F&H and Austen

Katarina Hjärpe head_overheels at hotmail.com
Fri Jan 10 08:15:56 EST 2003

>Given the basis of the ballad, I don't think platonic friendship would have 
>saved him

I guess one problem for me is that I had never heard of the ballad before 
reading the book, which could also be a reason I had to read it twice before 
I felt I understood it properly. It's a common problem for me, since fantasy 
often work with British myths that I never grew up with. While if someone 
plays the violin down at the brook, I'll know exactly who they are and what 
they're likely to do. :-)

>Possibly - and this is fairly flimsy as reasoning, I admit - it has 
>something to do with the way we see through Polly's eyes, and see the 
>friendship and shared heroism as most important, and developing before the 
>sexual attraction.  And Tom never makes *her* feel uncomfortable; in fact, 
>quite the opposite.

I like Tom a lot. I just can't get past that for the largest part of the 
book, he's a grownup and she's not, and that's the nature of the 
relationship for me. Her crush on him was part of that to me – "training" on 
love by choosing a safe object for your emotions.

Which of course made the ending stick out like a sore thumb to me. But I'm 
not sure it would have been better if I'd considered it romantic right away, 
rather that might have made me think "Get over yourself. She's a kid." the 
way I did over Catherine Cookson's The Rag Nymph, one of the few generic 
romances I have read.

I can't defend that particular part of the book. Any other part, sure. But 
that part I can't.


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