[DWJ] Age in F&H
janet.eastwood at hotmail.com
Tue Oct 7 13:22:34 EDT 2014
Kyra, it's been a private game of mine to figure out the ages and birthdays of people in books for years, but you leave me entirely in the dust with your calculations on Howl (the question of leap years always threw me, also the different number of days in each month - I could get down to how many years and what fraction of a year Howl was at Midsummer, but not much further than that) and now Tom. Seriously impressive!
So now a question (or two):
1. How do you calculate the ages of the characters in Dark Lord of Derkholm and Year of the Griffin? In DLD, Shona is 17, Kit is 15, Blade and Calette are 14, Don and Lydda are 13, and Elda is 10. Titus is roughly 17, Reville unknown but in the 17-25 range, and Sukey is roughly 17. (I know I'm missing Geoffrey; his age is never given even in "he looked about x years" terms.) In YG (8 years after DLD), Elda would then be 18, Ruskin is 35, Blade and Callette are 22, and Kit is 23. But what about Claudia, Titus, and Lukin? Claudia met Blade when she was 14, which if I assume was during the last year of the tours makes her 22 (Derk does visit some uncooperative marshfolk, with Blade tagging along to do the translocations for the two of them); but there's no indication of when she met him - it could have been earlier. For some reason my notes include a faint penciling of 17 or 18? Titus was 9 the year Claudia was born, which adds to the confusion, because if Titus was approximately 17 during the last tour, he would be 25 in YG, which would make Claudia 8 during DLD and 16 during YG. 16 seems much too young for Claudia to be going to the University; also, as Blade is 22, makes his attraction to her (in YG) slightly less likely. And then Lukin. His mother took the children and left King Luther when Lukin was 10. This was during the tours, but we don't know how long before they ended. When Luther mentions this fact to Querida during the meeting at the beginning of DLD, there is no indication that everyone else either was shocked, or knew this already. Have you caught any other references that would pinpoint these more precisely?
Sorry for the lack of page numbers!
2. And question two, I co-run a blog (if co- can be used on one of four), and I'm planning a post on characters' birthdays, starting a list of whose birthdays are when. I like to celebrate favourite characters' birthdays; JKR has been most helpful this way. Would you mind if I give Howl's birthday, according to your math? If so, how would you like to be cited?
> Message: 6
> Date: Tue, 7 Oct 2014 13:05:44 +0800
> From: Kyra Jucovy <arykiy at gmail.com>
> Dear all,
> As promised in a message to the list a few weeks ago, here is a textual proof that Tom Lynn, at the end of *Fire and Hemlock*, is 33:
> 1) Tom is ten years older than Seb: "Tom's ten years older than I am." (Part 4, Chapter 6, pg. 376)
> 2) Seb was fifteen when he and Polly met on the train: "Quite apart from the fact that Seb was guarding her, she had not the least idea what you talked about to boys of fifteen." (Part 2, Chapter 3, pg. 174)
> 3) Polly was eleven when she met Seb on the train, making her four years younger than Seb: "Granny did give Polly a birthday present after all. Polly was staying with Granny the week she was eleven, because Dad was coming back to settle up who was to have what." (Part 2, Chapter 1, pg. 133); "Halfway through the summer term, a little before Polly's twelfth birthday, a packet came for her through the post." (Part 2, Chapter 4, pg. 183)
> 4) Just to emphasize that, even though they met on the train in the spring and the book ends in October, the age gap should be the same in October, at the start of the book in the October nine years previously Polly was ten: "That was when she was how old? Ten?" (Part 1, Chapter 1, pg. 14); and she thought Seb was fourteen: "He was in a grey suit and looked as respectable as the rest, and he was rather old too - at least fourteen, Polly thought." (Part 1, Chapter 2, pg. 22). This isn't sufficient evidence on its own because Polly wasn't sure at the time, but combined with the fact that she was sure he was four years older than she on the train a year and a half later (possibly with the help of her added retrospective knowledge based on, you know, being engaged to him) AND the fact that it all works out to make Tom 33 at the end of the book, it helps.
> 5) Polly is nineteen at the end of the book: "And the habit died hard, even at the age of nineteen." (Part 1, Chapter 1, pg. 13)
> 6) Hence, Seb is four years older than she and thus 23; Tom is ten years older than that and thus 33.
> Regrettably, I forgot to copy down the details of my F&H edition, but hopefully the part and chapter numbers will help anyway. . . .
> I will always think that this is the most amazingly awesome Easter Egg ever. You have to be obsessive about finding out people's ages in books even to realize!
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