DWJ in Today's Guardian, and untrimmed pages

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Thu Apr 24 07:29:36 EDT 2003


Paul wrote explanatorily (is that really a word? it ought to be)

>On Wed, 23 Apr 2003, Ven wrote:
>
>> and the following sounds like bad word processor editing
>>
>> "But children reading the reissued Chrestomanci
>> books soon commented on the likeness to Harry
>> Potter: school background to the magic, refering
>> to a character as one who must not be
>> named......."
>>
>> I quote aminly to ask if anyone knows what that means?
>
>That should be a semi-colon and not a comma, I think; "school
>background to the magic" and "referring to a character as one who must
>not be named" are two separate points.
>
>The first is pushing it a bit, I feel: okay, Cat gets taken away to a
>castle where he is given magic lessons, but it's not really the same
>thing, is it?

Well, if you take *Witch Week* as being a Chrestomanci book, it's a school
story.  (Note the Caretaker's Dog, btw.)  There's also the school in *The
Nine Lives of Christopher Chant*, I suppose.  Mostly, it's that people who
are between ten and sixteen years of age tend to be at a school of some
kind, in DWJ, unless it's the holidays.

>The latter of course refers to the way the villains in _Charmed Life_
>speak of "A Certain Personage" for fear that saying his name will
>attract his attention. It's not as much of a stretch as previous
>point, but I don't think it counts as a point of specific similarity:
>the idea of "speak of the devil" has been around a very long time and
>appears in other places than DWJ and JKR.

In DWJ the point is that if you say "Chrestomanci" it may actually summon
him, as in *Witch Week*, -- and that's why he wears such splendid
dressing-gowns.  DWJ explains it somewhere, it has a plot-reason, it's
important.  In JKR the idea is there but the reason isn't, as far as I know
(I have read them but they didn't make any more impression on me than the
Billy Bunter books, so I can't say for sure) -- is it not as you suggest
pure superstition rather than that whoever it is (some name like Folderol?)
will immediately manifest?

Minnow


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