Old age, was RE: hexwood ...

Rowland, Jennifer A B jennifer.rowland at ic.ac.uk
Fri Dec 7 10:32:31 EST 2001


Sallyo wrote:
>BTW, has anyone else noted how odd it is that Sophie who *seems* "about 90"
>can be taken as "Howl's old mother" when he's about 27? Do women in their
>60s have babies in Ingary?

Maybe witches could if they wanted! 
I at first thought of a girl a year below me at school, who I bumped into a
couple of years ago. She'd had a baby at 15, and when I saw her she was hung
about with children and looked *much* older- if I hadn't known her I would
have thought she was middle-aged. But then, Sophie doesn't just look older
than she is; she specifically looks Old, with white hair and wrinkles. Maybe
she exaggerates how "old" she is? After all, she only looks at herself in a
mirror a few times. Maybe she looks 60s or 70s, and could be taken for a
late mother? I think the only one she talks to who thinks she is Howl's
mother is the King- she tells Mrs Pentstemmon she's 90 (and Mrs Pentstemmon
says "So old?"), but I'm sure she realises Sophie is under a spell.

Anyway. Sallyo's main point was about old or ageless DWJ villains, and that
their long lives contribute to their feeling above us "ephemera". (I liked
your comparison with Jadis!). I agree, but then there are ageless good guys
as well, like Faber John in Time City or the Undying in the Dalemarks books.
I think I see it as their longevity sort of concentrating their characters,
so that if they start out selfish they become monstrous. (I bet even Orm
wasn't always *as* evil as he has become.) It's like, the more time they
spend going down the path they chose, of not caring what they do to anybody
as long they get their way, the less human they become. 
I also find the non-immortal bad guys as frightening as the supernatural
ones, in many ways. I'm unlikely to bump into a Morrigan, but I was at
school with people who were very like Nan and Charles's tormentors.
Jennifer
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