Subject: Merlin (with spoilers was RE: Ready for Merlin?

Ven vendersleighc at
Mon May 26 16:57:12 EDT 2003

Deborah wrote
> Do people think this Nick is the same Nick from

DS?  I'm not sure he's
> as selfish as he and Maree tell us he is.  Even

pretending to be...
Jennifer replied

<I want to get some discussing in quickly,
I'll have to read the
weekend's chat on Monday, which is very 

I think Nick is like a lot of people- thinks of 
himself as selfish (and is
so, in unimportant things) but will do the right 
thing in the end - or to
put it another way, Nick is a slitherer-outer 
like Howl. >

If Nick was your housemate you couldn't trust him
not to use the last of the milk, bread and
marmite but he'd be a gem if you were in trouble
-- providing he'd noticed of course. I think it's
come up before that he somewhat resembles
Bujold's Ivan, except that Ivan's mother is nice
and acts form the best of motives.

Anna said

<I kind of agree, I mean I think that is the way 
Nick ends up, but
I think one of the few firm threads that links DS

& Merlin is the story of
Nick growing up & learning to fight his own 
faults (shades of Archer's
Goon!), with selfishness being a major adversary 
for him.> (lots snipped)

I feel it's not so much that Nick fights his
faults as that he discovers his limits, that
there are degrees of selfishness that he isn't in
fact capable of -- like leaving Maree in Babylon,
stripped. I  suspect that (like Frodo returning
to rescue the others from the barrow wights) he
knows that he couldn't bear to live with himself
afterwards knowing what he had done.

Robyn said

<I think it is an 
interesting attribute in a protagonist, because
stereotypical heroes are 
often characterised by being the opposite of

Tim Powers says that his heroes never intend to
do anything heroic because he finds it hard to
imagine anyone who doesn't want to high tail it
in the opposite direction when faced with

Charles pointed out:
 <One of
the things I like about MC is the way this
characteristic is, so far from
being a bolt-on feature, a vital part of the
plot, particularly vis a vis
his laughing at Japheth, whose reaction even at
the end of the book is a
mystery to him ('What of it? You trod on an egg.
It was funny.')>

That's so true! It also shows that Nick, not
being petty himself doesn't get pettiness. And
pettiness combined with selfishness is not a good


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