Book discussion - Spellcoats

Jon Noble jon_p_noble at
Wed Nov 27 18:07:20 EST 2002

I'd always pictured the world of Spellcoats as
"pre-historic" - ie bronze or iron age, on a par
perhaps with the pre-Roman Celts. Perhaps because of a
feel of it as being a "beginning" rather than a
"middle" culture. to me for a world to feel medieval
without being modelled directly on medieval Europe it
has to be a "middle" culture, a world that looks back
to a previous golden age, this is present in LOTR, and
in Robert Jordan's wheel of time series, and many
others but I don't remember it from Spellcoats (which
I must confess to last reading almost 20 years ago).

Jon Noble
who is currently recovering from nearly loosing his
house in a bushfire yesterday.

--- "Rowland, Jennifer A B"
<jennifer.rowland at> wrote:
> Robyn wrote:
> > I thought this might be something to think about
> as a way in to 
> > a discussion about whether Spellcoats is in any
> way medieval/ist. Some 
> > people I know have said they think it is
> pre-historic, but what does that
> mean, 
> > specifically. I also, of course, am interested in
> whether 
> > people think there are literary resonances in the
> book. I can't decide - I
> > know DWJ is informed enough to mean it when her
> books suggest medieval
> texts.
> I think the things that make Spellcoats feel
> pre-historic to me are: that
> tribes are important; that the King and his people
> don't seem very
> "courtly"- in fact the whole thing doesn't have the
> flavour of courtesy or
> the particular sort of faerie/fantastic feel that
> the magic in the few
> mediaeval things I've read do; and that the coats
> have to be deciphered, and
> the prologue says that they have new knowledge,
> nobody had known there was a
> king before Kern Adon- mediaeval texts have
> generally come down to us as
> mss, we have known about them and been able to read
> them, but things that
> are dug up by archaologists and translated
> afterwards seem older. 
> I know the people seem very settled and quite
> "advanced", with farming and
> weaving and whatnot, but I suppose (as far as I've
> ever thought about it at
> all) I'm thinking of it as sort of analogous to the
> Bronze Age, which was
> civilised, but mostly what we knew about it was from
> a few myths until
> archaeology of the last 100 or so years.
> OTOH I didn't really think about it much until I was
> actually composing this
> post, so it's very possible I missed things as I
> read them- like literary
> resonances. What might make it mediaeval?
> (I'll read it tomorrow and be able to discuss it
> properly, not from memory).
> Jennifer
> --

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