Miss Warby’s Ghost Lives!

Today, self got to chatting with a few of the other artists at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre.

She told them she’d gone down to the lake, one night after dinner, and heard a kind of humming.

The lake was soooo still.

In the distance, on the far side of the lake, were a flock of swans.

Above her, swallows circled.

She tweeted about it a few days ago, and someone named Miss Warby’s Ghost tweeted back: That humming you heard was me!

HA HA HA HA.

Today, though, self was telling the other artists about the lake humming and Miss Warby’s ghost, and one of the artists said, “There really IS a Miss Warby’s Ghost.”

Whaaaat?

There’s a room called Miss Warby’s in the main house, and yeah, there really is a ghost there.

Again:  Whaaaat?

Then another artist said that once, at night, she saw a cloaked figure by the lake, of all things playing a flute. The music was really beautiful.

Later, the artist asked around if there were any flute players at the Centre.

The answer: Nada y nada y nada.

DUN DUN DUN!

Humming in the sky, ghosts, mysterious flute players. Self can’t even.

Stay tuned.

June 1940: Richard J. Evans’s THE THIRD REICH AT WAR

About a fourth of the way through The Third Reich at War, by Richard J. Evans

Part 2, Chapter 1:  The Work of Providence

6 June 1940

German forces cross the Somme.

16 June 1940

French Prime Minister Reynaud resigns, the only person in the French government not in favor of an armistice. He is replaced by the elderly Marshall Pétain.

“Half of the 1.5 million French troops taken prisoner by the Germans surrendered after this point. Soldiers who wanted to fight on were often physically attacked by civilians.”

The French had lost 120,000 soldiers, while the Dutch and Belgians lost 10,500 and the British 5,000. Furthermore, since French troops formed the rearguard of the retreating British, Belgian and Dutch army, 40,000 French soldiers were taken prisoner at Dunkirk.

Understandably, it would take British and French foreign relations a very long time to recover.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Off-Season 5: South Bank, London

OFF-SEASON is still the theme for these photographs.

OFF-SEASON is partly nostalgic. A looking back.

It’s also a phase.

Her last fulll day in London, Joan McGavin took self walking all over the South Bank. Where Shakespeare’s Globe used to be is now a modern apartment building. Signs mark the location of the old Globe, however. It’s a parking lot, around the corner from the new Globe:

The Old Globe is a Parking Lot Adjacent to a Modern Apartment Building in London's South End.

The Old Globe is a Parking Lot Adjacent to a Modern Apartment Building in London’s South End.

Signs show the layout of the old theatre complex. Self likes to muse on the contrast with the current surroundings: cars, vans, box-like buildings.

Signs show the layout and orientation of the old Globe. Self didn't know about bear-baiting.

Signs show the layout and orientation of the old Globe. Self didn’t know about bear-baiting.

Part of our perambulations involved a visit to the Tate Modern Gallery of Art. The building is huge. It dwarfs everything alongside. The building used to house the Bankside Power Station.

The main entrance is cavernous. The lower level was practically empty, except for this greatly ambiguous piece. It felt unfinished but perhaps that was the point?

An Art Installation on the Lower Level of the Tate Modern on London's South Bank. Self doesn't know what it means.

An Art Installation on the Lower Level of the Tate Modern on London’s South Bank. Self doesn’t know what it means.

It’s “Off-Season” because it is so isolated and random, occurring in the middle of what evokes a warehouse setting.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Vivid 3: A Day’s Peregrinations, Which Include Reading a Short Story in THE BANE CHRONICLES

Today, self re-visited some of her favorite haunts, the locus for some of her most vivid memories.

One was a small shopping center at the intersection of Marsh and Bay Road.

Here they have a great potsticker place and also a very nice breakfast place called Squeezed In which, for some reason, has adopted the motif of aliens. Green aliens. There was this at the entrance, and more hanging inside, on the restaurant walls:

The Aliens Have Landed! On Bay Road!

The Aliens Have Landed! On Bay Road!

Self was so impressed that Sandy has this little thing, made by one of her sons when they were in grade school (St. Raymond’s, where self’s Andrew also went to school. In fact, that’s how Sandy and self met, many many years ago. Now, Sandy’s older boy works in Palo Alto, and her younger boy is in the Navy, stationed in Oahu):

Hanging Above Sandy's desk in her home office!

Hanging Above Sandy’s desk in her home office!

Self’s last stop was Kepler’s Books. Self has read in Kepler’s a couple of times, most memorably when her first book, Ginseng and Other Tales from Manila, was published by Calyx. Today, self stopped by in the hottest part of the afternoon, and wanted to just curl up in a corner and read.

