fire and hemlock people

Ven vendersleighc at
Tue Aug 23 21:03:13 EDT 2005

Minnow wrote

<My feeling about the two books is that AG is
like a romp, and involves
no specific cruelty, even though the casual way 
the family are running
everything is horrible; F&H has far more of a 
feeling in it that wings
might be pulled off individual flies, and that 
Polly and Thomas are being
victimised.  I know that's absurd, what with the 
roadworks and the noise
and so on in AG, but that's the way they *feel* 
to me.  In AG there is a
feeling of bored teenagers who happen to be 
centuries old, whereas in F&H
there's a deep wickedness going on.

I think that's spot on. For the most part in AG
the cruelty is incidental. The victimisation of
Howard's family then happens because the siblings
have the specific aim of finding out what it is
that is locking them into the town.

<The same feeling as in F&H is in *Time of the 
Ghost* and *Hexwood*: really
nasty people (or godlings) choosing victims. This
may well not apply to anyone else, though. >

Part of what is so nasty about Laurel
is the way she lures her victims into infatuation
(the same thing Tom uses on Polly), using love to
reel them in  before she dashes out their brains
on the metaphorical rocks. It is very personal.

<I certainly don't expect
my reasons for preferences in books to be 
universal, or even to make sense
at all to anyone else!  Also, I don't *prefer* 
either of the two books: I
like each but for different reasons, and they're 
both on the "often
re-read" list, unlike *Castle in the Air*, which 
I ought to love but somehow simply don't.>

For a while after I got it CitA was a big
favourite of mine, read and reread but I also
don't care for it very much at the moment.


<And now that you've said it, I think it's that 
non-personal thing.  Jamie is 
a random victim (that's even stated in the book),

and he never manages to 
become anything other than random.  Which may 
well be what DWJ intended, but 
I think I prefer fictional antagonism to be a bit

more up-close-and-personal.>

Whereas I have a very personal affinity with
Jamie's sense of exile. I also fully understand
that all he ever wants to do is to try to fit in
with where he is, right up to the end when he
realises that is what he never can do.

Hallie said of F and H
<This is without even beginning to look 
at the Odyssey and East of the Sun, West of the 
Moon, The Snow Queen 
and all the many other rich joys of F&H!>

The Odyssey? East of the Sun West of the Moon? I
have a glimmering of what you mean but would you
care to unpack please? The Snow Queen I get but,
durrrr... it's only now that I see it's resonance
with Tam Linn  -- probably my low opinion of HCA
getting in the way.


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