[identity profile] lilliburlero.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] trennels
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.



I think the first few pages of this chapter are masterly. Marie's officious staying behind to put the ball away is picked up in Redmond's judgement of her as 'far too eager to please' (one does wonder what level of complaisancy would actually suit Redmond, because she's clearly not happy when her students are independent-minded like Nicola, either). I'm also intrigued by Marie's 'good start' and why it all 'fizzled out'. (This has been your regularly scheduled &c.) My theory is that what happens to Marie in Cricket Term is the result of an underlying condition that starts to affect her rather further back in her life than that novel suggests.

The comment on what Lois does and does not enjoy about her role as Games Captain makes me wonder how staff who are genuinely interested in building character, rather than paying lip-service to it, might manage someone like Lois, who has genuine strengths in her interpersonal charm and charisma but also grievous weaknesses in her dislike of routine responsibilities and her inability to face failure, her propensity to rearrange reality to avoid the latter. She does have an embryonic sense of honour, though, I think, displayed in her feeling 'limp' and apprehensive at the close of this episode: but she lacks the courage to act on it. I don't altogether, unlike Rowan and Nicola, disagree with Keith's assessment that she has 'great possibilities if probably handled', but Keith doesn't seem to be the one to do the handling.

I love the way Redmond and Lois's resentments of Nicola (both having their origins in the hike disaster of Autumn Term) coalesce and develop their own momentum, so that even though Lois (self-deludingly) feels she doesn't want to do the dirty on Nicola, she ends up, inevitably, telling her doctored version of the conversation of the staircase. And that Marie's incompetence and unpleasantness are so tightly woven into this passage. Craven emerges as rather fairer than Lois or Redmond (who are, one, reflects, similar, which bodes ill for Lois's future pupils): in that it is actual misdemeanours--turning up late--rather than judgments of the savouriness of character that prompt her scepticism about Nicola's suitability. Redmond's dislike of Rowan is a nice touch.

There are so many details to relish in the bit that follows, framing Nicola's disappointment: the description of the frosty morning and conkers, 'the bright pink smell of washroom soap', Ann's evident happiness coming from chapel, 'gay and recollected'. And the way that the disappointment itself cannot even be registered at the level of internal monologue: very effectively conveying, I think, a sense of Nicola numbly not having quite processed her feelings for herself, let alone in a form that might be communicable to others.

Miranda's plethora of extra-curriculars is a detail I like: and wouldn't she just make a great Mercutio? Jan Scott: Not a Morning Person is another; though Jan's tact and consideration emerge in the kerfuffle over the revelation of Nicola's omission from the team. I remember a couple of occasions like Lawrie's scream from my own schooldays, when you could see mental processes at work before the teacher in question decided that it just wasn't worth prosecuting.

There is again the taboo on being seen to mind, even though in this case, everyone else minds. And, very convincingly, it is all the other girls articulating their sense of injustice at Nicola's exclusion that proves a catalyst for Nicola's feelings. Jan's tact comes to the rescue again. Continuity note: Jan's home is said to be in Norfolk here and in Lincolnshire in Cricket Term; her father a 'doctor' here and a 'surgeon' there: it's interesting that although Forest doesn't seem to have kept a character 'bible', and there are many small inconsistencies of this sort, she has a distinct idea of Jan coming from the flat wetlands of East Anglia and environs. I wonder if that unconsciously prompts Nicola's quote from 'Comus'? (Crikey, imagine that recited by LIVA: Yeats and the Boy Scouts ain't in it). It is quite a sustained reflection on Jan's looks, emerging from Miranda's admiration, and evoking that commentary on pashes and crushes again.

One of the themes of End of Term, I think, is the inscrutability of power: in the mysterious character-based casting of the play, and here, in Nicola's exclusion from the team. To me, it seems a fairly barmy way to run any institution: of course, sometimes lessons about behaviour are better learnt when an offender comes to realise of her own accord what the offence is, but the seemingly blanket refusal of the staff to explain their disciplinary decisions seems particularly unjust and counter-productive. It might, however, be a good way to remain in control overall--by keeping people perpetually unsettled: I've known employers who work like this, often to the distinct detriment of their employees' mental health. But it doesn't seem to be a recipe for a happy community.

