Cooper and DWJ's optimism --watch for SPOILER ALERT
EstairM at aol.com
EstairM at aol.com
Thu Dec 9 02:36:26 EST 1999
I haven't read Cooper's stuff since I was a kid. I loved it then, and part
of what I loved was the 'dark' feeling much of it had. Being fated to be an
Old One, love and betrayal, etc. It made me feel more grown-up. I don't
know if I'd like it so much today (am expecting baby #7 around my 39th b-day
next month ;-)
But though I'm a die-hard DWJ fan ever since I picked up Dogsbody, Power of
Three and the Magicians of Caprona at a used book sale more than 20 yrs ago,
I admit I'm puzzled by people thinking her books are optimistic. In a
certain way, to me, many of them are much 'darker' than Coopers. After all
Cooper's are more supernatural Good Guys vs supernatural Bad Guys, so the
scary dark parts are easily dismissible after the Good Guys win.
But in many of DWJ's books, the truly scary evil comes from very ordinary
human beings. In many of the books, a child is really threatened by an
immediate family member.The whole Dalemark Quartet is very dark because it
portrays the ordinary murderous ways people can behave to each other.
For example, in The Spellcoats, the villagers readiness to kill a bunch of
kids because they are different. Or the ways the Earls have power over life
and death in the later books -- and use it, along with torture, and other
soul-destroying terror tactics on the population. This is realistic
representation of what has happened in many times and places in our world and
is very depressing. (Speaking as a child of a Holocaust survivor.)
Some of the hardest stuff to deal with in DWJ's books is how often immediate
family members are truly evil and dangerous to children. Gwendolen, C
Chant's uncle, and for me, the worst, Mitt's father. I really didn't see him
coming the first time I read Drowned Ammet, and couldn't handle it for days.
It took years to re-read the book. END OF SPOILER ALERT
Some of her books are lighter and more optimistic, Magicians of Caprona
springs to mind. I read that one aloud to my older kids and they loved it.
Archer's Goon, most of the Chrestomancy stuff, Howl's Castle. But Time of
the Ghost!!!!! Or the Homeward Bounders? Optimistic?!
Disagreements with any of the above more than welcome. ;-)
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