Dec .3, 1996
In essence, there are three mini-stories going an at once. The first story deals with a character named Grakk and his intent to sneak into the king's private purse with the intent of stealing some undisclosed treasure. The second story leads us to understand that the story with Grakk is merely an ongoing game being played by some students. The third story leads us to an even further understanding that not only is the first story with Grakk a game (in the entertainment sense), but the story with Jeff in the second skit is also a game, although of a much more serious nature.
The first story of Grakk in the castle was very well done. I would have liked it to continue answering such questions as, "What was the object the thief hoped to steal?", “Why did he need his counter-thieves an the inner yard?” With the entrance of the second story, we see that the first story is a continuous game, which leads me to another question... how do you win this game? I don't know if it will enhance the literary content of the story, but it sounds like a challenging game and I want to know.
The first story of Grakk was very detailed. His character was described both physically and actively, serving as a wonderful visual aide to the story, i.e. page 1, paragraphs 1 and 5. The two drunkards were believable, yet not overdone to the point of ridiculousness, particularly with their staggering and singing. It's filled with description and details which helps the reader envision the whole scene. I wish this story would have continued on.
In the second story, there isn't as much description or detail an the characters or their surroundings, and even less in the third story. However, given the overall theme, I don't think this detracts from the story. In fact, if Uwe were to go into a lengthy description of the characters in both the second and third stories, it would have taken away from the "generality" of the theme, which would, in effect, exclude certain people or groups from it.
I think the story of Grakk symbolizes society as we know it that everyone is a sort of game piece struggling to survive in an uncontrolled and uncontrollable world, and this is what the second and third stories with Jeff and Asmira portray, which brings us to the what I think the theme is... we are all subject to forces beyond our control. Grakk dies when he mistakenly fumbles his dagger (due to Jeff rolling a "one" on the die) . Jeff dies from an accident, due to Asmira (apparently his guardian angel), not paying attention. It's as though one has influence over the other, but not necessarily over oneself. The story ends logically through exhaustion as life will continue an in this cycle indefinitely, with no one having complete control over their destiny.
Uwe's sentence structure and word choices are not only easy to follow, but are appropriate in each of the three stories. For example, on page two, Grakk is by a "portal", not a doorway. This attention to word choice allows the fictive dream to go undisturbed, and adds a more medieval touch to the story. I also think the changes in typeface were appropriate to indicate a change in story/setting.
Overall, the three stories work together. However, perhaps a few more details to third story would more readily indicate that Asmira is an angel. Perhaps she isn't and I'm missing the whole purpose of the story, in which case there should definitely be more detail. But, if we are given this information through something as simple as her halo wavering above her head as she shakes it in disbelief, we don't have to struggle as much to connect all the stories together.
A well written story and a unique way of presenting a difficult topic.