Hey! An On Topic Post
ven at vvcrane.fsnet.co.uk
Fri Jul 6 16:44:24 EDT 2001
> This is weird! I wrote this yesterday in answer to Dorian, but
> didn't post it off because of ... oh, things going seriously SNAFU.
> (With scare quotes around the normal there.) Then saw Ven talking
> about the canon of DWJ as well. Synchronicity or chanelling???
Uh, Great minds think alike?
> >Uhhhh...what's wrong with like "The Crown of Dalemark"? That's one of my
> >favourites! "Black Maria" counts, for me, as one of those ones that are
> >sort of interesting, but not one that I want to re-read particularly often.
> >"Dogsbody" ditto (I don't even own a copy, though I do intend to buy it when
> >I have some spare cash). "A Sudden Wild Magic" has its moments, but keeps
> >going and doing things that I didn't want it to.
> Oh, I don't think there's anything wrong with liking TCoD myself.
> People here were just so eloquent about the reasons it wasn't as good
> as others in the series that I felt out on a literary judgment limb.
> Sort of the list-approved canon of DWJ. :)
Cof D is definitely one of my "growers". It was a long time comingI
and I think when I first read it it suffered from the years of
anticipation and the way I had got to know the characters and
setting through many rereadings. I think there is a genuine problem
with the set up part of the pplot. The device whereby Maewen
replaced Noreth strikes me as rather clumsy and I've never liked
getting to know a character in chapter one only to have them go
and die. Also I suspect the awkwardness of this bit of plotting is
why Wend is a rather peculier and unsatisfactory character, in
order that he carries out his part in it. Once all that is taken as
read however (ho ho), the rest of the book is solid.
> >The one I really don't like at all is "Cart and Cwidder", which just strikes
> >me as dull. Nothing much seems to really happen, and as far as I'm
> >concerned, its only reason for existence is to provide necessary background
> >for "The Crown of Dalemark".
More outraged yelps: "Nothing happens? Nothing happens! There's
so much I'm going to have to put a spoiler warning!
They are transporting an escaped Earl's son. Clennan is murdered.
As a result Leneina is going to remarry and their lives will be utterly
transformed. Only that doesn't happen because they run away and
keep going north. Then Dagmar is arrested, and it looks as though
he will hang. Moril only narrowly escapes the same fate. And then
they have to eat one of Dwj's most awful meals -- burnt rhubarb and
oatmeal pancakes iirc. Then Kialan gets caught, then rescued and
finally Moril does something awful to a large army.
It is also as funny and wise as any tother of the best Dwjs. IMHO
n there's "Archer's Goon". Most DWJ fans (including the rest of my
> >family) rave about this one. Yes, it's good. It's funny, it's well put
> >together, it works really well (and it gave my family the phrase "the
> >everything-but drawer).
I'd have to agree with that.
But in my view, it isn't as good as "Fire and
> >Hemlock" (my utter favourite) or "Howl's Moving Castle" or "The
Time of the
> >Ghost" or "Power of Three".
> Well, I don't like it as much as F&H or HMC, either - but that would
> be hard! Still love it. _Power of Three_? There's my ugly
> confession. I didn't like that one at all. I read it out loud to
> Becca and neither of us could muster enough interest to finish it,
> which we passed off as merely being a question of its not reading
> well aloud. But then I felt morally obliged to make myself finish it
> and I *still* couldn't get into it. Again, people are so eloquent
> about how wonderful it is that I'm sure this must be my weirdness,
> but that doesn't mean I can force myself to find my way to liking it.
> Haven't even been able to force myself to try another read.
Just because I didn't like this nbook at all when I first read it I think
you should give it another try.
> We do have some sort of excuse in only discovering DWJ a few years
> ago, so there hasn't been all that much time to put books aside for a
> few years and then come back and appreciate them more. Especially
> when many rereads are *required* of _Fire & Hemlock_ and Howl and
> _Deep Secret_ and LoCC and....
Just give it time then..........
Then Dorian wrote
> Hallie said...
> > Oh, I don't think there's anything wrong with liking TCoD myself.
> > People here were just so eloquent about the reasons it wasn't as good
> > as others in the series that I felt out on a literary judgment limb.
> > Sort of the list-approved canon of DWJ. :)
> Hrm. I think I must have missed that discussion. Before my time, perhaps.
> Would anyone who doesn't like "Crown of Dalemark" as much as the others care
> to tell me why they feel that way? Because I'm curious. I loved how modern
> Dalemark was like modern our world, but still not our world. And all the
> lovely details like the meal at the inn, and the way Maewen couldn't relate
> the Lawschool to the Lawschool she'd visited, at all. And the
> bicycle/horse/bad-guy. And the word-games to get round the rules (very
> "Skiver's Guide", in some ways!). And Maewen's longing for a bath.
> And...and...and...I just love it. It's a buttercup-yellow book. :-)
I absolutley agree, except I think there's some very nice fresh
green in there too.
> > Well, I don't like it as much as F&H or HMC, either - but that would
> > be hard! Still love it. _Power of Three_? There's my ugly
> > confession. I didn't like that one at all. I read it out loud to
> > Becca and neither of us could muster enough interest to finish it,
> > which we passed off as merely being a question of its not reading
> > well aloud. But then I felt morally obliged to make myself finish it
> > and I *still* couldn't get into it.
> Curious. What was it about it that you couldn't get into? From the
> beginning, and the tale of how Gair's father won his mother, I was hooked!
> For me, that book has strong fairy-tale resonances (without being much like
> a fairy-tale, which is odd, but cool). And it taps into the willing
> self-sacrifice thing, which for some reason also fascinates me.
Quite. I'm intrigued by the idea of all these (not so little) people,
living secretly on the moors. And I loved the family dynamics, and
the way Gair had his father all wrong. It has strong folk tale
resonances too. Oh and she made that fairy tale thing whereby
people go and tell their secrets to the oven make sense.
"Any reader has the right to say of any text: "But I didn't think it was that good."
Samuel R Delany
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