DWJ's Faults

Robyn Starkey rohina at shaw.ca
Mon Mar 11 22:04:10 EST 2002

>"It just doesn't seem to be okay with her for opposite sex main characters
>not to end up together.... and considering how independent she makes
>everyone everywhere else, I find it very troublesome."

I kind of agree with this in Year of the Griffin, but I don't totally. That 
book certainly has the most pairing off, but when I thought about it, I had 
to say, well first year at university is pretty much about pairing off (or 
having sex, anyway).  Also, I think the thing about DWJ is that she doesn't 
write love scenes, and she doesn't show in detail what her characters are 
thinking on a romantic level. A lot of her characters are kind of naive 
about their own romantic feelings (Callette is a great example) and they 
can't explain even to themselves what the cause of the feelings is. (Is 
this realistic? That's another question.)

With Olga and Lukin, where the relationship develops at the beginning of 
the book, she doesn't show how or why they are attracted to each other, so 
maybe it looks convenient. But I think she expects the characters to show 
what it is they are attracted to in each other without telling the reader 
exactly how it happens. I suspect she thinks that this part is a bit of a 
mystery (in the spiritual sense) which is experienced by the parties 
involved and remains impenetrable to everyone else. And fair enough, too.

I actually found the relationships in YotG quite believable when I reread 
it last week. I mean, you can see WHY the various parties are suited to one 
another, even if DWJ doesn't spend a lot of time showing it in the book. It 
is pretty clear Blade and Claudia have each fancied the other for some 
time, but their internal dialogues, and the times they have met before are 
not in the book.

I guess what I am saying is that I think the characters do justify the 
attractions they have, and in the context of YotG the pairing off is okay 
in context. But I do sometimes question the need for the romantic pairing 
in some of the books (actually, Deep Secret is the one that bugs me the 
most). And then I think, well there is something implicit in the genre that 
having magical adventures leads people to pair off romantically with their 
sidekicks. In Caroline Stevermer's When the King Comes Home, the heroine 
doesn't end up with a romantic happy ending, and it is really jarring to 
the reader's expectations, I think. Okay, so DWJ is often a genre 
challenger, so why does she keep this convention?


Actually having a personal career crisis after rereading YotG and thinking, 
gosh this new university I am working in is just like all the others, and 
DWJ is very accurate in her portrayal, and I think I need to find a new job.

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