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[mythsoc] Chamberlin's Merlins

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  • dianejoy@earthlink.net
    ... From: Stolzi@aol.com Date: Thu, 4 Apr 2002 14:50:52 EST To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Subject: Re: [mythsoc] recommendation: Bujold s Curse of Chalion ...
    Message 1 of 5 , Apr 5 8:33 AM
      Original Message:
      -----------------
      From: Stolzi@...
      Date: Thu, 4 Apr 2002 14:50:52 EST
      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [mythsoc] recommendation: Bujold's Curse of Chalion


      > Some of the nominees are really parts of longer multi-volume stories and
      > shouldn't have been nominated until the story was complete: _The Merlin > of the Oak Wood_ is the second volume of just such an unfinished series

      <<Well, I read it and felt it was self-contained to a sufficient degree...

      I didn't =like= it very much though.>>

      Read the first volume, *Merlin of St. Giles,* thinking the story to be more seamless in trilogy form, which may have been a mistake. When I saw that it was essentially a paganizing of the Joan of Arc story, I took both books back. I take it we really get into Joan in the second volume. Perhaps that's the one I should have looked at. I still have time to rectify that, though I dipped into vol. 2, and found it to be "more of same." I didn't like it either. Marion Zimmer Bradley, what hast thou wrought? ---djb




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    • Pauline J. Alama
      I ve also ruled out The Merlin of the Oak Wood for my vote (I did not read the first one, and did not finish this one, though I looked at the end enough to see
      Message 2 of 5 , Apr 5 2:11 PM
        I've also ruled out The Merlin of the Oak Wood for my vote (I did not read the first one, and did not finish this one, though I looked at the end enough to see that it's an Empire Strikes Back ending, not a real conclusion). I read some very conventional Joan of Arc biography in junior high, and the Joan I remember was amazing: some teenaged peasant girl comes out of nowhere, all alone, to the Dauphin's palace, and says, "Good morning, Your Highness, God told me to lead your armies & save France, so let me at 'em!" Or words to that effect. No one taught her what to do. No one sponsored her. No organization stood behind her. It's just Joan and her Voices. In Chamberlin, you've got a male witch standing behind Joan, tutoring her, telling her what she is and what she represents, stage-managing the beginning of her career. To me, this seems rather a come-down from the independent, visionary Joan of conventional legend. I may be a bit prejudiced against this book as a Christian (& a Catholic at that), since there's so much "Pagan good, Christian bad" in the book, but my Wiccan friend, when I described the story to her, thought it odd that Joan was being portrayed as the disciple of Pere Michel, not the leader, and said that if Joan were not the leader herself, there ought to be a mistress of the coven. Kind of surprising, coming from a female author.

        Pauline J. Alama
        THE EYE OF NIGHT
        (Bantam Spectra, July 2002)
        "Indeed, all creation groans and is in labor, even until now."

        --- On Fri 04/05, dianejoy@... wrote:
        >
        >
        > Original Message:
        > -----------------
        > From: Stolzi@...
        > Date: Thu, 4 Apr 2002 14:50:52 EST
        > To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: Re: [mythsoc] recommendation: Bujold's Curse of Chalion
        >
        >
        > > Some of the nominees are really parts of longer multi-volume stories
        > and
        > > shouldn't have been nominated until the story was complete: _The
        > Merlin > of the Oak Wood_ is the second volume of just such an
        > unfinished series
        >
        > degree...
        >
        > I didn't =like= it very much though.>>
        >
        > Read the first volume, *Merlin of St. Giles,* thinking the story to be
        > more seamless in trilogy form, which may have been a mistake. When I saw
        > that it was essentially a paganizing of the Joan of Arc story, I took both
        > books back. I take it we really get into Joan in the second volume.
        > Perhaps that's the one I should have looked at. I still have time to
        > rectify that, though I dipped into vol. 2, and found it to be "more of
        > same." I didn't like it either. Marion Zimmer Bradley, what hast
        > thou wrought? ---djb
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
        >
        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
        >
        >
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      • dianejoy@earthlink.net
        ... From: Pauline J. Alama PJAlama@excite.com Date: Fri, 5 Apr 2002 17:11:31 -0500 (EST) To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Subject: RE: [mythsoc] Chamberlin s
        Message 3 of 5 , Apr 6 8:13 AM
          Original Message:
          -----------------
          From: Pauline J. Alama PJAlama@...
          Date: Fri, 5 Apr 2002 17:11:31 -0500 (EST)
          To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: RE: [mythsoc] Chamberlin's Merlins



          <<No one taught her what to do. No one sponsored her. No organization stood behind her. It's just Joan and her Voices. In Chamberlin, you've got a male witch standing behind Joan, tutoring her, telling her what she is and what she represents, stage-managing the beginning of her career. To me, this seems rather a come-down from the independent, visionary Joan of conventional legend.>>

          How true! Rather surprising, that, especially if you're working from feminist assumptions. At least MZB had her women being independent and Merlin wasn't doing *all* the mannipulation.

