Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at
Fri May 19 07:19:34 EDT 2000

>I have recently re-read F&H and discussed it with friends and NONE of us can
>agree on what happens at the very end.  What do you all think?  sdn

There have been lots of clearer explanations given of the ending of F&H in
previous discussions, but I still can't resist answering.  I'm probably
quite far at the optimistic end of a spectrum of list views - both in terms
of thinking I understand what happens, and in terms of the ending itself!

Not sure where "very end" exactly starts, so I'll start at Hunsdon House.
Polly claims that Mr. Leroy has forfeited his right to Tom's life by
hurting Tom when trying to kill Polly.  Laurel agrees, and allows both Tom
and Mr. Leroy "a chance", to decide which one of them will be sacrificed.
By telling Tom he can use anything which is truly his, she tricks him into
thinking it's a question of strength.  Exactly the opposite is true, and
when he tries to use his musical talent, Polly sees that he's gone deeper
into the pool.  She realizes that the only way to win is to lose, and
deprive him of everything he's counting on helping him.  That's the reason
she says he's only used her, and that she never wants to see him again.
Depriving him of herself works, and Mr. Leroy is taken.

In the Coda, however, Polly realizes there's a way around Laurel's "chilly
logic".  A solution analogous to the logic problem of what happens when an
irresistable force meets an immovable object.  The answer being that both
cannot exist in the same system.  So as Polly and Tom "can't get together
anywhere" they should be able to get together Nowhere.  As that's not
possible for them either, the system can't be valid, as it were.
Basically, Laurel's own rules defeat her.

I think the Nowhere in which they could be together is the side of Nowhere
Polly describes as: "the void that lay before you when you were making up
something new out of ideas no one else had quite had before."

IIRC, in The Lion & The Unicorn article, DWJ said something along the lines
of a future for Tom and Polly being possible only if both were willing to
make continuing smaller sacrifices.  So my optimism about the ending may be
justified!  And they all lived happily ever after...

hallieod at

PS Sharyn, can I join you and your friends next time you discuss this?  Or
maybe you should just tell us what all your differing ideas were...

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