Spotting things

McMullin, Elise mcmullea at
Mon Sep 27 10:58:51 EDT 1999

> >      "What did the child do?" asked the old lady in the mittens, very
> >   shaken.
> >      "Sealed herself in that world," said Chrestomanci. He was even
> >   more shaken. "Isn't that so, Cat?" he said.
> >      Cat nodded mulishly. It had seemed worth it. He was not sure he
> >   wanted to see Gwendolen again.
> >
> >[Paul said:]
> >It was definitely Gwendolen. She borrowed Cat's power to do it, and he
> >let her, but it was Gwendolen.
> >
[Melissa replied:]
> You haven't gone far enough.  In the first place, Chrestomanci's question
> to
> Cat looks more like a conspiracy of silence.  Why would Chrestomanci have
> asked for Cat's opinion if it were obvious that she'd done so?  And why
> would *Cat* say it had seemed worth it if he hadn't done it?  This could
> also indicate that he'd allowed Gwendolen to use his magic one last time,
> but it doesn't rule out Cat doing it himself.
> But further down the page is the clincher, when a tearful Janet comes
> stumbling back:
> "Janet had been happy in her own world.  She had missed her mother and
> father.  Now she was probably in this world for good, and Cat had done it.
> And Chrestomanci had called Gwendolen selfish!"
> Gwendolen had to use an entire life of Cat's to be able to simply travel
> between the worlds.  Presumably it would take even more magic to not only
> travel, but to seal the world afterward.  I'm betting on Cat, myself,
> since
> he did not lose a life at this point, and his mental state when he finally
> figured out that Gwendolen didn't care anything for him was pretty dismal.
> Having said this, I have to contradict myself and say that I don't think
> it's possible to make a definitive judgement on this.  Myself, I didn't
> think of it being Cat until I listened to the audio version, so I think
> there was something in the reading that gave me that impression.
I know what gave me the impression Gwendolen had managed it herself - she
used dragon's blood. 

But then when I came around to Cat having done it, I had to sort it out.
Sure, when he was younger he didn't know really what his sister was up to
with his magic.  And he had a personal investment in not copping to it,
since it was a huge heaping serving of unpalatable truth (and I know how
much I hate *that!*).  But by the time Gwendolen is racing for the arch, he
knows what she has done and how.  And he has already consciously stopped her
from using his magic, so he knows how.

Before, he was passive and unknowing.  But now, even if he passively allows
her to use his magic one last time, he still did it.  Whether he just
supplied her the fuel, or whether he gave her an enchanter's push, it
couldn't have happened without him - and he knew it.  I'd call it an
overwhelming temptation!  Also one of those temptations replete with irony -
what did Cat do but play the faithful brother helping his sister get what
she wanted one last time? But with a difference.  Perhaps, I'd hazard to say
probably, Cat didn't know himself if he allowed her to jump or helped push.

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