AKA “the first time I ever threw a book across the room.”
Cutting straight to the chase here, I was about 17 when I read THE WANDERING FIRE (in fact, I was 17, because I was in my dorm room at UAF sitting on my bed reading when I pitched the book across the room, and remember it quite vividly), and I was enraged at Kevin’s death.
Nigh unto 25 years later, coming into it again, I obviously knew what was going to happen, and had a really vague idea it had…something…to do with the goddess, but…I wasn’t clear on what.
And the truth is I think part of my rage back then was that I didn’t understand what his death was or why it had happened. I mean, yes, to buy the melting of the winter, but … I didn’t get the entire mythology, the story, the reason–and specifically I never had any fucking clue who “Liadon” was and why Kevin was Liadon and just what the everloving fuck, basically.
This time, for the first time, I deduced–I did not remember, from anywhere earlier in this book or in THE SUMMER TREE, that Liadon was Dana’s son/lover/brother, and for the first time it all kind of clicked into place, that this is an Adonis myth (which, given the prevalance of Celtic and Norse myth in these books, is probably part of what confused me: I was looking in the wrong place for the source, if I was looking at all, which I wasn’t, through my rage).
The fact that a mortal plays the part sort of stumps me even so, although possibly there’s explanation for that somewhere in there. I have more…sympathy…for the storyline as an adult than I did when I read it originally. It’s … I still find it difficult. I mean, it’s good Kevin’s got a role in Fionavar, it’s good that his weird sex thing has an explanation, and–as pointed out in this terrifically smart essay about Fionavar, it is foreshadowed by the song Kevin himself writes:
Love, do you remember
My name? I was lost
In summer turned winter
Made bitter by frost.
But when June comes December
The heart pays the cost.
I frankly never would have put that all together myself, and I still think it’s…hard. I think GGK was reaching for something there and I’m not quite sure he made it, not if it took me 25 years and I don’t know how many re-reads and somebody else’s insightful essay to put all the pieces together. I want to have some kind of better understanding earlier on, some kind of…hook that lands Kevin’s sexual experiences more comprehensibly on his eventual fate. I want to see it coming, if not the first time through then at least in retrospect, and I just…don’t. Quite. Even now.
Ahem. Okay. Now that I’ve got that out of the way, the other chapters. :)
I talked about Finn and Dari in the last entry, but they still kill me here. Dari’s transformation to adulthood (or something close enough) is heartrending, and all I can kep thinking is the poor kid deserves more time.
Okay, ‘ve just run out of time to write this, ,speaking of time, so I’m going to post it even if there’s probably more I could say :)