Fuse #8

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Megan Whalen Turner Fans Have a Blog?

Do they ever! It's called Eddis, Attolia, Sounis, and they post almost every single day. Wow. When I mentioned in my review of The King of Attolia that, "There are people in this world who have devoured Turner’s, 'The Thief' and 'The Queen of Attolia' and have been salivating over the prospect of consuming this, her latest work", there was a reason I followed that immediately up with, "These are the people I fear." They are literate, insightful, and did I mention that they pretty much post ever single day about Turner's books? Did I?

Anywho, recently they caught wind of my review and their comments on the matter are fascinating. They say I didn't mention how I felt about Gen personally, a problem I will alleviate right now. Um... I thought he was cool. Lord Peter Whimsy (I think Gail Gauthier called him that) is an excellent descriptor. One of the other most consistent points on the blog too is that it's not confusing at all as to why Relius was imprisoned. But then they NEVER say why! Why why why, people? Why was he arrested? Clear it all up for oblivious little me.

21 Comments:

At 11:36 AM , Blogger gail said...

Yeah, I was fascinated by their comments, too. "gail" may have ended up on Fandom Wank?

Hey, I'm getting around.

 
At 2:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

A note of interest--

Orson Scott Card reviewed the MWT books. He read them in this order: second, third, first.

http://www.hatrack.com/osc/reviews/everything/2006-02-12.shtml

Of course, this is a young adult book. Of course, it is--and I'm sure the Printz committee will be taking a long hard look at it, but since the Newbery goes up to and includes age fourteen, and since junior high students in seventh, eighth, and ninth grade are part of the book's audience, I imagine the Newbery committee will also be taking a long hard look at it, because it's clearly one of the most distinguished books of the year, regardless of how you try to pigeonhole the book's audience.

Jonathan

 
At 5:57 PM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

Calm down, sweetie. No one's denying that fourteen-year-olds might pick up, read, and enjoy this book. And no one is trying to "pigeonhole the book's audience", as it were. I'm simply pointing out in the review that it's going to be mighty difficult for first-time readers on the younger end of the scale to begin to explore Whalen's world if they start with book #3.

Now will someone PLEASE explain to me what Relius did?

 
At 12:57 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the first two books, especially the 2nd in the series, you realized that the rule of the Queen of Attolia has been quite unstable, a power struggle between her and her fractious barons in a reminiscently-feudal hierarchy as the Queen attempts to centralize power. Her success has depended partly on her strength of character, her determination to carry out whatever necessary to defend her throne and her country, and her choice of advisors. From both the 2nd book and this 3rd book (p. 128 in K of A), you see how much Relius means to her and how much he has contributed to her success over the years. One of the few people she "trusts" and certainly the only person who has been with her through the entire length of her reign thus far, he is a valuable resource not only for his skill and insight, but also for his companionship and stalwart loyalty. During the years of her unstable rule, such loyalty and friendship would have been invaluable and rare. His treason, to let a Mede spy know his secrets and plans, and thus lead to the capture of three of Her Majesty's spys, plus the possible deaths of unknown others, is not only a huge failure on his part with political reprecussions, it is also a betrayal of the Queen's fragile trust all these years, that he, her longest friend and advisor, has betrayed her too. His treason and crime is thus devastating on multiple levels, and he tops it all off by lying to Attolia to her face. If someone who has served her such and been loyal to her for so long can still betray her and lie to her about it, who can she trust? He is arrested and imprisioned for this, and later tortured because as the Secretary of the Archives, aka "master of spies" the amount he knows about the country's secrets and what he might have leaked could have serious ramifications, and he has already showned that he is afraid enough to tell lies once already.

 
At 2:31 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.S. (since I can't edit my comment)

It is possible to understand about Relius and his relationship with Attolia without ever having read the first 2 books in the series (he isn't in the first one, and he is introduced, but does not play a necessarily prominent role in the second).

Refer to King of Attolia p. 73, 124-125, and 127-128 for Relius, p. 91-92 for Attolia's unstable rule, although I'm sure you will find other references in the book as well. :) Enjoy!

 
At 12:29 PM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

Well cited. That leaves only one question, as I see it. Why did Relius betray Attolia at all? What was in it for him? He seems so incredibly devoted to her that it's difficult to see why this would have happened.

 
At 2:28 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Relius explains his betrayal himself when he is brought before the throne (bottom 124-125), and while it was not exactly an intentional betrayal, how could he not take care to protect state secrets like that?! Anyway, it was a huge security and intelligence leak, and at first he lied about the source of the leak. Later in the book, after Relius is released from prison and he and the Queen are speaking, the Queen admits that she thought his arrest and torture, despite his previous loyalty and service, was another "necessary sacrifice" (322)as she has made throughout her reign to maintain power and some stability.

~Anon8, from the Sounis lj community

 
At 4:03 PM , Blogger gail said...

I appreciate the explanation regarding Relius. My question now is, why did they release him?

 
At 4:49 PM , Anonymous Willow said...

It was Gen's influence. It's hard to explain but he was trying to save Relius, because he didn't want Relius to have to go through torture and execution, and Irene, because he knew what having to torture and execute him would do to her. I would really have liked to see the scene where Gen convinces Irene to pardon Relius...

