May 6, 2016 9:01 AM   Subscribe

I remember encountering this alternate spelling version of the word 'glamour' in a story, to mean a sort of gift or charm of charisma. Stephen King uses it in The Gunslinger, but I recall a passage in another work where a character defines it in a bit more detail.

I have the notion it's in a larger Clive Barker fantasy like The Great and Secret Show or Imajica. I could easily see it being in a Pratchett novel, too. But I can't get anything to come up in searches, and that's a lot of pages to hunt. I'd like to find the passage I'm remembering. Does it ring a bell for anyone? Thanks.
posted by Fantods to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's older than all of those.

Glamour originally was a term applied to a magical-occult spell that was cast on somebody to make them see something the spell-caster wished them to see, when in fact it was not what it seemed to be. In the late 19th century terminology, a non-magical item used to help create a more attractive appearance gradually became known as 'a glamour'.[2] Today, glamour is the impression of attraction or fascination that a particularly luxurious or elegant appearance creates, an impression which is better than the reality. Typically, a person, event, location, technology, or product such as a piece of clothing can be glamorous or add glamour.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:03 AM on May 6, 2016 [3 favorites]

Hmm, I did a google books search on that spelling and came up with this result, but I can't see the full page to know whose story it is or the general context:
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:21 AM on May 6, 2016

What CPB said. Think the witch from snow white or death becomes usually refers to a spell you cast on yourself to change your appearance, usually for the better, but also can be one that makes you look older/more haggard (snow white) or like someone else altogether. I don't recall seeing it used for other transformations (like into an animal), just people.
posted by sexyrobot at 9:26 AM on May 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oh, also I believe I have seen it referred to as a 'glimmer'. If you want to check the etymology/source, I would start with Irish/Scottish/English mythology, possibly German.
posted by sexyrobot at 9:32 AM on May 6, 2016

Sorry not to be clear - I do know it's an old concept. If there's one thing fantasy stories do, it's draw from those old wells. I'm looking for a specific passage from a work of fiction that introduces it in that spelling/context. PhoBWanKenobi, that's the excerpt from The Gunslinger ;)
posted by Fantods at 9:43 AM on May 6, 2016

Are you thinking of Nuala in Neil Gaiman's Sandman? Glammer is a significant part of her storyline.
posted by punchtothehead at 10:47 AM on May 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

punchtothehead, I'm pretty sure not, but that's a fantastic suggestion, you sure have the time period and genre nailed!
posted by Fantods at 11:01 AM on May 6, 2016

There's some mention of this in Pratchett's "Lords and Ladies".
posted by The otter lady at 1:55 PM on May 6, 2016

Perhaps King's The Eye of the Dragon? It's more fantasy, but it describes Flagg going dim in some detail.
posted by cobaltnine at 4:42 PM on May 6, 2016

The OED doesn't recognize the spelling glammer, but it does have glammar. Are you sure it's got the e? (Yes, I know the Gunslinger version does).
posted by nat at 7:23 PM on May 6, 2016

It's definitely in Pratchett's "Lords and Ladies" -- the reference that I remember right off the top of my head is towards the end when the fairy queen appears to Magrat as a more beautiful version of Magrat herself, using a glamour, though I recall it's woven throughout the book about how fairies change their appearance.

He also talks about this in the first Tiffany Aching Book, "Wee Free Men" when she meets the fairy queen, as well as in "Good Omens" (the one he co-wrote with Neil Gaiman).

Could it perhaps be "Johnathan Strange and Mr Norrell"? Lots of fairy glamour/glammer in that one.

I don't have these books to hand to check if it's the right spelling or not. . .

Another point is that if the book was originally published in England or elsewhere, the American version may have had the spelling changed to the modern spelling, even if the author was deliberate in choosing the older spelling. It happens more than you think.
posted by ananci at 7:48 PM on May 6, 2016

I do not think the alternate spelling is in any Discworld book (or Good Omens). I don't have my books in front of me, frustratingly, but I've read them all about a million times and weird spellings are one of the things I geek out on.

Glamour with the normal spelling is certainly in Lords and Ladies, maybe also in Carpe Jugulum?, and also in some of the Tiffany Aching books... The Wee Free Men, I think, and maybe also some of the others.
posted by anaelith at 4:39 AM on May 7, 2016

The Mortal Instruments series describes glamour
posted by Sassyfras at 9:38 AM on May 13, 2016

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