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Keeping in mind that I read the book while in mild pain, in a overwarm room, and sleepily:

[let the spoilers commence!]

#1. Wait, not #1, #0, or #-500000000, oh my god I am so glad that Sabriel and Touchstone--Torrigan, thank you for telling me his actual name on page 503 out of page 518 on the third book out of a trilogy--didn't die *falls to knees* Ahhh, relief. For poor Lirael and especially Sam, though, they operated on the fact that the Abhorsen and King were dead for a long time though. Poor Sameth.

Kibeth! Kibeth, the Walker, into the Disreputable Dog! And now we know Mogget's true nature, though it's too bad Ranna made him so sleepy all the time. I enjoyed his snark a lot.

I guess Arielle Saw Lirael, which is why she went with Sabriel's father in the first place.

It was really neat to see all the way to the Ninth Precinct. I also really liked the imagery of falling upwards into endless stars--similar to the way we tell children that our loved ones live among the stars, looking out for us.

I don't understand how Sameth came to have Wallmaker blood, unless they're all kind of entwined? I suppose the emphasis on his ability to craft was the lead-up.

Speaking of which, I really would love to see fic about the Clayr glacier! It sounds like such an amazing place. Architecturally speaking, it would have been built in some parts, but carved in other parts--and therefore had space to create the meandering, forgotten passageways. I loved the parts in Lirael when she'd go off and explore all the myriad spaces in the Library (which, by the way, sounds so much more exciting than where I work!)

I also loved some of the humour that cropped up now and then.
"Are you all right?" he asked anxiously, uncertain how he could check. How did you feel an owl's pulse, particularly an owl that was twenty feet long?

I liked how the Clayr's Sight (which had indicated the Red Lake and the boat) was, although instrumental in getting Lirael there, ultimately not very important. Sayre is too much under the influence of Hedge to effect meaningful change, and that's okay.

The backend is a bit of a blur. You know, when characters get hurt or tired, my mind starts keeping a little tally. How long have they been running? How can they not have run out of breath? Wouldn't they be less effective at fighting, after a sleepless night? (One novel I read had the character walk a mile after having broken his leg on sheer will, and I spluttered and couldn't take it seriously anymore.) It sounds like a very exhausting journey.


Someone said something about Harry Potter the series being Calvinist, so I looked it up (usually there's an essay backing the argument somewhere) and I had an intense People are Wrong on the Internet moment while reading. Not with the theology, which I'm never gonna be qualified to argue. But on literary interpretations, well, I had objections. Here is the post for reference. While I agree that Snape isn't a nice guy, he's written as a godawful teacher, a jerk, spiteful, but also bullied, misguided, and held up as someone who did good in impossible situations--even if he personally was awful to be around. Harry names his child after him, for heavens' sake! Even if you want to argue that it's just Harry's inhuman ability to forgive (wrongly), Snape himself shows you don't have to be sorted into Gryffindor to be, as the essayist says, 'the Elect', the good guys. Lily...does not treat Snape as dirt. She's shown to stick up for Snape in that infamous scene by the lake, she tells Snape while they're in private--after years of being friends--her reasons why she feels uncomfortable with his associates. She doesn't just drop Snape for no reason; I think being uncomfortable with friends getting violent/holding ugly prejudices against you is certainly not unreasonable, and nor is it "treating Snape like dirt". I will not argue that James Potter was not "a bullying toerag", but one of the recurring themes in HP is that it's possible to be bad and still love people. I wish she had de-evilized Slytherin and carried the theme more consistently throughout, but that's an argument for another day. Nevertheless, look at the Malfoys--they really love their son (to the point where Narcissa quite clearly defies Voldemort, risking everything at the cusp of their supposed victory). James clearly loved both Lily and Harry a great deal. Dumbledore loved Ariana but not enough, as a teenager, to realize what he was doing or enough to stop being resentful. Love didn't make characters perfect, but imperfection elsewhere didn't (doesn't) mean that jerks couldn't love.

Nuance, please.

