[identity profile] ankaret.livejournal.com
(or, have your mods gone entirely round the bend? The answer, very probably)

As [livejournal.com profile] scarletlobster recently reminded me, seven years ago [livejournal.com profile] thewhiteowl and I were amusing ourselves by writing versions of the Marlows books in LOLCAT dialogue. (We never actually sourced any pictures of cats because it would have been too much work, and anyway, can you imagine the wars about whether Miss Ferguson should be a Scottish Fold or a foxy-looking ginger?)

As the fandom has been going through a renaissance due to [livejournal.com profile] lilliburlero and associates' great work on the readthroughs, I thought I'd link to the posts again so that people who missed them the first time round can share in the silliness.

Autumn Term, The Marlows And The Traitor, The Ready-Made Family, The Attic Term

Run Away Home

The Thuggery Affair

Falconer's Lure, End Of Term, The Cricket Term, Peter's Room
[identity profile] lilliburlero.livejournal.com
Chapter 8: As It Turned Out )

Chapter 9: Right Way Round )

Chapter 10: And After )

Right, quite enough from me. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts, and thanks for all your contributions so far.

[personal profile] legionseagle (to whom, grateful thanks) has kindly offered to take over posting on Peter's Room, which we'll begin with Chapters 1-3 next week. That post will go up on Thursday 25th rather than Friday 26th.
[identity profile] lilliburlero.livejournal.com
Thanks for all your commentary on the first 3 chapters: glad to see people are still enthusiastic for the discussion after a break.

A Google search brought me to this Tripadvisor review this morning, which may amuse. A very melancholy future for the place, echoing Lawrie's sadness over the hall-stand, I think. Anyway, let's forge ahead.

Chapter 4: Altogether Unexpected )

Chapter 5: Half-Term at Trennels )

That feels like a great volume of commentary--Chapter 5 being long by Forest's standard, so it's surely time I shut up. Have at it!
[identity profile] lilliburlero.livejournal.com
Welcome back! Hope you enjoyed the break and are ready for more discussion.

End of Term returns to Kingscote, a year after the beginning of Autumn Term. Anyone else wonder about what happens in those missing terms? Perhaps something to explain Rowan’s decision to leave? This has been your regularly scheduled fic prompt.

Chapter 1: Sprog Takes a Quarry )

Chapter 2: Friends and Enemies )

Chapter 3: Rehearsals and Team Practices )

Enough from me--have at it, and I look forward to your comments!

(Posting slightly early this week as I'll be occupied and largely offline tomorrow.)
[identity profile] lilliburlero.livejournal.com
We'll be resuming the readthrough with End of Term on Friday 29th August. Hope you all enjoyed the break!


Friday 29th August

Chapters 1-3
Sprog Takes a Quarry
Friends and Enemies
Rehearsals and Team Practices

Friday September 5th

Chapters 4 & 5
Altogether Unexpected
Half Term at Trennels

Friday September 12th

Chapters 6 & 7
A Change of Cast
A Change of Team

Friday September 19th

Chapters 8-10
As It Turned Out
Right Way Round
And After

[livejournal.com profile] coughingbear can help with texts for anyone who doesn't have one. Looking forward to seeing you all back...
[identity profile] bookroom.livejournal.com
Hi all, am new here, but can't see that this has been discussed before.

I was reading End of Term recently, and got thinking about whether AF's account of who precisely can tell Niccola and Lawrie apart stands up to scrutiny (aside entirely from the implausibility of their mother not being able to find the merest freckle, mole or scar to distinguish the unconscious Lawrie from Nicola in The Marlows and the Traitor.) There are lots of indications, not surprisingly, that members of staff and other Kingscote girls who don't know them that well can't tell them apart throughout the series. What interested me more in End of Term was the extent to which their siblings and close friends and classmates can or can't distinguish them.

When Lawrie and Nicola switch for the netball match after Lawrie bruises her leg, they sleep in one another's beds, and Ginty and Ann don't spot the ruse in the morning when Lawrie (as Nicola) pretends to be ill, though Nick at least seems to have a moment of tension when she's afraid Ann will realise - but both twins seem to be able to presume that neither of their sisters will see through the switch, or presumably they would have known in advance it would never have worked. Nick walks in to the gym, and Miranda, her best friend, likewise thinks she's Lawrie until she's told otherwise. Yet when they go in to breakfast Tim knows immediately Nick isn't Lawrie, and we're told she 'had never had the least difficulty in telling them apart'. From Nicola remembering what Peter once told her about how Lawrie always hitched at her stockings and Nick put her hands in her pockets, presumably he can tell them apart too (despite seeing an awful lot less of them than their sisters)? It's unclear whether Jan Scott has guessed before Lois guesses 'Lawrie' is really Nick, while watching her play brilliantly in the netball match, but it emerges that the outcast Marie Dobson has guessed, based simply on the way in which Nick bumped into her and apologised in the gym doorway earlier that day.

