The Elves live in the shadow of titans. Of the four great figures that shaped their earliest history, two are still among the living and one is still present in the world albeit as a trapped ghost. The shadow of Aenarion falls on the Elves always and everywhere, from the gigantic statue that looms in the harbour at Lothern, to the terrible sword that waits on the Blighted Island to the very structure of kingship they use and the fractured nature of their two nations. Aenarion is the one who Elves talk about and Morathi and Malekith are the ones they fear. Not many Elves want to talk about Caledor Dragontamer or even to think about him too hard.
This is perhaps not surprising. The ghost of the first Archmage haunts the lands of Ulthuan still. The Vortex, his mighty spell, is all that keeps the island-continent above the waves and remains perhaps the strongest ward against Chaos in the world. Perhaps most terrifying is that he is still in there, trapped at the moment of his death in the centre of the great pattern he created, desperately trying to hold together a spell that could unravel at any instant. That the world exists only because of an obsession in the mind of the ghost of a dead wizard is something that causes many an Elvish mage sleepless nights if they allow themselves to think about it, so they don’t.
Caledor is a shadowy presence to the Elves, except perhaps to those who have felt his awesome power. He reaches out at times to touch the living, to influence those who are concerned with his spell, to help those who would preserve it, to obstruct those who would destroy it. The Dragontamer is aware of what passes in the world in a very odd way. He senses the presence of those who interact with the pattern of his spell and the resonance of sympathetic magic lets him contact those who handle the artefacts he has created such as Sunfang and the Armour of Aenarion and the other artefacts that he created in the dawn ages of the world. Perhaps they are part of the pattern of his great spell, more likely they reflect it and resonate with it since they are the product of the same mind and spirit.
His ability to influence the world is limited by the fact that he is trapped within his own spell and must give most of his attention to maintaining it. And there is another more disquieting reason. As the centuries have ground on Caledor has lost more and more of his grip on reality. For almost seven thousand years he has struggled unceasingly to hold together the Vortex, without rest, without relief and without any hope of escape save allowing the destruction of all that exists and all that gave his life meaning. His sanity is shattered and his identity fading. He is the greatest wizard of all time. His will has bound a continent and preserved the world since the dawn of history but he has reached the limits of his strength. Unfortunately, and possibly because of this, he has reached this point just as another massive incursion of Chaos is about to occur. His greatest challenge has come at the moment when he least able to meet it.
In the Tyrion and Teclis trilogy Caledor is something of a unifying presence. He is there at the very beginning confronting Aenarion with his folly. He gives his name to Sword of Caledor and his ghost points Teclis to the path that will eventually bring him into conflict with the mightiest of the Dark Elves. In Bane of Malekith, he confronts Death himself as the endgame of the Great War between the Elves plays out. He is also part of the image structure of the book. Teclis is in some ways his reflection, as Tyrion is Aenarion’s. The twins are the heroes of the last age of the Elves just as the Phoenix King and the Dragontamer were the heroes of the first.
One of the very real pleasures of writing these books was to give my take on the great Elves. In my view Caledor is probably the greatest hero of the Elves. He is certainly the most selfless. Aenarion gets the credit for saving the world. Caledor did the work.