“Hamlet is a play of contagious, almost universal selfestrangement.”
– Stephen Greenblatt, Hamlet in Purgatory
Obviously, this week’s Classic Spotlight is all about Hamlet. It’s basically impossible not to have heard of this play, and I guess even people who haven’t read it know at least the most basic plot or premise. What made Hamlet this well-known? Well, there can never be a definite answer to this question, but one of the reasons is definitely the fact that Hamlet is open to numerous interpretations.
One perspective I’ve always found interesting is the fact that we are given the story from Hamlet’s point of view. We as readers trust him. We are not supposed to doubt the version of the story that we are given. And yet, imagination can lead us anywhere. What if Hamlet truly is mad?
Hamlet has problems with his own identity after the death of his father. He projects all of the virtues he appreciates in people onto his father and it seems that he takes pleasure in being the only one who still appreciates him. The father becomes the ideal he aspires to, and his memory transforms into an idealised image. Therefore, the father becomes a part of Hamlet, the man Hamlet wants to be. Hamlet’s ideal self, represented by the ghost, may be awakened by the urge to keep everything in place, but it also awakens Halmet’s doubts about himself.
It is also interesting that, though he is not the only one who sees the ghost, Hamlet is the only one who hears him speak, and what the ghost says and wants Hamlet to do is what Hamlet wants to hear. In short – Claudius is the villain, but spare your mother (whom Hamlet loves dearly).
And while King Hamlet (who interestingly shares the name with his son) is the embodiment of eveything Hamlet wants to be, Claudius becomes all that he hates. He is weak, while King Hamlet is a warrior, he is treacherous, while King Hamlet is honourable. And, maybe, Claudius represents some traits that Hamlet sees in himself, but doesn’t like. Hamlet is not strong-minded. His inability to act is what drives the plot forward. It could also be argued that he is not that brave. That’s why this quote is particularly interesting:
“…my uncle,/ My father’s brother, but no more like my father/ Than I to Hercules“ (1.2.152-153).
Does this equation suggest that father is like Hercules, and Claudius is like Hamlet? Well, it’s certainly interesting to guess.
Discuss your preferred fancasts for some of your favorite characters. (Fancasts means actors you’d like to play your favorite characters or imagine your favorite characters as.)
I mentioned it a few times before, I don’t really like the idea of books being turned into movies. But, I admit, it’s fun to think about who might be the perfect actor/ress to play some of your favourite characters. I’ll start with my ideas for the upcoming Vampire Chronicles series, and then go to some random ones.
1. The Vampire Chronicles:
a) Jared Leto as Lestat
Maybe this would be a perfect match some ten years ago, but Jared Leto looks so much younger than he actually is, so I think it would work. His expressive blue eyes would be perfect for Lestat, and he looks great with every hair colour (he was blonde before anyway.) He’s a perfect combination of sweet-looking and crazy, and that exactly what we need for Lestat.
b) Luke Arnold as Louis
He already has curly brown hair. And he proved he was a great actor in Black Sails. I definitely want to see more of him, and I think the role of Louis would fit him well. Though, I think he would be a great Nicholas, too.
c) Jessica Parker Kennedy as Akasha
Another person from the Black Sails cast (what can I say, I’m a bit obsessed). While Aaliyah was perfect as Akasha in Queen of the Damned, and it will be hard to step into her shoes, it think Jessica Parker Kennedy can do it!
2. Natalie Dormer as Poison Ivy
It’s high time Poison Ivy gets her time to shine (I’m not counting the Batman and Robin movie because it was horrible, and I hate what they’re doing to Ivy in Gotham.) Natalie Dormer would be perfect for this! I’m sure she would rock red hair, and she has those eyes that kill. I would watch her in any superhero or supervillain role, to be honest, but since Poison Ivy is my favourite I really want her for this role.
3. Hugh Laurie as J. Jonah Jameson
Tom Holland was a great Spider-man! Now, Spidey will grow up eventually, and we’ll need J. Jonah Jameson to step into the story. 😛 This isn’t actually my idea, I saw it on the internet somewhere, but I loved it! Hugh Laurie would be great for this role.
4. Dan Stevens as Crake (Tales of the Ketty Jay)
This series is so much fun, and it would make a great tv show, or movie series. I’m not sure I want it to be turned into that format, but it would work. And while I’m not sure who would be a perfect Darian Frey, I’m absolutely certain Dan Stevens would be the right choice for Crake. Crake is the only aristocrat on the crew, but he is also a “mad scientist” with a troubled past kind of character, which makes him (almost) a combination od Dan Stevens’ character in Downton Abbey and David from Legion. 😉
5. Shades of Magic
a) Eddie Redmayne as Kell Maresh
Yes, Eddie Redmayne is older than Kell is supposed to be, but I’m old, too, so I don’t care. XD He’s a great actor and I can really see him as Kell.
b) Jade Hassouné as Rhy Maresh
I’ve only heard of Jade Hassouné because I’ve seen several people mention him as a their choice for Aladdin, but he immediately came to mind while I was doing this list. He is how I imagine Rhy to look like.
