Big huge thingy dealing with many thingies

Ingrid Blythe Atkinson i.atkinson at
Fri May 5 20:07:37 EDT 2000

My name is Ingrid Atkinson, and I'm a DWJ-addict. I think this is my
first, or at least my first major post to this list. I feel quite proud.
Anyway, being lazy and such, I'm not actually bothering to reply to
anything that was sent to the list, just comment in general on several
topics and maybe start up some new ones. Now -stop- running away.

1. Names in Archer's Goon.
Erskine and Archer are both real names. I've seen both as authors at the
used bookstore where I work. They're last names however. With all of the
men's names in the book they seem to have a sort of last name quality to
them, with the exception of Torquil. Who knows about Torquil, that one's
just odd I believe. However, Erskine, Archer, and Hathaway have all been
seen as last names. Venturus, although probably not an actual last name,
has the same sort of feel to it. Not sure why I'm mentioning this but I
felt like it. Shine always seemed to me to apply to the glittery and
dangerous quality of the quasi-casino area she seemed to live in. Dilian
I think could be a variant of the name Gillian, which means youth. That
seems to fit with Dilian's whole faded-movie star sort of character.
I've also noticed that out of all the DWJs books I've read (not many I
admit) the seven siblings seem to have the most obscure and bizarre
names of any other characters (with the exception of the luminaries in
Dogsbody). Any opinions on why this is? The fact that they're
differences and powers aren't hiden behind normal personas like many
others are? Am I just reading too much into this?

2. Re-reading books.
Okay, so I'm sixteen, it's not exactly an old age. I don't think age
really has anything to do with how your views of literature change,
although that may be part of it. I think a lot of it can be related to
your personal experiences and other books that you've read since. For
me, I have three writers that have basically spoiled me for anything
else. DWJ (even though I only started reading her in March), Terry
Pratchett, and Lois McMaster Bujold. All three are masters of the way
they write and how they do it, with a distinctive style. They're also
very high quality writing. None of these were my first forays into the
gender however. In grade six I read Tamora Pierce's Alanna books and I
thought they were wonderful. I thought they were the greatest things
ever written. Why? I didn't have anything similar to compare them to. It
wasn't until recently, after reading Bujold and then going back and
trying to read the Alanna books again that I realized a few things.
Mainly, I didn't like Alanna. She wasn't the sort of character I was
fond of. Secondly, I couldn't stand Jonathan. He was a prig. Didn'tl ike
him at all. I've liked secondary characters in Bujold and DWJ fiction
hundreds of times more than those two.
Another observation, compared the writing styles of DWJ and Pierce, two
"juvenile" fantasy authors. Pierce's characters are supposedly all
great, wonderful, etc. Everyone who's anyone loves them. But, there's
only one main character. That character, who's supposedly so great and
wonderful why? Because of powerful friends (Crown Prince, King of
Thieves, etc.) or because of devine intervention (occult parentage,
God-blessed). Alanna would probably have died if she hadn't had help
from George and others. She couldn't have stayed a knight if she hadn't
been friends with the Prince. Now, let's examine a "successful"
character from DWJs books. Let's pick, say, Wizard Howl, who's the King
of Ingary's Royal Wizard. I suppose you could take it that he's the
Royal Wizard because of Sophie but I doubt it. Take a look at everything
he did on his own. Sure, we don't know -how- he did it, but he somehow
found a way to travel from Wales to Ingary, studied magic, taught
himself some things, learnt from a few masters, that sort of thing. He
was also -not- perfect. Pierce's main characters are perfect. They have
no real flaws. We could list Howl's flaws for ages. Just because it's
fantasy doesn't mean the characters can't be realistic.
Talking of Howl brings me to another question that's been bugging me.
Who do you guys think is the main character of Howl's Moving Castle? At
first glance one would think Sophie. But why do we think Sophie? Because
the book is told from her point of view of course. Because we start with
her. But is she the protagonist (is that even the right word for the
main character in a DWJs novel?) or is it Howl? Everything major in the
book happens to Howl. The book rotates on Howl's decisions. Obviously if
the book had been told from his point of view it would appear that he
was the main character (and with his ego it wouldn't be a surprise).
It's just a random question I suppose. English does this to my brain. I
think I got off on a tangent. Anyway . . .

3. Identical fraternal siblings
Of course they can't be -identical-. They can, however, look similar. I
can't actually think off hand of any siblings I know who look the same
but I can speak for an ever more distant relationship. My two cousins,
Connor and Noah. Noah's five. Connor's twenty-plus. They're first
cousins but you take a picture of Noah and compare it to one of Connor
and they look like the same person. I think if a more distant
relationship like that can result in very similar looks then odds are
fairly good that fraternal sibs would be similar in apperance as well.

4. Dogsbody
Okay, so this isn't a big discussion. Too bad. I liked Dogsbody, in a
weird way. It made me cry and gave me a stomach ache. That's a -good-
thing. Very few authors can produce this reaction in me. It's a sign of
intense emotion. I'd like to thank Janice for figuring out the ending of
Dogsbody and the thing between Kathleen and Sirius for me. It was giving
me a headache. I'd adore reading a sequel to Dogsbody, even though we
know that DWJ never writes real sequels. I'd still like one.

5. Favourite DWJ book, or imposibility of deciding.
I shall never be able to state a favourite book. I have dozens of them.
I can't even narrow down a favourite author. Which books really left an
impact? Okay, I'll keep it short. (Hah!) Hexwood was the first book I
read, because it was dedicated to Neil Gaiman, who I'd read before.
Hexwood I adored, but naturally, it made me want to throw up. I still
lovei t. I want a copy. Fascinating blend of Aurthurian legend and all
that. The -second- book I read was The Lives of Christopher Chant. I
didn't want to throw up in this one. Good thing. I've in fact read it
about five times since March. Hehe. The main reason for this is I've
discovered that Christopher Chant has a marvelous ability. It cures
stomach cramps. That's right! How's this for an urban legend? Reading a
chapter of The Lives of Christopher Chant cures menstral pains. Try it
sometime. I also have Howl's Moving Castle and Archer's Goon as
favourites, as well as anything else with Chrestomanci in it, but
neither of them had quite the same impact the first two did.

~pants~ And that boys and girls, is all for today. Rant over. Night

Ingrid Blythe
-- Home of Canada for World
Domination and the Temple of Bel Thorne.

Demons like Ligur and Hastur wouldn't understand. They'd never have
thought up Welsh-language television, for example. Or value-added tax.
Or Manchester.
He'd been particularly pleased with Manchester. - Crowley, "Good Omens"

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