Bed-time musings on character in DWJ (F&H)

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at indigo.ie
Thu Nov 16 06:34:13 EST 2000


Nat wrote:

>No, I think one of the aspects of people being taken by Laurel is 
>that they do it willingly... look at the ballad "Thoams the Rhymer":
>
>"'Betide me weal, betide me woe,
>That weird will never daunten me!'
>Syne she has kissed her rosy red lips
>All underneath the Eildon Tree."
>
>And what Reg inherited was not the specific "taking", but the urge 
>to be taken, the desire to get what you want and to hell with other 
>people (as it were). Kind of like inheriting a propensity to alcohol 
>(or other substabce) addiction. Both Reg and Ivy are very selfish in 
>a way Granny is the antithesis of, but where Ivy wants real 
>emotional, very human love handed to her as an entitlement, Reg 
>wants the style without having to put up with the substance.


I'm still not sure I agree with people wanting to be taken as a part 
of their being taken (to leave aside the whole question of whether a 
moral weakness could be inherited!).  I haven't read Thomas the 
Rhymer, but I don't think that's proof enough.  The Tam Lin in the 
ballad is completely amoral, but that's one of the places where DWJ 
brought the story away from the original on which it was based.

The only people we've seen taken, or in danger of being taken are 
Polly's grandfather (no evidence there was anything wrong with him), 
Tom (who fought tooth and nail against Laurel), Tom's brother/Mr. 
Piper (who was completely immoral in giving Tom to Laurel to save 
himself, as I understood it), and possibly Leslie.  Leslie's the only 
one who shows signs of wanting to be taken, but wasn't that as 
Consort, rather than sacrificial whatever?  And even if not, there's 
no sense of "the desire to get what you want and to hell with other 
people".  It's rather to hell with himself, isn't it? :)

I agree completely that this sums up Reg's attitude, although it's 
still hard to see what he gets out of the Joanna relationship.  I can 
see that in relation to Polly he gets the satisfaction of allowing 
himself to believe he's a loving father, without actually being 
anything of the sort.

Hallie.

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