Some more meta-commentary on school stories appears in the rejection of a protest strike: a nice irony, considering the hoary old swap-plot later on. Nice to note, in the same context, that LIVA are reading Twelfth Night this term. Tim's lack of sympathy and collegiate feeling contrast with Miranda's concern for Nicola's feelings, further emphasising the change in friendship dynamic. And Tim's back with more meta-commentary on school stories, and a comparison to The Prince and the Pauper, which interests her but not Nicola. Tim really doesn't like not being the centre of attention, does she? And one senses that the end of Autumn Term might have been the last time she felt in the swim. I'm not sure that I sympathise greatly, as she takes it out on others pretty mercilessly, but certainly her talents aren't being encouraged or used.





(i)

I anticipated some of my commentary on the first section of this long chapter here, so I'll just say that I rather enjoy the contrast of Nicola's Chestertonian nostalgia with Jess's upright Presbyterianism. Even Jess, rather stern moralist as she is, sees the salient disadvantage of Keith's notion of casting by character: the play is going to be embarrassingly awful in front of not just the school but the whole cathedral city. The carved hawk becomes a symbol, I think, for how to handle religious conviction in a secular world without sentimentality, embarrassment or excessive relativism.

(ii)

Poor Esther! I think probably home holds no particular delights for her, but she seems to have been thoroughly shunted out of the way for Mrs Thorne's new husband and his relatives. And her worry about Daks again is linked to this dismal home situation.

Rowan's changed appearance and evident popularity (at least as an object of fascination) mark her break with school. Lipstick! (Do we approve?) Forest is nodding, though: Rowan may not have passed her test, but at 17 she's old enough to drive a car.

I enjoy Nicola and Rowan's conversation about Craven, and the extent to which they share a wavelength about what you can reasonably discuss with the staff without embarrassment. I think it's interesting that it's Rowan who imagines that a conversation with Craven which might get Nicola reinstated is possible, if very difficult, where Nicola rejects any such thing, horrified. Has Rowan already started to forget what it's like to deal with staff as a schoolgirl? viz. 'Everyone looked so frantically young'. And the way that gives on to discussion of Janice and the drive-weeding incident (we have already had a desire for fic expressed here, so consider this your regularly scheduled &c.) and Lois's heelishness.

The revelation of their grandmother's descent is a lovely comic moment: but I like the note that 'Ann was the kind of person who takes it for granted that one loves one's relations...' This has always made me think that Ann perhaps is half-aware that she is not well-liked by her family, and nor does she particularly like them: her excessive helpfulness and concern might be guilty over-compensation for the latter in particular.

The portrait of Grandmother is much worked up from the purveyor of pudding-bowl haircuts in Falconer's Lure into a deliciously enjoyable dragon. Do we ever hear of Ginty's hockey-playing again (it does not seem to be much of a Kingscote game) or is it here for a one-liner? Lawrie's religious instruction is lightly presaged in her comments about Mme Orly's Catholicism.

(iii)

I like the immediate contrast this draws between Pamela Marlow and her mother, and the farce of retrieving Sprog. But it's always rather overwhelmed for me by Pam's casual revelation of her four brothers killed in the First World War, of whom Nicola has never heard. Crikey. This clarifies the timeline somewhat as still the late 40s-ish time of the first three books, though End of Term was published in 1959. (In fact, it is not until The Thuggery Affair that contemporary-with-publication settings really start to make themselves felt (Peter's Room, with Pam mentioned as under-21 fiancée 'Between the Wars' is still compatible with her having had older brothers killed in the First, but perhaps an indicator that the timeline is starting to shift). But out of the Doyle and into the Watson: why has Pam never mentioned her brothers before to her younger children at least? (does Giles know about his namesake uncle? And that he might well have been so christened to try and heal the rift casued by Pam marrying Geoff Marlow, that penniless naval lieutenant?) And why does Pam choose this singularly awkward moment to do so? (I hear the mighty wind of a scheduled fic prompt...)

