Harpist in the Wind

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Harpist in the Wind
Harpist in the Wind - First Edition Harcover - Book Cover.jpg
First edition cover
AuthorPatricia A. McKillip
CountryUnited States
SeriesThe Riddle Master Trilogy
PublisherAtheneum Books
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardcover & Paperback)
AwardLocus Award for Best Fantasy Novel (1980)
LC ClassPZ7.M19864 Har 1979
Preceded byHeir of Sea and Fire, (1977) 

Harpist in the Wind is a 1979 fantasy novel by American writer Patricia A. McKillip. It is the concluding book of the Riddle Master trilogy. The first UK paperback edition precedes the first US paperback.

Plot summary

Morgon of Hed and Raederle of An set out to discover who are the shape changers who pursue them, and where is the High One, the source of the land law binding the realm together. Along the way they are helped by the wizards of the realm, recently released from the bonds in which Ghisteslwchlohm had held them by Morgon, and by the land heirs/rulers. After confronting Ghisteslwchlohm in the city of Lungold, where the wizard once had ruled, Morgon is imprisoned by the shape changers within Erlenstar Mountain, as they do not want to kill him. They, the exiled Earth Masters, need him to reach the High One, who prevents them from exercising full power. He escapes with the help of Raederle and someone who is later revealed to be the High One in disguise. Seeking refuge in the far north, he begins to learn the land law of each kingdom. Once he has partially learned all of the land law does Morgon discover that the High One had journeyed with him as Deth and the wizard Yrth; the High One tells Morgon at the top of Wind Plain that he (Morgon) is the High One's land heir. When the High One is killed by Ghisteslwchlohm, now possessed by the shape changers, with Morgon's three-starred sword, Morgon learns to shape and/or bind the winds to overcome the Earth Masters and bring peace to the land; he truly is the High One's heir.


In the trilogy, land law resides with the land ruler of each of the kingdoms within the realm. Land rulers are ostensibly aware of all of the entities within their kingdom. They can sense, each creature, each plant, each rock. The High One, in McKillip's creation, seems to have the same relationship with the entire realm, as he started to bind all of the land law when he sensed that the Earth Master Eriel began to gather power for her own ends. When the land law passes on, the land heir suddenly becomes aware of everything in his or her kingdom, or in the entire realm.

Awards and recognition

  • 1980, Harpist in the Wind was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel
  • 1980, Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel

External links

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