"The fierce, proud, and relentless commander of warriors, standing tall above her enemies and simmering with rage, Jirel bids farewell to the world of treacherous men and walks through a forbidden door into Hell itself in pursuit of freedom, justice, and revenge."
So last night it was a night with an old friend, that friend happened to be C.L. Moore's Jirel of Joiry in paperback. She was created in '34 by C.L.Moore as a reaction to the Sword & Sorcery tales of the Pulp magazine era. Reading through the stacks of Amazon book reviews is like reading through a laundry list of a comic book or Pulp letters column. The Amazon break down from one of their reviewers hits the high marks; "C. L. Moore created Jirel, ruler of Joiry, in reaction to the beefy total-testosterone blood-and-thunder tales of '30s pulp magazines, but Jirel is no anti-Conan. She's a good Catholic girl, stubbornly purposeful, relentless in pursuit of enemies or vengeance, hard-boiled and a little stupid, and cannot be distracted by mere physical attractiveness. Indeed, in Jirel's world, beauty = decadence = corruption. Were these stories written today, inevitably Jirel would have a lot of hot sex, but as they were first published in Weird Tales between 1934-1939, sexual attraction is mostly only vividly implied. No loss. Jirel's journeys through unnatural landscapes and her battles with supernatural opponents are still wonderful to read, and though newcomers Red Sonja and Xena are more famous now, Jirel rules as the archetypal, indomitable redheaded swordswoman in chain mail and greaves, swinging her "great two-edged sword.""
The idea that a Sword & Sorcery character not only rules her own domain but that the supernatural won't leave her alone is something seldom seen. She's a warrior & a more then a bit fallible. This makes her far more relatable to the reader then some of today's characters. She's very much in a similar spirit to some of Clark Ashton Smith's characters in a sense. The ironic play of the setting, the masterful use of the English language, and the sly character development all built around C.L. Moore's weaving of the stories.
- "Black God's Kiss" (October 1934)
- "Black God's Shadow" (December 1934)
- "Jirel Meets Magic" (July 1935)
- "The Dark Land" (January 1936)
- "Quest of the Starstone" (November 1937), with Henry Kuttner
- "Hellsgarde" (April 1939)