Magic needing specific persons as regards age or sex

deborah deborah at
Sat Mar 6 14:08:12 EST 2004

On Sat, 6 Mar 2004 minnow at wrote:

|I have a very strong suspicion that DWJ doesn't pay all that much attention
|to people's wishful thinking about how they would *like* things to be in
|magic, and takes the facts of the matter into account, whether these are
|about age or about sex or about timing.

Not trying in any way to get into DWJ's head, but I think the richness
of, say, the Howl's Moving Castle world, or Dark Lord world, or Deep
Secret world, or practically any of them, shows an *enormous* attention
to people's thinking about how they would like magic, gender, social
roles et al to be.  There's two kinds of not following traditional
roles.  One is ignoring them (to the extent that anyone can ignore one's
own unexamined assumptions and one's society's unexamined assumptions).
But the other, the one I think is more fascinating, more rich, and what
I see in DWJ's work, is inversion.  Recognition of expectations (the
oldest child must fail; there must be a dark Lord; cousin Stephen must
have stopped the robbers because he is a boy) and then turning them on
their heads.  That's how "Dragon Reserve, Home Eight" works.  By
recognizing assumptions about gender and power and inverting them.

"`I am that merry wanderer of the night'?  I am that giggling-dangerous-
totally-bloody-psychotic-menace-to-life-and-limb, more like it."
				-neil gaiman

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