Book Discussion: The Dark is Rising

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Book Discussion: The Dark is Rising

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1clamairy
Ene 29, 2007, 11:39am

Just wanted to get this thread started. I really enjoyed this book, but I'll have to come back and post more detail later. I'm in a rush!

2GeorgiaDawn
Ene 29, 2007, 2:12pm

Same here clam! I loved The Dark is Rising. I'm at school and don't have time to write anything. I'll be back!

3clamairy
Editado: Abr 18, 2020, 10:37am

Okay, I have a little bit of time before I have to feed my family. ;o)

There is a vast difference between the first two books in this series. I see a decade passed between their publishing dates, as well. If The Dark is Rising is a young adult book, then Over Sea, Under Stone is a children's book. Not only is the second one a darker more sophisticated tale, the language/imagery and even the allusions to the balance/never ending battle between light & dark are much more evolved.

As a woman who has spent a bit of time attempting to rediscover my Irish-Scot/Celtic-Druid roots I really enjoyed the allusions to the beliefs that held sway over the British Isles before the spread of Christianity.

4GeorgiaDawn
Ene 29, 2007, 7:22pm

"If The Dark is Rising is a young adult book, then Over Sea, Under Stone is a child's book. " - see #3 above.

I could not agree more! Cooper does a wonderful job of transporting the reader to Will Stanton's world in The Dark is Rising. I felt like I there with Will while I was reading. I loved this book.

5JPB
Ene 29, 2007, 7:25pm

#3 I really enjoyed the allusions to the beliefs that held sway over the British Isles before the spread of Christianity.

Hear, hear. Actually... this book, read freshman year in college, brought those beliefs to me in a way which triggered my first deep investigation into my Celtic roots. This is a reason I shared this book with our group. To show you all the book that started my search. :)

6reading_fox
Ene 30, 2007, 5:08am

"allusions to the beliefs that held sway over the British Isles before the spread of Christianity"

To me, as someone living in the UK, these seemed perfectly normal, everywhere you go there are Herne's oaks or stone circles or at least standing stones and boundary markers. As mentioned later in the series Arthur's horseprint is so common, he'd have had to have spent his entire life riding around the UK leaving his mark, if they were all true. A bit of an exageration maybe, but not much.

DIR is very different from OSUS, in some respects though I found OSUS more believable, 11 seems a very very young age to be invested with magical powers, whereas anybody could find a map in an old house. Will certainly is a "old" 11, though this is always the case with youngest children.

(Hope I've remembered his age correctly, this is all from my memory o the last time I read this).

The re-occuring theme of the series is highlighted very strongly in this book, people of all kinds are only human, everybody has faults, but mistakes can always be forgiven.

7AlannaSmithee
Ene 30, 2007, 9:56am

#6 - Yes, Will gained the knowledge of his powers on his 11th birthday ... just as Harry Potter discovered his heritage on his 11th birthday.

I had prepared a mental list of other 11 year olds who came into their real roles at that age ... but these days mental lists are, you know, like, totally unreliable. :D :D

Anyone?? More 11 year olds in literature? Was "Wart" 11 in White's Sword in the Stone, for example? I know there are more. I had a mental list.

Or was I just mental? ;-)

8radiantarchangelus
Ene 30, 2007, 10:09am

I enjoyed the second book significantly more than the first. I think part of the difference was that the OSUS was written in 3rd person (? I think that's what it was - I'm not the best at identifying narrative voices) and she was trying to deal with three main characters and the peripheral characters while in The DIR she just had the one main character and used the first person. She's just better at the latter, I think. Though I haven't read the next 3 books - do they stay in the first person?

9clamairy
Ene 30, 2007, 11:21am

Ummm... DiR is not written in the first person. It's also third. "Will said..." and "When Will woke..."

But it does focus on him, and him alone.

10reading_fox
Ene 30, 2007, 11:29am

It is the only book to do so. All the others have multiple characters - although book 4 I'm not sure that Bran gets a sole POV, it might only be when he's in Will's presence.

11AlannaSmithee
Ene 30, 2007, 12:42pm

I just finished Book 4. I don't recall Bran's POV being presented.

