I wonder whether one can consider Elric's sword Stormbringer to actually be a character in itself. Okay, the sword doesn't speak, but it does seem to have a will of its own, which is probably why I had the sword turn on Elric in the short story that I wrote for year 12 English. Well, I think to suggest that the sword is a character is a little misleading since it is not actually the sword that is the character but rather the demon that has been imprisoned within.
As I have said before I think Stormbringer is one of the coolest swords ever to come from the imagination of a fantasy writer. Okay, I probably would not like to actually own it since it is a demonic sword that hungers for the souls of its victims. Stormbringer doesn't simply kill people like a normal sword does but it rather drinks their souls – in a sense annihilating them from existence. Okay, that probably means little to us in this world where we have little understanding of what lies beyond death, but then for those of us (and I am not one of them) that believe that when we die then we cease to exist, the idea of having our souls drunk doesn't really put a shiver down our spine.
I guess the idea of the soul goes back to the Ancient Greeks (though I doubt the Greeks were the only ones who had this idea) who believed that our souls live on after death. Okay, some of us still believe that today, though once again I am not one of them. I probably have a more biblical view of death and the afterlife, and while you may suggest that that does involve souls, I would disagree. My understanding (or belief if you want to call it that) is that we don't actually have souls, but any soul that we have is intrinsically connected to our body. My belief with regards to the afterlife is that it begins at a future point in time that is the same for everybody and our body undergoes a physical resurrection. It is sort of like, using computer jargon, a concept called firmware. Firmware is a cross between hardware and software. Hardware is the computer (namely the body) and software is the soul. However firmware is software that is intrinsically tied to the hardware, so while you can move software, you cannot necessarily move firmware. However, the more I think about it the more I realise that software cannot exist without hardware. Anyway, this has gotten way off topic, but at least I started the commentary talking about Elric.