it before, but I have to mention it again for another post, in a complete rewrite of the first one two years ago: I associate Christmas carols with Dungeons & Dragons. Read: it puts me in the mood to play, I think also it is an excellent background music when we play. Of course, it depends of the particular interpretation. I wouldn't put Bing Crosby in the background, obviously. But there is just something about many Christmas carols that are I guess pseudo-medieval, and there is something about the role playing game that fits winter. The Viking legends that both Christmas and D&Dr feed from probably play an important role into this association. Maybe it is only because I only play D&Dr at Christmas now. When I can actually get home...
This is a drawing from Larry Elmore and it is called Avalyne the Life giver. I have no idea if it was drawn for a story or if it is just a title. I just love it since I first saw it in a Monstrous Compendium. A snowy winter day in a Nordic country, pine trees in the background, an evil giant vaguely Krampus looking (more on the darker side of Christmas here), death and life (heck, death and rebirth) on display, an angelic looking cleric, this is a picture for the season. We played similar scenes over and over again during our games.
So when I listen to Jessye Norman singing O come, O come Emmanuel in Christmastide, I always imagine our characters setting off for a journey on a snowy wintery day. La marche des rois (listen to it here) is also a song for those journeys our characters take, while Coventry Carol is for when they warm their bones by the fire in the night, eating a grub. I have decided to out here Loreena McKennitt's take on Veni, Veni Emmanuel in A Midwinter Night's Dream. Looking at some Youtube videos with the song, this one in particular, I can see I am not the only one making this association.
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