12radiantarchangelus
Ene 30, 2007, 2:08pm

Ok. I finished the book about 2 weeks ago, so it is not terribly fresh in my mind. I just remember being struck by the solo character vs. the 3.

13JPB
Ene 31, 2007, 9:13am

Who else wants to continue past book two? :)

14clamairy
Ene 31, 2007, 10:01am

I definitely do, but I have a few other things I HAVE to read first. :o)

15radiantarchangelus
Ene 31, 2007, 1:53pm

I might at some point, but like Clamairy, I'm pretty backed up right now. :D

16Busifer
Feb 1, 2007, 4:02pm

I finished DiR a couple of hours ago, and as I've bought the omnibus (cheaper than buying the two books separately!) I've already decided to go on reading the rest.
I very much enjoyed the experience of reading DiR. Thanks to all of you who insisted that we should read this :-)

Right now I haven't got the time to elaborate on my experience, though - I hope I get it tomorrow... It has been hard going reading the backlog building up while I've been busy workning and now it's time for me to say good night!
Bye bye, see you later!

17clamairy
Feb 1, 2007, 4:05pm

Nighty night, Busifer!

Happy reading and sleeping!

18Busifer
Feb 2, 2007, 2:57am

Thanks! Back on track now, at work but currently trying to catch up on the discussions here... There where a few I did not manage to read yesterday. I believe I will have to start to prioritize if this don't calms down soon!

On DiR > Even though my acquaintance with the english countryside is mainly derived from watching english TV series (Midsumer Murders are very popular in Sweden, as are Silent Witness) showing a very romanticized OR bleak version of it the book made me feel like I knew the surroundings.

All in all it felt better composed and better written than the first book; now I want to know how it will end, and if the rest is as well written or nor doesn't matter at this stage (if there's a downsurge in quality I may change my mind, but I leave that for later).

19Busifer
Editado: Feb 6, 2007, 1:16pm

Are there someone else but me out there that has continued reading the last three books in the sequence (Greenwitch, The grey king & Silver on the Tree)?
Anyone else who's interested in discussing those?

*edited to fix touchstones, they didn't touch when I posted this*

20AlannaSmithee
Feb 6, 2007, 1:04pm

I'm nearly finished with Silver on the Tree. I'd recommend finishing to those who were interested in what the Drew children and Will accomplished in their separate books, as they all come together in various pairings as the series progresses, and all of them figure in the end.

21Busifer
Editado: Feb 7, 2007, 3:03am

Yes, that's what I figured so I went on reading Greenwitch which I finished last evening. I started on The Grey King today.

So far I agree with those who've said that the third book wasn't as good as the second. The characters missed in depth and personally I feel that the whole concept of the Green witch and the Wild magic is somewhat weak.
Maybe she thought that the characters could live on by theirselves, on steam gained in the previous books but I get the feeling of a big freighter ship no longer under steam, still moving but not much longer.
Still, I want to know how the story ends, and this far The Grey King seems like a story better told.

*edited typo*

22Sabarade
Feb 6, 2007, 4:29pm

I just finished The Dark Is Rising (finally), and I agree completely with the sentiment that it is a HUGE fantastic improvement over the first book. I loved the time-shifting aspects, and the dilemmas of free will and devotion that Hawken faced. It reminded me a little of the Raiders of the Lost Ark movies, where there were puzzles that needed to be unravelled and demons to be faced and defeated. Very enjoyable.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to finish the series due to other book club commitments! Maybe some later time? In any case, thanks for making book 2 the requirement!

23JPB
Feb 6, 2007, 7:23pm

Oh! Jeepers! Right! This discussion group is about books of wonder at its core. Thanks, recent posters for getting us back on track! :)

24xicanti
Feb 10, 2007, 9:26pm

I finished this yesterday, and I'm still sorting out what I thought of it.

To begin with, I have sort of a history with The Dark Is Rising, both the individual book and the sequence as a whole. I first read them when I was eight, and I fell completely in love with them. I read them at least twice when I was younger, (perhaps as many as three or four times; it was about fifteen years ago, so my memory is a little fuzzy), and I considered them among my favourite books. I had the prophetic poem memorized, I used to discuss all the mythological elements with my friends, and I desperately wanted to be an Old One. The books really struck a chord with me; I could relate to Will, and his story really meant something to me.

