hexwood ... i'm jumping in! -- spoilers ahoy

christian nutt ferricide at hotmail.com
Fri Dec 7 04:31:08 EST 2001

since no one but ven has jumped in, really, i'll follow ven's lead, and work 
on responses to some of that stuff. and then of course round up with some of 
my own observations at the end. i'll just preface this with mentioning that 
hexwood is one of my top favorite DWJ books, and i was disappointed to hear 
that many others don't feel this way. it's so incredibly clever and 
well-written with such excellent, excellent characters. really intruiging 
situations, too.

ven said:

"The tale of Mordion's upbringing is appalling (and in this
reading I met this head on for the first time since my first reading). I 
don't think it is gratuitous, it raises some very uncomfortable moral

i relish that section of the book. it has such beautiful agony in it. for 
some reason, i really glom onto horridness in books and films. i don't know 
what it says about my personality. then again, i just saw amelie tonight and 
i really liked it, so you can understand that i'm not a horrible 
black-hearted freak. =)

there's something about raw emotional disturbance like this that really 
awakens my interest. it's like when you chew the inside of your mouth. it 
hurts, but it feels good. ok, maybe i am a freak.

"In fact she is hiding everything behind everything else -- much like the 
Bannus of course."

this is a very, very apt way to describe the book. in fact, it informed my 
read of it this time through, since i hadn't started till after your email, 
ven. i read the book on a more detached layer, which is not something i 
easily do. thankfully i'm very familiar with the source material.

"I was wondering if anyone has ever tried to chart the book's events in
any way?"

wow. i don't know. i tried to think about the book's progression while i was 
reading it and i was basically at a loss. especially because during the ann 
parts it seems as though she's doing the stuff in the wood over the course 
of only a day or so (maybe two?) but then as vierran we find out she's been 
on earth for 10 days. it's so murky! i don't think i could untangle it...

alex said:
"...there is a darkness at the heart of Hexwood that doesn't exist in the 
Chrestomanci books despite the themes of good and evil being present in 
those too."

that may well be one of the reasons i cherish hexwood so much. i like a dark 
underbelly. and i like moral ambiguity while i'm at it! i can't take binary 
morality at all. it is perfectly acceptable for mordion to kill reigner one, 
for example. more than acceptable -- desirable.

"I did notice the great age of the Reigners - is there a hint that knowing 
one is semi-immortal corrupts, or that age innures you to atrocities?"

i don't know if that was the message. judging from what little we know about 
the reigners, i think that we can assume that at least reigners one and 
three were always morally bankrupt. there's a hint at least that three 
attached herself to one for power ("a singer that was orm pender's mistress" 
if i recall correctly.) of course, i'm extrapolating here. given her 
behaviour and mood during the castle scenarios, i think it fits.

reigner one's attitude towards martellian and his actions in cheating the 
bannus originally imply to me that he was probably always an utterly 
unpleasant soul even before he became ridiculously long-lived. well, he's 
just utterly, utterly repugnant. i think reigner one may be the 
most-developed antagonist in DWJ's novels, actually. usually her antagonists 
make my skin crawl with their horridness, but we don't get as much insight 
(laurel, mr chesney, lady marceny for example) into what makes them tick.

another interesting thing is that the copy of hexwood my friend just bought 
me as a present to replace my old paperback has something the old one 
doesn't.. the paperback (US edition, puffin, 1996 or thereabouts) doesn't 
have the "author's note" at the back. the new copy i have (the greenwillow 
US hardback) does, although they appear to be struck from the same plates. 
it's explains a little bit. of course, DWJ avoids explanations usually, so 
it's nice to get a chance to read it. i was tempted to run to the end and 
read it but i made myself wait till i'd finished the book before doing so.

ok. this mail is totally verbose so i'll stop. hopefully someone else will 
pick up on it...

[ christian nutt - ferricide at hotmail.com ]

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