Some of the statements were perfectly wrong. "That deep down a person can't change. Deep down...Percy is officious"--but it's a major point that Percy comes back and says, giving up his pride, that he was wrong and he did wrong and he was a prat and he's sorry. This essay also ignores other characters sorted into different houses: what happened to Luna? The DA is populated with Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws. Harry has a rather low opinion of some of them--he thinks Ernie McMillan is pompous, for example--but never does he, nor the text, argue that they have less of an impact fighting against Voldemort because they were sorted into the wrong house. I could go on refuting random sentences, and it's tempting, but I think I've made my main point.

I feel this argument was predicated on one assumption, namely "Harry Potter is Calvinist", and the facts got twisted to suit it. That's one way to construct an argument, but I don't see it as very valid. I'd rather you start with a reading of the text first, or at least play around with the idea.


In real life news, I went to dance class on Thursday! We started salsa, and it was a blast. I don't like dance as a performance very much--I did it as a child, and synchronized choreography, performance, and all that is not my cup of tea--but I do very much enjoy dance with a partner. Or with sequential partners, like square dance. I know some of my classmates thought it was hopelessly old and outdated, but I thought it was just so fun, and music was ridiculously catchy. OK, it's fun when the person you're partnered with wants to be there and wants to exert effort (not always a given in mandatory gym class!) but here, my partner, a random boy standing across from me, was good, or at least equally matched with me.

We went through the basic steps, and some turns and variations. It was really warm, even though the sun had gone down hours ago, but massively fun. My partner was good (and could hear the rhythm! Oh man, best) so we ended up practicing everything a million times while the teacher went among other dancers. I've done jive before, which I thought was kind of similar--at least some of the turns. The stop and go (leader does basic step, follower turns 180, twisting arms around, then unfolding) I'm pretty sure I did before. The music was fast--a lot of energy is involved! Definitely looking forward to learning more this week.

Crosspost: http://silverflight8.dreamwidth.org/134537.html.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 15th, 2013 09:14 am (UTC)
That is one of the best things about JKR.. and HP. She writes all her characters as REAL - not cardboard Snow White cutouts. Every one of her characters had good and bad in them, and that's what makes them such enjoyable reading, apart from the humour and magic.

If people would read for the story, then go back and read for the characters and descriptions of human foibles and quirks, I think the children/adolescents/grownups of today could learn so much and stop themselves being so confused.

Now she's written a Detective under 'Robert Galbraith' highly recommended apparently!

And Calvinism... oh dear, another eejit being self-pompously tunnel-visioned:-

"Minds are like parachutes, they only function when open!" J.Tahir.
Jul. 15th, 2013 01:22 pm (UTC)
Yeah, over the course of seven books, they're imperfect. You have Ron giving up and coming back, regretting it immediately but at first unable to change it. Harry gets angry (not without reason, but still not very pleasant for anyone involved.) And so on.

I was kind of thrilled to hear that her detective novel had been rave reviewed. I think she's right, about fame being sometimes a curse--and that pseudonymity must be so freeing for her. Of course now everyone will be looking for that editor + agent combo...but I'm glad she got the chance to see how other people react to her adult novels, without her name there and being endlessly compared to Harry Potter.

Hee, I love that quote! Though it does give me a slightly terrifying thought of brain surgery and the cutting open thereof.
Jul. 15th, 2013 01:42 pm (UTC)
Isn't it amazing how other eyes and minds 'see' things. Oh dear, I have to giggle... brain surgery!

Because I had a very good friend who called himself a Brain Surgeon when asked his profession. (He was a genito-urologist - and he always said men keep their minds in their pants!) So where does one's mind go from there? teehee. From the sublime to the gorblimey!
Jul. 15th, 2013 03:58 pm (UTC)
It's sort of gross, but I remember a specific photograph from National Geographic (fantastic magazine for photos, oh my god!)--a surgeon, sitting in exhaustion, while on the table there's the patient with HIS BRAIN EXPOSED and the skin hanging off....ewww and oh my god! Brain should not be showing!