A couple of years ago, I decided to reread them all. It had been a while, (at least ten years; probably more), and I was really looking forward to going back over the series. I read Over Sea, Under Stone in its entirity, and was less than impressed. It didn't do much for me. I made it about halfway through The Dark is Rising before deciding it just wasn't worth it. I abandoned the book and gave my copies away.

I hadn't initially intended to participate in this group read, given what happened the last time, but I found a cheap copy of The Dark is Rising at a book sale last week, so I figured I'd give it a go. While I finished it this time, it still didn't really do anything for me. I wouldn't say it was a bad book. I finished it this time around, and I agree that it has merit. It's a very sophisticated book that works with a lot of interesting issues like free will, familial commitment, the role the past plays in modern life, the flexibility of time, etc. On an intellectual level, I found it enjoyable, but it did almost nothing for me on an emotional level. I just didn't feel it and, though there are some notabe exceptions, (including American Gods), I have to have an emotional involvement in a book in order for it to really mean something to me.

I think it might be an age thing. I was thinking about it last night, and when I was younger I felt like I could relate to Will because I had a different impression of eleven year-olds. As I mentioned, I was eight when I first read the book; eleven year-olds were still Big Kids to me, but they were Big Kids who were close enough to my own age that I could actively put myself in their shoes. I could see myself turning eleven and doing the sorts of fantastic, otherworldly things that Will does. I could transpose my own predicted reactions onto Will's. Now that I've actually been eleven and thus have a slightly different view of eleven year-olds, I had more difficulty putting myself in his shoes.

The odd thing, though, is that I still get a big kick out of other books I read around the same time. I still react to The Chronicles of Narnia and The Chronicles of Prydain on a very emotional level, and I enjoy new books I come across with characters in the same age bracket. I don't know. I've been trying to work out just what it is, and I think the emotional distance is the key thing here. I never really got involved, and I can't tell you exactly why. Evidently other people did, and I'm sure it isn't entirely an age thing as many of you are at least as old as I am. I don't think it was anything the author did, either, as it seems evident to me that she poured a lot of love into the story. I think it's probably just a personal preference thing. Her method of characterization didn't quite jive with me.

That said, I did appreciate the story. My favourite thing about it was that it was something of an unconventional quest. Will never really sets out in search of the Signs; they all come to him, more or less. He does journey a short ways, but he always stays very close to home and close to his family. I found that interesting. Everywhere he goes is somewhere familiar, even the spaces outside of time.

And man, that was long. Sorry. I've been trying to think about the book critically, and it seems to have led to quite a diatribe. I'm not sure how much sense it made, either. Hmm.

25hobbitprincess
Feb 11, 2007, 8:51am

xicanti, just a random thought, for what it's worth.

Earlier, it was discussed that being 11 seems a popular age to discover that one has other-worldly powers of some sort. I wasn't familiar with many of the examples, but I have read the HP books. For some reason, I can connect with Harry much better than I can connect with Will. Your post got me thinking about why that is the case. For me, it seems to be a matter of maturity, perhaps because of the times the books were written. Will seems very child-like to me. I taught 11-year olds last year, and he is very immature compared to them (not that that's a bad thing). Harry is much more experienced and mature, if you will. Since I teach middle school, I read a lot of YA books, and I usually don't have a hard time identifying with the characters on some level, even though they are so much younger than I. Perhaps the incredible amount of innocence on Will's part makes it harder to connect with him.

Of course, to muddy the issue, I was 11 in 1972; the book was published in 1973, so maybe I should be able to appreciate Will more. Maybe I haven't explained anything at all!

26clamairy
Feb 11, 2007, 10:47am

Very good points, both of you. I love Harry because he's both mature and naive. Does that make any sense? Will is not mature, but he is a country boy, and Harry is not. Will precedes Harry by only 20 years, so I don't think time is really an issue.

