Dorian Hawkmoon

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Dorian Hawkmoon, Duke of Köln is one of the fictional characters created by Michael Moorcock in his series of the Eternal Champion books. He is the main character of "The History of the Runestaff" cycle, published 1967–1969.


Dorian Hawkmoon is one of the least morally complicated of Moorcock's main characters. Unlike the anti-hero Elric of Melniboné, or the alienated and tragic Corum, or the sometimes savage Erekosë, Hawkmoon is described as being very much close to an all-around "good guy", despite lacking some subtlety (or perhaps, for this very reason).[1]

Fictional biography[edit]

Hawkmoon is captured by the evil forces of Granbretan who implant by means of arcane technology (devised by a caste of 'sorcerer-scientists') a sinister black jewel in his skull. He is sent to Kamarg (a future version of the southern French region of Camargue) to perform reconnaissance prior to invasion. The black jewel transmits (and may record) all that Hawkmoon sees to Granbretan's capital, Londra. Temporarily freed from the curse of the jewel by Kamarg's Protector, a grizzled warlord called Count Brass, he falls in love with the Count's daughter, Yisselda, and embarks on a quest to find and implement the will of the Runestaff, a magical item which preserves the Cosmic Balance. During his adventures, he has to collect two more magical items; the Red Amulet held by a mad god somewhere in future Ukraine; and the Sword of the Dawn. Winning many battles in which he is hopelessly outnumbered, but helped by loyal companions, by mysterious allies who arrive in the nick of time, and by dissension, scheming and treachery in the ranks of his foes.

Artifacts in the Multiverse[edit]

The Runestaff is one of the major artifacts in Moorcock's Multiverse. The Black Sword (whose aspects in Elric's milieu are the soul-stealing swords Stormbringer and Mournblade) is another. The Black Jewel, which manifested itself in the world of Hawkmoon as the Jewel implanted in Hawkmoon's skull, is akin to the Black Sword. Another artifact, the most powerful, is the Cosmic Balance: it powers the Runestaff to produce Order. The Horn of Fate is still another artifact or power. Often artifacts are carried by the Champion Eternal.

Some of the artifacts have servants. The enigmatic Warrior in Jet and Gold serves the Runestaff, as does Orland Fank of the Orkneys.


Hawkmoon's struggle with the empire of Granbretan was treated in The History of the Runestaff, which is set in a post-holocaust Earth. This series consists of four books:

Hawkmoon later returned as the main character of a sequel, The Chronicles of Castle Brass, that branched out into Moorcock's Multiverse proper. The second Hawkmoon series brought the Eternal Champion cycle to a conclusion of sorts—though not exactly a finale, as subsequent Eternal Champion books show. There are three books in this series:

In other media[edit]


The History of the Runestaff was adapted into comic book form in two books published by Savoy and drawn and adapted by James Cawthorn and a series by Gerry Conway, Roger Salick, and Rafael Kayanan. The adaptation was published by First Comics in 1986.[2]

Hawkmoon, along with Corum and Elric, returns in the maxi-series Elric: The Balance Lost, written by Moorcock and Chris Roberson and illustrated by Francisco Biagini, published by Boom! Studios in 2012.

Role-playing game[edit]

In 1985, Kerie Campbell-Robson created the Hawkmoon role-playing game based on the Hawkmoon series, published by Chaosium and using its Basic Role-Playing system. While never attaining any lasting level of popularity among English-speaking gamers, the game became hugely popular in France, where it was translated into French for the first time in 1988. A third French edition is currently published since 2009.[3]


External links[edit]