I Ate'nt Dead -- or That Which Does Not Kill Us Makes Us Stronger

Ven vendersleighc at yahoo.com
Tue Sep 17 20:10:36 EDT 2002

Philip said

<but I'd like to add my bit on Changeover...>

and it's very good -- I can't remeber any of that
but it makes me wish I had a copy to reread! I
read a library copy about the time I first got
into Dwj.

Jackie said

< For me, I suppose, the next thing that I 
was wondering is, what
to make of all of the really interesting examples

that you pull from the
various texts?  Is there a common motif or theme 
that she seems to be
using death and resurrection to convey to us?  I 
suppose that one thing
that comes out for me in many of the books is the

idea of hope for the
future--that no matter how bleak things look, we 
should always look to
the future with hope and even joy, in the midst 
of sorrow, because we
never know what is going to happen> snip 

I think that is a large part of it

Jackie still
<Hmm.  Does the issue of self-sacrifice
this?  In a sense, I
can see Jamie of Homeward Bounders as being 
rather Christ-like in his 


sacrificing his own life for the sake of all the 
worlds.  But this is
also linked, explicitly, to a non-Christian
Thank you!>

It's a pleasure. I don't think the sacrifice idea
so much as complicating rather as complimentary.
It was one of the things I was thinking when I
referred to "the deliberate shedding of the old
life in order to begin the new." By taking on the
burden of a wanderer, by no longer being homeward
bound, Jamie redeems not only the worlds but
himself. It gives his time as a homeward bounder
and his discovery that his old life is out of
reach a meaning and gives him a purpose. It is
however one of the bleakest redemptions I have
seen .........

Dorian said
<This is very interesting stuff, and I wish I'd 
thought of it! 
To a large
extent, I think your Nietzsche quote sums up 
where these motifs are going -
in DWJ at least.  But there also seems to be more

to it.  (I'm tired, and
I've a wrenched finger, so bear with me if I 
ramble a bit.)  Part of it also
seems to be that you have to go through some kind

of hell to get where you
want to be.  And part of it seems to be an 
extension of the idea that only
you can save yourself (cf my interpretation of 
the end of "Fire and
Hemlock"); the corollary being that saving 
yourself cannot be easy, and may
require "dying".>

Dying or some kind of sacrifice or loss. I don't
think Dwj believes in something for nothing (and
authors who do, who don't allow anything
permanently bad to happen to the "important"
characters are not as satisfying.

I wrote
> >The reuniting of sundered parts of a 
> >or a person. This is common in Dwj, is it a
> >personal motif?

<It reminded me of what she's said about the 
different gardens she knew when
she was growing up, and how she and her sisters 
played different games/did
different things in the different gardens.  
Perhaps especially the walled
garden with the homicidal bees, that she was only

rarely allowed into.
There seems to me to be a definite feeling of 
compartmentalisation there,
which might extend into a personality as well as 
its actions.  (She's also
said that she uses different parts of the one 
character in different books,
which may be connected.)>

Interesting, particulary, I suspect in reference
to Time of the Ghost. 



> Spoiler warning space
> The Ogre Downstairs -- Apart from the dragon's
> teeth I couldn't find it in this one.


<Hm.  You could say that the "death" is what 
actually looks superficially
like a "resurrection"; the new beginning of the 
combining of two families,
which happens before the book starts.  In which 
case the book is about the
struggle for resurrection, which happens at the 
end when the families
finally manage to coalesce..............  >

I think you're quite right and you put it so

> Power of Three -- The lifing of the curse is a
> kind of resurrection for all the peoples of the
> Moor. Hafny's "mogery" provides another. Gerald
> and Gair go underground to the Dorig Halls and
> nearly get themselves sacrificed.