Hello, people! I was tagged to do this fun tag by the lovely Anna @MyBookishDream – thank you so much! Here are my answers:
1. Totally Should’ve Gotten A Sequel
I don’t think I have an answer for this one… I prefer stand-alone books, so I don’t think any of the books I like would’ve benefited from a sequel. Maaaybe it would be nice to have another book by Ellen Evert Hopman in her trilogy about the Celts. Each book has it’s own story, especially the last one, so it wouldn’t ruin anything, and I would like to read more about that period in history.
2. Totally Should’ve Gotten A Spin-Off Series
I’ll have to agree with Anna on this one, some Harry Potter spin-offs would be great! The Founders Era sounds particularly interesting. But, not to repeat the same answer, I would love to read a spin-off about Natalie Oscott from The Memoris of Lady Trent by Marie Brennan. I loved her, and I think her story would be very interesting since she’s a female inventor in a Victorian-like world.
3. An Author Who Should Write More Books
Honesty, most of my favourite authors are dead. XD I’ll have to go with Elen Evert Hopman again. She did write quite a lot of non-fiction, but I’d really like to read more fiction from her. Her books are mostly historical fiction, but they feel so magical.
4. A Character Who Totally Should’ve Ended Up With Someone Else
These questions are obviously very hard for me. XD I’m not a big “shipper” so I don’t really know… I don’t really have a couple I hate.
5. Totally Should’ve Had A Movie Franchise
I don’t really like books being turned into movies… Oh, my, I sound like a real hater in in this post! XD But, yeah, I prefer books to stay books, and movies to come up with original plots. If I had to pick, I’d definitely say The Vampire Chronicles. Yes, it’s been done before, but I’m ready for a new one. Apparently, a tv show is in the making and I really hope it will be great.
6. Totally Should’ve Kept The Original Covers
I literally have no answer for this one… Soooo, can I turn it around? The old cover I saw for The Daughter of the Forest was pretty, but the new one blew me away with its simplicitly. I think it’s prettier that the original one. Unfortunatelly, I think the other two books in the series haven’t been published with new covers yet…
7. Totally Should’ve Stopped At Book One
I think The Vampire Chonicles should’ve stopped after book three. Maybe the books about Armand and Marius could stay, as spin-offs, but I think the first three were perfect and the rest was just too much. Tale of the Body Thief wasn’t that bad, but I didn’t like Memnoch the Devil at all. I’ve recently read Prince Lestat, and I enjoyed it at first, and was happy to meet the characters again, but in the end I though it was meh…
And, that’s it! I won’t be tagging anyone this time, but I hope some of you will do this tag! 😉
Hello, bloggers and other visitors! I recently noticed a hashtag on Instagram called Classics Thursday, and it gave me the idea to start a similar “meme” here on the blog. I’ve seen it on @katha_logisch and I’m not sure who the actual creator is, but I hope they don’t mind my idea of writing posts to accompany the Instagram photo. I’ve actually been thinking about making my blog and my Instagram more connected, so this is one way to do that, too. Anyway, the plan is to write a post about a classic on Thursdays (probably not every Thursday, but as often as I can manage).
My first Classic Spotlight post will be about one of my favourite classics, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë. Well, actually, it won’t be about the book, but the author’s Preface, which is a very important piece of feminist writing. In the preface, Anne Brontë responds to those who found her book too scandalous (and, sadly, her sister Charlotte was one of them). Some found it especially concerning that the author of such a book is female.
In the novel, Brontë writes about alcoholism, and the suffering of a woman whose husband is an alcoholic. The main character, Helen Huntington, leaves her husband to protect her son from his father’s influence, aware of the gossip and scandal her decision might cause.
What’s interesting to me is that Helen never actually divorces her husband – she even comes back to take care of him as he is dying. She is also extremely pious. Nothing Helen does is truly scandalous. Today, no one would find the novel too graphic either. And yet, that was how it was perceived. This opens some questions about censorhip and the many books that get banned even today for similar reasons.
This is what Anne Brontë writes in defence of her novel:
“…when we have to do with vice and vicious characters, I maintain it is better to depict them as they really are than as they would wish to appear. To represent a bad thing in its least offensive light is, doubtless, the most agreeable course for a writer of fiction to pursue; but is it the most honest, or the safest? Is it better to reveal the snares and pitfalls of life to the young and thoughtless traveller, or to cover them with branches and flowers? Oh, reader! if there were less of this delicate concealment of facts – this whispering, ‘Peace, peace,’ when their is no peace, there would be less of sin and misery to the young of both sexes who are left to wring their bitter knowledge from experience.”
