Magic in the Dark Lord (moderate spoilers)

Charles Butler hannibal at thegates.fsbusiness.co.uk
Wed Aug 27 04:48:52 EDT 2003


Deborah:
> And of course, the screamingly unsubtle in-your-face moral itself is a
> feature of the books she's parodying.  I kinda like the "plot holes are
> part of the parody" aspect.  So much of the book read like The Belgariad
> (which, full disclosure, I must admit I've read buckets of times) to me,
> and that's how silly and unecessary the vast battles are in The
> Belgariad.  Also the whole god arrival at the end, also straight from
> Eddings.

That's all kind of interesting. DL didn't really come across as that kind of
parody to me (though you've certainly got a point about the god at the end).
The way I saw it, the cliched fantasy plot in DL is the one that Chesney
uses as a template for the experience of the tourists, it's not the plot of
DL itself, which is rather an exercise in showing up the ludicrousness of
the cliche plot by 'thinking it through' and working out what its
implications would be if applied practically. (It also has something in
common with one of those stories - or indeed plays - that are about the
hectic behind-the-scenes chaos hidden from the audience in a dramatic
production.)

There's a danger, too, in the 'so bad it's good' approach, isn't there? I
remember reading a book about Renaissance drama in which the writer
complained about the way plays everyone used to consider poorly written -
crude, cliched, etc - had been reassessed in recent years as ironic
parodies. (This was about 1975, New Criticism in its decadent phase...) The
trouble was that this critical strategy had been applied so widely that
there were no longer any bad plays for the rest to be parodies of!

Charlie

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