dwj-digest (Diana Wynne Jones) V1 #180

Ven ven at vvcrane.junglelink.co.uk
Wed Jul 5 22:03:23 EDT 2000

Date sent:      	Wed, 5 Jul 2000 04:34:07 -0400
From:           	owner-dwj-digest at suberic.net (dwj-digest (Diana Wynne Jones))
To:             	dwj-digest at suberic.net
Subject:        	dwj-digest (Diana Wynne Jones) V1 #180
Send reply to:  	dwj at suberic.net

On Mon, 3 Jul 2000 15:45:15 -0400 (EDT)
 Jessie wrote
> Ven suggests that Astrid and Luke are going to have a liason.
> I don't think this is true -- the problem is that Luke already has a
> Significant Other (not sure whether in Eight Days of Luke she's a
> girlfriend or a wife -- but, you know, the red-headed girl), and amoral
> though he may be, Luke does care quite about about the emotions of those
> close to him, of whom the red-headed girl is obviously one.
> I always thought Astrid's wistfulness was because what happened between
> Siegfried and Brunnhilde was something which matched her own dreams,
> somehow; the idea that love and the demands of love could be so beautiful
> as to make any amount of unhappiness worthwhile.  I daresay that was an
> idea that she consoled herself with for a while, until she realised that
> she had *never* been happy with Cousin Ronald.  Astrid has always been
> unhappy, and to an extent I think she empathises with Brunnhilde; I think
> she wants a reassurance that there is something which can make any degree
> of unhappiness worth it in the end.
> So, IMHO it is something more abstract, and Astrid doesn't need a concrete
> set of circumstances (like a new fling) to feel the way she does.
> > Luke's response to David's enquiry about Astrid's question (deep
> > breath!)  is the apparently inconsequential "Tell you on Monday I have
> > to go to sleep now. It's urgent."  which makes sense if you assume
> > he's recovering his strength for the night ahead.............
> No, no!  It's just that Luke has been "crouching and quelling the heat of
> the fire for nearly two days and a night."  This is very exhausting for
> him: when David emerges with the hammer, "Luke was crouching just below
> him looking tired to death, ten times more tired than he had looked after
> Mr Wedding caught him."  Of course Luke has to urgently go to sleep.  
> It's like pulling an all-nighter, with the added fillip that whatever
> subject you are studying will burn you to a crisp if you let your
> concentration slip for a moment.  That's all.  (:
and Mary Anna shuddered at the thought of Astrid being involved 
with someone of Luke's apparent age.

I've collected some more support for my interpretation. Taking the 
age objection first (something which struck me the first time I had 
the idea) l think Luke's age is rather elastic, that he projects 
himself to people how he wants them to see him. The first time he 
appears "he appeared a year or two older than David" which would 
make him in his mid teens (I'm sure David is twelve but I've lost  the 
reference). However Aunt Dot refers to him as "that charming and 
nicely spoken child." p72.  Now the first time Astrid meets him 
there's no doubt she sees him as young, she calls him "a nice 
considerate boy" p 52 but I feel this impression gradually changes. 
Still on p52 and ff, Luke contrives to leave David behind on the way 
to the cafe and its clear he takes the opportunity to flatter Astrid 
something rotten,  pretending to mistake her for for David's sister!  
>From thereon I think I detect an air of mild flirtation "Oh you!" says 
Astrid to Luke. Very mild, Luke is still calling Astrid "Mrs Price" at 
this stage (p55).  Throughout the book , it seems to me the 
flirtation intensifies and Astrid treats Luke more and more as an 

 When they meet on Thursday, (with Luke being treated pretty 
much as a contempory by Thor) Astrid envies Thor for the colour of 
his hair "..........much nicer than mine" "Impossible!" Luke said 
promptly. "You!" Astrid said." p112. Compare how she talks to 
David a few pages earlier on p110 when he tells her Uncle Bernard 
doesn't play fair in the illness contest "Well I never! the things you 
notice!" The surprised admiration of an adult when a boy says 
something clever.  The real turning point comes after Astrid has 
guessed who Luke is -- as well it might. They discuss David's (and 
Astrid's ) future while they wait in Alan's hallway for the boys, then 
put the plan to David p142/3.  This is the first time Luke calls her 
"Astrid" -- and he seems to have avoided telling her anything at all 
since that first "Mrs Price". I also feel Luke's comment "You wait 
till he starts feeding ravens with the week's meat," is rather an 
adult to adult thing to say. Finally when they go to Wallsey P146 
and ff the transformation is complete, so far as Astrid is concerned 
Luke isn't one of the kids. She puts up with him telling her to 
"Watch it!" p148. p159 Luke and Thor's identical reactions to the 
sight of the battered and malingering  
Ronald also help to place him. And so on to my original argument.

Going on to some of Jessie's comments I do think Luke is that 
amoral and I'm not sure he is still in a relationship with the red 
haired girl. The trouble is there are many versions of the myths, in 
some Loki is married to a goddess called  Sigyn who stands by 
him. In others she is a mortal he has a brief liaison with. In any 
case Loki certainly appears to have had an extensive and 
interesting love life, including liaisons with a giantess who gives 
birth to monsters, several goddesses (at least he says so) and a 
horse, after which he apparently gave birth to Odin's eight legged 
horse Sleipnir! So I don't think a little adultery would seem a 
serious thing to him. Of course thats just the attitude that always 
got him into trouble.

I agree on the reasons why Luke is tired of course but I still think 
the "urgently" needs explaining. And why didn't he just got back to 
Valhalla for some R&R?.

All IMHO of course, but is there anyone out there who agrees with 
me? Please?

Here's a by the way, my friend and Dwj fan Sarah bought a copy of 
Power of Three for 39p in a Bridlington junkshop. I said I'd post it 
and make people jealous.  

To unsubscribe, email dwj-request at suberic.net with the body "unsubscribe".
Visit the archives at http://suberic.net/dwj/list/

More information about the Dwj mailing list