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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 11:18 pm 
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I picked up the book at the airport on the way home on Sunday, so I hope to be joining the discussion sometime soon.
(Well, I do have quite a few other books still to read before I intend to start this one - but at least I've got it now! ;) :) )

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 18, 2006 6:18 am 
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Hobby, yay! I hope you and enjoy it and look forward to hearing what you think. :)


***SPOILERS***
























Jnyusa wrote:
We've spent so much time discussing the importance of free will in Tolkien - that seemed to me the one thing that was missing here. The Raven King seems intended to be perceived as good, but his subjects are all predestined by his prophecy.


Voronwë wrote:
Yes, I almost think the Raven King is somehow beyond good and evil, much like God Himself. Oh, maybe I shouldn't go there.


Does the lack of free will necessarily make the Raven King evil? It depends on how you view free will, I suppose. If he was working for the good of his subjects and England, it could be a good thing. If he is working solely for his own gain, with the good of his subjects being only incidental, does that make him evil?

It does make him seem god-like, though, especially some of the polytheistic traditions. If he’s working soley for his own good, then he’s capricious and arbitrary. If not, he is more like Iluvátar and the Elves, laying out a plan but leaving them to execute it as they will. Or is he more devil-like, with the black, the magic, the ravens? What gives him the right to fiddle around with Strange and Norrell, with all of England? He’s a king, but it’s not a ‘divine’ right, because he is not holy. He rules because he was strongest, with no pretension to divine right as the Kings of England had. He might be god-like though, which might confer a certain right to tinker with their lives.

Even so, I do not think that the Raven King is evil, per se. He is dark, maybe even sinister, but evil? No. He brings Vinculus back to life, even though he doesn’t necessarily need Vinculus anymore. Could the Book not have passed to another person or another form? The prophecy is fulfilled and is clearly no use anymore. He is also somewhat benevolent towards Childermass, who I think is his only true subject of the main characters, and certainly of the magicians.

(This topic is very far over my head, so these are just muddled ramblings. I did try to edit them over the past four days, but I don’t think it will get clearer

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 18, 2006 6:26 am 
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Will need to think more. It has been a very, very long time since I've read a book that has made me think as much as this one has.

Spoilers

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Quote:
He brings Vinculus back to life, even though he doesn’t necessarily need Vinculus anymore. Could the Book not have passed to another person or another form? The prophecy is fulfilled and is clearly no use anymore.


Remember, he does change the book, now that the prophecy has been fulfilled. And we don't know what it says now, or what it means. Clearly that is going to be covered in the next book. 8)

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 18, 2006 10:05 pm 
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W00t!

My copy arrived today!

However,
so did half of the Tolkien books I ordered.

:horse:

Erm,

I don't know which one to read first .....

:help:

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Ever mindful of the maxim that brevity is the soul of wit, axordil sums up the Sil:


"Too many Fingolfins, not enough Sams."

Yes.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 18, 2006 10:10 pm 
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Talk about an abundance of riches. For once I am completely without advice.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 2:23 am 
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Read Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell first!

Of courseI say this with no ulterior motive whatsoever, such as getting you to post in this thread sooner, per se. No ulterior motive here! Not even a hint of one.

By the way, would people mind being quoted on a JS&MN board?


SPOILERS!!

















Voronwë wrote:
Remember, he does change the book, now that the prophecy has been fulfilled. And we don't know what it says now, or what it means. Clearly that is going to be covered in the next book.


True, but if he can change the prophecy, it seems like he also would have been able to preserve the Book in some other form. I hope it doesn't take her another ten years to write the sequel.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 4:33 am 
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By the way, would people mind being quoted on a JS&MN board?

There's a whole board for this book? :shock: Whoa!

Yeah, you can quote me, Mossy ... (others can speak for themselves) ... and include a linkie to our board!

Jn

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 4:44 am 
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Thanks, Jn! I shall certainly include a link. :)

There is a board! I was suprised to find one. It's very wee and called The Friends of English Magic. The guy who runs it also has a blog with JS&MN news.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 7:21 am 
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You can quote me, Mossy.