The Merricks, whose Catholicism is not mentioned in Falconer's Lure (indeed, Patrick appears at Jon's funeral with a prayer-book, which seems to indicate that Forest initially imagined them Anglican) now become recusant bastions. I have been captivated by this element of the books ever since I first read them at 10 (I was perhaps an odd 10-year-old, but I think many here can sympathise with that!)

Ann's shy-making question about whether their grandmother is coming to the play (which nicely foreshadows Mme Orly's scepticism about whether it will be an enjoyable evening to Patrick in the cathedral) leads elegantly into more of Lawrie's startling religious ignorance, which is always fun to behold--and interesting to observe the other sisters' reactions.

The account of Nicola and Patrick's trip to Wade Abbas is one of my most cherished passages in all Forest, and I wonder if I can be quite coherent about it. End of Term does the frosty-foggy approach of winter superbly, and it is one of my favourite sorts of weather, so I much enjoy the description of the early stage of their ride, even if both of them are implied to be regretting it slightly (riding in fog is probably less fun than reading about it.) I'm also touched by Patrick's unhappiness at school and in London, and his hardy talk and wistful feelings about Regina. Patrick's relative charm in End of Term, compared to the other books in which he appears, has always rather predisposed me in his favour, but objectively speaking, I must own that here he just seems to have hit a relatively tolerable patch of That Difficult Age, because elsewhere he really isn't a terribly attractive person.

I also really like the conjuring of the atmosphere of a small cathedral city as they come into Wade Abbas, and the fact that the cathedral is referred to as the Minster awakes my nostalgia for my mother's home city of York. Nicola has a moment of Jess-ish worry about not being properly dressed; jodhpurs for the Minster doesn't bother properly-believing Catholic Patrick in the least--there does seem to be a correlation of Catholicism with un-self-conscious behaviour concerning religion which I can remember thinking was romantic and dashing at 10 (and jarring, for it was most unlike the Catholicism of my mother's exasperated reminiscence, and my school.) Class surely plays a role here, though in the exchange with Mme Orly Forest is anxious to emphasise Catholicism's erasure of class difference, insofar as Mme Orly is happy to pile in with the Irish stable lads in the Merrick chapel. In my experience, though, recusant English gentry Catholics of Patrick's type don't consider they have very much in common with the sort of people educated by (in Joyce's phrase) Paddy Stink and Mickey Mud of the Christian Brothers. Commentary is invited!

The Boke of St Albans! This is one of the most densely referential passages in the whole series, I think, and it might have shaped my taste for intense intertexuality. I'm always also touched by practical Nicola's belief in and fear of ghosts.

Despite being about as far from recusant-gentry as you can get in class terms, my Catholic mother always used to do the we'll have this one back, shall we? routine when we visited cathedrals, so I was charmed to find it voice here by Patrick. His indifference to Wren and love of Gothic is also characteristic, and something I shared until adulthood.

Patrick's encouragement of Nicola's singing is a nice foreshadowing of the beautiful close of chapter 9, and interesting on the question of Patrick's shyness (I see him as introverted rather than shy-proper, actually: he's confident enough when he has to be). Does he simply assume that Nicola doesn't feel any embarrassment at all because she's easier with meeting new people and so on? Or is it his unselfconsciousness in a religious setting? As a not-shy introvert myself, I would far rather speak or sing to a Minster-full of people than do so to one friend 'in cold blood', as Nicola puts it.