DSCN9950

She began reading The Bane Chronicles (so tempted to buy a copy, but it’s hardcover and quite hefty), the fourth story, called “The Midnight Heir,” which she knows from Goodreads is the story about the Herondales.

Magnus Bane, Warlock, returns to London for the first time in 25 years, and at a party he meets a beautiful 17-year-old boy who reminds him so much of his old friend, Will Herondale. He almost thinks it is Will himself in the flesh, but the boy does not have Will’s blue eyes. When Magnus approaches the boy, he is surprised when the boy addresses him thus:

“You are Magnus Bane.”

Magnus hesitated, then inclined his head. “And you are?”

“I,” the boy announced, “am James Herondale.”

At this point, self wanted to charge the check-out desk, whip out her credit card and exclaim, Put it there! I’m good!

But no, she restrained herself and continued to read:

James: I would not set any great store in it. My father trusts a great many people.

Magnus:  I see that a flair for the dramatic runs in the blood.

So, since young Herondale is so visibly drunk, Magnus undertakes to bring him home and restore him to the loving arms of his parents, who are none other than — Will Herondale and Tessa Gray! Who Magnus has not seen in 25 years! Holy Heavens to Mergatroid!

James Herondale has passed out, and Magnus has to carry him in his arms (the better to scrutinize that darling Will-like face, of course), and the anxious parents come to receive their son, whereby Magnus recounts the events of the evening, which included James riding a bicycle (without using his hands) to Trafalgar Square, climbing to the top of the Nelson Monument and attempting to do battle with Lord Nelson, then trying to drown himself in the Serpentine.

Magnus:  Then he abruptly collapsed, naturally in the path of an oncoming train from Dover, and I decided it was well past time to take him home and place him in the bosom of his family. If you had rather I put him in an orphanage, I fully understand.

Strangely, Tessa has not aged at all in 25 years, but Will has. Yet, to Magnus he is still handsome.

And then Brother Zachariah (Damn him! Self is all WESSA) makes an appearance. And the love between Jem/ aka Brother Zachariah and Will is even more palpable than the love between Jem and Tessa. Holy Mackerel! No wonder 95.6% of all fan fiction about The Infernal Devices is M/M.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Beg Pardon, Yet Another CLOCKWORK PRINCESS Quote

SPOILERS, NATURALLY

Dearest blog readers, self finished reading Clockwork Princess days ago, but now it is time for the RE-READING of her favorite scenes. One of which happens to be the cave-in-Wales scene because that’s where Will goes to rescue Tessa from the evil clutches of Mortmain (Self definitely needs to do some exploring of Wales!).

Incidentally, self discovered that although there really is very slim pickings in Wessa fan fiction, there is ONE very good one she found just a few minutes ago, on fanfiction.net

Since the writer summarizes the kinks in the plot, self feels it is okay to share:

In Chapter 1, Shadowhunters at the London Institute are still trying to find a way to stop Mortmain and protect Tessa. But that conniving Mortmain gets a demon to help him make a clockwork Tessa. So they grab the real Tessa, and leave behind the clockwork Tessa, and it fools Will Herondale for, like, one day? But that’s enough time to abduct Tessa and elude the Shadowhunters.

Oh heavens to mergatroid, can there be anything more exciting than the moment when Will discovers his Tessa is actually an automaton???

Anyhoo, in yet another aside (Self is well aware that she has yet to post the quote mentioned in her title), self read a post on Goodreads that complained about how long each of the novels in The Infernal Devices series was — each about 600 pages. Admittedly, they’re each fat novels, but self refuses to complain. After all, longer novels just mean MORE WILL HERONDALE.

The same reader also said that if Cassandra Clare had cut down on those long passages of description about Victorian London, the books would have been much improved.

##@@!!!

Self strenuously disagrees. She thinks that it is the meticulous detail in Clare’s scene setting that elevates her writing far far above the field of fantasy writers.

For example, in the cave scene:

Tessa and Will are resting together on the bed (Wonder why Mortmain left Tessa alone for so long — don’t get self wrong, she is glad that Tessa and Will got to have their moment, but Mortmain seems so paranoid and grasping, it’s sort of hard to believe that he wouldn’t be checking up on Tessa very frequently. Anyhoo, they’ve had at least six hours alone. Plenty of time! Thank you, Mortmain). The fire has burnt down (This cave/prison came equipped with a fireplace)

p. 419:

Late in the night or early in the morning, Tessa woke. The fire had burned down entirely, but the room was lit by the peculiar torchlight that seemed to go on and off without rhyme or reason.

