[DWJ] Cart and Cwidder (was dalemark)

Minnow minnow at belfry.org.uk
Sun Jun 17 10:20:28 EDT 2007


>Minnow wrote.... and because of the spoiles, my comments will be below:
>> Putting back the spoiler space, 'cos this is a fairly central thing about
>> Cart and Cwidder
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>> Otter wrote:
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>>>> I reread Cart and Cwidder the least, I think,
>>>>
>>> although I'm not sure why.
>>>
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>> Then Elizabeth:
>>
>>> Strange - I feel rather like that. I think it's
>>> because I find so much of it
>>> really sad, and when I'm looking for something to
>>> read I remember that and
>>> go elsewhere.
>>>
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>> and Esther
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>>>> you find out the mother NEVER LOVED
>>>> HIM
>>>>
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>> Farah responded
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>>> I don't think that's true. I think she makes it very clear that she *did*
>>> love him, but that the love was burned out under the pressure of a lifestyle
>>> she wasn't prepared for, and a personality that was always performing. It's
>>> still sad, but it isn't cruel. Quite the opposite in fact.
>>>
>>
>>
>> I disagree really thoroughly!  This is the raggle-taggle-gypsies-o with
>> magical coercion of the feather-bed lady instead of her own free choice.
>> Ganner wasn't quite Lenina's 'new-wedded lord', and she hadn't had his
>> baby, but he was the man who loved her, and she was about to marry him,
>> when Clennan decided that he wanted her and used magic to get what he
>> wanted.

Bettina:

>and eloquent arguments for this reading, which I cut now.
>
>We've had this discussion before, and while I see your point, I'm still
>do not find myself in total accord. It may be that it is because Clennan
>and Lenina's story didn't feel like this to me the first time I read it
>because I was too young to understand that kind of thing.

I think that what I first I noticed was Moril's uncomfortable observation
that Lenina's silence when she was angry with Clennen was different from
her usual silence (and later "if she was silent, [she] was silent in her
usual way, which everyone was used to"), and that made me notice that she
was pale and silent *all the time* when she was with Clennen (whom I tend
to spell wrong, sorry about that!) and was described as being pink and
happy and talking a lot as soon as she was back with Ganner.  She becomes a
person Moril hardly recognises ("Moril had hardly ever seen her laugh")
almost instantly -- on the day her husband has been murdered before her
eyes! -- and it seems more like going back to how she was before Clennen
married her, to me.

>But I think my different view has also to do with my interpretation of
>the cwidder's magic. I do not think it could be used in the way you
>describe it. I think there must have been something in Lenina that could
>be spoken to, some part that wanted to "escape" her former life. It may
>be that it wasn't what she really wanted, and it may be that she found
>out quite soon, but I still don't quite "feel" your reading when I read
>the book.

My basis for the cwidder's magic being used thus is that Clennen says it
was and Lenina never disputes it or says that she went with him because she
loved him on sight and not because of any old song thank you!  He asked
Lenina to come with him "in the song" and she consented.  Then when he is
dying, he says "There's power in that cwidder, if you can use it.  Used to
be Osfameron's.  He could use it.  Handed down to me.  I couldn't use it.
Only found the power once, when I --" and dies, and I assumed that since
the only time he ever seems to have done something with the power of song
was at that feast, he must mean when he got Lenina.

It works whatever the motive of the person using it, after all: it makes
the mountains march for the sake of a horse (and I don't really think that
mountains have an urge to march, much, so I don't see that as them having
something in them that answers to the call of the music).  All it requires
is that it have some truth behind the person doing the playing.  Lust is a
powerful thing, and I'd guess it was a truth at the time Clennen did it.
It is also clear that he's uneasy about it, when Ganner reappears in
Lenina's life, and he then has to test her, and is unsure what she will do:
surely if he knew that she loved him for himself and not because she had
been made to by magic, he wouldn't need to do that and if he did, he would
be confident of her answer rather than anxious?

I'm not trying to alter the way you found this book (altering in retrospect
is futile anyway); I am trying to explain why I saw it in the way that I
did and do.

Minnow





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