[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…?


Mar. 4th, 2010 11:19 am
[identity profile] charverz.livejournal.com
I have to admit that Rowan is one of my favourite AF characters.  At first blush she seems to be competent, mature, self-sacrificing only when it is necessary.  But AF's characters are never as simple as they appear.

So I'm opening this up to a discussion of what are Rowan's weaknesses or blind spots?

While her decision to run Trennels to spare her father's/Giles's naval career can be seen as heroic (a word Rowan would never apply to herself, except wryly), could it be that it was a handy way out of having to make a career decision? After all, she says that she wanted to be an architect, but can't draw.  If Cousin Jon hadn't been killed she would have gone back to do her Sixth Form year, as Head Girl - and then what?  So she jumps at the chance, rather than have to face some very difficult soul-searching.


Feb. 17th, 2010 12:29 pm
[identity profile] charverz.livejournal.com

Patrick's romantic life provides a lot of scope for speculation.  The canon only provides Ginty, Claudie, and Nicola.  I'll state up front that, of the three, Nicola is obviously the best match, in my opinion.  Claudie is a non-starter, and unless Ginty gets a massive dose of maturity or Patrick goes off the deep end, we can rule Ginty out.

On the other hand, I see other possibilities.  First Rowan, for all that there's an age difference.  They certainly interact well together at the Nativity play in End of Term.  And I can see each providing the other with something each lacks - a romanticism that would be a nice break from Rowan's constant level-headedness, and a practicality that might help Patrick go somewhere in life.

The other, surprisingly enough, is Ann.  She is the only religious Marlow, and surely between low church Anglican and conservative Roman Catholic they could find some common ground. With the Anglican communion having its own turmoil, Ann might decide she doesn't want a woman vicar or blessings of same-sex unions.  One suspects that Antonia Forest would have found today's religious landscape very interesting (and would have been very happy with the new Pope).
[identity profile] tobimkcb.livejournal.com

I've often wondered whether or what Rowan gets paid for her toil on the farm. When she first takes over, Mr Tranter is still Farm Manager and she doesn't really have a defined role. Captain Marlow is still the boss (when Karen wants Mrs Tranter to move out of the farmhouse in RAH, Rowan reminds her that it is only their father who can give the Tranters notice) so I hope he's set up some kind of salary for her, though if the impecunious Pam is reduced to selling the Last Ditch (in Peter's Room) to pay for Chocbar and just over a term later they can't afford the school fees for all 4 girls at Kingscote, I wonder what their finances are like. Maybe Rowan just gets pocket money, which is another reason her social life is so poor.
ext_22860: Dr Who in a t-shirt reading 'trust me, I'm a Doctor' (marlows)
[identity profile] coughingbear.livejournal.com
If anyone was at the conference and feels like writing a report, please do!

This isn't a report, but it is a description of some of the cut bits of Run Away Home that we were given in a booklet at the conference. There was a discussion on Sunday of whether the cuts were a good thing, which I haven't gone into much - perhaps people can add to this in the comments. We aren’t allowed to quote from the unpublished bits directly, but I think it’s OK if I describe briefly what was included. The plan is to publish them with the papers from the conference.

Cut for - is spoilers the right word? And something upsetting. )
[identity profile] emylno.livejournal.com
Hello there! I'm still working my way through the marlow books, but one thing that I really like so far are the bits when the narrative switches from Nicola's point of view to one of the others in the family.

I find it fascinating to see the family ins-and-outs from the different perspectives, it seems to become so much more three-dimensional, and I only wish Antonia Forest did it more. I like Nick a lot, but I sometimes find her limiting, and often wish I knew the true dynamics and what was really going on at the 'top' of the family, between the boys, and between the 'middles' like Ginty and Ann.

Obviously I still have some reading to do, but I think so far (in the first 4 books) I've come across the p.o.v's of nicola (obviously) and Lawrie, Peter, Ginty, and a bit of Patrick and a Teensy bit of Karen, but still no Giles, Rowan, or Ann. So I'm just curious as to whether we ever get to see through their eyes too?
(I don't mind spoilers a bit, so no worries about that!)
[identity profile] leapingirbis.livejournal.com
The discussion about Kay below made me wonder how many children each of the Marlows would end up producing. I hope this hasn't been discussed before - if so I apologise! My thoughts are as follows:

Giles - lots, of course. Borne by a meek and long-suffering wife?
Kay - not sure. Maybe two, by a later marriage.
Rowan - I haven't decided whether Rowan will settle down in a same-sex partnership, in which case I don't think she will bother with children, or whether she will marry, initially decline children, but then suddenly decide in her mid-thirties that her biological clock is ticking and ultimately end up with two sons.
Ann - Ann will marry mid-twenties and - ironically and unfairly - have great difficulty conceiving. They will adopt two children before she finally produces a daughter.
Ginty - boy and girl? Followed by divorce?
Peter - don't know. Perhaps he will surprise everyone by becoming the real pater familias?
Nick - I reckon four boys, and would quite like them to be by Robert Anquetil.
Lawrie - after a succession of affairs with her leading men (and because she likes to shock and likes the attention probably a couple of leading ladies too), Lawrie will settle down with a somewhat older and very dashing film star, will initially reject the idea of children, but aged 37 will suddenly decide she wants one and immediately and without difficulty produce a daughter, which will really rub Ann's nose in it.