The biggest difference is that Will has been loved and protected from the ugly realities of the real world by his family. Harry has had neither the love nor the protection, unless you call being locked up in a closet much of the time a form of protection.

xicanti, I had a similar experience to yours when I attempted to read the first of the Prydain books to my daughter a few years ago. After a dew dozen pages neither one of us was enjoying it. :o/ After Harry it just seemed so dry and gracelessly wordy. I'll have to try again some day. Maybe it was the fact that she kept yawning that ruined the experience for me. LOL

27Busifer
Feb 11, 2007, 4:11pm

Interesting. I've now read through almost all of the sequence (last quarter of Silver on the tree remaining). Why? Do I connect with Will?
No. Do I find the events probable? No. Do I get sucked into the pages? Yes.

Sometimes I wonder if analyzing the book adds anything extra... Some books are meant to be analyzed. Think of Sartre or Camus or Bulgakov (Master and Margarita, touchstones way off!) - trying to say something about the world and about humanity.
But some books are written as entertainment or as puzzles or to tickle the imagination. I'm an empath (not the Star Trek way, mind you, I'm no Deanna Troy *hehe*) and I'm wildly curious. I have a hard time reading books where the protagonists ends up dead or sick or crippled or without having reached their goals; I feel their losses as they're my own. Also, I always want to know what will happen next. If it's stated that the series of quests are N in number, then I want to know what the quests are.
As a result a book like Flowers for Algernon still sits unread on my shelf; I just can't bring myself around to read it. Around us the world gets all awry; people killing one another ower belief or money, scientists gets corrupted, kids are abused - you know what I mean.

To read a sequence like TDiR then is a kind of relief, to escape into a improbable adventure, knowing it for what it is. Nothing more, nothing less. If you like it or not then I think is more about if you enjoy the particular style of the author than anything else - her way of portraying the archetypes, of how she sketches the setting, her phrasing, etc.

Maybe I look at it this way because I lack in the Celtic roots department ;-) and maybe it's because I'm deaf to linguistic nuances when the language's not my own (please, no more accolades concerning my language skills! please observe that I wrote nuances, which is sometimes hard to distinguish even when reading in ones' own language...). But this is the way I feel about it.
At least right now ;-)

28xicanti
Feb 11, 2007, 6:13pm

#25 & 26 - I think you have a good point re: Will's innocence. Now that I think about it, his immaturity might well have been one of the reasons I failed to connect with him this time around.

29clamairy
Feb 11, 2007, 7:17pm

Well, it's just amazing when you think that you can read the same book at different times in your life, and find a completely different book, due to how you have grown/changed with the years.

Some actually improve as you age. Some obviously do not.

30Sabarade
Feb 11, 2007, 9:24pm

So, this immaturity discussion line bugs me a little bit. Maybe I am just the right level of mature to still enjoy the books, in spite of their improbability and rough-edges. Earlier (#22) I said that I wouldn't be able to read the rest of the books... but then the local library called to say that they had arrived for me and I decided to pick them up. Greenwitch is very tame compared to The Dark is Rising, at least when it comes to the perceived threat to the main characters. The continued reassurances related to the safety of the Drew children weakened the storyline as far as I was concerned. I'd be interested to discuss this with Susan Cooper (is she on LT somewhere???)

I have decided to suspend my disbelief and go along for the ride, so to speak. Yes, there are some unexplored connections to King Arthur and Camelot (at least so far)... and the Celtic ceremonies (if that is what they are) seem a little too pagan even for the 1960s. But I am willing to learn about the world Susan Cooper is creating along with Will and the Drews... we are all a bit immature all through our lives. Perhaps a small celebration for immaturity is OK?

31clamairy
Feb 11, 2007, 9:32pm

I think this is all an issue of semantics. One person may use the word 'immaturity' while another person would say lack of 'self-awareness.'

I'm not saying I think Will is dull, or even childish. I have an 11 year old son., and some of his more childish behavior is his most charming. Granted we live worlds away from Will's home and time, but I like to think my son is more savvy than Will, while still retaining his innocence.

I'm sure I'm not making much sense...

By the way, I really enjoyed this book, Sabarade.

32xicanti
Feb 11, 2007, 10:00pm

I'm finding it very difficult to put my thoughts on this book into words, so bear with me here. This will probably be very garbled.