Nicola encountering the school-group echoes Rowan's return to school rather nicely and obliquely, I think; that uncanny feeling of belonging and yet not, and her pleasure that Lois and Redmond see her off-duty, more independent self indicates how oppressed she feels by them in a school setting. Nicola and Patrick's discussion of Lois Sanger is a delight: poor Nicola, hoping for a bit of commiseration and instead getting stuck with Patrick's introspection: the difference between 13 and 15, and perhaps also extraverted and introverted personalities. I also take great pleasure in, as I did at 10, the discussion of confession--Nicola's surprise at her grandmother's enthusiasm for confession. The grille! which takes us back to the school dinner lamb of 'See Amid the Winter Snow'. Patrick again proving himself more unembarrassed about religion than all comers, even able to say 'sin' without shyness, further links Catholicism with unselfconsciousness. There actually seems to be a low-to-high church spectrum in Forest's mind about this: Dr Herrick, whom I see as High to the point of Anglo-Catholicism, is imagined by Nicola to have a similar ease as Patrick, while Ann, whose Anglicanism I see as about as Low as it gets would 'have walked all round it, blushing madly'.

Patrick's account of English history from a Catholic perspective also reminds me of one of my mother's favourite routines, and I am rather touched by Nicola's desire for her ancestors to have been sincere, rather than opportunistic, religious conformists. That's the sort of thing that mattered awfully to me as a child too.

At 10, I very urgently wanted a Nicola who would listen to me quoting the 'Lyke-Wake Dirge' or a Patrick to quote it to me, I'm not sure which. Until I was at university, they were the only people I'd ever 'met' who knew it.

I wonder if Forest had the Nicola-Patrick-Ginty triangulation in mind when she wrote Patrick dissuading Nicola from Catkin: 'a very gay thoughtless animal', who is Ginty to Nicola's sturdy, courageous and faithful Mr Buster?

Nicola's jump, foreshadowing the one in Peter's Room, is brilliant, as is that haunting, wonderful transformation of Ephesians 6:12.

(iv) [my copy has 2 section (iii)s as it happens]

Meanwhile, Lawrie is undergoing domestic and scriptural instruction.

'It bangs at me' is a favourite Forestian catchphrase of mine; but it's interesting to note that everyone (even Redmond!) indulges Lawrie's timidity and impracticality. Having experienced a coal boiler not unlike the one described when my parents first moved into the house in which I grew up, 10-year-old me was elaborately scornful of Lawrie's inability to supply appropriate fuel. All the glorious junk in Trennels made me very envious too... 'Forgotten' sounds perfectly gruesome and is only one of Forest's imagined sentimental Victorian illustrations--there's another in Peter's Room, I think...

More embarrassment around religion, as Lawrie is found examining her grandmother's prie-dieu: I like the notion that she is familiar with a rosary only from a literary source, and her candid, callow opinion of Ann as the canonisation candidate of the family. Mme Orly's comment that saints were difficult, rebarbative personalities has stuck with me over more than a quarter of a century. I also much enjoy Lawrie's utter inability to listen--here is perhaps, the source of her religious ignorance--and finally her monomaniacal channeling of everything her grandmother has told her into getting a line of the Shepherd Boy's part right.



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!

Date: 2014-09-05 04:45 pm (UTC)
legionseagle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] legionseagle (from livejournal.com)
I did actually stay at that B&B some time in the late 80s or very early 90s (I booked on the basis of the name, natch) when I was doing a sailing course at the Island Cruising Club. I recall it as perfectly OK, just a bit far from the sea up a steepish hill, and so probably a bit disadvantaged by its position anyway.

Date: 2014-09-05 04:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] highfantastical.livejournal.com
My theory is that what happens to Marie in Cricket Term is the result of an underlying condition that starts to affect her rather further back in her life than that novel suggests.

This is VERY much my area of interest, and I'd really like to discuss it! Can we talk about it now, or would it be too spoilery?

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Date: 2014-09-05 06:29 pm (UTC)
legionseagle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] legionseagle (from livejournal.com)
I would be fascinated, subject to the spoiler warning.

