[DWJ] The Game

Minnow minnow at belfry.org.uk
Mon Mar 26 19:04:36 EDT 2007


Colin wrote:

>> Otter left a lovely great spoiler space
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>>
>I enjoyed the book immensely, (yes, it's too short) but I did have a lot
>of why's. OK, pressing a star to Jolyon turns him into a planet, (a sort
>of sympathetic magic) but why does it have to be from Orion's bow? Why
>wouldn't just any star do? Why (or how) did Hayley and Troy get
>separated at the start of the last game? And if it comes to that, have
>they really been playing the Game for ages (literally, we presume)
>without Mercer suspecting?

{none of what follows is DWJ ex cathedra stuff: "it's my own invention"...)

It just *does* have to be a star from Orion's bow, I fear (though the
phrase makes me think of "like an arrow from a bow", so maybe in some way
it is also an arrow and needs to be one to penetrate his hide?)  Once
someone *says* "you have to do this while walking only on the squares of
the pavement and not on the lines", then that's what the Rule is
thereafter; Flute says that's what is needed, so that becomes the Rule.

Actually and far more seriously, she is meant to give it to Flute as
payment for the golden apple; she doesn't, because she uses it to turn
Jolyon into a planet.  So presumably she still has a debt to pay, unless
Flute is simply using her as his agent all the way through, which I suppose
is possible.  He does say "We want that quite urgently" not "I want it".

I can't think why Troy got lost, or rather why he needed to be lost with no
explanation.  It's clear that Hayley has to play the Game alone that last
time, but why it was done mysteriously I don't know.  It's like Tollie and
telling: he says he already has, and it's clear he must have because Mercer
is on the phone, but he is still threatening to tell as if he hadn't yet
when he gets back with the Roc's egg.  That's confusing.

About Mercer not having suspected, though: Mercer was a bit of a trickster
himself, so perhaps he is happy enough to not-know what they are up to
unless he is actually *told* and has to take notice?  Until his bratty son
goes and makes it official he could wink at it and claim "oh I never
realised" if Jolyon asked?  He didn't rush to get on the phone when he was
told, after all: he finished painting the ceiling first, and gave them time
for the last and all-important round of the Game.

>I suppose one of the things I'm saying is that the quest was a bit too
>easy (in that the plot-token she needed just happened to be available in
>Asterope's house). But then, perhaps that's the mythosphere working!

But consider too, that Hayley has to realise that this Scot called Ryan is
Orion really, so it's a Quest Object requiring that one solve a Riddle, and
as such legitimate.  She's done the derring-do, now she has to use her
brain as well.

>Was anybody else puzzled by 'at least a lightyear of rushing' on p. 106?
>Has Diana just Got It Wrong, or am I missing something? (Yes I know you
>could at a pinch use a distance in such a phrase, but if she means a
>light year, it's much too big).

In the same sequence "stars streaked past", and at the bottom of page 106,
Hayley sees the stars forming into the Great Bear and "knew she was nearly
home", and then sees the Solar System from outside, so who knows how far or
for how long she has been being a comet?  "It went on for ages"...
literally?  Time and space generally play games in such circumstances, like
the E Nesbit rule that time spent being a Hero in another world doesn't
count in this one *unless you don't behave like a hero*, at which point
time starts to run again in this world too and you *don't* get back when
you left, but hours or days later.

>On another tack, was anybody else reminded of Robert Holdstock's
>'Mythago Wood'? There's not much in common with the plot, but the basic
>idea of a landscape built of story informs them both. Actually in some
>ways the second book 'Lavondyss' is closer, because there you have a
>girl following music into the Wood. (I haven't read it since it first
>came out, so I don't remember much more about it).

I think the difference for me would be that I find *The Game* very
readable, whereas dearly though I love Mr. Holdstock I did not find either
*Mythago Wood* or *Lavondyss* in the least enthralling.  He and I have
considerable differences in our perception of mythagoes, possibly best
explained by the fact that his are Kentish and mine are *not*.  When he's
elliptical I get lost.  Different territory of calf-country, and
incompatibility of referents in too many places.

I'm sure there are other books based in Jungian archetype or whatever the
posh word for a mythago would be, that are more in the light-hearted vein
of DWJ.  Holdstock's too dark for me to have made the comparison.

Minnow





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