fire and hemlock people

deborah deborah.dwj at
Fri Aug 19 13:16:47 EDT 2005

Some thoughts I've recently had, prompted by a comment to the effect of
'there are Fire and Hemlock people and Archer's Goon people, and never
the twain shall meet'.  Or more, nobody has both of those as favorite
books.  (Is this true in our readership?)

Additionally, a friend recently told me she hasn't liked the
Chrestomanci books she's read that much but she's adored Homeward
Bounders and Power of Three, which led me to say she prefers mythic over
silly and caused me to switch my 'read next' reccomendation from Howl's
Moving Castle to Eight Days of Luke.

But then I wondered if that's true.  One of the things I adore about
Howl's Moving Castle is the archetypal play, which is also present in
Archer's Goon. In fact, Archer's Goon could be seen as Homeward Bounders
from a slightly different angle.  (Those three books, along with Power
of Three, comprise the DWJ I've ever described as 'my favorite'.)

But Fire and Hemlock, which I've never been fond of, is also all about
the play with mythic structures.  Is Tom more like Tam Lin or Thomas the
Rhymer, Polly wonders, and in the end she has to both use and reject
everything she's learned from books to save the day.  HMC's Sophie also
has to both use and reject what she's learned from books.  Incorporation
and rejection of archetypes all at once; kinda subversive, kinda

So the reason I don't like F&H can't be that it's structured that
differently, because it isn't.  I like Hexwood (though it's not a
favorite), so it's not the fluctuating time streams.  In fact, F&H might
be one of DWJ's more comprehensible books for older readers.  She does
rather help you along with understanding what's going on, at least until
the climax.

So other non-F&H people -- what are your reasons?  I know many of us
aren't that fond, and I want to know Why.

"I'm a citizen, this is my president, and in this country it is
not only permissible to question our leaders, it is our
responsibility."	-- Lewis, "The American President"

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