Zinka and Deep Secret

Deirdre Behan dbehan at indigo.ie
Sun May 4 03:50:49 EDT 2003

I've come to this discussion late - so someone may have made this point
earlier. The Zinka/Rupert/Simon relationship always disturbed me. I always
thought that Rubert never said anything because there were so many other
things going on that he couldn't really absorb what Simon said to him about
being married. Also if I remember correctly, Simon acknowledges that he
knows Zinka is appreciative of male beauty but says that the pictures she
paints - which Rupert reckons are based on an intimate knowledge of the men
portrayed - are only painted from her imagination. I know that Rupert
doesn't believe this because of the ways that he describes the paintings
when he first sees them in the book - the time when he tells us he and Zinka
have been lovers. I always thought that Rupert was being tactful to Simon.
It's always been pretty clear to me that Zinka and Simon have different
conceptions of what their marriage entails. But that's a whole other story
for another day.

Not a spoiler exactly but a point about The Merlin Conspiracy re Deep Secret
and marriage.

Talking about marriage brings me back to what I thought was one of the
strongest themes in  The Merlin Conspiracy: the number of terrible marriages
that were made between people who clearly should never married but who did
and who went on to have children/grandchildren who then have to unravel the
past in order to make sense of the present - whether it's saving the world
or going on to have happy lives themselves. Of course this is a common YA
theme - and supports the definition of YA literature that was recently

What it says to me in terms of Deep Secret is that Simon and Zinka may be
storing up problems for the future. On a wider note, that they all lived
happily ever after is something that doesn't happen in general in
contemporary fiction.


----- Original Message -----
From: <minnow at belfry.org.uk>
To: <dwj at suberic.net>
Sent: Saturday, May 03, 2003 2:52 PM
Subject: Re: Zinka and Deep Secret

> Ania wrote:
> >Couldn't the apparent inconsistency in the Zinka/Si/ Rupert dates be
> >DWJ inadvertently Made A Mistake with the dates? Did she ever expect this
> >be so closely analysed?
> I don't suppose any author expects to be so closely analysed.  :-)  DWJ
> stands up to it better than most.  :-)
> >I cannot see how even someone who is very 'liberated' would feel
> >about sleeping with his brother's wife. Rupert certainly has morals,
> Perhaps he holds by the (current, perfectly valid and sensible) neo-Pagan
> moral code that says "do what thou wilt so long as thou harmest none", and
> so didn't need to be 'liberated' from the Judeo-Christian-Islamic code of
> morals in the first place?  If neither Zinka nor Simon has been harmed by
> his action -- and they don't seem to be -- then all he'd have to deal with
> is his own feelings and the need to move Zinka from the category
> "completely independent person" to "has a prior commitment" in his future
> dealings with her.
> Perhaps he knows (and DWJ knows) that *Zinka's* code is "do what thou wilt
> so long as thou harmest none".  In which case his (and DWJ's) lack of
> concern about her interest in the Adonis on the stairs is because he knows
> (and DWJ knows) she won't do the chap any harm...  That would make
> perfectly good sense.  It's pretty clear that Zinka didn't do *Rupert* any
> harm, or he wouldn't be pleased to see her when she first turns up.
> >yet he
> >does not dwell on the revelation that Zinka is married- surely he'd have
> >agonized over it a bit more if he'd just found out he'd slept with her
> >she was married to his brother?
> Rupert has rather more pressing, immediate and personal worries at that
> point than whether or not he was guilty of inadvertant incest (if it was;
> if having one's brother's wife as a temporary lover is incest, if Zinka
> married to Simon when R and she were lovers) some time ago.  His reaction,
> or lack of it, is more like a sort of blank "Oh.  You could have told me
> sooner" along with "I can't deal with this now!  You've been given my job
> and I think the Upper Room are about to demote me, my idiot neighbour has
> turned out to be the Lost Emperor Koryfos and I'd no idea he was and I've
> made a complete idiot of myself, and you've just told me I'm expected to
> marry Maree!  I can't cope with all this all at once..."
> "Consternation" might be at least as much because he hadn't been told and
> so hasn't said the "congratulations" he ought to have done, and may have
> offended Zinka.  Likewise, not having known and sent a present at the time
> might cause one to feel consternation.  It seems a fairly tame word to
> describe "omigod i cuckolded my own brother by accident!" feelings, does
> "consternation".
> Gracious me, if I were suddenly told in passing that my brother and one of
> my closest (I had thought) friends had been married three years and
> forgotten to tell me, *I'd* be a bit storbumfurkled.  Wouldn't most
> Minnow
> --
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