[DWJ] Ogre and back story

jodel at aol.com jodel at aol.com
Sun Jan 22 17:50:02 EST 2012

Magical toy shops are a trope that used to show up rather often, and 
still does from time to time. Quite often the shop shows up to kick off 
the story, and then no one can find it again, or not until the shouting 
is over. It's a fairly easy way to pitch the reader into the main story 
without having to spend a third of the book on buildup.

And, yes, chemistry sets were marketed to parents of sons, and, yes, 
the ingredients were decidedly hazardous (or noxious, which the kids 
probably considered just as good). It was a less litgatious society, 
back then, and if a kid managed to do damage with one, it was more 
likely to be regarded either the kid's fault, or the fault of the 
parents for not supervising him properly -- unless the instructions 
themselves really were at fault, and I suspect that they rarely were.

In fact, if one stops to think about it, rather a lot of traditional 
stories would be next to incredible today if people actually raised 
their kids the way the prevailing attitudes of the times seem to 
believe kids ought to be raised. Kids simply aren't left unsupervised 
enough to be able to find the kind of gateways that traditionally led 
to the sort of adventures that kids in stories got up to. Regardless of 
whether the stories were fantasy, or so-called "real life".

But, yes, it does make as much sense as anything that the proprietor of 
the toy shop that the sets came from was an agent of chaos who just 
wanted to see what kind of mischief could be caused by handing two 
sides of an existing conflict weapons which were guaranteed to send the 
whole thing out of control.

I seem to recall that it was the 2nd brother (the one who goes 
invisible and has to be stopped) who killed the Ogre in the original 
version. I'll have to say that it's just as well that the editors were 
able to head Jones off from that particular conclusion, because while 
it would have been a salutary lesson on not thinking things out, and 
letting them get out of hand, I don't see any satisfactory way of 
digging the characters out of the rubble of the story. Killing him off 
was seriously in excess of the requirements, and even provoking a 
divorce between he and the three childrens' mother, would hardly have 
been a worthwhile message to have wrapped up in a story. Your problems 
*can't* all just be sent away by behaving badly. It doesn't work like 

Particularly not where three quarters of the story *appears* to be 
about learning to deal with people who aren't like you.

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