F & H, and retroactive magic

Philip.Belben at powertech.co.uk Philip.Belben at powertech.co.uk
Tue Aug 20 09:14:17 EDT 2002

Lost track of who said what here, but I must jump in...

>>>One query, re Tom in effect giving Polly the ability to know things by
> "making it up". He doesn't say this until the meeting in Bristol, but Polly
> has always been able to know things, more or less instinctively, from very
> early in the book.<<
> Ah, but he AGREES to the fantasy stories that Polly comes up with. That's
> what sets them in motion. And gives Tom the impression that it is Polly who
> is doing it, when in fact it is HE who is facilitating their breakthroughs
> into Here Now. Plus, the two of them really are working on much the same wave
> length. Which enables her to make several quite genuine leaps to the truth
> without having to have them vetted by Tom first. Because these are things
> where she has simply jumped to the same conclusion that Tom also has even
> without consultation with him first.

I'm afraid I disagree here.

If we trust Polly's gift from later in the book, she "knows" that Laurel's gift
to Tom was conveyed through the pictures, and that she helped things by getting
him good pictures instead of poor ones.

So unless the gift is retroactive, Polly's gift of knowing is her own until Tom
receives the pictures.

This means that when Polly is first getting to know Tom, the things that she
knew then ("Tom, Tom the piper's son" "My father used to play the flute
professionally") are evidence that Polly does have this gift independently of

> Of, course once he actually states this belief aloud, he locks it in solidly.
> From Bristol on Polly really IS making free use of one of Laurel's gifts.

This would certainly reinforce Polly's gift.  But I don't think that Tom is
entirely responsible.

I also think that retroactive magic must be explicit.  In Witch Week, for
example, it took a lot of magic to undo, retroactively, the damage that had been
done to that world in the 17th century, and they were explicitly trying to undo
a historical event.  So here, Tom would have to have said something "Polly has
_always_ had the gift of knowing things" for it to have an effect on her so
early in the book (assuming that his gift can work retroactively at all).

Just my two pen'orth.


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