Date: 2014-09-05 06:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nzraya.livejournal.com
Forest is nodding, though: Rowan may not have passed her test, but at 17 she's old enough to drive a car.

Though perhaps the lipstick is to make her look older so that the police are less likely to pull her over and check her license to make sure she IS old enough....thus discovering that there is no license.

Or perhaps it just makes her feel more grown up :)

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Re: Not the OP but...

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Definitely C.S

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Re: Definitely C.S

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Tim and Nicola.

Date: 2014-09-06 06:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jackmerlin.livejournal.com
I have been wondering why Tim is so irritable with Nicola at the netball match. I wonder if Tim hates the whole 'not being seen to mind', stiff-upper-lip English thing. She likes Lawrie who talks openly about her upsets and disappointments. She has also been largely brought up abroad among other nationalities - French? Italian? American during the war? who are more emotional and expressive than the traditional English middle classes.
She is intelligent and perceptive enough to know that Nicola must be upset by not being in the team. But she likes to be involved in things, and I think that includes being involved in the feelings of her friends. She sees Nicola's reserve as shutting her out, being non-communicative, and as a rejection of her own friendship. So irritated, she turns on Nicola, needling at her and being nasty.
Or is it just that she hates everything to do with netball and school sports in general?

Re: Tim and Nicola.

Date: 2014-09-06 10:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nnozomi.livejournal.com
Tim in America during the war is a fascinating idea--with her parents? with her mother? as one of the English kids sent over on their own? As you suggest, a lot of her behavior at Kingscote, both good and bad, seems ascribable in a way to a kind of culture shock, regarding not just England per se but the whole girls' boarding school ("seminary" as she puts it) / conventional upper middle class ethos, and a refusal to assimilate except on her own terms.
I don't really manage to like Tim until the later two books--early-period Tim is more malicious than I can deal with--but boy, is she an interesting character.

Re: Tim and Nicola.

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Re: Tim and Nicola.

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Re: Tim and Nicola.

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Re: Tim and Nicola.

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Re: Tim and Nicola.

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Re: Tim and Nicola.

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Re: Tim and Nicola.

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Re: Tim and Nicola.

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Re: Tim and Nicola.

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Re: Tim and Nicola.

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Re: Tim and Nicola.

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Re: Tim and Nicola.

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Re: Tim and Nicola.

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Re: Tim and Nicola.

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Re: Tim and Nicola.

Date: 2014-09-06 10:06 am (UTC)
legionseagle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] legionseagle (from livejournal.com)
I think the idea of Tim missing being abroad is a good one, and one I haven't seen explored anywhere. She really has had her wishes pretty thoroughly trampled on. And I can quite see that if she's been living a sort of My Family and Other Animals life down on the Med, school does seem dreadfully dull.

Re: Tim and Nicola.

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Re: Tim and Jan Scott

Date: 2014-09-07 08:31 pm (UTC)
ext_6283: Brush the wandering hedgehog by the fire (Default)
From: [identity profile] oursin.livejournal.com
I finally found my copy of End of Term and have caught up. Thinking about Tim, there's a sense that on the one hand she wants to be a bit detached and above it all, but on the other she wants to be at the centre of things (unless that involves games, and we do get a sense of a certain resentment at the extent to which Lawrie and Nicola are engaged by them). Whereas, by contrast, Jan Scott really does appear to be detached and really doesn't care - or so it would seem - about her designation as Non-Cooperative Type. In fact, over the series, we get a certain impression that that's how she likes it.

Date: 2014-09-06 07:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ratfan.livejournal.com
There's so much in these chapters it's overwhelming. My favourite part is Nicola and Patrick's ride to Wade Abbas and I actually memorised the Lyke-Wake Dirge and startled the folk music and poetry club I went to at the time with a recitation :-) When I first read this, I had not read Traitors and had read Falconer's Lure only once and so long ago that I'd forgotten most of it. So there were a lot of references I didn't get, but managed to get past anyway. With this read and discussion I've been able to fill so much in!

