[DWJ] Hello again, and beards

Kyra Jucovy arykiy at gmail.com
Mon Sep 15 03:51:35 EDT 2014


Since I am on the verge of turning 33 myself, real soon now I am going to
be blogging my demonstration that Tom Lynn was in fact 33 at the end of *Fire
and Hemlock, *which I still think is an amazing Easter Egg that is just so
clever.  Polly, of course, was 19.

---Kyra, legendarily obsessed with what ages characters are in books

On Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 1:08 PM, Janet Eastwood <janet.eastwood at hotmail.com>
wrote:

> Me too! I got to his age in years and days, and then the problems of
> midsummer, leap years, and months (30/31 days) defeated me. Math is not my
> strong suit.
> Sophie also is given an unusually precise age, although she isn't actually
> 18 for most of the book. Charmain's age is given by inference as well - she
> has just completed year 10, which places her at 14 or 15 during her
> adventures, depending on whether her birthday is before or after the
> summer. (This is assuming that House of Many Ways takes place during the
> summer, but this seems logical as Charmain is not in school at the time,
> there are abundant flowers on the mountains and blossoming hydrangeas
> outside Great Uncle William's house, and she is able to convince her mother
> that her letter from the king is her leaving certificate, just in case she
> leaves school after year 10.)
> Actually, I wonder whether as Old Sophie her age is 78 or 90. We know that
> Sophie is 18. Calcifer tells her that the Witch of the Waste's curse has
> taken 60 years from her life, which would make Sophie 78. However, Sophie
> repeatedly claims to be and refers to herself as 90. Sophie's
> conversational magic makes what she says come true, and Howl and Calcifer
> confirm that the age-curse has two layers, the Witch's and Sophie's own.
> This can be read as the first layer (the Witch's) being reinforced, but not
> otherwise altered by the second (Sophie's). It can also be read as the
> first layer (the Witch taking 60 years) being augmented by the second
> (Sophie making herself 90, i.e. taking a further 12 years off her own life).
> Anyway, thanks, Eleanor, for calculating so precisely! I enjoy
> celebrating, if quietly and by myself, the birthdays of fictional
> characters, which does depend on having a known birth day :)
> Are there any other books where the ages and dates are given so precisely?
> My impression is that DWJ mostly keeps age implied, and adjustable
> according to the reader's preference.
> Janet
>
> > ------------------------------
> >
> > Message: 8
> > Date: Sun, 14 Sep 2014 18:41:16 -0400
> > From: Nic W <eawil3 at email.wm.edu>
> > To: Diana Wynne Jones discussion <dwj at suberic.net>
> > Subject: Re: [DWJ] Hello again, and beards
> > Message-ID:
> >       <
> CAP47DS6gq47B12fkLKCt0bau0pfFLmA2ga3ByBq0V-BHYkLYHg at mail.gmail.com>
> > Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
> >
> > Haha, I once worked out his age, too, though I didn't go so far as his
> > birthday.  Hats off to you!
> >
> > - Nic
> >
> > On Sun, Sep 14, 2014 at 6:17 PM, Eleanor Joslin <
> eleanor at dreamvine.org.uk>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > OK, the Witch of the Waste's curse on Howl is based on that John Donne
> > > poem, one line of which is "Ride ten thousand days and nights".  This
> is
> > > where I use my inborn talent for opening books at exactly the right
> page
> > > without trying, and find the end of chapter 11, just after Miss
> Angorian
> > > has been reading him the poem:
> > >
> > >         "Oh, nothing," Howl said airily, leading the way back to the
> > > yellow house called RIVENDELL.  "The Witch of the Waste has caught up
> with
> > > me with her curse, that's all."  He seemed to be calculating or doing
> sums
> > > in his head while he opened the garden gate.  "Ten thousand," Sophie
> heard
> > > him murmur.  "That brings it to about Midsummer Day."
> > >         "What is brought to Midsummer Day?" asked Sophie.
> > >         "The time I'll be ten thousand days old," Howl said.  "And
> that,
> > > Mrs. Nose," he said, swinging into the garden of Rivendell, "is the
> day I
> > > shall have to go back to the Witch of the Waste."
> > >
> > > Now 28 years is 10,227 days (the number of leap years is fixed at 7 -
> > > since the Wales bit is clearly modern, we can ignore the 100-year
> rule).
> > > Midsummer Day is defined in different ways - I picked 23 June.  Howl's
> 28th
> > > birthday falls 227 days after that, which takes it to 5 February the
> next
> > > year.
> > >
> > > Eleanor
>
>
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