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11 February 2014 @ 11:37 am
GGK Book Club: The Wandering Fire, ch 5-8  

Here we begin the proper crying bits.

I’m pretty sure, in retrospect, that I’ve been reading aspects of Jennifer’s story wrong for years. I’d always read her as actually being a victim of child abuse, through mis-interpretation of the events at the end of THE SUMMER TREE, but I don’t think that’s actually the case. Which is good, because she’s got a hard enough road as it is.

There’s also the fact that she’s literally drawing on mythical strength, but that doesn’t make me any less admiring of her as a character. She makes hard choices, but one of the ones I particularly like is her braving the difficulty of sharing what she knows about Maugrim. She does it for a lot of reasons, of course, the major one being (I think) revenge, but ultimately it’s for the greater good, which is then such a heartbreaking contrast with the revelation of who she really is, and the eternal perception of her being the source of downfall for good men.

I’m not actually sure why the lios alfar recognize Arthur, and I don’t think I much wondered about it when I read these as a yout’. But now I do wonder. Maybe it’s just that they have a particular gift of perception and the cycle is written all over Arthur’s face. And Brendel did almost recognize Jen in the first place, and (just now re-reading that bit of text) it seems to support the theory that he recognizes the doom, anyway. I still don’t care if it doesn’t work for people. I love that their story is here. :)

I’d forgotten about Lianne and Kevin (poor Dave!) and the foreshadowing Lianne sets in place there. I had *also* forgotten Shalhassan’s entrance and how Diarmuid knew and Aileron didn’t, but I think that this reading was the first time I ever really understood what the two brothers had pulled off there. There are a number of moments like that in this trilogy in particular, where I always felt like I was missing something, and now that I think about it most of them were among Diarmuid’s “both of them/having it both ways” escapades.

For some reason I’m less pleased by Shassa’s sneaking about here than I was with the stuff in SUMMER TREE. Possibly because in SUMMER TREE Diarmuid pretty well deserved to get a dagger in the shoulder at the least and here her sneaking seems slightly more…spoiled princess who intends to have it her way, neener neener. But I may be being unkind, I don’t know.

The crying parts, though, oh my god. I mean, we’ve established I’m basically weeping my way through all the Dalrei stuff anyway, but Finn. Finn and Dari. I had totally forgotten this section with their story, and it destroyed me. Finn is so good, and Dari so innocent, and Paul so…*afraid*. I understand why, he’s right to be, and yet at the same time I want so badly for him to be able to *not* be afraid. To rise above it. And I think he tries but fails, which … well, I still want him to be better than that, I guess. I dunno. (Don’t get me wrong, I think his reactions are in character for any even slightly sane person, it just kills me. :))

I actually read through the end of the Finn section, because I was afraid if I stopped partway through I’d never have the nerve to pick it back up again. As it is, knowing what’s coming next, I still haven’t finished the book, because augh. Anyway, I don’t know if the stuff with Finn and Dari hit me harder because I’m now a parent or (certainly this is part of it) because I’ve become a total sap, but I actually found Finn leaving for the Longest Road incredibly difficult, not least because it meant leaving Dari behind. God. I’ve hardly got the heart to go on!

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

Herefoxherefox on February 11th, 2014 07:59 pm (UTC)
Confession to make: This books is probably the only time I've read anything to do with Arthurian legend where I actually feel sorry for Guinevere. This is probably partially to blame for having read "Mist of Avalon" at a young age where she's so...bitter and wimpy all at the same time but usually I find her appalling and think Arthur and Lancelot should just run off together ;-)

Jennifer's story hurts and I...want to say something about it but I'm not sure how we're handling spoilers just in case someone hasn't read it before but I guess I'll just bite my tongue now and hope I remember when we get to that bit.

It's kind of interesting reading this in chunks...I had a harder time dealing with some of the politics this time around because I knew I'd have to stop after four chapters and I wanted to get to the bit where Arthur meets Jennifer.

One thing that always bothers me in this series is why they didn't train bunches of wizards. I know it says they only keep it at seven but there's no real reason ever given.

I love the relationship between Finn and Dari.
kitmizkit on February 11th, 2014 09:59 pm (UTC)
Spoil away; I've kind of not been spoiling too much out of habit rather than necessity. If people've gotten to this page they can be spoiled on a 25 year old book, it's okay. I want to know what you have to say about Jennifer's story! Also, yes, she *is* sympathetic, and I think it's beautifully done love story with all three of them. #sniffle

You don't have to stop reading! You can just go back later to check where we ended for thhe chapters so you can comment up to that point! :)

I...think the wizarding reason is tradition, but I can't remember if there was more reason than that either. Huh.
Mary Anne: pixelpers1stence on February 11th, 2014 10:33 pm (UTC)
Loren ponders the lack of magicians also at the end of chapter 8 and doesn't seem to have an answer either of how come there were only three magicians at present.

