yotg discussion - the happy endings

Rowland, Jennifer A B jennifer.rowland at ic.ac.uk
Tue Jan 16 06:56:38 EST 2001


I've only read the book once, just now, (courtesy of Tanaqui), and haven't
gone back to look at the first bits of discussion that I missed, so
apologies if I'm being repetetive. I'm trying to work out why some of the
bits at the end don't bother me so much.

Policant's Return:
Philip:
+If you too didn't like the deus ex machina way in which Polycant turned up
to
+sort things out, then I agree wholeheardtedly!
Tanaqui:
> I think it's a good idea to reset the system with someone who has
> Authority and a healthy dash of subversive knack... we can hope it will
grow
> into its own thing now it has the chance. 
Philip:
+I agree it needed a good kick, and to re-wind a lot of its recent
development.
+A revival of the past, symbolised by the return of Policant (whose name I
+_still_ can't remember how to spell!), fulfills this, but I would have
preferred
+something more practical and less symbolic 
+One thing that is made quite clear by Flury is that magical learning among
the
+griffins hasn't suffered in the way it has on the home continent.
+Among dragons, I suppose, also.  Scales - another blast from the past! -
arrived
+at the beginning of Dark Lord, thereby being less of a shock to the
narrative,
+and had in the long life of dragons a more convincing excuse for being able
to
+return.  

This seemed all right to me- I think because the statue had moved and so on
before, so although it was a surprise when it came to life, it didn't seem
like an unfair one. It also seemed to me like he was going to be a great
help in reconstituting the University- as Tanaqui says, an authority that
everyone could recognise, but one who would be subversive- but they could
have done it without him. Querida would have taken control and gotten rid of
the most useless lecturers; the students would have read *all* the books in
the library, and experimented; (ISTR one of the third-years being interested
by what the first-years were saying); they could have roped in Derk and
Mara, Scales, Blade, and anyone else with experience - to teach individuals
who could have then come back and shared the knowledge, if they weren't
willing to come and teach the lot. (Not to mention Flury, if you don't count
him as another deus ex machina). It seemed to me that the bustle of starting
again was going on before Policant emerged. 
Same with the gold- useful, but I bet they could have scrounged funds
without it- especially with Titus on their side! (What happens if Titus's
children inherit his personal rule, but not his morals? I'm not totally
happy with autocracy being seen as a good thing, no matter how corrupt the
*current* Council is.)

Zapping The Jinxes:
Tanaqui:
> DWJ was not running out of air: DWJ (as far as I know) still has her
travel
> jinx. Her characters got into a potentially lethal situation: they got out
of
> it with some quick, pushed-by-circumstance, redaction.
Philip:
+Oh, I see what you mean.  Actually, the therapy session is making a lot
more
+sense to me now I think about it a bit more.  Blade and Kit are working as
a
+team - one acts as the psychoanalyst to try and identify the problem, and
as
+soon as it is found the other dives in with his magic talent and does the
quik
+redaction.
+The excuse for the therapy session being, as I called it, "too easy" is
because in
+this sort of book you don't have time to go into more detail.  Running out
of
+air is a side issue, I think.

As I was reading the scene, it seemed reasonable- during counselling, it can
often happen that there is an "aha" moment when one realises what is really
going on, and as Philip says, Blade and Kit are grabbing the jinx at that
moment, as it is shaken and becomes magically visible as a seperate thing.
Of course, the actual process of working with the problem and possibly
changing is still to come, but they may not bother without the twists in
their magic!
On thinking about it, the whole scene being set up *in order* for them to
lose the jinxes feels contrived, but then I love the air-elementals and so
on, so I can live with it.

All Grab A Partner:
Again, this didn't bother me as I read it- in a sense, I didn't "notice"
that everyone was pairing up, what with everything else going on. DWJ does
tend to have people fall in love at first sight, and the pairings do seem to
make sense, but it is all a bit too neat- a lover for everyone, and everyone
in love. As I look back at the book, the relationships seem to be a bit too
effortless (and happy, apart with the crying-on-the-roof bit, which was
brilliant).

It's A Wrap:
In fact, this was the thing about the whole book- too short, too tidy. (I
wanted more about Melissa! She was "struggling to overcome being pretty and
brainless"- that's interesting, why didn't we see it? What about the
reactions of the other students to the ructions "our six" were creating? And
more untutored, odd spells! The orange-peel was genius). Compared to her
other books, everything happened too quickly and easily. Corcoran got his
comeuppance, the horrible home-lives resolved themselves, and that was that.

Ah well- wanting more is a common disease of book-fans. I think this will
improve on rereading, there were lots of nice touches - the bar stool, heh
heh. (Has anyone read it more than once yet?) Another one in this series
would be interesting, as everything moves further away from the fantasyland
straitjacket. Maybe the University *will* start to be about more than just
magic, who knows?
Jennifer
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