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

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at indigo.ie
Thu Jul 13 09:36:43 EDT 2000

Philip (and me):

>>>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
>>>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.

Actually, I don't think the sexual aspect of Tom and Polly's relationship
is all that important either, but I know others do, which is why I assumed
you meant that.  David's a slimeball, but I still think this is not that
unsettling to read.
Seb and Polly?  Sure, but it's still nothing in relation to a gang rape.

Ok, on re-reading I see you were saying the sexual aspect of the marriage
break-up, which I carelessly read as the sexual aspect of the book.  Hence
my slightly disjointed response.  But that isn't what bothered Becca about
DL anyway, nor is it what is so devestating about the breakup in F&H.
IMHO.  (And you know how H that is by now!)

>> 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

Not a bit of it - it illustrates mine! :O  Doesn't it?  The fact that Becca
could take the marriage breakup in F&H two or three years ago, but needed
help with DL a few months ago, surely indicates some difference generally
pointing to DL being more "adult" than F&H.  I can't quite get a handle on
what the difference might relate to, except possibly more being seen from
Derk's POV, but there seems to be something.

We had friends here from the US last weekend, and on hearing the 14-year
old's reading habits, I bought a copy of F&H to give her.  Something I
could do without hesitation.  Although I've read DL and Deep Secret to
Becca, I wouldn't give them to another child without some serious
discussion of how he/she might react to incidents (Incidents!).  SWM I
wouldn't even consider (and haven't read to Becca).

But then, I've said on the list that I think Hexwood contains probably the
most evil behaviour of any character in any DWJ book.  Which rather pokes
holes in my argument, doesn't it?


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