Quote of the Day: Will Herondale

  • “Well, I suppose it’s hard to meddle in someone’s brains if they’ve got no brains to start with.”

—  spoken by Will Herondale to Tessa Gray, the two riding alone in a carriage, on their way to a Demons Ball in Chiswick (from p. 261 of Clockwork Prince, the most angst-y of all Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices books, which means it is one of self’s absolute faves. If your tear ducts ever feel in need of a major workout, dear blog reader, then this is the book for you!)

Jessamine, CLOCKWORK PRINCE

Self has been absolutely crushing the writing. Crushing it.

She added pirate raids, defensive maneuvers, gun battles, bonfires and other exceedingly dramatic mayhem to her WIP.

Finally, at 5 p.m., she settles in for a refreshing dip into The Infernal Devices. Which happens to be p. 261 of Clockwork Prince. Which happens to feature dialogue with Jessamine at the dinner table of the London Institute (Jessamine is one of self’s all-time favorite TID characters!)

Will regarded Henry from beneath half-lidded eyes. “Nothing ever disturbs your circles, does it, Henry?”

Henry blinked. “What do you mean?”

“Archimedes,” Jem said, as usual knowing what Will meant, though not looking at him. “He was drawing a mathematical diagram in the sand when his city was attacked by Romans. He was so intent on what he was doing that he didn’t see the soldier coming up behind him. His last words were, ‘Do not disturb my circles.’ Of course, he was an old man by then.”

“And he was probably never married,” said Will, and he grinned at Jem across the table.

Jem didn’t return his grin. Without looking at Will, or Tessa — without looking at any of them — he got to his feet and went out of the room after Charlotte.

“Oh, bother,” said Jessamine “Is this one of those days where we all stalk out in a fury? Because I simply haven’t got the energy for it.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

And Now, Another From CLOCKWORK PRINCE

If self had been able to get to blogging a little earlier, she would have written a fine analysis of the chapter in The Third Reich at War which focuses on Reich Protector Reinhard Heydrich, the man who the SS called the “Blonde Beast.” Less affectionately known by the Czechs as the “Butcher of Prague.”

Not a gullible believer in Nazi ideology, Heydrich nevertheless crushed the heart of the Czech resistance movement. Also, was passionate about music and played the violin.

Stop right there, self. You intimated this post was going to be about CLOCKWORK PRINCE. Luckily for dear blog readers, she’s going to make good on her introduction and turn to the CLOCKWORK PRINCE. Because just imagine how quickly your fine Sundays would be ruined if you read about Reich Protector Heydrich’s many successes in eliminating the Jewish population of Prague!

Okey-dokey, self will backtrack.

Cassandra Clare has a great sense of humor and Will Herondale is soooo entertaining a character.

FOR THE 5% OF THE POPULATION WHO HAVE NOT READ THE INFERNAL DEVICES: SPOILER ALERT!

His death anniversary passed a week or so ago (Stop! Can it really be? Forsooth, Cassie Clare called attention to it on her author website: Will Herondale died on June 19, 1937. Self was so addled that she actually heaved a sigh of relief that he was not around to witness World War II. Until she remembered that of course he wouldn’t be around to witness World War II:  because Will Herondale is a fictional character!!! DUH!!!)

Here’s the scene where Jem and Tessa find Will in an opium den. All these years of procuring the drug for beloved Jem (Sissy!) and Will never tried it once. Not once. Until, distraught over the discovery that his family in Wales has been moved by Mortmain to a house in of all places Yorkshire, and unable to tell Tessa Gray that he loves her while watching Jem’s flirtations intensify right before his very eyes (i.e. the train back to London. See also: the carriage ride to London’s East End, where Jem’s hot breath stays in Tessa’s ear. That is, until she lays sight of Will Herondale’s “six feet of bone and muscle” lying supine in a yin fen den run by warlocks — DUN DUN DUN!), he succumbs.

No one at the London Institute, not even Jem (What’s that parabatai rune over your heart doing, Jem? Hasn’t it been bothering you greatly during Will’s disappearance?), bother to go looking for him. Until Tessa Gray receives a confidential note from Warlock Magnus Bane (Methinks the warlock doth care for that whelp Herondale, despite his protestations!) that Will is in trouble, and she waits six hours to tell Jem, and then Jem finally decides that why, yes, as the parabatai he must go and search for Will, and they ride in a carriage and hot breath on Tessa’s ear and all that, and arrive at scummy London’s East End, which is absolutely crawling with Shivering Jemmies and infants whose skin is the color of curdled milk, and they find Will in a den of iniquity, and Tessa knows they have to get him out of there, but Jem is frozen, unable to move (As if thinking: Oh no! Why did we have to find him? I was looking forward to having Tessa Gray all to myself!). And then Tessa Gray says:

If you do not help me, I swear, I will Change into you, and I will lift him myself. And then everyone here will see what you look like in a dress. Do you understand?

God, JEM CARSTAIRS WILL YOU JUST GET A MOVE ON???

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

St. Bride’s on a Monday Afternoon: Off-Season 4

It’s a quiet little church just off the hustle and bustle of Fleet Street.

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The church is mentioned in an appendix to Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Prince.

Clare used the church as the setting for the Shadowhunters’ London Institute.

Since self has decreed that this London sojourn will be devoted to examining places that appear in The Infernal Devices trilogy, she couldn’t possibly have skipped the headquarters of the London Institute, now could she?

