Outsiders' response to magic; was RE: Bedtime musings on characte r in DWJ (F & H)

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at indigo.ie
Fri Dec 1 06:19:11 EST 2000

Jennifer replied to Ven (a while ago, now):

>>The relationship between the villagers and Laurel is interesting. Its
>>obviously gone on for a long time. Its comparable to the townsfolk
>>in Carpe Jugulum, they have allowed themselves to become
>>domesticated in return for a touch of glamour. I suppose what they
>>get out of it is the art of the doomed talented boys like Thomas and

>I've never thought about this before. How much do the villagers really know
>and how much does Laurel keep them befuddled? How much of what they do know
>do they let themselves think about? What could they do to get rid of Laurel?
>Polly's Granny is strong and she couldn't do anything- if not enough people
>have been directly affected, would everyone believe in the teind and try to
>stop it?
>In old fairy-tales there can be a sort of fatalism- the Old Ones will do
>what they like and we just have to endure it- is that still operating? I
>can't see music being that much of a compensation for having someone taken
>every 7 years- is Laurel a patron unsaint to the village? (Could it be that
>some of the victims are "foreigners" and they don't really care about them

This last seems most likely to me - although "don't really know about 
them much" might be as accurate, and more charitable.  I was trying 
to think about this, and the strongest likelihood I could come up 
with, was that Tom _wasn't_ from the village.  If he had been, Granny 
would have had some sort of memory of the family, surely.  I suppose 
Laurel could have laid it on the whole village to forget them, but 
there isn't any evidence that I can recall to suggest she would be 
capable of this.  Think of the way she has to get people to look at 
her in order to ensnare them.

And Leslie, as potential victim, wasn't from the village either. 
Which got me to wondering exactly where and what Mr. Piper had been 
between the time he was a child (doesn't Tom say they were in care?) 
and the time Polly and Tom make up the hardware store.  One of those 
little wrinkles that probably wouldn't interest anyone in his or her 
right mind.

But Laurel et al spend so little time at Hunsdon House, don't they? 
Not that surprising really, that the villagers wouldn't know much at 
all about what goes on there.  I don't think there'd be anything that 
noticable about a funeral every nine years unless, like Granny, you'd 
had someone taken.


PS.  I will probably prove my lack of sanity, by adding that this 
thread made me think of the Darcy family in P&P, and the remark about 
the impressions of the family held by "the inhabitants of a small 
market-town where the family did not visit".

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