Checking in

Ian W. Riddell iwriddell at
Thu Jan 22 12:32:30 EST 2004

Just checking in that I've not been bumped off the list. We've been 
awfully quiet. I know I've been swamped with work.

It's amazing, you know, how reading something out loud can show up it 
strengths and weaknesses. I'm reading the Harry Potter books to my 
partner (this after reading Lord of the Rings and then Pullman's His 
Dark Materials trilogy) and we're enjoying them immensely (he for the 
first time, me for the fourth I think).

But I'm noticing some patterns in Rowling's writing that I don't like. 
Most specifically, she commits the "sin" of using the same word too 
often, too close together. I don't have a specific example, but it 
would look something like: "Harry pulled out his wand. He touched his 
wand to his nose." That's a bad example and doesn't really get at the 
heart of the problem. Just some infelicitous prose. I'll note down the 
next one I come across.

I'm also re-reading George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire books in 
preparation for the release of the fourth volume some time this decade 
(trying to be patient!). I love these books. I know they're violent. 
But they're full of deep, passionate, complex characters that I've 
grown to love and hate more and more each time I read these books. 
Martin is so deft at showing characters who are the nominal "heros" of 
the story acting in not-so-great ways (Catelyn is the prime example of 
this). And even more deft at creating characters who are ostensibly on 
the wrong side (or at least, in conflict with the "protagonists") and 
who are the ones we're really cheering for (Tyrion is the prime example 
of this). What will be interesting to see is if I feel this way about 
Jaime Lannister once I've read the 4th book. And it will be interesting 
to see what happens when Danerys and Jon Snow eventually meet (as they 
must in some way, I think). It's quite easy for them to be the heros of 
their own story when they are so far apart. But what happens when they 
come together? Of course, I have a theory about that . . . . . (I'll 
discuss it if you like, but I don't want to spoil anything . . .).

Anyhoo . . . hope everyone is well. Happy Chinese New Year! It's the 
year of the Monkey, which is my year (which means you can figure out a 
small set of possibilities of what my age is!).

take care


Henry Drummond: You ever been in love Hornbeck?
E. K. Hornbeck: Only with the sound of my own words, thank god.
- Jerome Lawrence & Robert E. Lee: Inherit the Wind

Ian W. Riddell
iwriddell at
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