Joan Aiken, vague spoiler for Midwinter Nightingales (and real spoiler for series)

jstallcup at juno.com jstallcup at juno.com
Mon Jan 12 14:30:04 EST 2004


I'm going to address the question Hallie has about the vague spoilers
below...

On Mon, 12 Jan 2004 14:28:49 +0000 "Hallie O'Donovan"
<hallieod at indigo.ie> writes:
> The real spoiler is below added space, so you can read the vague one 
> 
> and not meet any big bad ones there.  :)
> 
> Jackie:
> 
> >There is a small mistake in the story.  Midwinter Nightingales is
already out.  I have a copy and have read it, and actually found it
pretty disturbing.  In the later books, it seems, Aiken just starts...

> >small, rather vague spoiler coming up...
> >
> >
> >
> >
killing people off without compunction.  No major characters, but several
minor characters that I'd come to like.  Same thing in Dido and Pa and in
Is Underground.

Hallie: > Do you really think it's without compunction?  I found _Is_
very sad, and disturbing even, but can't honestly think that it would
have felt 'righter' (for whatever values of 'right'!) if the characters
hadn't  been killed off, though it would certainly have been more upbeat.
 I'm not sure who you mean in_Dido and Pa_ , though I guess it's 
*possible* to feel liking for one character who bought it. (Keeping it to
vague.)
> 

Jackie:  Well, perhaps not without compunction, you're right.  And Dido
certainly feels terrible about the people who die in Midwinter.  But I
don't see that there was a point to their deaths.  I can see your point
that in Is Underground, the people who die do so in an important
self-sacrifice, that's true.  So it is upsetting, but understandable. 
But I can't see that there was a point to the deaths in Midwinter.  I
also think that this is something that escalates as you read through the
series.  The earlier (in terms of publishing dates) books don't have
this, so I suppose that I was not expecting it in the later books.  In
Dido and Pa, in addition to the awful people dying, there's also someone
who helps them who dies--again, kind of pointlessly.  It's a lot like
life in that Dido agonizes over the choice that she made without
realizing it, and wishing that she had just done something a bit
different... but it's a book.  Aiken had the choice:  Dido COULD easily
have done something differently, and to me, it didn't seem to be
important to the book that this character died.   

> Spoiler for series overall:
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Hallie:  > What I have against the series (in the mildest sort of way) is
that  poor Simon has to become king and is left all alone and then JA 
stopped adding Dido books at the end of the story!  MW is slotted in 
 the middle of the story somewhere, like Dangerous Games/Limbo Lodge, 
right?  For all people have said against the Mitt-story ending (I'm not
in the speaking-against camp, FWIW), it's at least got hope,  contrasted
with the place Simon was left.

 I love the series too.  (And the Felix one, which also has a fair few
characters killed off, now I come to think of it.)
> 
> Hallie.

Jackie:  Well, I suppose that I can see Dido's point that she would be
very out of place as queen... but I think that there is more hope offered
in Midwinter Nightingale than was left at the end of Dido and Pa.  And I
believe that it is set later--after she returns from the visit to
Nantucket that she is on during the Is books.  
--
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