I'd definitely agree that lack of self-awareness is a better term that immaturity. Will is innocent, and perhaps because of his innocence/lack of self-awareness he didn't feel like a complete character to me. As I mentioned above, I also had a very different sense of people in this age bracket when I was actually in it. Now, I suppose I expect 11 year olds to be a little more... well, resourceful, I guess. More like Harry Potter, to use hobbitprincess's example; both naive and clever. It didn't seem as though Will stretched very much, and he didn't seem too aware of the world around him.

It also feels to me as though Cooper is writing very much from an adult perspective, basing her portrayal of Will on how she feels an eleven year old should be. To return to the Harry example again, I believe that one of the reasons those books work so well is that Rowling writes the characters from their own level. I buy Harry et al as whatever age group they fall into in each particular book. I bought Will as an eleven year old when I was eight, but not so much now. But again, that's likely due to my own adult perspective and how I feel that eleven year olds should be. It's a tricky issue. I think it really does boil down to personal taste and what triggers certain reactions in an individual reader.

33clamairy
Feb 12, 2007, 7:45am

The problem just may be that Will seems to have more in common with Barney than he does with Simon, who's age he appears to be much closer to. Maybe Cooper prefers to write characters that are without guile, and are totally unsophisticated. You know, the innocent Lamb thing...

34Busifer
Feb 12, 2007, 8:15am

As much as I enjoy reading TDiR I think one of the problems is the lack of depth in the characters. They all seem to exist in a pocket away from reality, and I continue to wonder how this will end up (I suspect that I will read the last pages later today).
The only logical thing would be for Bran to go away, cease to exist in our reality. If not a lot of people, plus the logic of the story, would demand that the present royal house of England had to be substituted for the heir of Arthur, the one true king.

Normally I have no such problems. When reading alternate history, postmodern sf or urban fantasy this pocket is implicated and part of the premise. But most times these stories are set apart from our present time, or take care not to add plot lines that would change history as we know it.

This one is a small adventure story, a thrill, but the effects are grand and that is easy enough to recognize when your a grown up. As a kid you don't care that much about plausibility, and I agree with Sarabande (#30). A little celebration to immaturity? Do we have to be so grown up and clever all the time?

But maybe that's age. I was 11 in 1977, and I have to be 150% serious most of my time, handling bigshots in big corporations and government agencies, or juggling improbale project plans, or...
Sometimes the relief I talked about earlier takes the form of suspension of belief - permission not to be sensible.

35reading_fox
Feb 12, 2007, 8:46am

I don't want to spoil the ending for you or anyone else but:

#34 "The only logical thing would be for Bran to go away, cease to exist in our reality"

IS an absolutely critical point in Silver on the Tree. Bear it in mind as the story progresses.

I find it very interesting the above comments that Will is too young/Innocent/naive. He is described as "old for his age" "a very old 11". I suspect this really is down to the difference in the times. I'm not entirely convinced that the degree of "maturity" shown by today's eleven yr olds is all that good an idea.

36Busifer
Feb 12, 2007, 9:34am

I have to agree with you, reading_fox. Is it mature to by 11 have watched more heads blown to kingdom come than..., well, could possibly be healthy? Is it mature to by 11 nag your parents about getting allowed to hang out at midnight parties with friends with absent parents? Is it mature to ... etc.

I live close to a place where parties for underaged kids are hosted. And it is with horror I look at those kids on the bus. They come from all over town, some have to travel over an hour by bus and train, they are in various states of inebriation, and they're aged roughly 12-14 yrs. A friend of mine who lives at the other side of town blushed when I brought this up, and she defended herself with "I fetch her up no later than eleven thirty (PM)".
At 11-12 I was deep in my bookpiles, alternating between home, school and the stable. Drinking alcohol did not feature on my wishlist.

I wasn't innocent - I knew well enough of war and manipulation, but that was the world of the grown ups and I had no part in that (other than that it was fun to partcipate in anti war rallies /Vietnam; ended when I was 9, but.../).

