1977, when I was still a graduate student at Harvard, I made a complete set of the Amber Tarots, with a portrait of each character as described by Zelazny. This set of 17 cards went with a friend of mine to be exhibited at the World Science Fiction Convention, where they were sold to a collector for $600. That was an amazing sum for me to earn as an amateur.

Many years later, last year that is, the cards re-surfaced, and the collector was trying to sell them. They offered them to me but I couldn't offer them enough for their satisfaction. I don't know whether they were sold or not. Looking back on them, I think they were pretty good for amateur work. I don't know whether I could do better today.

"Benedict" is ink and watercolor on Fabriano paper, mounted on black board, 4" x 7", summer 1977.

1 comment:

LazyLady said...

A lovely Benedict trump; it fits the description in the books exactly.