Writers conferences and the like

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Sun Oct 5 08:50:15 EDT 2003

Robyn wrote:

>I was absolutely furious with Cooper when I read the ending of Silver on
>the Tree. It is such a stupid ending, and it undoes so much of what the
>books do - what's the point of going to all that trouble to triumph over
>evil if you forget all about it?

Heartily seconded; and there is also the remark made by George Santayana,
that "those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it" --
how is one supposed to learn from something one can't remember?

Bah, said I crossly as a child.

There are other examples of magically-induced forgetfulness I found equally
annoying.  Kipling does it repeatedly in *Puck of Pook's Hill*, for
instance, and if the object of the exercise was that the children should be
given the story of their own country, what's the point of that if it is
taken away again at the end of each episode?  Puck might just as well not
have bothered to show them the past at all, for all the good it would do

>One of the best things about Fire and
>Hemlock is how it addresses the stupidity of such an ending. It' hard to
>believe people wouldn't remember something, and given that all the
>characters are brave and intelligent and infinitely perservering in the
>books, how is it possible they would suddenly just let a mystery lie?

At the end of *Silver on the Tree* John Rowland says that to forget his
"wife"'s perfidy and other-worldly status. and to remember her only as a
human whom he loved and who loved him, would be "living a lie", and I think
he is right; but the Lady decides on his behalf that he shall forget,
having pretended to give him a choice.

How sane he will be, living that lie, presumably depends on how thoroughly
his mind is raped.  That's what enforced forgetfulness is, to me:
mind-rape.  I cannot like it, and it tarnishes the Light for me if it is
the Light that does this thing.

At least in *Fire and Hemlock* it is someone not meant to be one of the
Good Guys in the White Hats who has tried to steal Polly's memory -- and I
do bless DWJ for having shown it as a failed attempt.


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