Wednesday, 18 April 2012

A - Z Challenge: R is for Runestone and also for Rostand, Edmond




        WHAT IS IT?

Thought that I would dial back the obscureometer with this helping of general ignorance.

At the most basic level a runestone is simply that.  A raised stone with a runic inscription painted or, more usually carved into it.  But the name also stretches to include the carvings on rocks that were already there without anyone needing to bring them in from afar [1]


Today we'll be travelling to Sunny Scandinavia where, after you've passed the time in contemplation of the beautiful fjords [2] , the spectacular Volkswagens and the playful snowbunnies. Then your attention might just be grabbed by the presence of a sudden rock in your path.

As you wonder how it suddenly jumped out like that you realise that it's been painted and also carved with runes and if you hadn't been so intent on sightseeing then you wouldn't have to exhaust your shaky repertoire of Scandinavian in trying to talk to a tow truck driver [3]

The runestone has three main uses:
A stone cut with runes will act as a monument to a great person or mighty deed.  It might be that a certain Mr Underhill once stayed in your pub and you wanted to honour him for all that he's done.  A runestone in front of your business would be fitting [4]

Where others might use a forest or a hill as a boundry marker these have the disadvantage of being flamable and/or prone to flooding which means that before you know it your clan is, once again, at war with your neighbours who have damned up the river and cut a new path for it to follow.  Through the use of runestones the land was able to be divided up easily enough with everyone knowing exactly who had what [5]

A quick question to the builders out there.  Have you ever built something and wanted everyone to not only know that you were proud of your construction and also give them the lowdown on how it was done?

Next time your lamenting at the cost of hiring someone to stand there forever and give people his scripted spiel about your work you might consider raising a runestone to your work.

That the stones are carved with runes helps considerably.
  • Ancient and forgotten information about the region.
  • Dire prophecies
  • Spells that free something terrible/wonderful.  The list goes on and on[6]

The Stone:
  • Perhaps a very important person has fallen.  The runestone that is raised needs to be of the highest quality but certain persons don't want this to succeed.
  • Maybe the opposite happens.  It could be that the hero runs afoul of the town by insulting the person in some way. [7]
  • The stone could be left blank for some obscure and mystical reason
  • It might be used as a form of necromancy perhaps.  With the runic alphabet carved into the stone and the spirits channelled to communicate with the living.


is also for

I might have gone with Anne Rice but I've been running out of vampire jokes and want to save them for the next time I go on an Anti Twilight rant [8] Likewise JK Rowling was looked at and then passed over in favour of todays author.

"But who is he?" I hear you cry in a way that is happily metaphorical since the alternative means that I've placed listening devices into your homes and nobody wants that.

But anyway.  Who is he indeed?  Edmond Rostand was a playwright from Marseille, France who studied literature, history and philosophy at the College Stanislas in Paris.

His best and most famous piece of work was Cyrano de Bergerac which is a tragedy of love loss and very big noses.

How influential was this piece of work?  Think back to almost any show you've ever seen on the squawk box.  
At some point you are guaranteed to have (A) wooing (B) while (C) hides in the bushes and feeds (A) the proper lines while hiding the fact that he is also in love with (C) [9]

Cyrano de Bergerac is the play that is referenced when this scene happens.

  1. Much to the dismay of the rock movers union.
  2. and the magnificent plumage of the Norwegian Blue.
  3. It's a little known fact that this happens to every visitor to Scandinavian shores.  The question of whether or not to turn down the countries natural beauty occasionally comes up in parliament where it is always laughed out of the house.
  4. I'm sure nobody would mind if you put in a little addendum to your very generous tribute Perhaps something like "Thursday is Ladies Nite at The Prancing Pony"
  5. Naturally it didn't stop the wars.  Nobodies going to go to the trouble of making berserks without someone to point them at.
  6. Except that it doesn't.  But I'm sure you get the idea.
  7. He's coming back from the pub.  The meeds been flowing a little too much, next thing you know he's thrown out into the snow and ice.
  8. Safety gear will be provided at the time of publication.
  9. I'd show the equation but I don't know the mathematical symbol for "hiding in the bushes"
The Rural Runcible Raven,
who wore a White Wig and flew away
with the Carpet Broom.


  1. That's one of my fave plays. I first read it when I was 7...because of that silly movie with Steve Martin...Roxanne, I think. was more or less based on that, and I liked that story. But yeah, it became a fave, Cyrano de Bergerac.

    I didn't know you knew plays, as well. Very cool.

  2. I grabbed an ancient version of it from the Internet Movie Archive since it was royalty free and fairly small. Started reading about it while I waited for it to download and got hooked on the imagery.

    Other than that the only play I'd really enjoyed is The Scottish Play (who's name must not be spoken)