yotg discussion (Still SPOILERS and more SPOILERS)

Jennifer Forsyth jforsyth at equinox.unr.edu
Wed Dec 13 13:45:17 EST 2000

liril at gmx.net wrote:

> Hallie O'Donovan schrieb:
> > S
> > *
> > P
> > *
> > O
> > *
> > I
> > *
> > L
> > *
> > E
> > *
> > R
> > *
> > S
> > *
> >
> >
> > But there were decidedly things I didn't love about the book.  At the
> > risk of seeming the grinchiest of meanies, I'll reply to peoples
> > lists of things they love with a few things I didn't.
> I don't want to seem mean either, but I do agree with you on both points!
> > First off, I hated the pop psychology breaking of the jinxes.  I
> > hated that it was so obvious and superficial, and I hated the way
> > seeing the problem led to instant resolution.  That seemed incredibly
> > un-DWJ-ish to me.
> Indeed. As if a problem troubling you so deeply could be solved just like that,
> just by finding out the cause. And I'm also afraid that sometimes we *know* that
> our behavior is self-destructive, we even know the reason for it, but that
> doesn't help a bit.
> > Secondly, I found the pairing-off towards the end a bit much,
> > especially Isodel and Titus.  But then I've a long-standing dislike
> > of the very idea of Love at First Sight, anyway, which may have
> > warped my reaction to all this.
> Hmm. I do not really believe it works. So maybe my reaction was "warped", too. I
> recall thinking: Oh my, does *everyboy* have to be matched up? But I remebered as
> well that DWJ wrote about meeting her husband the first time: "I knew I was going
> to marry him, and I was a bit worried. Would I like him at all?" (or something
> like that) So maybe that explains this part a bit.
> Bettina

I'm with you here, and I've been working to try to justify it to myself, especially
since reading more of DWJ on her website and realizing that she does everything
deliberately (or has a reason for everything she does, which is a little different).
What I've been turning over in my mind is that it's partly in relation Dark Lord that
my disappointments originate. That is, I really liked Dark Lord, so I would naturally
want any sequel to it to be like it, and DWJ has decided *not* to write something
like it, which is of course a very DWJ thing to do (breaking expectations). I think
of Dark Lord as being a tragicomedy, for instance (paraphrasing the definition of
John Fletcher, a playwright contemporary of Shakespeare's: a tragicomedy is a story
in which nobody dies, which is enough to make it no tragedy, but comes close enough
to it that it is no comedy), and YotG strikes me as very much a comedy with smaller
and more domestic threats, or at least with the bigger ones being more distant. And
this seems like the counter-intuitive direction for a sequel to progress (although I
don't have a really rigorous defense for this position). And the other thing is that
(to me) YotG seemed to be written for a younger audience even though the characters
are older, which could correspond in my mind to the genre question. And once again
this is the opposite of what I'd expect.

I don't want to give the impression that I didn't like the book, although I probably
have, because there were definitely great parts, and I often completely reverse my
feelings about "rightness" of things that catch me unexpectedly in books as I become
used to them (this happened to me with _Tam Lin_ by Pamela Dean, which I *hated* on
first reading, and I was even going to take the unprecedented step of writing to her
and telling her why I was so disappointed, but I let it simmer so long that I felt I
had to go back and reread it for specifics, and then I was hooked). So I would likely
have a different response on rereading YotG, and it would certainly be a different
experience if I were reading it straight through and not having my husband reading it
to me on alternate nights (I ought to admit, I suppose, that I have been unable to
convince Brian that DWJ is as fantastic as she obviously is, and he *sometimes* Makes
Comments. Anyone else have this problem?)


> ---------------------------------------------------------------
> Dickens, as you know, never got round to starting his homepage.
> (Terry Pratchett, alt.fan.pratchett)
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