Merlin Conspiracy Review

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Mon Jun 16 10:40:41 EDT 2003


Jennifer Rowland wrote:

>I think some of them have emotionally tidier ends than others. Life goes on
>after all of them, but the ones with romances (Howl and Castle in the Air
>are the first ones that sprang to mind) do end with the lovers getting
>together, which makes the story wind up in a way that feels different to me-
>maybe it's a sort of "closure" for the protagonists in a different way than
>protagonists who change but don't fall in love? (And it sorts out the future
>of two characters in one go, very tidy :)

I'm not entirely convinced.  If falling in love (or realising that you did
some while ago, or discovering that it wasn't hopeless to do so) is what
happens, then yes, that's certainly one form of satisfactory conclusion to
arrive at... along with the other conclusions being reached at the end of
the book, such as the defeat of the villain or the saving of the universes.
But surely finding out, as Jamie does in the Homeward Bounders, or
Christopher Chant does in 9 Lives, what one's purpose will be hereafter, or
being made a member of a profession one is suited for, as Maree is in DS,
or accepting one's responsibilities and seeing that they are worthwhile, as
Nick does not once but twice, at the end of DS and again at the end of
Merl, and as Roddy seems likely to do at the end of Merl, is equally
satisfactory, in a slightly different way?  In Howl and in CitA, the love
is there all the way through, pretty-much, and is therefore part of the
book and needs to have some sort of tying-in along with all the other
threads; but in Merl the love is not exactly central, if it's love at all
rather than simply an adolescent being attracted by a personable girl; it
doesn't need a great deal of tying-in at the end, and so the fact that it
doesn't get a lot is not what I'd call a major matter for consideration.

Sorting out their futures....  In this book, that would be a bit optimistic
as a take on what Lerve does for people, wouldn't it?  Apart from Roddy's
mum and dad, who still seem to be on speaking terms, all the marriages, and
indeed families, in sight (which presumably started out because the two
parties to them were attracted to each other in *some* way!) seem to be in
tattered shreds and causing a great deal of trouble not just to the two
people involved but to entire worlds!  If Romanov and his missus had never
met, f'rinstance, or not had a relationship and a child, the (unwritten)
story of their early relationship might have lacked closure, but it would
have been a lot less bother for the rest of the world(s) further down the
line.  :-)  Parents come in gangs of one, not pairs.  Each grandfather, Mrs
C, the hereditary witches; even the King and Queen are living apart.
(Maybe that's what's wrong with Blest long-term, come to think of it.)

Seriously, can anyone really see Roddy and Nick as a Match Made In Heaven?
I somehow don't.  I think they are more likely to end up friends than
sweethearts, possibly after a brief crush or fling or whatever one wants to
call it.

Minnow


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