[DWJ] The Game

Minnow minnow at belfry.org.uk
Tue Mar 27 15:30:00 EDT 2007

>Quoting myself and others...
>>> Anyone else note the chook-foot cottage of Martya's and think DWJ had
>>> been watching a certain film and was having a joke?
>>>The house of Baba Yar [or Yaga]  always walks around on the legs and
>>>feet of a chicken.
>>I know that, but in the film of Howl, the Castle has chook feet. It seems
>>me that DWJ borrowed the concept from the film that borrowed it from
>>tales AND from her own book.

>That wouldn't explain Martya/Baba Yaga, who doesn't appear in the film.  I
>think DWJ took her straight from the Russian legend, and her house too.  I
>didn't notice any chook-feet in the book *Howl's Moving Castle*?
>Exactly my point. I reckon Diana saw the chook feet in the film, and
>perversely or otherwise decided to use them herself in The Game. That may
>explain why Martya is in the story at all... Diana wanted to use those feet.
>They never were in the HMC book, but someone else inserted them in the HMC

I was misled by your "... AND from her own book", because it wasn't IN her
own book until now.  Sorry.

>DWJ saw them and decided she WOULD use them in a book. Then, knowing
>her myths, she was forced to bring Baba Yaga in as well. (Though I didn't
>see any evidence of a pestle....)

She's had a happy-thing about that chook-foot cabin for at least eighteen
years to my knowledge, though; I mean, she was surprised that Myasaki had
used it, because she didn't expect him to, but it was in no way strange to
her as an idea.

Including Baba Yaga is another example of subversion, isn't it?  BY is
usually presented as a Bad Thing, so putting her in as a helpful ally is
reversing expectations.  She does sometimes help people, or one of her
sisters does, but more usually she just eats them with her iron teeth; DWJ
is choosing to emphasise the positive.

It's awkward when different people decide to "rehabilitate" Bad Hats from
mythological sources, though.  Autolychus is a nasty bit of work in the
original stories, like Baba Yaga and Loki, and someone having decided to
make him sympathetic may colour readers' initial perceptions of his
character (which in *The Game* is certainly odious from the moment he comes
on stage).  After DWJ has used them in her books as characters who are fun
or benign, can Loki and Baba Yaga feel like villains to a DWJ fan, in later
work by others?


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