By any standard, the SORCERY epic is an extraordinary achievement.
The mind boggles at how Steve Jackson tied it all together.
There is no waste here, nothing is superfluous. Every place and every character has a purpose , all part of a larger world which exists beyond the actual pages of this 4 book series.
For example, a seemingly trivial locket you find in book 1 becomes very useful indeed in book 4.
I could devote an entire blog just to SORCERY alone and maybe one day I will.
But for this post, I want to focus on a mystery which has vexed me for so long.
Who or what is the Archmage ?
First of all, what exactly is an Archmage ? It seems to be a very grand and lofty title to bestow upon oneself.
Is he above all the other common garden variety mages ?
At one point in the Seven Serpents, he is mistakenly referred to as the Archduke.
Here's the thing I don't get - the Archmage has been built up as this ultimate villain who lives in a fortress filled with hideous death traps, creatures plus a army of guards. And I assume he must be a powerful mage or wizard.
And what does he do ? He disguises himself as old man in long johns and waits to bash you over the head with a chamber pot and then tricks you into entering his own prison.
His modus operandi is bizarre to say the least !
And what is his true appearance ?
Clearly, Steve Jackson didn't want to go the obvious route and spell it all out for the reader but by god, its bloody confusing !
I had always assumed that the wizard on the cover of Crown Of Kings was the Archmage but the Crown Of Kings Companion identifies him instead as one of the Archmage's lackeys. And yet the TITAN guide had clearly shown the same person duelling the Hydra ( from which he creates the 7 serpents )
There is also a theory that the Archmage is the wizard who originally first cast the ZED spell and was never seen again.
Does he actually have his own body or he is just a spirit inhabiting the body of Farren Whyde ?
There is an option at the end of Crown Of Kings to revive Farren Whyde from the dead which suggests he is a separate person.
And what's going on with that hell demon at the end of Crown Of Kings ?
As I said before , all very confusing and I'm still no wiser as to the true form and identity of the Archmage.
Answers on a postcard please.