And the only thing self can think of after reading that passage is:

HOLY AMBIENT LIGHTING!

IN A CAVE!

IN WALES!

In the nineteenth century!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

CLOCKWORK PRINCESS: THE END (SELF’S EYES SWOLLEN TO THE SIZE OF GOLFBALLS)

WAAAAAH!  Self tried to put off reading to the end of Clockwork Princess, but she couldn’t, she just couldn’t.

SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! CAN’T SAY SELF DIDN’T WARN YOU!

She wanted to begin Clockwork Angel all over again, the scene where Will first stumbles across Tessa, in the house of the Dark Sisters. He looked like an ordinary boy, only beautiful. And he had gear strapped to his chest, and threw knives like nobody’s business. Tessa was scared and, to distract her, he told her about hedgehogs. Hedgehogs! Will Herondale, self absolutely loves you.

She ended up PM-ing with her niece on FB: Karina, see what you’ve done? Self is a MESS! SUCH A MESS! SHE CAN’T EVEN! BECAUSE — WILL HERONDALE!

Calm down, self!

Anyhoo, self has made no secret of the fact that one of her favorite secondary characters was Jessamine. And somewhere in Clockwork Princess, she expires. In Will’s arms. But not before she has a very touching conversation with him, and ends up revealing that she always liked him better than Jem (You said it, girl! Jem is such a — such a — never mind!), and self cried BUCKETS. She does mean BUCKETS.

And just as she was wringing out her last set of clean handkerchiefs because Will was taking the loss of his parabatai so badly (Not to mention, he had sex with his parabatai’s fiancée but he only did it to comfort her because she was so torn up over the loss of Jem; he did ask her about three times if she was sure, and each time she told him that yes, she was sure, and she wouldn’t hold it against him if they did it, and that whole scene was just so — AAARGH!), along comes . . .

the ghost of Jessamine!

Cassandra Clare, thank you thank you thank you for making the reader’s last encounter with Jessamine not a bloody corpse in a white gown on the steps of the London Institute!

Jessamine: I always said you’d be a dreadful suitor, Will, and you are nigh on proving it.

Will:  Truly? You have come back from death like the ghost of Old Marley . . . to nag me about my romantic prospects?

Jessamine: What prospects? You’ve taken Tessa on so many carriage rides, I’d wager she could draw a map of London from memory . . .

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day: CLOCKWORK PRINCESS, p. 41

During a climactic action sequence involving a giant worm (Think Tremors, the movie), this sentence:

  • The worm’s thin, annulated tail was wrapped around his knees.

SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER IF ONLY SELF HAD A SHORTCUT SO SHE DIDN’T HAVE TO KEEP TYPING OUT THE WORD SPOILER

Self tried to picture it: a worm with its tail wrapped around its knees. Would that mean Benedict Lightwood Iteration (i.e. Worm) is sitting on his or its bum, with its tail wrapped around itself? But hold on, how would a worm have knees?

Then, with awful pitching of her belly, self realizes, those are not the Worm’s own knees that its tail is wrapped around. Those are Will Herondale’s knees!

Oh no oh no oh no oh nooooo!  Self can’t, she can’t even!!!!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Beginning Clockwork Princess

Self is knee-deep in current WIP (18th century Filipino priest! Tons of incident! A secret love!) but she still has to find out what happens to Will Herondale.

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS

Clockwork Princess, the third book in The Infernal Devices Trilogy, begins with Tessa in a gold wedding dress.

You know what self likes so much about Infernal Devices author Cassandra Clare? She never lets her two main men, Magnus Bane or Will Herondale, wallow.

So Tess Gray broke Will’s heart in Clockwork Prince. Now, it’s off to the new, which is taking care of Will’s younger sister, Cecily. It is wonderful seeing Will through her eyes!

With Tessa adorned in her wedding finery, there is a sudden arrival from Gabriel Lightfoot, and the following conversation ensues between Gideon (who has moved into the London Institute and secretly pines for Sophie, the ladies’ maid with the scar on her face) and Gabriel:

“Is father hurt?” Gideon went on, coming to a stop before his brother. “Are you?” He put his hand up and took his brother’s face, his hand cupping Gabriel’s chin and turning it toward him. Though Gabriel was taller, the look of a younger sibling was clear in his face — relief that his brother was there, and a flicker of resentment at his peremptory tone.

“Father . . . ” Gabriel began. “Father is a worm.”

