The Madness of Roland
Posted By: ukimalefuDate: 10/16/18 2:23 a.m.


Released early in the life of the CD-ROM format, The Madness of Roland crosses the lines between a novel, a play, a radio drama, and video art. Split across multiple perspectives and media, it unfurls a Medieval tale of magic, lust, and legacy, though the way it tells that story is more interesting than the story itself.

The novel is loosely based on two epic poems, The Song of Roland and Orlando Furioso, both about the exploits of the knight Roland. In this version, he is the nephew of Charlemagne, leading the charge in a siege against Paris in the year 778 as he wields the mythical sword Durendal. His foes speak of him as if he has supernatural strength, like a soldier from an ancient Greek legend, and Angelica, enamored with this man, tries to defeat him through seductive magic. Instead, the magic corrupts him, turning him into a force of chaos who goes on a rampage totally fucking shit up. Although everyone at first believes he’s a demon, he retains his consciousness, terrified of what he has become. They discover how to return Roland’s “reason,” yet even while he was an unworldly monster, Angelica still found herself in love with him. Love, of course, may be the real madness.


The major characters show an inner life. None are as awesome as Durendal, the sword, who carries her own monologue as the embodiment of carnage. “All of you are meat, sweet meat made for dying. Only steel endures,” she snarls. (Holy shit!) The Madness of Roland seems to condemn her thirst for blood, contrasting her parts with a Lao Tzu quote about the empty pursuit of “delight in killing.” Yet as the story advances, she shows change, first boredom and then remorse, beginning to question her corrupting role in war. She confesses to the reader, in a fragile moment, that she dreams of becoming a human woman and experiencing peace. “Yet,” she continues, “in the shadow time of stillness I yearn for taste and breath I yearn for tears I yearn for other than the thinness of cleaving.”


The Madness of Roland was an "interactive, multimedia novel" cd-rom, from the early 90s


And I'm only posting it here because we're familiar with that sword I think XD

I always saw the infamous Marathon AIs Durandal and Tycho as male, and Leela as female. But it makes sense for a sword, and a computer to be female... just something I noticed, not that it makes any big difference. Please note that english is my second language.

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Pre-2004 Posts


The Madness of Rolandukimalefu 10/16/18 2:23 a.m.
     forgot to include a linkukimalefu 10/16/18 2:24 a.m.
           Re: forgot to include a linkDurandal_1707 10/16/18 6:27 a.m.
                 Re: forgot to include a linkShining Raven 10/16/18 12:58 p.m.
                 Re: forgot to include a linkJabberwok 10/17/18 8:08 p.m.
     Re: The Madness of RolandForrest of B.org 10/16/18 7:44 a.m.
     Re: The Madness of RolandGeneral-RADIX 10/16/18 2:34 p.m.

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Pre-2004 Posts



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