DLOD, YOTG -- Families

Ven ven at vvcrane.fsnet.co.uk
Mon Jan 22 21:55:45 EST 2001


I've just finished rereading Dark Lord and Gryphon and there's a 
couple of things I wanted to comment on. Firstly as several people 
have mentioned DL seems to have been written, at least in part, 
with the aim of looking at how life could be for the real inhabitants 
of fantasyland".   And YOTG has a strong subtext to do with 
education and specifically the usefulness of going back to the 
basics if one is to innovate. It struck me that there is a definite link. 
As DWJ is well aware the best fantasies are those which go back 
to classic texts, folklore and mythology -- rather than imitating last 
years best seller (or an overused classic text like LOTR), which is 
an approach that eventually strands the book in one of the most 
trampled corners of fantasyland. So, if DLOD is the problem, YOG 
provides a solution. Its reminiscent of Polly's attempts to write like 
the author's she admires in F+H. 

Secondly something I know has been touched on before but I've 
forgotten by whom(/who, help!) that DWJ has done large chaotic 
families before. I can think of Hathaway's in AG and Will's in DS. 
Both of these are peripheral to the text and rather protected from 
their own worlds. In DLOD such a family takes centre stage for the 
first time.* In fact the plot drags them into the centre of things. I 
feel that DWJ has rather idealised such families in the past, its an 
innovation for her to show them cracking under pressure.  

Oh and finally I do appreciate how she deals with death in DLOD. 
So often in fantasyland there's the step over the corpses and get 
on with the quest attitude, or, worse,  the cardboardy 
sidekick/relative/lover who's only there to get killed and motivate 
the hero. The way Callette, Derk and Don reacted to Kit's 
supposed death was much more........ recognisable.

* Tanaqui's family in SC nearly qualifies but their mother is dead 
and their father too grumpy, so does Moril and Brid's in C+C but, 
well ...................   

You are trapped in that bright moment where you learned your doom.
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