What does everyone else think?
[identity profile] res23.livejournal.com
Let's hope this works. I have finally remembered my user name, but it's taken me ages to remember how to post a new message instead of a comment...

Anyway, I've always wondered what the various Marlow siblings were like as children, and a comment in the thread below about prequels made me think about it even more. I find the twins different in Autumn Term than pretty much everywhere else, somehow very much younger (Nick jumping out of the train, etc). And I'd be curious about how much all the others changed as they grew up, too. It would be easiest to write a prequel with them all much as they are now - Ann being very good, Rowan still supremely confident, Kay very academic, but I think that would be losing something. Was Rowan as insecure as Nick sometimes is about her capabilities? Was Ann always so at peace with helping everyone, or did she sometimes resent it more as a child? Was Karen ever silly? How did Ginty's bomb shelter experience change her? Was she always pretty, and did she notice as a child, or is some of her shallowness later on a result of that? What was Lawrie like before she realised she was supremely good at acting? (and indeed, was that actually known before the play in Autumn Term? It seemed like it was really sort of discovered then - was Nick always seen as the one who was best at everything before then?) Did Peter hide his fears just as well as a child? (I guess we get some clues in Falconer's Lure, that Patrick at least knew some of them. Come to that, we also hear a little about Nick as a child in that one too, wanting to trail after the boys), and a million other similar questions... So, what do you think all the characters were like as children??
[identity profile] geebengrrl.livejournal.com
This has been puzzling me (ignorant young colonial with no clue about how the British school system works that I am).

In Autumn Term, Karen is in the Sixth. Rowan is Upper Fifth, as is Lois Sanger. Jan Scott is in the Sixth also. In End of Term / Cricket Term, Lois is Games Captain, which presumably means she is in the Sixth; and she leaves at the end of Cricket Term, as does Jan Scott.

However, Rowan says that Jan Scott was always a year ahead of her.

So is this just an inconsistency? Or is the Sixth actually two years long and members of the Sixth can leave at the end of either year? Or what?
[identity profile] geebengrrl.livejournal.com
There are three things that always troubled me a bit about this book:
a) Why did Karen suddenly up and marry an older man, with kids, and chuck in her degree;
b) Why is Edwin such as bastard; and
c) the cooling of relations between Rowan and Karen

I re-read the book over the weekend, and I came up with a few theories, so thought I'd put them out there and see what the general opinion is.

(a) Why did she do it?
At the time the book was written, the '60s were beginning to make themselves felt. There are references to dolly birds for example, and things pointing to a gap widening between youth and age. I get the feeling that Karen is quite old-fashioned. She's studying Classics (and she studies - in Peter's Room she's spending her whole xmas vacation pouring over the books), her sisters refer to her as "straight", she doesn't seem to be partying her time at Oxford away. Could it be then, that Karen found she didn't want to be part of this brave new world that was opening up - she doesn't seem the type for pop music, free love, drugs etc and she doesn't seem to have any friends at Oxford. Does it make sense that she saw an academic career was not going to be what she wanted, not because she doesn't want to be an academic, but because she doesn't like the way academia is going (maybe she even has inklings of the coming tide of post-modernism). If you're 19 and a young fogey and not a particularly good "coper", is it an easy solution to your problem to marry a much older man whose interests seem to align more with yours, so that you can feel more comfortable in your skin?

(b) Why is Edwin such as bastard?
I think you can understand Edwin a little better if you think a bit deeper about the class issues involved. I'm basing this on a few things: Edwin reads the Guardian, he drives a fairly ordinary car*, Karen calls him "love"**, and they send the kids to the village school and the Colebridge grammars. This, to me, points to Edwin possibly being a lower-middle-class grammar school boy made good; but with a bit of a radical/lefty edge. So part of the reason he comes across as such a bastard is that he's wrestling with an internal conflict - he's married a woman who comes from all he despises (money and privilege); AND he's under obligation to the ruling classes because he's staying in their house, eating their food, and having his kids minded by them. Peter's behavior to him is not just a kid being cheeky to an adult, but a member of the ruling classes trying to assert their power over the proletariat. Edwin wants to assert himself in the face of the Marlows' privileged existence, but his radical identity is being swamped by sheer weight of numbers.