The bit about the never-mentioned uncles does stick in the gullet, rather. My mother doesn't say much about her older relatives, but I did always know about her brothers, even though they lived in England! (I'm in Australia).

What was the age for getting a car license in the 1940s then? Going along with the idea that this book is still set in 1948/49? I just assumed it must be 18 and kept going.

The parts about Marie make me quite uncomfortable, as they always have. I was also very unpopular and always on the wrong foot. Though I don't think I was like Marie, it makes me wince when the others tease or exclude her.
Edited Date: 2014-09-06 07:56 am (UTC)

Date: 2014-09-06 09:16 am (UTC)
legionseagle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] legionseagle (from livejournal.com)
It was seventeen; there's a scene in Strangers at the Farm School (Josephine Elder) (set 1938/9) where Annis is told no matter how much she hates cars and prefers horses there's a war coming and she needs to learn to drive as soon as possible, and has her first lesson on her birthday irrc.


ETA Also, the Marlows have 600 acres and the Merricks have god-knows-how-much more which is contiguous, so Rowan could easily have had enough (legal, not on public roads) driving experience to be the sort of person who passed on her 17th birthday).
Edited Date: 2014-09-06 09:18 am (UTC)

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Date: 2014-09-06 10:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thekumquat.livejournal.com
Conversely, my dad and uncle, born in the 30s/40s only found out they had uncles killed in WW2 when they themselves were in their 50s and I was a teenager. It seemed to be the done thing when someone died young simply never to speak of them again, and I assume they picked that behaviour from their parents (both grandparents were youngest siblings so lost brothers in WW1 also - but my parents got into genealogy so knew about them)

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Giles, Piers, Rollo, and Terence

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Re: Giles, Piers, Rollo, and Terence

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Date: 2014-09-06 11:46 am (UTC)
legionseagle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] legionseagle (from livejournal.com)
Incidentally, I love the Lyke-Wake Dirge moments - I'd come across it in Geoffrey Grigson's Faber Book of Popular Verse, but it was wonderful seeing it in the other context.

Date: 2014-09-06 05:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mrs-redboots.livejournal.com
My father learnt to drive during the war, and the army's idea of a "driving test", was basically: drive up that road, now drive back, you didn't hit anything, you've passed.

He still drives - I rather think he is driving even as I type this - although he is almost 91 and rather frail....

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Dry bones and mouldering corpses

Date: 2014-09-06 09:14 am (UTC)
legionseagle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] legionseagle (from livejournal.com)
One of the things these chapters point out most effectively (and we'll probably end up discussing this in the Cricket Term CBC and possibly also in the Attic Term one, too, is that Captain Marlow was absolutely wrong* to write off the Great Guide Hike Row** as "dry bones" as early as half-term in the twins' first year at Kingscote. One could say that because the corpse of the court of honour wasn't properly exhumed, examined and finally and properly laid to rest after due process that its ghost stalks through all the rest of the school books. And we know how Nicola feels about ghosts...

And I'm reminded of other authors who also allow school feuds to influence major later life decisions; Rowling, who has Snape's relations to Harry's father and his friends carry on to the next generation in spades, Another Country which shows the seeds of Guy Burgess's treachery coming out of a school row and Elizabeth Gouge, the only one of the three I've thought of who might have been an influence on Forest (she was certainly an influence on Rowling) whose Civil War novel, The White Witch has someone declare for Parliament (with consequent massive impact on his family) because when he was a terrified new boy whose parents hadn't properly understood what he had to take to school with him, John Hampden had played the Jan Scott role when acting as dorm prefect.