Is it plausible that siblings who share a room with the twins would be taken in by an identical twin switch, basing their interpretation of who was who entirely on situation stuff like who was in which bed/wearing which games kit etc? Is Ann just too honest and straightforward to suspect, and Ginty too self-absorbed, and we are to assume that the redoubtable Rowan would have seen through it in a millisecond, even if all concerned were wearing identical school uniform?

Are there ever any indications that any of the other Marlows can't tell the twins apart? Why has Tim never had any difficulty telling them apart, yet observant, intelligent Miranda is fooled initially, when Marie Dobson isn't? (Just that Tim has known both twins since the start of their schooldays, and is Lawrie's best friend, while Miranda only becomes Nick's close friend at the start of End of Term? Or has Marie's outcast status sharpened her powers of observation when it comes to pranks she's being left out of? She's sharp and sly enough to check Nicola's hat name tag to confirm her suspicions.) Esther is a new girl at the start of End of Term, and very diffident, but there is never the slightest reference to her checking that she's talking to Nick, rather than Lawrie, in the way that, say, Jess Geddes does when they find the hawk carving in the Minster.

Anyway, just wondered what anyone else's thoughts were. Is it plausible that even siblings' recognition of identical twins might depend heavily on context (that is Nick's bed, therefore the person in it is Nick)..?


Jul. 27th, 2013 04:11 pm
[identity profile] intrepid--fox.livejournal.com
When Nicola is introducing Sprog to Miranda, she explains his name: "Sprog. Idiot A.C.2, you know." Miranda clearly does, but I've never understood what that means. Anyone?
[identity profile] nnozomi.livejournal.com
( I hope it’s all right suddenly to post here; have lurked for some time but not contributed before. Please ignore my ramblings if not interesting/pertinent.)

So I finally read Spring Term and on the whole enjoyed it much more than I expected to, am looking forward to pleasant rereads. Didn’t agree with everything, but there you are. I did take issue, though, with something the author mentions in her afterword: that the Marlows in general and Nicola in particular, usually very much against lying, depart from this point of honor in Run Away Home, and that she has decided to assume this was a temporary aberration and return them to their previous stance in Spring Term.

It seems to me, thinking about this, that Nicola (used as a proxy for most-Marlows-in-general) admits of two kinds of lying: lying for one’s own convenience, which is a bad thing (cf Lois, Marie, Tim and the pears, etc.), and lying in a good cause, which is acceptable. For instance, Nicola’s conscience seems untroubled, at the time and thereafter, by lying her head off to Foley (over Peter’s “death”) way back in The Marlows and the Traitor. This was necessary to save their lives, therefore it isn’t a moral issue. I think the whole Edward Oeschli Project was filed under “a good cause and therefore acceptable to lie about” by the Marlows, excepting Ann. (And possibly, after the fact, Rowan—now there’s a fic I’d like someone to write. I always had the feeling that the last scene of Run Away Home was a major emotional turning point for Rowan, and would have liked to see something of that in Spring Term.)

It also interested me to think about Tim, specifically Tim being told off for lying (about Esther’s absence) by Miss Cromwell just before the Play in End of Term. We’re given the impression that Tim is deeply shaken by Miss Cromwell’s calling her a liar, which—while rather moving—seems a little out of character. My guess would always have been that Tim would think to herself “But obviously it wasn’t a bad thing to do, because if I had come out with ‘Esther’s not here’ the whole Lawrie substitution plan wouldn’t have worked out, but I can’t tell Crommie that because she’ll never see it my way,” and have remained silent, resigned rather than upset. But not? (As well, chance has allowed Nicola here to let the more morally flexible Tim do the lying, a handy escape route which does not seem to give Nicola any qualms.)

I don’t know what I’m talking about any more, but those are some of the ideas I had about the way lying works out in some of the books. Any thoughts…?
[identity profile] clothesinbooks.livejournal.com
I hope members of this community might be interested in 2 posts on my blog, Clothes in Books:


I used two extracts from End of Term, the Nativity Play in Wade Minster, for Christmas week specials.
[identity profile] tosomja.livejournal.com
Have just been reading End of Term and was struck by how vicious  Tim is to Nicola and how much it is not really ever explained why.  What has gone wrong since Autumn Term when Tim and Nicola seemed as good if not better friends to Tim and Lawrie?  I can see what Lawrie gets out of the relationship but what's in it for Tim? And what is going on in those conversations when Lawrie says she must talk to Tim - is Tim just nodding and sympathising and agreeing how awful Nicola is? if so, it doesn't sound much like the Tim we see the rest of the time...I am confused.

