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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)

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.