At first self was thinking: Benedict Lightwood, worm — well, in the metaphorical sense. Right? Right?

But no. Cassandra Clare does not shrink from making one of her trilogy’s main antagonists turn into an actual worm. It’s just so, so — Kafka-esque!

Woman, you are brilliant. Just, brilliant.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Magnetic Magnus Bane (Scenes from CLOCKWORK PRINCE)

Self became curious about The Infernal Devices fan fiction so she spent a little time exploring it today.

It turns out that 90% is about the Warlock Magnus Bane.

In addition, and this was quite surprising to self, the fan fiction for TID is overwhelmingly man/man. And the number of works featuring three-somes (Will/Tessa/Jem) outnumber those featuring Will/Tessa, or what followers of TID refer to as WESSA (Fans of a Jem/Tessa pairing identify as JESSA). Granted, this is probably more information than dear blog readers care to know, but self finds the difference with The Hunger Games fan fiction completely fascinating. In Hunger Games fan fiction, Everlark dominates. Which means: Katniss/Peeta. Which means the relationship is M/F.

Will Herondale IS very pretty, though. Nearly set off a riot at the Vampire Ball in Clockwork Angel, as self has said at least 10x, in 10 different posts! (When is this going to become a movie? She knows The Mortal Instruments series is going to be a television show, but she thinks TID deserves the large-screen treatment. Most definitely)

SPOILER ALERT OF COURSE SPOILER ALERT

Anyhoo, Magnus Bane has a more prominent role in Clockwork Prince than he did in Clockwork Angel because Will Herondale keeps showing up at his house. And most of the time, Will is dripping wet (having walked in the rain — naturally) and in some kind of emotional funk over the curse that was laid on him back in Wales when he was 12, which means he can never let any one love him because they will die, which sucks because he’s fallen in love with Tessa who also happens to be falling in love with Jem.

On p. 145 of Clockwork Prince, Will shows up at Magnus’s, and Will explains the demon curse hanging over his head, and why he’s told no one else, only Magnus, because “a story like that might engender pity, pity could become attachment, and then . . . ”

Magnus raised his eyebrows. “Are you not concerned about me?”

And a shocked Will says, “That you might love me?”

And then you can hear a pin drop but never fear, Magnus does not make a pass at Will Herondale. At least, not right at that moment.

160 pages later (Dear blog readers have no idea how fast self can read when she puts her mind to it), Will is asleep on a couch in Magnus’s sitting room. Never fear, he’s still *untouched* by Magnus, lol. Magnus has fallen asleep in an armchair in front of the fire, and Will is sleeping on the couch. Enter Camille! She who is known as THE MOST BEAUTIFUL AND ALLURING VAMPIRE EVER!

“Magnus,” quoth Camille. “Did you miss me?”

And Magnus stammers out something like, “I didn’t know you were coming, Camille!”

And Camille casts a very telling glance at Will asleep on the sofa and says, “Clearly.”

Here’s the rest of that scene:

Gliding behind the sofa, she leaned over the back, looking down into Will’s face. “Will Herondale,” she said. “He is lovely, isn’t he? Is he your newest amusement?”

Instead of answering, Magnus crossed his long legs in front of him. “Where have you been?”

Camille leaned forward farther; if she had had breath, it would have stirred the curling dark hair on Will’s forehead. “Can I kiss him?”

CLOCKWORK PRINCE, p. 318

CLOCKWORK PRINCE, p. 318

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

What? What? What? NOOOOOOOO!

SPOILERS GALORE AS PER USUAL

p. 293 of Clockwork Prince:

Tessa and Will have another stake-out. This time, instead of a Vampire Ball, it’s a Demon’s Ball. Not as interesting, but hey, this is the ball at which beautiful Will Herondale keeps saying Tessa’s name, over and over, because “I love your name. I love the sound of it.” It also helps that she’s wearing a very tight corset because her dress belonged to Jessamine, that incorrigible, shameless, flirt, and a corset makes even the most flat-chested woman look curvaceous.

So they’re finally alone on a balcony, and —

“So there you two are,” comes a voice.

DRAAAAAT! That Warlock Magnus Bane has followed them!

The two whirl away from each other in abject shame (Well, this is Victorian England), and Magnus says, “Let me guess. You had the lemonade.”

!!!##@@!!!

The lemonade “had a bit of warlock powder mixed into it,” says Magnus. “The kind that lowers your inhibitions.”

Damn you, Magnus Bane! Damn you to Warlock Hell or wherever!

Stay tuned.

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