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[personal profile] cahn
So I reread Greenwitch, The Grey King, and Silver on the Tree in December, for Reasons. (Why yes, this is how behind I am: getting caught up on reading for last December.) I did not reread Over Sea, Under Stone, because it's not as good, or The Dark Is Rising, because my sister had borrowed it. This is ironic because for many years, before I owned my own copy, I'd check out the last four books out of the library (occasionally OSUS as well, but I reread that less frequently in general because it's a less interesting book) and read them at Christmastime, but especially TDiR-the-book, because the culture and theme of Christmas wind around and within all of that book.

I was having a discussion with K recently as to how TDiR was the first book I ever read that squarely presented a profoundly non-Christian focus in a way that both deeply resonated with me and deeply disturbed me, to the point that I can look back to that book as my introduction to the worldview that there was no god; and the reason it struck me so hard was that the book is so steeped in the rituals and culture and feelings of Christmas, and juxtaposed in sharp relief with those things is Will's extremely non-Christian journey as an Old One... a couple of times this is even thrown explicitly into the text, as when Will feels the Dark howling around the church where he is a choir boy, and when he talks to his pastor about the Light and the Dark.

But anyway. Really, instead of talking about deep existential questions of good/evil duality and religion, I wanted to talk about my shippy Bran-Jane-Will headcanon, because I am shallow like that. So.

Bran clearly is written as having a crush on Jane, I submit! He talks to Will about how pretty she is. He gives her the Lost Land stone he finds in his pocket at the very end. Romantically, he's probably got the simplest role.

Well, no, Will's the simplest in many ways, in the sense that he's written as sort of romantically oblivious in the books. Uncomplicated, Bran calls him. Jane, pretty? He's never thought about it! Too busy reading anthropological texts and saving the world! (Okay, fine, I said here I didn't have a crush on Will. I totally do. Will reminds me a lot of D, actually, in personality.)

Jane, on the other hand, has complicated feelings for both Bran and Will. Will, of course, was the one the Drews met first. And Will has this whole double life thing going. In normal life Will is sort of normal and comforting and cheerful and uncomplicated. And then he's also an Old One, and part of this mysterious, mystical group that's uncanny and wise and dangerous and magical. And gosh, writing it that way, of course she has a crush on him.

Then the Drews meet Bran. Bran is a complicated person! He's lonely and magical and has Daddy Issues and yet loving bonds are at the essence of his character, and oh hey, he just happens to be the Pendragon, did I mention that? He is the alpha male in SotT. If this were a YA dystopia, he would clearly be THE love interest. (Cooper is too good a writer for that.) And Jane can't help but react to that. Most of her reaction is negative -- you think you're so special, do you! But the way it's written very much partakes of that trope of the bickering romance that I saw and recognized even when I read it in fourth grade.

And speaking of alpha-male-ism, the other side of this triangle, of course, and also playing in to the Jane parts of the triangle, is Bran/Will. This is interesting too. Bran and Will, when interacting by themselves, as in the Lost Land, are mostly equals; there are moments when Will knows what to do and Bran just has to follow along, and moments where Bran comes into his own and Will just follows his lead. And, of course, of all the pairs of children in the sequence, Bran and Will get the most screen time by themselves, and Will is basically Bran's only friend to boot, thus lending a lot of credence to Bran/Will... But the fascinating thing to me is that the dynamic changes when the Drews are around: Will seems to defer to Bran an awful lot, and Bran seems to encourage that. Perhaps it's only that Jane sees it, and Will doesn't?

Bran/Jane is not so bad. There are a lot of things going for it! Jane is emotionally sensitive and from a very functional family, which is what Bran desperately needs! Bran's sensitive as well to what Jane's feeling, which, um, Will can sometimes be a bit oblivious to. (Though being an Old One makes him darn near clairvoyant at other times.) This could work out.

But my One True Pairing, before I even knew what a ship was, has always been Jane/Will. SERIOUSLY THEY ARE PERFECT FOR EACH OTHER, OKAY. They're both extremely nice, stable, mature people! They would have a relationship with very little drama and a lot of communication! (Also, I would date Will and I would not date Bran -- too prickly, too many Issues for me to deal with. But that's me with my issues. Jane could probably take him.) They would totally be enamoured of each other's family!

The one thing that does bother me about Will/Jane is that, y'know, I'm not a huge fan of the part where Will's basically living this gigantic lie by knowing about the Light and the Dark, while Jane doesn't. I mean, I can handwave it by saying that it's not something that Will ever thinks about when he doesn't have to fight the Dark or something. But there's a sense in which Bran/Jane really is more honest than Will/Jane (or Will/Bran, for that matter), and in which I could totally see the post-canon picture where Bran and Jane get together and Will stays the bachelor uncle, so to speak. Perhaps eventually great-uncle, and all that...

Date: 2014-03-24 07:19 pm (UTC)
janewilliams20: (Default)
From: [personal profile] janewilliams20
Yes! I've never understood why so much fanfic concentrates on Will/Bran, when there's not the slightest hint in the books that they're any more than friends. Bran/Jane is obvious, as you say. Will/Jane, though, would be spoilt by that lie, and Will would realise that and stand back. Unless Jane could somehow get her memory back?

Date: 2014-03-25 04:44 pm (UTC)
janewilliams20: (Default)
From: [personal profile] janewilliams20
He wants someone to discuss it with, but there isn't anyone left who knows his situation. I can see a conversation with John Rowlands happening here, and Will ending up feeling very guilty about what was done to John's memory. I half-dreamt it last night, but didn't manage to write it down before it slipped away.

How old are they all by the end of Silver on the Tree? Still pre-puberty, I thought?

Date: 2014-03-25 08:06 pm (UTC)
luzula: a Luzula pilosa, or hairy wood-rush (Default)
From: [personal profile] luzula
Interesting to hear your thoughts about these! I've read these books multiple times and love them.

Not being brought up Christian, I don't think I ever thought much about the non-Christian aspects of these, but yes, they totally are non-Christian. Yeah, I vividly remember that scene where he talks with the pastor.

I have to confess that I never had shippy feelings about any of the characters when read them. They're gen books for me. But OTOH, I am easily convinced of Bran/Will and will happily read it, and I'll happily try out most other pairings as well in this canon.

Hmm, I'd kind of want to see what could be done with Merriman/Hawkin backstory, actually.

Date: 2014-03-25 08:43 pm (UTC)
luzula: a Luzula pilosa, or hairy wood-rush (Default)
From: [personal profile] luzula
Ha, no, I wasn't shippy about LotR or Earthsea, either (so much so that I went "ewww! they're having sex!" when I got to Tehanu. *g*)

Ah, I could see Merriman/Hawkin, although I think it sets off my incest buttons, a bit (Merriman being sort of a father figure to Hawkin).

Well, yeah, it would not be a happy story at all! And the authority/mentor/father figure issues would be part of that. I guess what I meant was that it would be interesting, not that I really shipped them.

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