Awful with Power (aaagh) (was Re: Another topic)

minnow at minnow at
Tue Dec 2 09:21:36 EST 2003

Robyn wrote, Sallyo commented, and Robyn replied:

>> > (Momentary sidetrack: I would love her to write a sequel to
>> > Archer's Goon, all about Awful getting powers.)
>>There's no reason for Awful to have powers, is there? She's not a blood
>>sister to Howard/Venturous. Or does the trace of inheritance (I think...
>>while since I read it) in her natural parents reinforce the chance?
>I just reread the book recently, so that's why I thought of it. Hathaway
>makes it quite clear that both of Howard's adoptive parents are descendants
>of his.

I too thought he made it clear, but when I check, even that's a little
ambiguous: Hathaway's daughter Anne marries a man called Sykes and moves
away from the town, so Hathaway has no record of what children she has nor
whether Quentin Sykes is descended from her, because his records only
include those in the town.  We assume Quentin descends from Hathaway, but
he might not, he might be descended from a brother of the Sykes she
married.  As it were.

>There is a link made between the geas placed on all Howard's
>siblings to look after him and his parents adopting him *twice*. Also, when
>Awful walks up the stairs to the future, Howard sees a strong resemblance
>between her and Shine. Later he says something about needing to help raise
>her so she doesn't come out like the bad siblings. All these things made me
>think there was a strong possibility Awful will get some powers.

I agree that Howard has getting Awful to grow up right on his mind in the
last paragraph of the book  What he seems most afraid of is that Erskine
may lead her astray when she has grown up.  She does look like a blonde
Shine when she's in her teens (in a maroon school uniform) as she goes up
the steps in Venturus's silly edifice, but she seems to have grown out of
it again when she loses her puppy-fat and reaches Fifi's age.  And she does
admire Shine rather, but one can admire someone even if she isn't one's
great-great-great-etc aunt (which is the relationship between Awful and
Shine).  There doesn't have to be a blood relationship for someone to grow
up like someone else, not really.

We assume that she's got the potential to develop Power, and I think we're
meant to, but it is left open enough to leave us unsure.  Just because
*Howard* assumes it, because of a chance remark of Erskine's about Awful
being a "chip off the old block", that doesn't mean it'll happen.  (Erskine
might just mean that she's as ornery as Quentin, after all, or as beautiful
as Catriona!  Not likely, given the context, but possible.)

I would have thought that if having some of Hathaway's genetic makeup (even
reinforced) led to people developing Power there would be a lot of people
in the town who had some: his son has a lot of descendents apart from
Catriona -- "most of the local families" is what Hathaway says, so what if,
say, a Mountjoy married a Hind and reinforced the inheritence?  It doesn't
seem to have given them Power.  Similarly, the geas doesn't seem to have
extended to for example Ginger Hind, who is equally a descendent of
Hathaway's, according to the hints: a Moneypenny married a Hind in the
nineteenth century.  Oh, and Hathaway's descendents don't seem to have
inherited the longevity either, surely it would be noticed if too many
people in the town lived to be more than a bit over a hundred?  So the
potential for Power may not be inherited either and the world may be safe
from a Powered Awful.

I hope!


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