Eildon Rhymer (rhymer23) wrote,
Eildon Rhymer

The Dark is Rising - first impressions

I've been re-reading some of my old diaries this morning, and last night. I updated daily, and in great detail, from the age of 11 to 18, covering nearly 3000 pages. I then managed three more years of far less reliable updating, and gave up completely when I was 21. I read "The Dark is Rising" for the first time when I was 19, and re-read it several times over the next year. Here are my early comments, including some questions I still haven't got the answers to.

Summer holidays, aged 19:
"I suppose I ought to mention the books I've been reading. I don't get much time to read during term-time, so I make up for it in the holidays by reading for hours, mostly all the children's books I read years ago, and also catching up with all those children's books I should have read, but didn't. The best of these was "The Dark is Rising Sequence." I read all five books in something stupid like three days. They're really good and I'm currently re-reading them (already!)"

Christmas holidays, aged 20:
"I was feeling ill last week, so asked Mum to read to me in bed. I got her to read "The Dark is Rising" to me. When I was feeling better, I started reading it to her." [This turned into a daily thing. I read to her while she did all the Christmas cooking.]

"We're now half way through "Greenwitch." The Drew children are remarkably obtuse about everything. And why do they have to forget all the really exciting bits? And why - but we're skipping on here - do they have to forget two whole years of adventures at the end? Awful!"

"I started reading The Grey King to Mum, but had horrible trouble with the Welsh."

[A long rant about a very bad Arthurian film I saw on TV, then..] "After that, I read more Grey King to Mum. Now that's in the Welsh Arthurian spirit properly - and unpronouncably to boot."

"I managed to create a brilliant cliffhanger in The Grey King, with Will hurtling down Cader Idris. Now Mum is sure that Bran will turn to the Dark as he blames Will for Cafall's death. I want, therefore, to stop the next bit with "It was all Will's fault, he thought" and not read the next sentence until the next installment (next sentence being in gist - No, this is the lies of the Dark, he thought, and it isn't true.)"

"I read the Sword in the Stone, and it's a really nice book, even if Merlin is not given the respect Merriman deserves."

Thursday 3rd January

"I feel I ought to be pouring out my thoughts on life, but I can't be bothered. Instead, I'll pour out a few thoughts on "The Dark is Rising."

Problem no. 1 is the language: If an Old One is able to speak all languages, why can't Will speak Welsh? Come to think of it, why hasn't he got 15 A-levels and a few degrees thrown in?

Problem no. 2: Merriman said that if you cut an Old One they bleed, but if you poison them, they don't die. What is the dividing line - the point at which they stop the bleeding and start the not dying? Or do they die, visibly, and come back in a new body? If they're human enough that they bleed when cut, they can't not bleed when they're apparently fatally injured. And a practical problem: How do you explain to the census taker or DHSS man or whatever that you really are who you say you are, even though your birth certificate is dated 370 years ago?

What's the point of Will staying behind after all the Old Ones are gone, when Light and Dark have no more power in the world? How will he leave eventually? How will be know that it's finally time to go? What do the Old Ones actually do when they're out of Time?

Oh well. I'll never know. I found a reference in a bibliography to a book by a Merriman, though, so perhaps it's all true.

4th January

"Really strong winds are forecast. Mum is panicking about them. I left a note on the kitchen door saying, "This night will be bad, but tomorrow will be beyond imagining."

"Later, Mum and I played "sausages", when you have to answer "sausages" to every question, and do so without laughing. She asked me, "With what was the Dark vanquished?" I could not answer "sausages" without laughing." (Note: Maybe there's a fanfic in this...)
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