Dark Lord with SPOILERS (was:Re: A new member/Can you recommend a DWJ book?)

Philip.Belben at pgen.com Philip.Belben at pgen.com
Wed Jul 12 09:23:37 EDT 2000





Hallie, quoting me:

>>I have never considered Dark Lord an adult book!  Obviously an editor
somewhere
>>did, since it was published with th VG label, but I put it firmly in the early
>>teenage bracket (YA at best).
>
> When I wrote this, I was actually only referring to the shelving of the
> books in book shops - so that Neil wouldn't waste time looking for DL or DS
> in the children's section.  But the comment made me think about it.

Oh, I see.  I was thinking you were giving information to help him choose the
right book, but of course I should have known that anything by DWJ is the right
book :-)

>>Which raises the question, what's the difference?
>>
>>DL is told mainly from the boy's POV.  Broken homes are covered, as in a lot
of
>>DWJ, but the sexual aspect takes a back seat (compare even Fire and Hemlock).
>>And there is nothing really sordid (like Marceny's activities in Sudden Wild
>>Magic) - even the gladiatorial contest is pretty tidy, and (trying to avoid a
>>spoiler) the sexual assault scene almost glossed-over.
>
> I'm not convinced.  But then I think the sexual aspect of F&H is not that
> important, _unless_ you're reading it looking for this.  (Now there's a
> statement liable to bring down tons of disagreement on my head!)  What I
> mean is merely that I feel I could read F&H happily to Cara (my ten year
> old) and not have her pick up on any of the possible sexual dodginess in
> Tom and Polly's relationship.  Those reading the book as adults may debate
> the appropriateness (as we have done several times on the list!), but only
> reading the book as adults.  [Becca is reading this over my shoulder, and
> just commented that she actually didn't know there was anything sexual in
> F&H.  She authorised this report of her comment.]

I wasn't thinking of anything sexual in Tom and Polly's relationship!  In fact
I'm not sure there is (although Nina seems to think so - not that she would
understand, of course!).  I was thinking more about David Bragge.  I also think
that there are sexual overtones in Seb and Polly's relationship, but there is no
hard evidence in the book.

> In DL, the (attempted, IMO) rape is not at all graphic, but the idea of an
> assault as a result of hatred is very clear, and I know that Cara would be
> very upset by it, as indeed I was.  I read DL to Becca, and she loved it,

Oh yes.  I wouldn't think of DL as a book for most 10-year olds.  I just happen
to think that she has tidied things up for a younger audience.  In some ways, I
would probably pick DL as a good example of a Young Adult book, as distinct from
either Children's or Adult.  (F&H is another.)

> but I had to tell her that the Mara/Derk situation would turn out ok
> beforehand (and that's something I very rarely do).  It was really starting
> to bother her.

Ouch!  I see what you mean, but it also illustrates my point.  Compare the
treatment of the marriage break-up in Ogre Downstairs, Dark Lord, Fire and
Hemlock, and Sudden Wild Magic (in approximately increasing order of
sex-emphasis)

Philip.







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