Attic term

Aug. 25th, 2009 06:06 pm
[identity profile] res23.livejournal.com
1. Nick and Lawrie are still on the Junior netball team, even though so much of the switch in EofT was because Nick would never again have the chance to do this because they'd be too old?

2. There seem to be so many more rules than ever before at school.  I guess there must have been before, but somehow they just seem more prominent now.  Nick and Miranda shopping for the play in End of Term didn't seem to involve nearly so much fuss as these shopping saturdays do - I know they were sent by a staff, but they seemed to be a lot more trusted then than later on.

3.  What, exactly, were the millions of shopping party rules that they broke?  OK, not telling Gina exactly where they were going - but surely girls didn't always know what shops they'd be in or what they'd be buying, specially as they were looking for things like birthday gifts, where they were undecided already about what to buy.  Buying clothes?  Did they know that was such an offence?  they don't seem to have been aware at the time that they were breaking so many rules.  Buying things for others?  Well they were gifts, so was that really a problem?  I know that it led to others finding Changegear, and doing illegal things like swapping clothes or getting Day Girls to provide things to swap.  But what was so wrong about what Nick and Miranda did that day?

4.  And why the sudden emphasis on Day Girls?  Just a plot device?  Or were they there all along and just not mentioned as much.  Or perhaps schools by the time Attic Term was written did have a lot more day girls. (and a lot more rules!).

5. Miranda's Jewishness being such a problem at school Xmas events.  (not just Attic term, but also End of Term).  Why do they all care so much?  I know that sometimes Jewish girls objected to being made to participate in Christian events, and fair enough, but she seems to want to do it, and is never allowed - not because her family would object, but because other people would, a feeling that it's somehow not proper/respectful etc of her to being doing it.   That way around is something that seems less common, with everyone somehow worrying that someone else woudl object, but we never actually see anyone who finds it a problem.  Is anyone really offended?  Maybe people like Ann?

6. Patrick really does seem to be in love in Ginty at times.  I tend to think of him as mostly just fancying her because she's there and she is so obviously keen on him - but that's probably because I know how it ends up.  At the time, he seems quite keen on her, too, wishing she'd phone, wishing he could magic her there to be with him, etc.   When he and Claudie are discussing sex, and he says he is innocent, and she gives him a long look - he then says 'no' - is she offering?  I tend to read it like she is, but then sometimes I think she is just somehow questioning the fact that he doesn't want it.  I don't really understand/like Patrick so much in this book.  The whole crying at classical music, and just lots of other interactions, don't seem realistic to me, somehow. 
[identity profile] sheep-noises.livejournal.com
This time o' year always reminds me of

1) The Christmas Play in Wade Minster, from "End of Term" (which I don't have atm as my copy gave up the ghost and fell to pieces >:( ) ;

2) The unconventional Christmas Dinner in a cave, with poor old Ann staying home in case the phone rings :( , from "Run Away Home"; but mostly

3) "Peter's Room". For me, this is the most magical of all those magical books. I must admit I've always skipped the bits in Italics, so I still don't know what fantasy it was that they acted out that Christmas, even though I've read it dozens of times. Don't care, either. The wonderful descriptions of the day-to-day Marlow (and a bit o' Merrick) winter doings are enough to keep me going :)
[identity profile] vilakins.livejournal.com

I was named after Nicola Marlow, and very pleased I was too when I read the books at around 10-12. I always identified with Nicola because of our shared name and because she was what I wanted to be and wasn't--confident and competent at games--and was--a tomboy, but obsessed with the RAF instead of the Navy. :-)

This year I decided to read all the books I can lay my hands on, and I'm enchanted and very impressed by their quality, depth, and understanding of teenagers. I think I've sorted out ages and terms thanks to this great comm, but I have a question.

I've just finished 'End of Term', which I don't think I've read before. The only bit that doesn't make sense to me is why Nicola is chosen for the Shepherd Boy by Keith. She bases her casting decisions on character (and possibly looks and size) rather than ability, so why does she choose Nicola when Nicola, as far as she knows, has been so unreliable at turning up for netball practices she was excluded from the team? Lawrie on the other hand has done nothing to upset authority, and doesn't already have an important role. OK, I know it was for Plot Reasons, but is there an explanation I can accept? It's so illogical to pick the best soloist they have for the shepherd boy and not the best actor.

[identity profile] tosomja.livejournal.com
I read all the four school Marlow books as a child and absolutely loved them, read them 100s of times etc.  Now I have rediscovered them and realised only for the first time that there were others - I just thought that all the references to the holidays and falcons etc were things which happened 'off-stage', as it were.  So I acquired a version of the GGB Thuggery Affair, but found it really hard going and nothing like as good as the school books.  In fact I gave up once altogether, and then came back to it and managed to finish but wasn't hugely impressed..  I have also acquired The Ready Made Family which I enjoyed much more, but still, not as much as the school books. 
Given that it requires a fair amount of time and money to acquire the rarer Marlow books, it is really worth the struggle? Or are the school books the most popular for a reason?  What do you think - does anyone actually prefer the non-school books?   I don't want to spend a lot of effort on them only to wish that I'd kept to the school books and kept my memories of AF as good as they were!