And to me the problem with Will, or anyone else in TDiR, is that the outside world don't seem to exist at all. Immaturity or innocence it isn't - it's a lack of correlation points with the world as we know it. Which is a problem as the story is supposed to be set in the world as we know it ;-)

But I am ready to suspend my belief, fro time to time :-)

37sandragon
Editado: Feb 12, 2007, 4:26pm

I just finished TDiR this weekend and I did enjoy it much more than Over Sea, Under Stone. I think this had to do with the concentration on one character (Will) so we could get to know him well whereas OSUS was a series of events that happen to 3 characters that we didn't get to know much at all. I'm going to go on and read the next 3 books, although I'm a little trepidatious about meeting Simon, Jane and Barney again.

I did notice the seclusion of Will's little world from the rest of the world. It caused me to keep forgetting that this is set in the 70s with telephones and vehicles available for getting in touch with the rest of England. I kept thinking this was early 1900s when villages were much more secluded.

I actually thought Will was quite a realistic character for his age. I didn't think of him as immature, maybe naive. But what is happening to him would be far beyond his realm of knowledge and experience. I can see him as an 11 year old boy who is very glad to have the more experienced old ones around to help him learn the ropes. I love Harry Potter. And who wouldn't love to find out they can do magic? But if an eleven year old you know comes up against the same sorts of evil wouldn't you expect the 11yo to seek help from an adult? It's like Harry Potter's story is this wonderful scarey fantastical adventure that could happen to someone you don't know but have heard about. Will's story seems more personal, like it could happen to someone you know.

I can also understand now all the references to this being a good Christmas time read that I kept bumping into :o)

38reading_fox
Feb 13, 2007, 5:21am

I think DiR is actually set in the 60's although not published until 70s. Will is concurrent with the Drews, and we "decided" on the OSUS thread that that book was set as published, early 60s.

And as such although cars and telephones were available, in rural english villages I don't think they had the same acceptance that came later. Villages were still insular in england. The trip into town a notable event, doable, but not frequent - as is made clear when Will goes present shopping on the bus.

This attitude does still exist in england. I know people (whose attitudes were shaped in the 60s) who won't have long phone conversations because of the percieved cost.

39Busifer
Feb 13, 2007, 6:40am

#35 & 38 - Finished reading now, and you where right, of course. Only, Bran ceased to exist in another way than I imagined.
And come to think of it, you're right. During the reading I thought "70's", I feel much more comfortable with "60's".

40sandragon
Editado: Feb 13, 2007, 10:25am

#38, That makes sense. I was wondering how the next story was going to work, thinking the Drews were going to be adults. I feel more comfortable knowing it's the 60s as well.

41sandragon
Editado: Feb 26, 2007, 11:32am

I've just finished Greenwitch and I think it's interesting how the Drew children are needed because of who they are rather than what they can do. They shape events by their innocent actions. They juxtapose Will who has all this power and knowledge to draw on. Even with the powers of the old ones, they may not have succeeded without the Drew children. I was more into the Drew kids than I was in OSUS and liked this book more.

42reading_fox
Feb 26, 2007, 11:52am

Greenwitch is probably my favourite from the series.

That's a good point about the contrast between power and choice. I hadn't thought of that in context of greenwitch before. It appears again in the other books.

"Only Human" is still more influencial on human matters than any ancient power..... the walker was only overcome in DiR by the his being human and the doctors intervention. Its a owerful theme, the choices you make.

43Busifer
Editado: Feb 26, 2007, 12:20pm

Yes, how the choices you make shapes your future is a strong theme in may ways... I still don't agree on Greenwitch, anyhow, I thought it felt very much like stereotyped YA lit...

44sandragon
Editado: mayo 31, 2007, 2:16pm

Just thought I'd post that I finished off the series at last. I found Silver on the Tree slow going after a good start. It just seemed like the difficulties that had to be overcome were becoming pointless. There didn't seem to be a reason for the tasks, except as something difficult for the kids to overcome. They weren't even obstacles put forth by the Dark. And no cause and effect. Maybe I'm missing tie-ins to the Arthur legends? I found the rest of the series more enjoyable, particularly the middle three.

45topcat21
Jun 1, 2007, 4:13pm

Wondering if anybody started with The Dark is Rising? If so - is it okay?

46reading_fox
Jun 1, 2007, 4:26pm

#45 - It is very readable as a standalone book, I wouldn't use it as an entry point to the series, because you'll be all confused at book 3 Greenwitch without having read Over sea Under stone. But for what it is - young adult fantasy, DiR is still one of the classics of the genre IMHO.