<Sacrifice is a very important part of the end of

this book, and I think it
does tie in with the death-and-resurrection idea;

in order to have a
resurrection, you must have a death, and in this 
case we're looking at
willingly accepting death in order to provide a 
resurrection, not
necessarily for yourself, but for others.  A very

Christian idea, though the
book is not at all overtly Christian.  (And, of 
course, the notion of
willing self-sacrifice is by no means confined to


<So the sacrifices here are important; Gair 
willingly agreeing to give up his
life for the resurrection of all three peoples 
involved, and then Hathil
willingly agreeing to pay whatever penalty may be

involved when he refuses
to accept Gair's life, thus granting Gair 

Dorian, this feels as though you are channelling
"what Ven was trying to say"!

Dorian on the ending of Drowned Ammet

<Glancing at the ending of this one, the thing 
that struck me was that Mitt
seems to be - or be becoming - Undying right 
there, when he tells Jenro to
look after Lithar "until I come back", and Jenro 
accepts this bargain.  This
seems to tie in to both the death/resurrection 
and the sacrifice themes;
Mitt the mortal dies here, to be instantly 
resurrected as Mitt the Undying.
And also, Mitt sacrifices (albeit at this point, 
unknowingly) his mortality,
in order (as we find out in "Crown of Dalemark") 
to achieve resurrection for
Dalemark by rooting out Kankredin.>

I hadn't even thought of this -- the moment that
Mitt became undying.

> The Time of the Ghost -- 
I rather see this book as our heroine being, in a

sense, dead for most of
it.  From the time she swears herself to Monigan,

she's dead - and
interestingly, this is one instance where someone

*doesn't* save herself;
it's her sister's trick that grants her 

Witch Week 
Back to the macro scale and the sacrifice idea 
(can you tell I'm fond of
sacrifice themes?!).  At the end, Charles causes 
everyone (or Simon, using
the gift Charles gave him) to kill the world, in 
order to gain resurrection
as part of a different world.  Or, if you will, 
the world is sacrificed to
enrich another, related world.>


> >
I said
<Howl's Moving Castle -- Not the major theme 


<Hm.  In a way I'd say it *could* be the major 
theme; Sophie connives at her
own death by allowing herself to become old in 
spirit (the Witch merely puts
the physical semblance onto what she's let her 
personality become).  So then
the book is suddenly all about Sophie 
resurrecting herself - to this end,
she finds death (old age) very liberating, and is

able to regain her youth
(in a spiritual sense); because she's effectively

dead already, it doesn't
matter what she does, and so she can find her way

back to life.>

Um, yes, for some reason I decided all the above 
was part of something else -- but it's not is it!
I seem to have had a blind spot around the
correalation between  old age and death -- could
it be because  it's already started snowing white
haires on me?

>I said
> The ritual and the subsequent trip to Babylon
> draw from a number of sources -- the nursery
> rhyme, How many Miles to Babylon, which might 
> about sleep or death, aand This Aye Night,
provide a
> classic heros journey into the land of the 
> And, like in most of the classic journeys,
> success means literal new life for Marie and
> Andrew, a reinvention for the quacks and
> something of the sort for Nick and Rob too.

Dorian wrote

<We could also add the destruction of the Empire,

preparatory to Koryfos'
return.  Also, Maree's break-up could be her 
death, so that about half of
the book becomes her struggle towards 
resurrection.  And Rupert's
self-imposed isolation could also be a death, so 
that much of the book is
also *his* struggle towards resurrection.  At 
which point, Rupert and
Maree's saving themselves also becomes them 
saving each other (shades of
"The Lady's not for Burning", though I don't know

the play well enough to
expand this).>

We should also add the General and the Consort
and I should never have forgotten Maree's little
fat Dad. Nick, too, makes a sacrifice which
alters his path in life when he gives up his
desire (to be a games designer irrc) for Maree's
sake, which leads to his new ambition to be a


Do you Yahoo!?
Yahoo! News - Today's headlines
To unsubscribe, email dwj-request at suberic.net with the body "unsubscribe".
Visit the archives at http://suberic.net/dwj/list/

More information about the Dwj mailing list