It's impossible to try to explain the entire Rork
are too many palliatives and last resorts in it, because the
first two parts, Fragments
meant to be autonomous by Andreas. Only several years later
Andreas picked up the thread of Rork
with Le cimetière de cathédrales
and succeeded to make a well
constructed whole of it. Despite the palliatives and last resorts
in the story, Andreas does present a vision with Rork.
An vision on reality and creation.
'Rork' means token or thought, in the sense of idea, creation (Capricorne
p.24). Tokens are eventually the only thing that remains of
the entire Rork
, p. 56). Rork is
thus something universal, a universal train of thought. In any
case it is immediately clear that Rork is not human. He is
several hundreds years old and possesses the power to travel
between several worlds through so called passages.
At the end of Retour
, the last album of the series, Rork
commits suicide by jumping of the skyscraper of Capricorne (p.54,
pl. 1). This jump is Rork's last passage, he returns to his
own world as owl.
Earlier on Rork had discovered who he really is. At first he
recognizes a token on a wall in the sewers of New York, that
clears the fog in his mind (Capricorne
, p.36). Later in
the spaceship on the South Pole all things come together when
Rork looks in the mirror (Descente
, p.49). The token
reminds Raffington Event of two birds (Retour
, p.44). "Indeed",
answers Rork to this. The token thus simply represents the two
owls that are waiting at the beginning and end of every Rork
since Le cimetière de cathédrales
for the return of a
loved one. This loved one is Rork and eventually Rork will indeed
return to the owls, to his own world.
What, then, is this world of Rork? He himself says to his friend
raffington Event at page 44 of Retour
: "In my
world rules quietness. But sometimes the sound of large, wooden
pipes awakes us... It happens seldomly and the last time it
created confusion at first. A threat that was outlined against
the horizon entered through your world. Now I know it was only an
illusion. When the spirits had calmed down, I was taken through a
passage. It was my first time, I was inexperienced. At the end of
the tunnel, I was only a baby."
This explaines how Rork suddenly entered our world as a foundling
, p. 10). He entered our world to stop a
danger, a danger that is personified in Dahmaloch and eventually
appears to be nothing more than an illusion. Pharras, (a pawn of
Dahmaloch) tries more than once in vain to disable Rork. The
original world of Rork is one of ideas and symbols.
Significantly, the owl is the symbol of wisdom and is the meaning
of Rork's name idea. Besides wisdom, the owl symbolizes death.
[1) Andreas himself wrote about the owl as symbol: "I wanted
to use birds in Rork and opened a birds encyclopaedia. I saw a
picture of two owls and found them suitable. I was just looking
for a strong image, like I found a cathedrales cemetery a strong
image. In hindsight the symbolism of the owl came in very
handy."] Significantly Rork returns to his world only
after his suicide action.
Rork entered our world, after being awakened by the sound of
large, wooden pipes
. Since the era of Enlightenment we in
Western Europe think everything can be explained by human ratio.
This train of thought lead to a view of the earth as on ordinary
lump of clay without mythical elements and without a god. At page
12 of Passages
young Rork leaves this rationalistic
progress-thought, by posing that there aren't as many answers as
their are questions, but that there is always one question more.
With this, Andreas makes clear in one sentence in what kind of a
world Rork has landed. Rork lives in a cosmological world, one in
which human reasoning hasn't demythologized life.
Rorks world is
filled with mystery and unearthly matters. Thus the human race
appears in Fragments
to be not the only intelligent race
on this earth [2) This horror-element originates with H.P. Lovecraft
Lovecraft, an American writer that had a great influence on
Andreas. This horror-author outlines in his 'Chtulhu'-saga
a higher intelligence, that lived on this earth before man did.
Just like in Rork
the creatures awake to regain their
place. By the way, this motive we find in Andreas' Cromwell Stone
as well] and do some people possess supernatural gifts.
Further, the people in Rork
never get a grip on the
world around them. There are higher intelligences and forces of
nature against which they are worsted. Thus, the remedy against
appears insufficiently fit to
stand against the power of this being and are the scientists in Descente
unable to cope with the intelligence of the alien spaceship.
At first Rork is fascinated by the world in which he found
himself. This changes after he has found his true nature. In his
last words to his dying lady friend Low Valley he says: "In
what kind of world are we living, that bleeds and dies the moment
it comes in contact with reality?! Let's hope, Low, that the
dreamer doesn't dream forever! That he wakes up one day and sees
things as they are and not as he wants to dream them, under the
pretence that life is what he wants, not what he is! All we do
here is mere cheap mysticism..." (Retour
, p. 45)
Rork knows that man doesn't live in reality but in a self-made
reality. Thus everything appears to be nothing more than
mysticism, an illusion. At page 53 of Retour
confronts the illusion of evil, Dahmaloch. "I can see
now that everything depends on me," says Rork. "From
my resistence against your machinations You have drawn strength
and energy. But things turned out different from what you
expected and now You hope to satisfy Your ambitions through a
duel. If I accept, I only strengthen the famous ideas of devil
. Man was not created for chaos or perfection. The
reason for his existence is the road that leads from one thing to
the next. Only his attempts give him the strength to live. If he
succeeds, this is the end of the world. Whoever you are, You
nearly made it. Nearly. Well, Your accomplices have killed
themselves... You can do the same thing yourself."
Following this Rork kills himself by jumping of the
skyscraper. Dahmaloch is eaten by the ferryman. With the denial
of the idea Dahmaloch, the Dahmaloch evil has disappeared as
What then is Andreas' message? Man doesn't understand his
world. This much is clear. Not only does Rork say this in his
last words to Low Valley, he has also - by saying that their is
always an unanswered question - pointed out in Passages
life is inexplicable.
Andreas' message is a philosophic one, comparable to
the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer
(1788- 1860). According to
this thinker the world consists of two layers: that of will and
representation. The world of will is the true world, that
underlies every idea man suggests about what this true world
really is. Every representation of life creates its own reality.
The will is within ourselves and is inexplicable, it is the urge
that leads us from one thing to the next
. Man nevertheless
seeks desperately for an explanation for that will. He forms
ideas of religion (Le cimetière de cathédrales
), gods of
nature (Lumière d'étoile
), fate (the astrology of 'Capricorne')
or a extraterrestrial power (the spaceship in Descente
All these ideas are only cheap mysticism
. The more so because
the reality that is created by such an idea starts to live a life
of its own. Eventually Rork sees that evil, personified in
Dahmaloch, can only exist because man forms an idea about it. By
realizing this Rork eventually saves the world.
"Returning again You are eternal," Dahmaloch
says finally at the end of the last page of Rork. "And
the dreamer that dreams. Always prepared to dream. Who should
want to wake up. Hm? Who?" With this he summerizes
Andreas' message: man is a limited creature in an almighty
universe on which he has no grip. The only way to keep himself
up, is by forming his (simplified) realities. He does this though
the dream, though the idea, through the creation like Rork...