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

jackie e stallcup jstallcup at
Tue Jan 13 13:34:03 EST 2004

Interesting!  Now, I think that Dido's supposed death is one that I
wouldn't have minded, because it was --- I dunno --- earned (?).  I'm not
sure that's the word that I want.  But I suppose that I mean that it made
sense in the context and it had purpose and meaning and an effect on the
people around her.  In the later books, people just get killed off right,
left and rat's ramble (in my favorite Dido phrase).

I mean, the entire boatload of people whom we met in the Cathedral at the
end of Cuckoo's Nest going down at the opening of Dido and Pa?  I liked
those people and their deaths just seemed like "poof!"  They're gone.  Oh
well.   Starting with Dido and Pa, I started getting very leery about
getting attached to any of the characters--they are too likely to die in
some bizarre and to my mind unnecessary accident.  And wouldn't all the
death that starts happening around Dido start to have an effect on her?  

You know, I'm thinking about putting together a Joan Aiken memorial panel
for the Children's Literature Association conference in Fresno, in June
of this year.  Anyone who is following or participating in this
thread--are you interested in delivering a paper on Aiken?  Death in Joan
Aiken's Wolves Chronicles, perhaps?  

Let me know!


On Tue, 13 Jan 2004 16:18:40 +0000 "Hallie O'Donovan"
<hallieod at> writes:
> Charlie:
> >  > And then there is the article I read in Locus, iirc, in which 
> JA said
> >>  she'd planned to leave Dido dead after Black Hearts, but was
> >>  convinced to change her mind by a young fan.  Which was shot 
> down as
> >>  not credible on the list when I mentioned it then, so I bring it 
> up
> >>  now very much in the FWIW department. :)
> >
> >You're not wrong but right, Hallie. This is taken from JA's 
> interview in
> >*The Pied Pipers*:
> Thanks, Charlie, but I didn't mean to imply that people here had 
> said 
> I'd invented this, only that they didn't believe JA meant what she'd 
> said.  I could be misremembering as well as misrepresenting here, 
> though it's all unintentional if so.
> >
> >"I did go on with Dido, mainly because of the letters [from 
> children],
> >though I'd intended her to die in *Black Hearts in Battersea*, 
> because I
> >thought the death of a child was something everyone ought to face; 
> and then
> >I had a really heartrending letter from in a child in America 
> saying why did
> >she have to die, she was so good; so--at that time I was interested 
> in
> >whaling ships, and I couldn't resist combining the whaling ship 
> with having
> >her rescued from the sea."
> Nice to see this version too.
> >
> >She goes on to add this hostage to fortune:
> >
> >"I don't think I will write about her any more, because she's now 
> grown
> >quite enough."
> >That was in 1974...
> Thank goodness she changed her mind on this also!
> Hallie.
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