alexandra.bolintineanu at alexandra.bolintineanu at
Thu Dec 2 00:25:47 EST 1999

An idea that I've been mulling over for some time.  In a good bit of
modern fantasy (Lloyd Alexander comes to mind), "the nobility" tend to be
portrayed at best as a regrettable institution of whom exceptional
members turn out to be Flawed but Likeable once they are humbled by
life, renounce their pride and their rigid and artificial codes
of behaviour, and learn to commune with the Common Man.  At worst, of
course, they are shallow self-seekers in glittering finery.  It's
wonderful to me how Diana Wynne Jones manages to treat
characters realistically, regardless of their class & associated
stereotypes.  She manages to eschew both the Scylla of automatically
assuming things based on people's station in life,  and the Charybdis of
assuming that class has had no influence (for better or worse) on people's
characters. The Dalemark books are particularly delicious that way-- it is
an endless delight, in our watchfully democratic day and age, to watch
both the good and the unpleasant aspects of aristocracy working out in the


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