Conrad's Fate (with spoilers)

minnow at minnow at
Mon May 16 16:19:26 EDT 2005

Hallie wrote

(can we stop having spoilerspaces soon?  I'd've thought that anyone who
wants to avoid the discussion because they haven't yet read it can see what
the subject is)

>I did get rather
>hopeful that there was going to be an Ogre-style redemption of the
>mother towards the end, which would have helped for me, but we didn't
>get it.

Maybe DWJ has been longing to have a really comprehensive No Redemption for
a beastly parent ever since her editor compelled her not to allow the
children to kill off the Ogre at the end as she had originally intended.

Having known a woman who was so busy writing feminist litritchur that her
children were neither fed nor clothed most of the time, I don't see
Conrad's mother getting over herself in a hurry anyhow.  *None* of the
appalling things that happened to the wannabeGreer I knew's brood --
including the three-year-old drinking bleach, and the fourteen-year-old
being deported from Poland as an undesirable alien and ending up in prison
at Heathrow because he had had his passport stolen -- moved her from her
course of absolute self-centred devotion to The Cause.  (The Cause wasn't
devoted to her, and I'm glad to say that nobody has ever heard of her for
all her writing at the expense of her children.)

Not to mention that although The Uncle has been magically influencing Mrs
Tesdinic to ignore her children, he has only been pushing her in the
direction she was willing to go anyway, or so Christopher postulates.  Lots
of little magical pushes and nudges, but hasn't it now become absolutely
part of her?

>Is there *ever* a redemption of a seemingly unsympathetic
>female character, come to think of it?  Mara's the closest I can
>think of, but she's not really unsympathetic.

I'm not sure that instant conversion of adults from being complete crots to
being reasonable human beings is one of DWJ's usual things: what examples
(apart from the Ogre, which wasn't her idea really) are there?  Male or
female?  Gabriel de Witt seems to be heading that way at one point, but he
appears to have reverted to type by the beginning of this book.

Oh: Sally's mother, in *Time of the Ghost*.  Is she redeemed in the end?
It isn't instant, because there have been several years in between her
being awful and her apparently caring about her hospitalised daughter, but
she might be an example.  Or maybe that's more what DWJ usually does, in
that it isn't that the person changes but that the child's view of them
changes as understanding of why they behaved the way they did begins to


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