Oh my goodness, that is funny :) I'm sure his job required just as much delicacy as a surgeon operating on brains :D
Jul. 15th, 2013 04:33 pm (UTC)
Teehee... maybe he was looking for the keyhole to wind it up again?

Sorry it's too warm and my brain is addling!
Jul. 15th, 2013 07:51 pm (UTC)
Hee, yeah, my thought was to cover up the brain! Ooh, seeing brains is not a good sign ;)

Aww, all the sympathy. The humidity! But I hope you had a good Bastille Day yesterday--were there fireworks? Anything exciting?
Jul. 16th, 2013 07:53 am (UTC)
Did a Happy Post about it... see here...


It's long and excitable, but ... And I left out the FIREWORKS... oh my on my....but they're not so good on the telly, one has to be underneath them to really enjoy!

Yes, it was a lovely day! bless you Silver.
Jul. 16th, 2013 03:23 pm (UTC)
oh i was so tempted to spoil Abhorsen for you when you were upset about Sabriel and Touchstone. but i figured it would be more satisfying for you when you realized they were alive. i totally believed they were dead, too, when i read that part in the beginning. and i'm glad you enjoyed the rest of the series! the new book is supposed to be a prequel about Clariel, Chlorr of the Mask, the "lost" Abhorsen. and i'm really excited for it- i love a good tragedy. :)

Harry Potter is Calvinist? erm, no. i would characterize it as pretty multi-cultural with some christian themes (Harry's death and resurrection in book 7) but it's not Calvinist. i didn't care for the portrayal of Slytherin House as almost always racist and evil- and i don't think ambition always has to be a negative quality. but i don't think the Slytherins were predestined to be bad no more than any of the other houses were predestined to be good. as Dumbledore told Harry, it's our choices that make us who we are.

actually one of the things i always really appreciated about the Kushiel series is that House Shahrizai isn't always the "bad" house. there were many loyal Shahrizai- Mavros was a true friend to Imriel and in the Naamah books, Balthasar saves Thierry. it was a good twist i thought to make the villain from House Mereliot in the third trilogy.
Jul. 17th, 2013 01:20 am (UTC)
I'm just super glad that they didn't die. Now that I reread the chapter, I realize he is very careful to narrate the parts about their supposed death from the jubilant (and careless) would-be assassins, instead of from a more certain/seeing narrator's POV.

but i don't think the Slytherins were predestined to be bad no more than any of the other houses were predestined to be good. as Dumbledore told Harry, it's our choices that make us who we are.

Yes, exactly. One of my friends on dw said two words: "Peter Pettigrew", which basically knocked out the entire thesis, because Peter was sorted into Gryffindor, and became a terrible traitor.

She really is careful to make no country or nationality "the bad one". Even from Phèdre's point of view, who's, er, a bit ethnocentric (can't think of a better word) initially. And having started from the Naamah trilogy, I was kind of surprised by how nice Mereliot was, in the first two trilogies. Same with Somerville--I mean you have Percy (;_;) but Ghislain right after.
Jul. 17th, 2013 07:50 am (UTC)
Haha, I noticed a comment on HP and Calvinism go past on f_fa, and since I don't know much about theology either, I filed that in the back of my brain in a 'huh, interesting, check out later' way. I hope the only argument isn't ferretbrain's, because upon seeing that according to them, the Sorting Hat = the reprobate vs. the Elect, my mind went "nopity nope." Talk about overextending an idea.

Although the idea of sorting people according to their personalities is... a bit weird, when you think about it.

I am glad salsa was fun! My own experiences with trying out gendered dance classes have been that there were always far fewer guys, and the guys were either a) intimidatingly good or b) drunk. I suspect there was something wrong with my sample set... Yay for dancing with energy. Such a mood booster.
Jul. 17th, 2013 03:24 pm (UTC)
I think I saw the comment on the personal post (it was soliciting responses about what you thought each book's religion was) and mentioned the Calvinism.

Yeah, it's the article on ferretbrain. I looked around a bit, but it seemed to be the original source and others were replying to it. Maybe there are better arguments out there!

No no it was so weird--there weren't enough girls. This has never happened before.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )



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