She was hoping to get to Blackfriars Bridge as well, but couldn’t make it that far. It was a cool day, and self was wearing a sleeveless cotton blouse. Plus she’s going to be watching a play tonight, so rest is required.

The Crypt Beneath St. Bride's -- It's a very interesting exhibit space.

The Crypt Beneath St. Bride’s — It’s a very interesting exhibit space.

In a small chapel off to the side, self found the most amazing altar, and etched glass hanging art.

St. Bride’s is also known as the “journalists’ church”: hence the quill and ink etched on this green glass panel, another of which flanks the altar’s other side.

Two Etched Pieces of Glass flank an altar in a side chapel of St. Bride's.

Two Etched Pieces of Glass flank an altar in a side chapel of St. Bride’s.

The church was practically empty today, so self was free to explore to her heart’s content.

There were photographs all around, and also a memorial plaque to Marie Colvin. Self recognized the name instantly, but for the benefit of dear blog readers, Marie Colvin was a foreign correspondent who was killed in 2012, while reporting from the Syrian city of Homs. On the plaque is a quote: “It has always been a hard calling, but the need for front-line, effective reporting has never been stronger.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Poetry Monday: Dionne Brand

One of the dearest people self met at the Banff Writing Studio was Canadian poet Dionne Brand. For not only was she brilliant, she would go out of her way to talk to self about her WIP, the one that got her accepted to the program. Dionne is one classy, classy lady.

Dionne is up for a Trillium Award this week. Naturally, self hopes she wins.

Here’s an excerpt from her poetry collection, Thirsty:

XI

i

you can’t satisfy people; we long for everything,
but sleep, sleep is the gift of the city
the breath of others, their mewling, their disorder,
I could hear languages in the lush smog,
runes to mercy and failure and something tender
a fragile light, no, not light, yes light,
something you can put your hand in, relinquishing

Today, self is off to Saint Bride’s, which Cassandra Clare used as the setting for the London Institute of the Shadowhunters in her trilogy The Infernal Devices. A copy of Clockwork Prince has been in self’s tote since she arrived in London. She researched how to get to St. Bride’s on the Underground, and found that the closest stop would be Blackfriars.

SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER FOR THE INFERNAL DEVICES

Be still, self’s beating heart! Blackfriars Bridge was where Jem Carstairs and Tessa Gray met each year for one hour, a ritual they fainthfully maintained for the next (500+?) years.

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.

Queen of Victorian Steampunk

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London, April 1878

The demon exploded in a shower of ichor and guts.

—  Prologue, Clockwork Angel, Book One of Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices

Beg pardon, dear blog readers, but ever since self read those lines, in the house of her cousin Mike V in Calgary, Canada, her life has never been the same.

It’s almost like the way she felt when she encountered Annie Ernaux and Gish Jen and Nina Berberova for the first time!

All three (500-page) books in Cassandra Clare’s TID trilogy are going with her to London and Ireland.

Self had to think long and hard about this one, because she’ll be hauling ass. Oh! Pardon the language. She means, hauling suitcases on and off trains and buses. By herself.

But, dear ones, self must be permitted her eccentricities. After all, they’re part of what make her such an indefatigable writer/blogger!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Books for Ireland

Mary Gaitskill: BAD BEHAVIOR

Mary Gaitskill: BAD BEHAVIOR

Cassandra Clare: THE INFERNAL DEVICES TRILOGY

Cassandra Clare: THE INFERNAL DEVICES TRILOGY

Poetry, but of course

Poetry, but of course: Dionne Brand and Tomas Transtromer

Suzanne Collins: MOCKINGJAY (Self has read this book at least half a dozen times)

Suzanne Collins: MOCKINGJAY (Self has read this book at least half a dozen times)

AFTER: NINETEEN STORIES OF APOCALYPSE AND DYSTOPIA, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Wandling

AFTER: NINETEEN STORIES OF APOCALYPSE AND DYSTOPIA, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Wandling

and, last but not least:

George Eliot’s Middlemarch

Self is bringing along the following literary magazines as well:

  • Crab Orchard Review’s West Coast and Beyond Issue
  • Witness Magazine’s Spring 2015 issue
  • Bluestem Magazine’s Spring 2015 issue

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Cadair Idris, Wales

Self plans to visit the places listed in Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices series — or at least, as many places as she can, when she’s in the United Kingdom: Westminster Abbey (After xx trips to London, she has never seen), Kew Gardens, Hyde Park, Blackfriars Bridge, Kensington Gardens, the Tower of London (seen once, ages and ages ago. She remembers in particular taking son to the McDonald’s near there — holy sacrilege).

The hero of the trilogy is Will Herondale, who grew up in Wales but has spent the past five years in the London Institute of the Clave, training to be a Shadowhunter. (It’s such a great series. Honestly, self highly recommends it to anyone who enjoys historical fantasy. Especially Victorian steampunk fantasy)

Here’s a section from p. 401 of Clockwork Princess (Of course she is bringing all the books of the trilogy with her!) that describes a mountain Will Herondale remembers from his childhood in Wales:

He remembered climbing Cadair Idris with his father, years ago. There were many legends about the mountain: that it had been a chair for a giant, who had sat upon it and regarded the stars; that King Arthur and his knight slept beneath the hill, waiting for the time when Britain would awake and need them again; that anyone who spent the night on the mountainside would awake a poet or a madman.

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.

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