*Though given the propensity of Kingscote to screw things up, I'm not sure his instincts not to give them any more opportunity to do so weren't fundamentally right, at that - I'm using "wrong" simply to describe his perception of the facts.
** Homage to Murder Must Advertise wholly intentional on at least my part - not sure how far Forest might have been influenced by the Great Nutrax Row this early in the sequence, but it's certainly going to come in important later on

Re: Dry bones and mouldering corpses

Date: 2014-09-06 06:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] antfan.livejournal.com
I noticed that too - or rather, I noticed that while Capt Marlow wanted to forget about the Guides row, and Nicola didn't; Rowan didn't want to forget about the netball row, while Nicola did. Had Nicola internalised her father's advice? Actually I think she was simply so wounded and angry at the injustice that she couldn't bear the idea of Rowan going to Craven about it. But it is interesting,the different way the two episodes are treated.

Re: Dry bones and mouldering corpses

From: [personal profile] legionseagle - Date: 2014-09-06 09:21 pm (UTC) - Expand

Re: Dry bones and mouldering corpses

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Re: Dry bones and mouldering corpses

From: [identity profile] katlinel.livejournal.com - Date: 2014-09-07 01:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
From: [identity profile] mrs-redboots.livejournal.com
Do we ever hear of Ginty's hockey-playing again (it does not seem to be much of a Kingscote game) or is it here for a one-liner?

We do indeed - in fact in Attic Term we are told that she misses out on being on the hockey team because she is a bit off-form and also hasn't been trying very hard due to Monica's absence.
From: [identity profile] sue marsden (from livejournal.com)
I thought that was netball? I have assumed that hockey was the Spring term game. Schools often had one term one game, the next term another as they couldn't do both simultaneously

A rare Molesworth touch

Date: 2014-09-06 06:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] learnsslowly.livejournal.com
..seems to occur when Tim describes half term at school as "not too mouldy". I only spotted it this time. I just really liked it. Tim would see herself as so far away from the gorilla of 3b, too!

I think the the letter from Esther's mother is quietly and convincingly disgusting - she has not only made Esther feel unwanted, through, at best, sheer carelessness at worst, a desire to smarm up to her new in-laws but she puts pressure on Esther to pretend she doesn't mind. Horribly realistic, I'm afraid.

The convincing ghastliness of Esther's mother

Date: 2014-09-06 06:34 pm (UTC)
legionseagle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] legionseagle (from livejournal.com)
Yes, the letter is very well done to convey Esther's mother's selfishness and obtuseness; I suspect she's still besotted with the new husband and also perhaps he's awkward around Esther.

the carved hawk

Date: 2014-09-06 06:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] antfan.livejournal.com
I'd just like to say that was an especially beautiful summary and appreciation that you wrote of those chapters - I enjoyed it very much.

Can I ask you to explain this more fully though, because I don't understand it:
"The carved hawk becomes a symbol, I think, for how to handle religious conviction in a secular world without sentimentality, embarrassment or excessive relativism."

Re: the carved hawk

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Re: the carved hawk

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Re: the carved hawk

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Re: the carved hawk

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Re: the carved hawk

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Re: the carved hawk

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Re: the carved hawk

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Re: the carved hawk

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Re: the carved hawk/landscapes

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Re: the carved hawk/landscapes

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Re: the carved hawk/landscapes

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Being Off the Team--Altogether Unexpected!

Date: 2014-09-07 06:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mainerobin.livejournal.com
Ouch! The meeting of Redmond, Craven, and Lois makes my heart ache every time I read it. It all flows together so perfectly, and is so plausible. The idea that Nick singing in the Christmas play is enough to be going on with makes me want to shake something.

I had a very similar experience my last year of American high school (I'd just turned 17) I had tried out and was accepted on the girls' basketball team, though I hadn't played previously in school due to a problem with my knee. Though generally a Jan Scott about all non-compulsory school things, I loved basketball and wanted to play. At any rate, I went to all the practices and played eagerly and wanted to learn, and thought I was okay.

