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Lecture 9

ENG239H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Lester Del Rey, Tutelary Deity, High Fantasy


Department
English
Course Code
ENG239H1
Professor
Mike Johnstone
Lecture
9

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Lecture'9!
Subvering'the'Pattern!
“Tell%me,%because%you%should……%oblige%me%now,%at%least.%At%last.”%[Bardrem]%smiled.%Foam%gathered%and%stretched%
at%the%corners%of%his%mouth.%“What%has%your%Pattern%been?%What%paths….have%brought%you%here?”%I%thought,%at%
first,%that%the%shivering%was%all%his.%I%thought%that%I%was%flushing%only%because%my%head%was%down%and%I%was%sick%
with%weariness%and%grief.%I%wish%I%could%tell%you…but%Teldaru%cursed%me….”Teldaru%cursed%me.”%I%was%shivering.%I%
was%feverChot.%[…..]%No%patterCyetCtoCbe;%pattern%past.%Pathways%already%walked.%Questions%asked%that%must%be%
answered,%as%the%swaying%shadowCstreaks%of%my%hair%wore%my%own%Otherworld%around%me.%And%I%could%see%it%–%I%was%
in%it%because%Bardrem%had%held%a%mirror%up%to%my%face%and%told%me%to%look.%“He%cursed%me%with%Bloodseeing%–%I%have%
been%his,%and%mute,%for%eight%years,%but%now%you%have%returned%my%words%to%me%with%yours”%(Sweet%329,%chapter%43)%
" now!partly!free!from!Teldaru’s!curse!
" freed!from!the!curse!of!speaking!falsely!of!what!she!sees!in!her!visions!
" Bardrem!asked!Nola!questions!"!undoing!of!Teldaru’s!curse!
o Questions!about!Nola!–!her!past!
o Crucial!because!the!past!is!certain,!but!the!Pattern!is!not!
o Shifts!point!of!view!to!what!has!happened!!!certainty!
" Reading!of!her!ownself!–!form!of!interpretation!!
" Bardrem!holds!mirror!to!her!own!face!and!asks!her!to!read!her!own!self!
" Can!now!start!narrating!herself!again!“Teldaru!cursed!me”!!!the!object!of!the!sentence,!Teldaru!cursed!
her!
" Nola’s!sense!of!her!!!to!tell!the!truth!again!–!words!in!her!head!matches!the!page!
" Bardrem!made!her!look!behind,!not!ahead!
" The!past!is!certain;!future!is!ambiguous!
" Pattern!is!a!central!metaphor!in!the!text!
!
Pattern'(OED,'n.)'
" a!model,!example,!or!copy;!a!design,!an!outline!
" an!example!or!model!to!be!imitated;!an!archetype!
" a!copy!made!from!a!mode!or!prototype;!a!likeness!
" an!example,!an!instance,!taken!as!typical,!representative,!or!eminent!
" a!decorative!or!artistic!design,!often!repeated;!a!style,!type,!or!class!of!decoration!
" a!regular!and!intelligible!form!or!sequence!discernible!in!certain!actions!or!situations;!especially!one!on!
which!the!prediction!of!successive!or!future!events!may!be!based!
" science:!an!arrangement!or!relationship!of!elements,!especially!one!which!indicates!or!implies!an!
underlying!causative!process!other!than!chance!
!
Subverting'the'Pattern!
Shortly%thereafter,%the%Del%Rey%fantasy%imprint%was%founded,%with%its%criteria%set%up%by%Lester%del%Rey.%The%books%
would%be%original%novels%set%in%inveted%worlds%in%which%magic%workds.%Each%would%have%a%male%central%character%
who%triumphed%over%evil%–%usually%associated%with%technical%knowledge%of%some%variety%–%by%innate%virtue,%
with%the%help%of%an%elder%tutor%or%tutelary%spirit.%He%has%codified%a%children’s%literature%that%could%be%sold%as%
adult.%It%was%nostalgic,%conservative,%pastoral,%and%optimistic.%That%was%what%was%to%be%genre%fantasy…%we%today%as%
readers%are%the%inheritors%of%this%phenomenon.%–%David%G.%Hartwell,%“%The%Making%of%the%American%Fantasy%Genre”%
" male!triumphs!over!evil!to!save!the!world!
" Pattern!Scars!give!us!a!female!central!character!
" The!female!heroine!kills,!raises!the!dead,!and!craves!for!Teldaru’s!power!
" Expectation!of!resolution!and!happy!ending!
!
This%book%often%seems%like%a%deliberate%inversion%of%the%traditional%fantasy%novel:%trapped%in%Nola's%enslaved%mind,%
the%reader%is%on%the%side%of%evil,%while%the%characters%who%would%usually%be%central%to%the%story%–%the%heroes%–%are%
peripheral.%In%most%fantasy%novels,%Nola%would%be%a%minor%character,%the%pawn%going%mad%on%the%sidelines,%her%
character%arc%finding%resolu0on%offstage%.%.%.%.%At%0mes,%the%sense%of%inversion%is%so%intense%as%to%induce%a%kind%of%
literary%ver0go,%an%acute%feeling%of,%Where%are%we?%%
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