Besides, it was an accidental mistake, and Relius can still serve Irene.

 
At 5:06 PM , Anonymous checkers said...

Part of the reason there is daily activity at the LJ site is that it is made up of the nicest group of people you will ever meet.

Really, there's no reason to fear us. Become one of us.

Mwahaha.

 
At 5:32 PM , Anonymous Avian said...

Relius was one of the only people Attolia trusted. He had been her advisor since she first took the throne, and he had taught her, that to be a strong ruler and keep her barons under control, she had to be cruel and not show partiality or trust to anyone, no matter who it was. So, Attolia felt she had no choice but to have Relius tortured when he disobeyed her. He was released because, eventually, Gen showed both his wife and Relius the one flaw in that plan of leadership, "If we truly trust no one, we cannot survive" (KoA 331).

Avian, another member of the LJ community :)

 
At 5:59 PM , Anonymous rowana said...

Another reason for the daily activity on Sounis is simply that these are books that *need* to be talked about and shared. It's difficult to run out of topics relating to the books to discuss. The stream of interesting, intelligent, lovely people who keep joining the community just keep the discussion flowing.

 
At 7:47 PM , Anonymous Willow said...

t's difficult to run out of topics relating to the books to discuss.

Yeah, there's always zucchini, underwear, and dancing bears...

Seriously, though, there are so many lovely themes in the books. Love, hate, revenge-- and the characters are complex and flawed and lovable.

 
At 10:21 PM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

Well, you're all so dedicated that I stand in awe. I've not seen this kind of intense love in much of anything aside from Harry Potter and maybe maybe His Dark Materials.

Which, in turn, begs the question of when they're going to make a "Thief" film. I assume you've all figured out the casting early on. Any favs?

 
At 10:26 PM , Anonymous Willow said...

We've never done any casting ideas that I've ever seen. Personally I would not like to see movies of the books, because they wouldn't be as good. They just wouldn't. Though I could see Natalie Portman/Queen Amidala as Irene, but I digress...

The plot twists would be hard to portray onscreen, and the characterization would be hard for actors to capture. And all the cuts would be confusing. And there's back-story. Some of the moments would translate well on-screen, and the Thief would be the easiest to do... well, that one might work.

 
At 11:49 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, I'm pretty calm. Apologies if my post seemed to indicate otherwise.

I believe you posted this earlier in the month to Nina's Newbery . .

I hate to say it but "King of Attolia" was so complicated and so filled to overfilling with court intrigue that I can't imagine anyone under the age of 15 even getting through the first 5 chapters without ending up mightily confused. 15 and up would probably be able to understand and get through it, but then that wouldn't fall within the necessary Newbery criteria.

Jonathan

 
At 10:22 AM , Anonymous Avian said...

We did have some casting figured out a while back, just for fun, though I'm not really sure where it is now - buried in the backlog most likely. I'm a bit fond of Cillian Murphy as Gen...

 
At 6:52 PM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

Aw yeah. I totally did write that, didn't I? Good research! But I still dunno how well a younger audience would do with the series. As everyone has pointed out... tis mondo complex.

 
At 9:52 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mmmmm...I'm thinking thirteen and up could handle it. But it's definitely not a book for kids who have a hard time with ambiguity. I've seen kids write "This book was too confusing" about much more straightforward books. That being said, teens who never read this series are missing out big time. I would love to see this get the Printz/Printz Honor. (I'm afraid if it gets the Newbery, hundreds of children's librarians will think it's perfect for their elementary school clientele instead of remembering that the Newbery does go up to fourteen years old. Like Hope Was Here and House of the Scorpion, this is a YA book through and through.)

 
At 3:00 PM , Anonymous cherryblosomjen said...

I, for one, thouroughly enjoyed your analysis of KoA. I found it via Sounis (the lovely LJ comm you spoke of).

Did anyone ever clarify the coin toss excerpt for you? If I'm not mistaken, Gen says something to the effect that if the coin lands on the lilies side of the coin he must rule (or take accept his position as king) and if it lands on 'heads' she must resume being sole/primary monarch.

Attolia responds that wherever the coin falls, he should still claim his position. She recognizes that he will be an incredible king (her later conversation with Relius, who grows to feel similarly, is particularly insightful) but Gen passionately fights the responsibility.

Anyway, everytime the coin falls it lands on the lillies.

Attolia smirks, pleased.

But Gen is sickened, clearly disturbed. I think it ties in with the supersition that it is "the god's" will that he be king and no matter how many times he flips that coin, it will say he must be king and must eventually exert his power as such.

:)

 
At 12:41 AM , Anonymous ***athena*** said...

Some of you insult the intelligence of kids under 15. I was 13/14 when I read these books and though I picked them out for the storyline I was certainly able to get much more out of them. While I am leaving this comment I would just like to take the time to express my awe to Megan Whalen Turner for having the patience, persistence, and creativity to write such wonderful books as these. I am an avid reader, but have found few books that both appeal to a broad audience and manage to be as skillfully put together as these.

 

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