And also what do you think of the historical ones? Are they as good, and do they connect to the later Marlows in any way apart from the characters being called Marlowe?
[identity profile] kit120.livejournal.com



In ‘End of Term’, we are shown that Lawrie assumes that nobody today could actually believe in the Bible any more than Greek mythology. On the other hand she makes bargains with her own imaginary controller of fate. Surely the sort of person who not only doesn’t believe, but can’t actually believe anyone else could either would be totally rational in all other respects and immune to superstition or supernatural belief of any kind.  I picture an infant Richard Dawkins.  Has anyone ever come across someone who combines Lawrie’s instinctive disbelief in the religion she’s been brought up in with her own equally irrational view of the universe?



owl: Stylized barn owl (nemesis)
[personal profile] owl

The remaining four novels:





Now we return to your regularly scheduled discussion.

ext_22860: Dr Who in a t-shirt reading 'trust me, I'm a Doctor' (marlows)
[identity profile] coughingbear.livejournal.com
There’s been a lot of discussion on the girlsown mailing list recently about Marie Dobson and how she is bullied, and Nicola’s character in relation to this. And it’s recently segued into a discussion of how good Antonia Forest is, compared to all authors, not just school story ones. Obviously this is a community of fans, so I’m not really expecting anyone to pop up here and start explaining why they don’t really like Forest (though it’s fine if anyone wants to!). But I thought it might be interesting, since [livejournal.com profile] trennels has been quite quiet lately, to ask here what people particularly enjoy about her – style, characterisation, plot, description, drama? – and examples of that - and indeed what you don't like.

For me she has been a favourite writer since I first encountered her books as a child. Some of her books I wasn’t able to find until I was an adult anyway, and I found them just as gripping. I think her biggest strengths are in her style, and the depth of her characterisation of a wide range of people. Almost no one is unambiguously good or bad in her books, and I’m able to understand and get involved with characters I don’t necessarily like as people, but find fascinating nonetheless. Even someone like Rowan, who is mainly and effectively held up as an admirable person, can and does hold grudges, make mistakes and mishandle people. I think one of Forest’s strengths is her ability – despite plainly having strong views on many things – not necessarily to have her favourite characters share her beliefs, or give one the sense that the world she’s created is being forced into shape to vindicate them. She does I think fail at this in her handling of Ann in Run Away Home and in the accounts given of the post-Conciliar Catholic church particularly in Attic Term – though to the extent that the latter come from Patrick, I think they are in character. Nicola shares some of her enthusiasms – for the Navy, Nelson, and Hornblower for example – but that works very differently.

I don’t rate all the books equally highly, but even those which I consider lesser, such as Thuggery Affair have some scenes I’d be very reluctant to lose, like the canoe trip at the beginning. Though I think Thuggery Affair has too much plot, and that plotting is not one of her strengths. Instead, she’s good at themes, like death and betrayal in Falconer’s Lure and Peter’s Room. In fact I wonder if the school/family story genre suits her partly because it is rather episodic, and I think her best books (Cricket Term, End of Term, Falconer’s Lure) are episodic. There is drama, there are crises, but nothing is fully resolved and other bits of life are always going on around the big moments.

One other aspect which came up on girlsown was whether school stories as a genre are generally not that good when compared to other children’s or adult literature. Thinking about other books than Forest’s with a strong school aspect which I would put on any list of good books, as opposed perhaps to my favourite school stories (not that I am any good at lists, they change every time I make them), I’ve come up with the following on a first think; books that have a strong shape and feel in my mind still, even though I may not have read them for many years:

Frost in May, Antonia White
Charlotte Sometimes, Penelope Farmer
Ballet Shoes, Noel Streatfeild
Swarm in May, William Mayne
Nightwatch Winter, Jenny Overton

(ETA: Am temporarily deleting my lj as I need not to be distracted at the moment; I will be back.)
[identity profile] carmine-rose.livejournal.com
Will anyone else be watching Carols From King's on Christmas Eve? The Processional carol is "Once in Royal David's City", so I think I'll read the Christmas bit from End of Term just before.
[identity profile] rosathome.livejournal.com

I just moved to America (okay, it's not quite a desert island) and had to make agonising choices about which books to bring.  Specifically about which AF books to bring.  My final list was: The Cricket Term, The Attic Term, Falconer's Lure, Run Away Home and Players Boy.  The last one made it because it's new and I've only read it a couple of times.  I'm starting to wonder if I'll miss End of Term when it gets nearer Christmas.  But the others are just books I can't live without.

So which would make it onto your list?


trennels: (Default)
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