As for the sequel, I'm sure it will take a while, because she is so meticulous with her historical research. Of course, much of the the background work that she did for the first book should be applicable to the second as well, so it shouldn't take as long. But I'd rather wait longer and have a book that is on the same level then have her rush something out to capitalize on the success of the first one.

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PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2006 4:58 pm 
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Just checked it out of the library. Will be reporting bits as I read. :)

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PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2006 5:28 pm 
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I ground to a halt on this—no time to read books at the moment. :( I will pick it up again in July, after some deadlines.

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2006 11:56 pm 
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Brief first impressions after finishing the 3rd chapter:

Fun premise and intriguing enough intro, but I am one who finds all that old British manners and properness and gentlemanliness stuff thoroughly tedious. I never made it through Pride & Prejudice for much the same reason. Honeycomb's fake uber-pleasantness grates like nails on chalkboard. Drop the freaggin' manners crap and say what you mean, for goodness sakes!! :rage: Here's hoping for some of that soon.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2006 3:14 am 
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It gets better! They do stop with all the "Oh, you must meet Mrs. So and So" and the parties and manners and whatnot. Really -- it just takes a while. What do you think of the tone/style of writing? That was one of the things I loved (though not an Austen fan), but I can see how it would get most annoying.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2006 1:05 pm 
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Quote:
What do you think of the tone/style of writing?


I'm not hating it - I'm gradually enjoying it more as I go along - but there is this kind of odd half-winking tone to everything that gets slightly on my nerves. It's as if it's supposed to be cleverly satirical but it's soooo dry that you can't be sure. It's the dryness that's getting to me - I need some moisture! :D I also find the weird occasional use of first-person from the unknown narrator disconcerting - it keeps pulling me out of the story (as do all those footnotes). But the worst part is that, so far, I find none of the characters at all likeable, interesting, or, in many cases, belieavable.

The story is amusing enough to keep me reading but I'm not expecting much at this point. (I'm around chapter 15 or so.)

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2006 2:17 am 
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Quote:
there is this kind of odd half-winking tone to everything that gets slightly on my nerves. It's as if it's supposed to be cleverly satirical but it's soooo dry that you can't be sure.


I actually liked that as well, because the kind of wink toward the reader seemed to lighten up the "Let's go to this party and meet this minister, and oh, you simply must meet Lady So and So!" But yes, it is exceeding dryness gets to be a bit much at time. Norrell is so gosh darned pretentious and and stodgy and even a bit dull.

I have absolutely no idea where in the book Chapter 15 is besides being between chapters 14 and 16, but it really does get more interesting. I'll be interested to hear what you think once you get to Strange.

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the weird occasional use of first-person from the unknown narrator disconcerting


Where? I don't remember that at all. Iiinteresting. :scratch:


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2006 2:39 pm 
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The story is picking up. The ghost has come back for Lady Pole and Steve Black (the only character I like, so far), the "magicians" have been kicked out of London, and Vinculus turns out to have a bit of mistery to him. The tone of the book is odd though as the narrator will describe the most extraordinary events with the same enthusiasm as a tea party. It's part of the general dryness, I suppose.

MaidenOfTheShieldarm wrote:
Quote:
the weird occasional use of first-person from the unknown narrator disconcerting


Where? I don't remember that at all. Iiinteresting. :scratch:


I mean how the narrator will go "Mr Whoever was widely regarded as this or that. I, however, think he was that or this." It's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's jarring since we don't know who this "I" is plus most of the time it doesn't feel like it's supposed to be a "first-person" narration.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2006 3:17 pm 
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Jane Austen used that device at times, and I think it was a convention then. The reader was supposed to understand that it was the author speaking, not a character in the book. I think my favorite of hers was something like, "The reader will rightly judge, from the telltale compression of the pages before him, that we are all hastening together to perfect felicity." In other words, there aren't many pages left, and obviously the happy ending is coming, so let's get down to it. :P

It's very unconventional to do that now.

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 3:33 am 
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About half way through the book and still no sign of a plot. Getting impatient.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 3:43 am 
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Has Jonathan Strange showed up yet?

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 11:16 am 
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Yes. He just help defeat France.

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