* Edwin drives a Hillman Minx, a fairly ordinary, mid-priced British car manufactured from 1947 to 1960.
** I tend to associate this with lower-middle / working class speech. While it comes from Karen in this context, I am speculating that she calls him that because he calls her that. It contrasts to the Marlows, who are always "darling" when an endearment is required.

(c) Why do Karen and Rowan fall out?
In Peter's Room, there is a discussion between Nicola and Rowan in which Rowan admits that, while farming is OK, the staying at home bit of it is very very dull. I get the impression that she is longing for excitement and the company of people her own age - and that maybe she thinks Karen has all that because she lives away from home at Oxford.

Now Karen arrives home, announcing that she is throwing all that away to get married. She announces this just after Rowan has watched someone have a major stroke, has a looming farm disaster (swine fever), which she now has to cope with alone; and also is facing the long term prospect of taking on the farm herself, aged 18 with 8 months experience under her belt, or possibly having to give it up. Yet everyone is running around paying attention to Karen, for the whole book.

So I think Rowan is angry for two reasons: (1) She is going through a bloody hard time with no support; and (2) she is facing the prospect that leaving school to go farming may have been a mistake, she may have to give up farming anyway, she has no A-levels so she's not going to get to university, and here's Karen throwing away the the things that Rowan gave up, to get married AND getting all the attention.

Maybe I'm thinking too much. But it's a plausible explanation to me, and I'm interested to know what you think.
[identity profile] childeproof.livejournal.com
We know that Nicola has a fairly well-established Family Liking List, according to which she habitually ranks the members of her family, with Ann always coming last, presumably after Bucket, Tessa, and assorted Marlow horses. We might also assume that Giles tops the list, with Rowan close behind him.

My questions are (because I've just begun what looks to be hellish workday, full of politicking and collegial back-stabbing, and I fancy some Marlovian amusement on the side):

How do the rankings work in the middle of Nicola's list - who is next to Ann as second-last? Ginty? Does Lawrie figure as a kind of twinnish second-self or would she get her own independent liking ranking?

Also, f we imagine the other Marlows to have their own Family Liking Lists, how do they rank each other? (If Ann were to allow herself for a moment to be uncharitable enough to deviate from 'But of course I love them all the same - they are my family', who would she like most? Karen, who seems to be least unpleasant to her?) What does Giles really think of the Marlovian Lower Deck? Are we to assume Peter hero-worships Giles, or does his slightly-taken-aback reaction to no longer being the only male on the scene in Run Away Home indicate seething sibling-Naval rivalry?


Jan. 26th, 2006 06:58 pm
[identity profile] tinyjenny.livejournal.com
Hello - I am new to this community and I've loved reading the posts. One thing I feel whenever I read the Marlow books is that I cannot warm to Rowan. I admire her and I can see her many good qualities but could never imagine actually enjoying her company or feeling as though I would want to be her friend. She seems quite brusque and insensitive and judgmental, despite her evident capabilities. However, I always get the impression that I am pretty much alone in this view. Am I? Does anyone else feel anything like this? I warm more to the characters who are more obviously flawed like Ginty and Lawrie. I also like Esther very much and relate to her. But Rowan - I respect her but I cannot warm to her.
owl: Nicola Marlow (nicola)
[personal profile] owl
Another poll, and I've included an 'other' option this time!

I've been reading Run Away Home lately. Now, I always thought that 'Rowan', the name (trees are row-ans), was pronounced 'Roh-an', but Giles calls her 'Rowley' for short, not 'Roley'. So that would seem to suggest 'Row-an'. What way do all of you say it? Is there an 'accepted' pronunciation?

[Poll #639088]

ETA: By ro-an I mean ro rhyming with go, and row-an with row rhyming with 'cow'. Sorry about that.
[identity profile] ex-ajhalluk585.livejournal.com
I wonder what other members of the community think about Kingscote as a school? One of the strengths of Forest, to me, is that Kingscote comes over both as authentically rather awful but also an environment which Nicola (for example) finds it devastating to imagine not being part of.

Rowan and Jan (who are two of the most mature characters in the series) are both characterised by their scepticism about whether Kingscote actually matters; essentially, Rowan grows beyond Kingscote very fast as soon as she leaves it, and Jan never is really part of the structure at all (something for which the staff consistently and with that sort of plausible, long-rankling grudge-bearing that seems to be characteristic of a certain type of teacher punish her; except she is so uninterested in the game that she doesn't really seem to notice that by their standards she's losing heavily at it). Lois's hanging desperately on to the school at a time when the rest of the Sixth are looking forward, growing up, is very definitely another aspect of Lois's flawed character.

But - is Kingscote a leading school, a good school or merely a school? Or, if you wanted to create a spectrum, with, I suppose, Dotheboys Hall at one end, and the Chalet at the other, where would you place Kingscote?


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