47topcat21
Jun 1, 2007, 4:37pm

Thanks - Upon your recommendattion, reading_fox, I will start with Over sea Under stone

48clamairy
Editado: Jun 2, 2007, 11:36am

Keep in mind it's a lot more of a children's book than The Dark is Rising, topcat. The second book is more of a young adult read.

49topcat21
Jun 3, 2007, 1:16pm

Thanks clamairy ... so, I have to read a childrens book to enter the world .. there have been worse things!

50jonpipp
Abr 11, 2008, 9:03am

I read TDIR for the first time when I was 11. It was my first taste of Turkish Delite (so to speak). I connected with Will and part of me never left the realm of fantasy. I've always been hungry for more adventure.

I think it important to remeber Cooper's intended audience. As a young adult reader this series was truly magical. I read TDIR again last year and although I enjoyed the read, I think I enjoyed the nastalgia more than book itself.

51QueenOfDenmark
Abr 11, 2008, 9:45am

When I first read TDIR I was about the same age as Will is in the book, perhaps a year or so younger even and I loved it. At that stage I didn't know that it was part of a series, so #45 Topcat, I read it first instead of starting with OSUS. It hasn't spoiled the other books for me but it did mean that TDIR holds the number one spot for being my favourite of the series and I like Will the best of the children featured.

I haven't read any of these books for years now but I want to reread them all now I've found this thread.

TDIR was like a preparation for me reading The Lord of the Rings a couple of years later, and I loved the Dark Rider. We used to have a car advert on TV here years ago where they had him chasing through the woods but the people were safe in the car. I know it was him because he had the same headdress and antlers as on the cover of my copy of the book. I've always wondered why they chose to have him to sell cars but I liked the advert while it was on.

52MrAndrew
Editado: Abr 11, 2008, 11:05am

Since this thread has risen from the dead...

I had an unusual introduction to TDiR. I'm pretty sure that the first one that i read was The Grey King, back when i was quite young, and pretty much before i had read any other fantasy. Several aspects conspired to completely suck me in to the story: The descriptions of welsh farmlife; the completely plausible descriptions of the presence of magic in everyday life as an eternal battle between good and evil, manifested in tangible ways such as a dog pinned by an invisible force, or an unhinged farmer; the background story of conflict driven by both all-too-human desires and love; the characterisation of Bran and his relationship with cadfall; and Will's flawed relationship with Bran. It's a book that I know i'll never tire of reading.

In a way, the rest of the series is just background and closure for Bran and Will's story for me. I like The Dark Is Rising of and in itself, plus for the countryside and era it evokes, and the symbology of the rings. OSUS piques my interest in Cornwall, and makes me nostalgic for the Enid Blyton and Narnia stories of my youth. Greenwitch i find forgettable except for it's askew acknowledgement of Jane Drew and female power generally. I only found Silver of The Tree last year, and after the wait found it fairly disappointing.

It's been fabulous reading other people's comments on the series. Thanks!

Edited for clarity and accuracy

53burrowcentral
mayo 2, 2008, 3:21pm

I found this series when my daughters were young and, though they enjoyed it, I think I liked it more. On first read I was in there with the kids, on the edge of my mental seat with concern, anxiety, etc. Then, last year, I bought the set. I still like the stories and do not analyze the writing or plot, but found that my concern for the children was that of a mother and I tended to identify more with the adults--their loves, sacrifices, fears. All in one's perspective.

I'll keep the set and read it again when I'm 70--and probably like it just as well.

54SpicyCat
mayo 3, 2008, 6:28am

I still have the copy of Oversea under stone and The Dark is Rising that my parent's gave me for Christmas when I was 9 or 10 years old, and I remember devouring TDIR and just been taken away to another world. I then nagged my parents and collected the rest of the series. TDIR and Grey King were most definitly my favourites.

I haven't read them again for ages, seeing this thread I thought I should give them go, reading this thread i am not so sure if I should - it might ruin the memory... then again....

The great irony is my mother allways critises me for reading too much fantasy, and these are probably some of the key books that got me hocked on fantasy in the first place :-)

jonpipp