yotg discussion (spoilers)

Kyla Tornheim kyla at sccs.swarthmore.edu
Wed Dec 13 15:33:27 EST 2000

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On Wed, 13 Dec 2000 Philip.Belben at pgen.com wrote:
> > enough spoiler space?
> Plenty of spoiler space.  Does the phrase "Abracadabra silverware and oranges"
> have any significance, though?
nope. I dislike doing blank spoiler space, so I figured "abracadabra" was
appropriate. And then I wanted to continue with the magicy theme, and
oranges seemed particularly appropriate. But that could have been spoilery
(although basically just confusing, really) and so I decided to make a nod
to Christopher Chant and put in silverware. And it sounded fun. :^)

> I must admit I too got a very strong HP feeling from the beginning of this book.
> I even at one point got a feeling of "Why is DWJ immitating Harry Potter?  She
> doesn't need to do that!"  but it didn't take me long to find the answer - so
> that she could show what can really be done with such a setting...
Except Hogwarts is very much a *school*, for younger people, and
the Wizards' University does seem much more like a *university*. 

> Which brings me onto the first of the things about which I was uneasy:  the
> _deus_ex_machina_ ending, with Polycant suddenly appearing after all that time.
> Was he really necessary?  I think Querida will make a far better vice-chancellor
> than she ever was as chancellor, though!
I think he was definitely necessary. The process that our six went through
demonstrates that it is Policant's method of magic that is the best, and
actually gets people to *think*. While Querida may be quite able, I'm not
sure that she's a *teacher* so much. Policant has the ability to
(metaphorically, thank you) light fires under all the students.

> (Hang on - I've just had a thought, and the books aren't handy to check.
> Doesn't Querida's loss of authority contradict one of Anscher's prophecies?)
Anscher says "We give the wizard Querida the task of making this world
into its own place." I think that if she's not the chancellor, she'll have
the chance to do a lot more. Policant deals with the university,
specifically; Querida does some of it and still probably has time to
de-nastify bits of the world like she was doing before.

> I'd never seen it that way, but yes.  I agree with everything except the bit
> about DL from the point of view of the pilgrims.  A good idea, but I don't 
> think it would work for me as well as the DL we have.
Thinking about this, I have now decided that yes, it would be fun, but it
wouldn't be Diana Wynne Jones-ish to do it that way. And therefore it
wouldn't really work. I think it would be too cutesy, having the Tough
Guide facade stripped away instead of having had it clearly applied from
the outside all the time. Besides, can you imagine having the story told
from Geoffrey or Sukey's point of view? I like Blade much, much better...

> Love at first sight is linked in my mind with another literary phenomenon 
> that I dislike - love based purely on appearance.  For all I may find
> people's appearance attractive, that's not why I fall in love!
Erm. Except there are people that I find extremely attractive that I could
never imagine falling in love with. Haven't you ever seen anyone for the
first time and said "Oh my, I'm going to *like* this person," I mean as a
friend? Someone who looks *neat*, interesting and nice and someone you'd
love to talk to for hours? I don't believe in *love* at first sight, but I
believe in *potential* love at first sight. You have to know people before
you can really love them. But that spark can be there.

> My worry was more along the lines of, How did Derk get his griffins so right,
> when he didn't seem to know about natural griffins when he started
Maybe it's just that there are only certain ways the various DNA bits can
combine. Natural griffins presumably evolved...wait a minute. How the hell
do you evolve a *griffin*? What if they were magically created in the
first place? Otherwise they probably wouldn't be fertile. Think horses and
donkeys--they're a *lot* more alike than cats and birds, and their
offspring is sterile. So I think it would make more sense that a long-ago
wizard did similar things to what Derk did and came up with viable

> tackle - why the heck to the griffins and the humans speak the same language?
> There is little or no contact between the species, and the griffin mouth is
> unlikely to lead to the same set of basic sounds (although parrots and mynah
> birds do suggest that human sounds can be managed...)
How do you know there is little or no contact between the species? At
least in YotG, there were humans and griffins on each side of the
war. And it's probably easier for griffins to learn human language (if
they speak their own otherwise) than it is for humans to learn griffin
language, especially since humans tend to be quite self-centered about
their own languages...

> And why are Derk's griffins so universally attractive to natural griffins?  Is
> this a coincidence?  Is it a sort of "exotic beauty" thing?  Derk got the
> griffins so right that it makes me decidedly uneasy.
His griffins seem to be mostly one color each; the griffins from the other
continent seem more mottled. It might be sort of like having a smooth
complexion, or something. And it would make sense that Derk's griffins
would be basically one color, because I got the sense he didn't get a
*lot* of lion or cat or eagle DNA, just from one for each.

> And Polycant is
> just close enough to Polycarp to be distracting, too.
It's spelled "Policant," at least in my version. Makes a bit of visual
difference. The name also suggests Policant's openminded views on magic
("many song," perhaps?)

erk. sorry this was so long. especially when I'm supposed to be writing my
final religion paper...

Giles: Why should someone want to harm Cordelia?
Willow: Maybe because they met her? Did I say that? 
		--"The Witch," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"

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