Can you give me a general chapter of even a page number for the dream sequence with the white bird? I don't want to go through the whole book. is it in Dragon's coma dream?
Agghh! I’m behind on my re-reading! Up to TSK now, but I had to read super-fast to catch-up. Ashling is definitely one of my favourite books in the Obernewtyn Chronicles! I just think it is well-written and the perfect length with enough excitement to keep you going.
Min, I was interested in what you said about the Emma-Beforetime-vision being changed to no longer mention Ines. I wonder what this could mean? I wrote about that passage below, wondering if it was significant that we hear about Ines for the first time. I also really want to know who or what the white bird is! And what a fantastic theory about Swallow’s true name being a password.
As for the dynamic between Rushton and Dameon, I think Rushton thinks of Dameon as more of a friend than Dameon considers Rushton a friend if that makes sense. I believe Matthew knows about Dameon’s love for Elspeth and possibly other members of the Empath Guild. I agree with Pizzagreen that Rushton may have just picked it up from observing Dameon. I reckon that Rushton would have recognised in Dameon, similar mannerisms and subtle flirtations that he himself would have employed around Elspeth, a sort-of unconscious ‘love-language’- lol ;) that would have strongly suggested to him that Dameon also loved Elspeth.
- Maruman lost his eye in this book (I completely forgot about this). Roland had to remove it because it became infected. For some reason, esp. towards the later books in the series, I thought Maruman had always been a one-eyed cat.
- Beast mythology: We first hear from Maruman the concept of Elspeth freeing beasts from humans. “One day ElspethInnle will lead the beasts to freedom from the funaga” (p.37). I cannot help but thinking this is near-on impossible, considering the unTalented’s treatment of misfits, gypsies and anyone different from them. Humans could learn the beast-finger-speech, but even then there would still be prejudice. This would take years and years to work through. I have this morbid Darren Aronofsky/ Noah’s ark obliteration of mankind (with the exception of Elspeth and all the animals) scene in my head. But I guess, from popular speculation the more likely outcome is that the animals will be taken to a special place away from humans (Eden regeneration scheme – maybe frozen in time to be released in the future or sent to a time/place where there are no humans) etc etc.
- Elspeth’s first Beforetime vision is presented in this book when she goes into Iriny’s mind and it makes me wonder if it is in fact quite significant. It is about a man and a girl named Emma. Do we see these people again? Are they perhaps the ancestors of the gypsies that came to the land led by Cassandra or Misfits? They say they’re going to journey to the Reichler Clinic because Hannah and Jacob believed the mountains to be safe. The line I found interesting was “Cassandra has been in communication with Ines to say we are coming” (p.125). I realise, Elspeth meets Ines later on, but this is the first mention of ‘Ines.’ It also calls into question Ines’s purpose and connection with the weapon machines. At the moment she seems to be on the Misfits’ side.
- Daffyd as catalyst – He really does seem to appear at the most random and important of moments, changing events and appearing as a sort of catalyst (which is what IC describes him as). “I thought of my first meeting with Daffyd; a chance encounter, if such meetings were ever really chance… I had never forgotten his brightness in that dark moment” (p. 235). And yet later, this brightness seems to be marred by hatred: “The ex-Druid’s eyes burned with near-fanatical hatred; the search for Gilaine and Lidgebaby defined his existence now. Truly, he was not so far from madness” (p.414). What part is Daffyd yet to play I wonder?
- Philosophical musings: “I looked around at the carved panels and thought bitterly that it would be better if the battlemachines were activated and humanity wiped from the face of the earth once and for all…” (p.506). Elspeth could complete her quest with this purifying destruction of humanity and become the ultimate Destroyer – then the animals would be free of humans (preserved somewhere safe or sent to the future) although it would be bleak and wouldn’t fit in with Isobelle’s themes of healing the earth, peace-making, becoming more attuned to nature and animals, respect for the environment and empathy towards others. Elspeth later muses that perhaps her little order of Talented misfits may bring about the change needed. “… perhaps in a world without threat of extinction from the weapons of the past, Obernewtyn would grow a new breed of humanity that would not take the same terrible path to destruction” (p.514). So in this way, Obernewtyn stands for hope and change for humanity, of a new-way forward that is loving, peaceable and good, a way that solves problems without warfare. If this is the case then the Misfits are arguably the future and in time, everyone may be born a Talented misfit.
- Elspeth as sacrificial figure: “I would walk the dark road to its end and never return, for nothing was too great a price to pay for the earth and all its life. Not love or my own little life. My quest was greater than fear or love, and it was greater than Obernewtyn and the fate of the Talented Misfits there, and nothing would ever make me question that again” (p. 511). This shows a possibility of Elspeth sacrificing all to complete her quest. What are thoughts on Elspeth dying or ultimately leaving the Land forever? It would be bitter-sweet but an interesting ending, me thinks.