          << I may be a bit prejudiced against this book as a Christian (& a Catholic at that), since there's so much "Pagan good, Christian bad" in the book, but my Wiccan friend, when I described the story to her, thought it odd that Joan was being portrayed as the disciple of Pere Michel, not the leader, and said that if Joan were not the leader herself, there ought to be a mistress of the coven. Kind of surprising, coming from a female author.>>

          In Wiccan terms, your friend is right. I suspect there's a strong feminist strain throughout Wicca, so the majority of covens would be led by females.

          As a Christian, I'm no doubt prejudiced myself, but have done a little reading on the subject of Wicca. So far as I know, Wiccans follow many traditions. Surely, there'd be all male covens as well as all female ones? Alongside mixed ones? It would make sense to me that there could be some gender charged magic that only men do---or only women do in some traditions. So the upshot is "anything goes." Except that Chamberlin didn't give that impression. I don't recall *any* women being a part of the Hermit's group. I got the impression that she's European, and is working from European folk traditions, except that I didn't see anything more than a few rituals under moonlight.

          I suppose Pere Michel's leadership role is OK in Wiccan terms, so long as he is appropriately *pagan.* I suppose that minimizes *male* qualities.

          (BTW, I'm currently reading Diane Purkiss' *At the Bottom of the Garden: A Dark History of Fairies, Hobgoblins, and Other Troublesome Things.* Excellent.) ---djb

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        • alexeik@aol.com
          In a message dated 4/6/2 4:16:42 PM, Diane wrote:
          Message 4 of 5 , Apr 8 9:26 AM
            In a message dated 4/6/2 4:16:42 PM, Diane wrote:

            << So far as I know, Wiccans follow many traditions. Surely, there'd be all
            male covens as well as all female ones? Alongside mixed ones?>>

            I've never heard of all-male covens in a Wiccan tradition (except for some
            all-male *gay* covens in the "Minoan" tradition). Since in Wiccan theology
            the Goddess takes precedence over the God, it's theoretically possible to
            worship the Goddess alone, and all-female Dianic covens do just that. But
            most Wiccan groups stress gender balance and are mixed-gender, led by both a
            High Priestess and a High Priest, representing the complementary energies of
            the Goddess and God. But the High Priestess takes precedence, and normally
            the High Priest can't perform crucial rituals (such as initiations and
            elevations) without her presence and authority.
            But in any case, of course, Wicca didn't exist in Joan of Arc's time, so
            any appearance of it there is anachronistic and unrealistic. I suspect
            Chamberlin was also influenced by the image of witchcraft that emerges from
            the confession of the 17th-century Scottish witch Isabel Gowdie, whose coven
            had a single male leader, the "Black Man".
            Alexei
          • Pauline J. Alama
            Yes, IIRC, there s a reference to the man in black in _The Merlin of the Oak Wood_. Maybe part Gowdie, part _The Prisoner_. ;-) What did you think of
            Message 5 of 5 , Apr 9 5:15 AM
              Yes, IIRC, there's a reference to the "man in black" in _The Merlin of the Oak Wood_. Maybe part Gowdie, part _The Prisoner_. ;-)

              What did you think of Chamberlin's use of the Italian "Night Walkers" legend

              Pauline J. Alama
              THE EYE OF NIGHT
              (Bantam Spectra, July 2002)


              --- On Mon 04/08, wrote:
              >
              > In a message dated 4/6/2 4:16:42 PM, Diane wrote:
              >
              > there'd be all
              > male covens as well as all female ones? Alongside mixed ones?>>
              >
              > I've never heard of all-male covens in a Wiccan tradition (except for some
              >
              > all-male *gay* covens in the "Minoan" tradition). Since in
              > Wiccan theology
              > the Goddess takes precedence over the God, it's theoretically possible to
              >
              > worship the Goddess alone, and all-female Dianic covens do just that. But
              >
              > most Wiccan groups stress gender balance and are mixed-gender, led by both
              > a
              > High Priestess and a High Priest, representing the complementary energies
              > of
              > the Goddess and God. But the High Priestess takes precedence, and normally
              >
              > the High Priest can't perform crucial rituals (such as initiations and
              > elevations) without her presence and authority.
              > But in any case, of course, Wicca didn't exist in Joan of Arc's time,
              > so
              > any appearance of it there is anachronistic and unrealistic. I suspect
              > Chamberlin was also influenced by the image of witchcraft that emerges
              > from
              > the confession of the 17th-century Scottish witch Isabel Gowdie, whose
              > coven
              > had a single male leader, the "Black Man".
              > Alexei
              >
              > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
              >
              > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
              >
              >
              >
              >

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