Fire and Hemlock (SPOILERS)

Ven vendersleighc at
Tue May 18 20:30:10 EDT 2004

Ika wrote

<For me the main thing is - well, Hallie

>> the most gloriously complex layering of myth, 
legend, fairy tale, literary allusions - oh my!>>

and my first reaction was that it feels like a 
muddled book, not a complex
one, to me.>

Interesting, this used to be my reaction to
Hexwood you know, before a good hashing out on
this list. And although I never actually found
Deep Secret to be muddled I have come to
appreciate the complexity of its layers more and
more. So I am looking forward to finding out your
objections to that too!  

Ika continued after snippage...........

I guess I
think that the basic premise relies on a fairly 
rigid separation between
the magical dimension and the usual world - it's 
*either* Nowhere or Now
Here, Tom Piper's giant is *either* a giant *or* 
a huge lunatic, not
everyone knows about Laurel (which is how she 
keeps her power) - but that
separation just doesn't hold in the narrative of 
the novel. How does Polly
just know how to do such powerful magic? Why 
doesn't Nina? (Argh! This is
really hard to explain.) It's just that the novel

seems to be arguing
*simultaneously* that our world is full of magic 
which is accessible and
unsurprising to any small girl who comes across 
it *and* that the magical
dimension is entirely hidden and unexpected to 
ordinary people. Usually
DWJ's real-world/magic novels have some sort of 
gadget or McGuffin that
explains how the magic intrudes on the "real" 
world - in Hexwood there's
the Bannus, in TotG there's the Monigan-worship, 
in Ogre there's the
chemistry set. I think the lack of one in F&H 
points to a deeper confusion
about the place of magic in the novel's world.>

I think your premise is wrong here. I don't see a
rigid separation between the two worlds at all.
The key is that Laurel has relatives both in the
mundane and magical realms. Some are related by
marriage and some by blood. Polly's granny is one
such, her husband (or was it boyfriend) was one
of Laurel's saxcrificed consorts and hence Reg
and Polly herself are connections of the Leroys.
I think the connection works both ways, Polly's
family was blighted by the loss of the
grandfather -- Granny says she made mistakes in
reg's upbringing trying to make up for his lack
of a father and that is why he is a poor husband
and father himself. The Leroys gained by taking
from the Whittackers but this created a link
between them. The locality is evidently littered
with people like that. There is Anne the Dumas
quartet member and, of course the Piper family.
It was this link that enabled Polly to gatecrash
the funeral in the first place, and which made
Tom see her potential. Laurel owed Polly.

<.........................................that I
twitch and start shouting "*The* Doors!" whenever

it refers to "Doors".>



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