Then the school held a pep rally in the gym before the first game of the season. The intercom asked all of the girls basketball team to come to the gym and sit on chairs in the middle of the floor while everyone else filed in and sat down. They were just about to start the rally, with the head of school ready to speak, when our coach came up to me and asked me to come along with her. She spoke to me to for a minute and asked me to go sit in the bleachers with the rest of the class. To this day I don't really know what she said. Once I understood I was going to have to go back through the gym and walk in front of everyone before I sat down, I couldn't heard anything else. I never found out what I'd done or why my being cut had to take place at that moment, I was working so Nick-like hard to prevent anyone knowing it hurt. And it hurt so much, I could never just go ask her later on.

Never told what happened to my parents, just told them I decided not to play after all.

Boy even writing this now, I can feel that rage and utter humiliation! Reading about Nick's experience (afterward) was I think the first time I looked at that event and realized I was not the only one. I really admired the way she handled things. And Tim is a beast to her.

Re: Being Off the Team--Altogether Unexpected!

Date: 2014-09-07 07:53 am (UTC)
legionseagle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] legionseagle (from livejournal.com)
Ugh! That sounds utterly and completely dreadful.

Half Term at Trennels

Date: 2014-09-07 06:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mainerobin.livejournal.com
The account of Nicola and Patrick's trip to Wade Abbas is one of my most cherished passages in all Forest, and I wonder if I can be quite coherent about it. End of Term does the frosty-foggy approach of winter superbly, and it is one of my favourite sorts of weather, so I much enjoy the description of the early stage of their ride, even if both of them are implied to be regretting it slightly (riding in fog is probably less fun than reading about it.) I'm also touched by Patrick's unhappiness at school and in London, and his hardy talk and wistful feelings about Regina
I agree completely with you on this, though I also include the Cricket match as another fab bit.

I was a bit baffled about Patrick showing up at Trennels and quite competently meets Grandmother, though in FL he was to shy to even come to call on Nicola.Also the whole bit about Rowan driving was unnecessary. So if she wasn't wearing lipstick to fool a policeman, why was she wearing it. Had she a meeting with a boyfriend before picking up the children?

Also, Im trying to figure out how a place can be an hour by train (not countling layover time), 40 minutes by car, and a horse can ride there in about 4 hours? Is this possible?

There is so much literature mentioned in this book that I don;t know at all. I really appreciate your clarifications.

Re: Half Term at Trennels

Date: 2014-09-07 07:51 am (UTC)
legionseagle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] legionseagle (from livejournal.com)
Re the respective speeds of horse, car and train; absolutely and totally believable. Quite apart from anything else, the horses cut across country on bridle routes where a car can't go, and the to Colebridge junction is on a branch line (one we later learn is threatened with closure) and is probably the stop at every lamppost sort.

Re: Half Term at Trennels

From: [identity profile] katlinel.livejournal.com - Date: 2014-09-07 12:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
From: [identity profile] buntyandjinx.livejournal.com
Apologies, I don't have the book in front of me, but that comment - and the decision it's time to take Nick down several pegs sums up so much that is brilliant about AF, the fact that on the surface Nick does have a charmed life (partly because she internalises her woes, unlike Lawrie - as Miranda will point out in Chapter 6).

EoT is seeing all that unravel - how politics (school in this case) and envy can stand in the way of natural talent, how some people will just never like you (Tim) and of course there's more to come in Peter's Room with Patrick (don't want to post spoilers). It's just brilliant, re-reading I always worry I'll be disappointed but if anything AF improves with time.
From: [identity profile] antfan.livejournal.com
I so agree. On the one hand, Nicola has a charmed life...on the other, you'd think she might well want to run away from Kingscote, it's so excruciatingly painful, so much of the time.

Lawrie

Date: 2014-09-08 09:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] occasionalhope.livejournal.com
Lawrie's glorious self-absorbedness is one of my favourite things about the half-term chapter, and her as a character in general, although I can see it would be pretty annoying to live with IRL.

Embarrassing confession: gas bangs at me, too. I used to have to drop the match from a distance onto the gas stove/fire at home when we had gas heating because I couldn't hold it close enough for me to risk getting burned.

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