Merlin

JOdel at aol.com JOdel at aol.com
Tue May 27 13:37:52 EDT 2003


Regarding Nick's selfishness; Yes. The kid *is* selfish. It is a deeply 
ingrained characteristic, and it will probably always be a part of him. We are 
getting a very clear-eyed view of that particular quality here, and we are also 
being shown that selfish is *not* -- as it is usually portrayed in books which 
are expected to be read by the young adult age group -- the worst "fault" that 
a person can have. 

We lose a bit of context here if we ignore DS. Nick *had* to develop that 
selfishness, and cling very tightly to it, too, or his mother would have eaten 
him alive. And for that matter, there are other preditors out there and his 
mother may not have been the worst of them. Selfishness may not be the best 
quality of armor, but it can be effective. And given the sort of places that Nick 
naturally seeks out, he is going to need some kind of armor. And keep in mind 
that much of Nick's selfishness in DS came to usd through Maree's viewpoint.

And I also get the feeling that not too much time has taken place since DS. 
Nick is still adjusting to *not* having to work around his mother. If he is 15 
in both books there has been less than a year of breathing space. Not a lot of 
time to learn new coping mechanisms. On the whole he is doing very well for a 
kid his age. And it makes him a much more "accessible" character for the 
reader than the sort of pictures of heroic perfection that still do crop up fron 
time to time.

Now, Roddy has still been flying more or less on autopilot, reacting to 
whatever gets thrown in her path rather than trying to look ahead any distance. 
Getting the hurt woman's files dumped on her all at once knocked her out of orbit 
but good. Very good depiction of not quite coping from that point until very 
near the showdown.

Grundo is an interesting case. And as pointed out, the parallels between him 
and Nick are striking. He has been considerably more at risk than Nick, 
however, since while Janice wanted to *use* Nick, she didn't actively dislike him. 
Grundo magically grabbed onto the first protector he found when he was 3 and I 
suspect that he has been afraid to let go for some time because he doesn't 
know how Roddy will take it.

One thing that kept striking me is that so many of the kids in this book seem 
to be, not exactly retreads, but reworkings of characters in earlier books. 
Roddy comes across very much like Tanaqui. Grundo comes across just a little 
bit like Duck. Nick seems an amalgum of a number of her earlier characters, Howl 
and Jamie Hamilton the most recognizable. The Izzys are simply Awful times 2. 

And the thing that seems hardest to make any kind of sense out of, as Roddy 
pointed out are the older generation's former marriages. Generally you can see 
at least a glimpse of why such people got together in the first place (Aunt 
Maria, Fire & Hemlock) but there just seems to be no sense to these former 
pairings at all. Practically the only other such that comes to mind is the one in 
Sudden Wild Magic. 

And does anyone else suspect that at some point between now and when Ted 
Mallory is set up with a new wife to take care of him, Nick will cross paths with 
some other magical prodigy and find a whole new role model that he wants to be 
like?

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