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18 February 2014 @ 05:17 pm
GGK Book Club: The Wandering Fire, ch 9-12  

AKA “the first time I ever threw a book across the room.”

Cutting straight to the chase here, I was about 17 when I read THE WANDERING FIRE (in fact, I was 17, because I was in my dorm room at UAF sitting on my bed reading when I pitched the book across the room, and remember it quite vividly), and I was enraged at Kevin’s death.

Nigh unto 25 years later, coming into it again, I obviously knew what was going to happen, and had a really vague idea it had…something…to do with the goddess, but…I wasn’t clear on what.

And the truth is I think part of my rage back then was that I didn’t understand what his death was or why it had happened. I mean, yes, to buy the melting of the winter, but … I didn’t get the entire mythology, the story, the reason–and specifically I never had any fucking clue who “Liadon” was and why Kevin was Liadon and just what the everloving fuck, basically.

This time, for the first time, I deduced–I did not remember, from anywhere earlier in this book or in THE SUMMER TREE, that Liadon was Dana’s son/lover/brother, and for the first time it all kind of clicked into place, that this is an Adonis myth (which, given the prevalance of Celtic and Norse myth in these books, is probably part of what confused me: I was looking in the wrong place for the source, if I was looking at all, which I wasn’t, through my rage).

The fact that a mortal plays the part sort of stumps me even so, although possibly there’s explanation for that somewhere in there. I have more…sympathy…for the storyline as an adult than I did when I read it originally. It’s … I still find it difficult. I mean, it’s good Kevin’s got a role in Fionavar, it’s good that his weird sex thing has an explanation, and–as pointed out in this terrifically smart essay about Fionavar, it is foreshadowed by the song Kevin himself writes:

Love, do you remember
My name? I was lost
In summer turned winter
Made bitter by frost.
But when June comes December
The heart pays the cost.

I frankly never would have put that all together myself, and I still think it’s…hard. I think GGK was reaching for something there and I’m not quite sure he made it, not if it took me 25 years and I don’t know how many re-reads and somebody else’s insightful essay to put all the pieces together. I want to have some kind of better understanding earlier on, some kind of…hook that lands Kevin’s sexual experiences more comprehensibly on his eventual fate. I want to see it coming, if not the first time through then at least in retrospect, and I just…don’t. Quite. Even now.

Ahem. Okay. Now that I’ve got that out of the way, the other chapters. :)

I talked about Finn and Dari in the last entry, but they still kill me here. Dari’s transformation to adulthood (or something close enough) is heartrending, and all I can kep thinking is the poor kid deserves more time.

Okay, ‘ve just run out of time to write this, ,speaking of time, so I’m going to post it even if there’s probably more I could say :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

(Deleted comment)
kitmizkit on February 18th, 2014 09:48 pm (UTC)
I promise you that when we get to Lions we can share some fury. ♥

I don't *remember* sobbing over Kevin's death, exactly, but I do remember throwing the book. Obviously. The death I sob over every. single. time. comes later. :)
martianmooncrabmartianmooncrab on February 18th, 2014 08:00 pm (UTC)
The Author kills characters because they can.. sigh.. I used to take it personally that the character that I liked the most would end up DEAD, and once I could ask an author in person Why? that was the answer (I probably didnt understand that I was probably the umpteenth one to ask by then too.. ) but, now, it makes more sense.

I didnt create the characters, the Author did, and that was their fate, which like life, tends to be messy.
kitmizkit on February 18th, 2014 09:50 pm (UTC)
I don't think GGK typically kills characters because he Can. I think, yeah. It's what fits the narrative for the author/character.

I actually think it's more offensive when an author fails to kill a character who's obviously slated to die. Re: Mr Weasly, for example. :p
martianmooncrabmartianmooncrab on February 19th, 2014 04:44 am (UTC)
I have a list of characters that should have died, there are times when I just shout at the book so I could be put out of my misery too..
Mary Anne: pixelpers1stence on February 19th, 2014 02:44 am (UTC)
If anyone can remind me -- does GGK have any of the characters address "what happened to Jennifer's baby" after Paul and Jennifer duck over to Fionavar and place Dari with his foster mom? As in, what, if anything do P&J tell the other three, and do the other 3 ask? Because she had been pretty clear that she wasn't going to abort...

I continue to find the whole woo-woo sex thing for Kevin weird, even in light of his self-sacrifice. But I do appreciate the parallels (both internal to Fionavar and external to mythology) of sacrifice to save a whole people. And even more that it's not sacrificing virgins. Paul's willingness to go to the tree and Kevin's willingness to go to the goddess, both end unnatural seasons, both end up in intimate proximity to goddesses (same one, different one, I can't quite remember off the top of my head).

Kevin's decision somehow bothers me a little less than Paul's, despite having less rationale but I think that is because Paul's decision to go to the Summer Tree wasn't explained until many many pages later, and because it happens so soon. In both cases, however, their choices seem more plot-driven than character-driven.

Somehow, I feel as if I should have some thoughts on Darien's sudden transition to adulthood, but with little memory of where the story goes from here (I remember next to nothing about these books from the last time I read them, other than Paul's crucifixion), I just watched those scenes unfold and thought, yep, okay, makes sense. Same is true of the Wild Hunt and Finn.
Alix (Tersa): Arwen Reading (tersa)tersa on February 19th, 2014 05:12 pm (UTC)
I am not actively in the middle of a re-read, but Kevin's death has been one of the few scenes from the trilogy that stuck with me.

I remember being horribly gutted when he died. And maybe I'm misremembering exact details, but even with his alternate name, I recall seeing his death as similar to the King of the Wood (again, Celtic mythology, but AIGH, I can't find anything on Wikipedia or via Google to link to), which I remember reading about roughly the same time, where the King was 'married to the land' and sacrificed at the end of the season (summer or winter) in the belief that it perpetuated the cycles. I remember reading that Lancelot's introduction into Arthurian myth may have stemmed from Gallic Celtic mythology, and that one of his 'famous stories' (I believed the author) may have been a version of the King of the Wood concept.

If Paul's imagery was Christian, Kevin's was pure pagan, to me.
kitmizkit on February 19th, 2014 07:22 pm (UTC)
...I never thought of Paul's imagery as Christian, which goes to show how thoroughly my heathen upbringing marked me. :)

That's an excellent parallel to Kevin's story, yeah, although clearly it never struck me at the time. And hoo boy, yeah, gutted. ENRAGED. And gutted. :)
Alix (Tersa): Arwen Reading (tersa)tersa on February 19th, 2014 07:46 pm (UTC)
...I never thought of Paul's imagery as Christian, which goes to show how thoroughly my heathen upbringing marked me. :)

I /think/ I recognized the parallel to Odin at the time, but then someone else in comments mentioned his crucifixtion and my brain went with it. :)

And hoo boy, yeah, gutted. ENRAGED. And gutted. :)

*hug* :)
kitmizkit on February 19th, 2014 07:48 pm (UTC)
I got the Odin thing, but then, I'm even now probably a lot more versed in Norse mythology than Christian. :)
Mary Annepers1stence on February 19th, 2014 10:10 pm (UTC)
and in another random moment, GGK just tweeted at someone whose last name appears to legitimately be "Galadan" about hockey