[DWJ] Re: (now with minor^Wmajor spoilers for Dark Lord of Derkholm)

sally at sallyodgers.com sally at sallyodgers.com
Sat May 6 22:21:47 EDT 2006

deborah.dwj at suberic.net writes: 

> When reading the
> book, I get to a scene I read as a violent rape scene.  I then
> have a culturally-conditioned knee-jerk reaction of horror,
> because nothing in the book up until that point has led me to
> believe that their attitudes about sex are so substantially
> different from ours.  

Maybe this problem is partly because DWJ generally doesn't use sex in her 
books. Because it is rarely mentioned, and never described, we never get a 
grip on what the characters really think/expect of it. In Deep Secret Zinka 
(sp?) is busily seducing a young man with her magical body art and Rupert 
seems a bit disconcerted when he discovers she is married to Simon... but we 
never really find out what marriage with Magids means. 

Looking at romances in DWJ (as we were recently) it is interesting to see 
the way they work. Generally, the women are equally strong and while Rupert 
might mentor Maree she has the potential to be as powerful as he is. Sophie 
has magic that is possibly stronger than Howl's. She is ten years younger, 
though, and Polly is much younger than Tom. What I'm getting at is we don't 
see much concept of "ownership", but we do see some sense of obligation and 
belonging. Tom uses Polly, but Polly feels that Tom is hers.  Vierran and 
Mordian have a very interesting relationship too... on the surface it is 
child/adult crush, but thats not the real situation. 

DWJ is an expert at presenting situations that are not what they seem, and 
if we don't know what the characters "know" in the cultural sense, we can't 
really understand. For example, with Sophie we KNOW she "knows" - by 
tradition and gut feeling - that the eldest is not the heroine and that 
stepmothers must be users. She also "knows" that Wizard Howl eats girls' 
souls. In the course of her story she learns that much of what she "knows" 
is wrong. 

Sometimes I feel like Sophie... 



Challenges failed; a failure descried-
Eleven men down- seven over the side. 

(Tom Journeyman) 

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http://sallyodgers.livejournal.com to meet the Acrostic Virgin 

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