I keep feeling like Jennifer is wandering, even post-partum, in an extended state of shock that no one else really seems to recognize.

It's also interesting to me that in chapter 6, during his encounter with the ice queen -- he can banish her through invoking her name, although everyone (or at least a number of people) seems to know what it is. On the flip side, he identifies his own name as "lord of the summer tree" and tells her that it can't be invoked against him....

One of the things that I especially like about chapter 8 is that it serves as a bit of respite from the headlong plot and action. Pretty much everything in that chapter is a few key characters taking some time for reflection and feeling. Darien thinks about good, evil, light, dark and love. Loren has the sads for the Five from Earth and (as noted above) wonders at the bad luck of only having two mages for the light at this key moment. Kim and Sharra share some reflection. It seems like Kim was possibly a little indiscreet about how many beans she spilled to Sharra, but that doesn't seem like a big deal.

Another side note about names, Aileron's name keeps making do a double take, since an aileron is the flap-y bit on the wing of an airplane.

I know there's explanation for it later (although I've forgotten mostly what it is) but the whole "going deep" and getting all trippy when Kevin orgasms makes my eyes roll every time. It just seems so ... bad romance novel-ish?
Herefoxherefox on February 11th, 2014 10:59 pm (UTC)
For Paul being able to banish the ice queen I think it has to do with the little chant backed up by his power due to what is backed up with her name. He does say that if they'd been further north he probably wouldn't be able to have banished her.

It has to do with Kevin being able to fight in the corn battles, I believe?

kitmizkit on February 12th, 2014 08:03 am (UTC)
At the moment, my memory of Kevin's story is that he's for the goddess. I have absolutely no idea if this is accurate, and I'm kind of half interested and half dreading finding out... :)

But yeah, it's a bit...it's not even bad romance novel-y to me. It's just so fucking *weird* that I've never known what to do with it, even upon re-reads. I don't know what it *means*, I have no experience with the sensation of going far away during sex, or whatever, there, so it's just this abstract weirdness for me as a reader.
Mary Annepers1stence on February 12th, 2014 02:38 pm (UTC)
it is weirdness and abstract to me personally, but I did read a female character in a romance novel who had similarly weird semi-out-of-body experiences during sex but not for any magical reasons. i don't remember the book anymore just that it was all around kind of weirdly terrible
Herefoxherefox on February 12th, 2014 03:56 pm (UTC)
Kevin's story is the one I don't remember at all either so I'm curious as well. I think the only character arcs I remember really well are Jennifer's and Kim's honestly. I know Paul has some "sibling" rivalry thing with Galadan for most of the books but I'm woefully unprepared for most of the rest of the series. I can't even remember how they break the winter. I seem to remember it has to do with the cauldron but how they get there to do it I don't remember.

Oh, and I remember the fate of the Lios Alfar that go over the waters. Apparently I only really remember all the sad bits ;-)
Herefoxherefox on February 11th, 2014 10:34 pm (UTC)
Okay! I love that the end game for the entire series is set up here so neatly, honestly, with mentioning that Dari is in the Tapestry. It seems like such a throw away comment but it's what lets them defeat Rakoth in the end.

I know I can read ahead but it's an interesting exercise in self control to keep up, sort of. I normally blow through books so fast otherwise.

I don't remember ever noticing it before but Loren thinks at some point in these chapters that the father of Wizardy, who's name escapes me at the moment and I'm at work so I probably shouldn't be digging through the book trying to find it *grin*, had said to always limit it to no more than seven. I suspect it may be a hold over from his Tolkien days though if I remember correctly Tolkien had a cosmological reason for there being so few wizards.
Mary Annepers1stence on February 12th, 2014 02:40 pm (UTC)
while mulling the problem of so few mages, Loren did say that b/c of the grand poobah's dictums there could only be 7. but he didn't say whether that was some magical law (kind of like a law of physics) or more like the Pirate's Code (more a set of guidelines).
Mary Annepers1stence on February 12th, 2014 02:41 pm (UTC)
also, the Tolkein cosmology does have a limiting factor on wizards, but it is constructed in such a way as to not be relevant in Fionavar, from what I dimly recall.
Mary Annepers1stence on February 13th, 2014 09:27 pm (UTC)
and somewhat randomly: a musical theme based around the character of Kim that I tripped across utterly coincidentally: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10152171491085605