Hello again (Various threads)

Philip.Belben at powertech.co.uk Philip.Belben at powertech.co.uk
Mon Aug 16 12:33:22 EDT 1999

What a lot of wonderful list traffic waiting for me on return from holiday!

I won't try and pull the good bits out of people's messages and quote them here
- I just hope you can see what I'm talking about.

Sophie Hatter:

Interesting to read what you all had to say about Sophie.  The idea that she is
taking stereotypes from the literature of Ingary (which we are to assume is like
our fairy stories), and exchanging one stereotype for another when she is
bewitched, is a strong one.  That fits with my view of everything except the old
age spell.

I must confess that I took an enginner's view of this, rather than a lit. crit.
view, and decided that her talking to herself ("This is much more like you
really are", etc.) had turned her own magic talent on her.  Until she accepted
her own talent, and learnt to use it, she could not undo her own spell...


Mordion Agenos:

I too read Hexwood again recently.

[Digression:  The cover on the hardback, half of which appears on the (Mammoth?)
cover scanned and put on the web by a list member, does not depict a scene from
the story.  It does show characters from the story in a way which (I don't
really know how to express this) exemplifies the roles they play in the book.  I
think it's a good cover, except for the dragon's disproportionately large jaw]

Dare I risk a mega-flame by giving Mordion's experiences a Christian message
(I'll try not to preach too hard)?

Mordion has to come to terms with his own sinful condition (There is a Nature
vs. Nurture argument here but I'll leave this out).  By the time the Bannus gets
Reigner 3 to turn him into a dragon, he has reached the rock bottom of despair
about this.  One reason for this despair is (I'm beginning to speculate) that he
cannot earn forgiveness.  There's nothing he can do that will wipe out his sins
- neither destroying the reigners (who put him in this situation) nor good works
(exemplified here by "caring for children) will do this.

But at this point the Bannus provides him a clean slate and an opportunity to
make a new life, with his sins wiped out (salvation).  The Bannus is not God,
and so cannot forgive the sins; nor is the Bannus in the position to take the
sins upon himself as Christ did for us.  But the Bannus can - being in some
sense a judge of Reigners - declare Mordion to be Not Guilty.

At the end of the book, Mordion, having been given the new start, is faced with
the task of living the life he should have had - and living up to the Not Guilty
verdict that has been pronounced.  And it can be very difficult.  For example,
Mordion, having (like Mitt in the Holy Islands) resolved never to kill again,
almost immediately "terminates" Reigners 2 and 3.

A side issue here is that the person needed for the job (First Reigner in the
new order) may be someone who on the surface is not at all suitable - the hired
assassin who had been brainwashed into servility to the old order.  (Sorry,
can't resist one small preach - God's strength is made perfect in weakness - the
stone rejected by the builders has become the head of the corner, etc.)

After such a pointed interpretation as that I must disclaim:  This is only my
opinion and I cannot possibly claim that it is the _only_ interpretation of
Mordion's situation.


The new hardback cover of Sudden Wild Magic:

I must admit I don't like that as much as I like the Deep Secret cover that is
in a similar format.  Possibly because I have already formed my view of what
Arth looks like and it is not at all like that.  But I prefer it to the awful
Avonova paperback of SWM.  I have the early Gollancz SWM with the abstract,
almost ebru-like design.


Time to shut my mouth, I think.


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