I have to agree with Anne Brontë completely. Life can be gruesome and horrible, and literature should be allowed to present it as it is. I know some people are sensitive to graphic imagery, and that is fine, they should be warned about it so that they can avoid the books which disturb them. However, this doesn’t mean that such books should be banned. Literature, and art in general, has the right to question and to provoke. Anne Brontë’s words are a voice against censorship. She also writes about equility, and says:
All novels are, or should be, written for both men and women to read, and I am at a loss to conceive how a man should permit himself to write anything that would be really disgraceful to a woman, or why a woman should be censured for writing anything that would be proper and becoming for a man.
Quite opiniated and maybe not as meek as she was usually protrayed to be, eh? You can read the entire preface by Anne Brontë HERE, it is great, and short.
Company of Liars is, for now, exactly what I wanted it to be. Yes, I haven’t gotten far enough into it to give final judgement, but what I can say is that it portrays the Middle Ages very well. I just finished Ian Mortimer’s The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England so I’ve brushed up on my knowledge of the Medieval Period. I’ve always been fascinated by this era, and if you are, too, than I highly recommend Ian Mortimer’s book. It’s about how people actually lived during the fourteenth century, which is something that has always interested me.
Now, back to Company of Liars. A lot of things mentioned in The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England come to life in this novel. It takes place in England, in 1348, at that start of one of the plague outbreaks. Similar to some famous medieval works, such as TheCanterbury Tales and The Decameron, it follows a group of people who try to escape the disease. And while the book is quite realistic and historically accurate (at least it seems so to me, but I’m just an enthusiast, not an expert), it also has elements of fantasy and the supernatural. This works really well because belief in the supernatural was very strong during the Middle Ages. And it makes the novel feel eerie, which I really like.
Hope may be an illusion, but it’s what keeps you from jumping in a river or swallowing hemlock. Hope is a beautiful lie and it requires talent to create it for others. And back then on that day when they say it all began, I truly believed that the creation of hope was the greatest of all the arts, the noblest of all the lies. I was wrong.
This quote I chose to share with you is from the very beginning of the novel. The man who says it sells relics which he knows are fake, but still, he believes they provide hope and comfort for people who buy them. I think it’s a very interesting thought. Is false hope completely bad, or can it do some good? I’m quite a sceptic, so false hope rarely works for me, but it might help some people in a way that it gives them power to move on and maybe even find a solution to their problems.
What do you think? Feel free to chat with me. Also, have you read this book? What did you think of it?
Bromance = platonic relationship between two characters who identify as male.
Oh, my, this topic is great! Now, I know I haven’t posted in a while, and I’m sorry. I will try to post more often from now on, but I needed a little break for some not that interesting reasons. So, I’ll just skip this introduction and get right to my list of favourite bromances, because this is where the fun starts! 😉
1. Spider-man and Deadpool
I’ll just start with my (probably) all-time favourite pair. Spidey would be angry with me for this, because he refuses to call Deadpool his friend, but he’s wrong and we all know it. Deadpool admires Spider-man, but that doesn’t stop him from doing stupid things. And, while I expected more from the comics that deal with their relationship, they are still my favourite bros. With a hint of romance, to be completely honest. 😛
2. Jezal dan Luthar and Logen Ninefingers (The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie)
(This may be a mild spoiler, since this friendship develops slowly, but I try not to give many details.) When you first meet these two, you’d never say that they might become friends. Logen is a warrior from the North, a strong, feared man who wants to become a better person. Jezal is initially a handsome, but vain knight. This quote describes him well:
He wiped his face, and then—his favourite part of the day—gazed at himself in the looking glass.
And yet, they learn to recpect one another. It is interesting how Logen, a man who is tormented by all he did in the past, actually helped Jezal become a better person. At the time Logen was feeling particularly bad about himself, he asks Jezal if he’s an evil man to which Jezal replies “you’re the best man I know”. Neither of them are truly good, and they cannot fight all of their flaws, but the respect they have for one another in the end is wonderful to read about.
3. Hamlet and Horatio
It can be argued that Hamlet is actually insane, but I’ll leave that for another time. XD What is obvious from the play, though, is that the only person Hamlet can truly trust is Horatio. He helps Hamlet the best that he knows, and remains loyal to the end. After Hamlet (and everybody else) is dead, it’s Horatio’s role to tell the story of what had happened to the world.
Does this one even need an explanation? Sam is the best friend one can hope for. Frodo would be lost without him. Anotther great friendship from LOTR is the one between Legolas and Gimli, but Sam and Frodo are my pick for this list.
5. James Potter, Remus Lupin and Sirius Black
There are so many sweet friendships in the Harry Potter series. Ron and Harry are definitely the first that come to mind. And there are also Newt Scamander and Jacob Kowalski from Fantastic Beasts, the newest addition to the magical world. And, yet, I just had to put there three on the list. From what we learn about them, it is obvious that they were extremely close. They even learned to turn themselves into animals in order to help their werewolf friend.
Bonus, my favourite friendship from a tv show: Captain Flint and John Silver (Black Sails)
Black Sails is my favourite show, and Flint and Silver are just a small part of what makes the show so great – but an important part. Eventually, everything leads to these two. Their dynamic kept me at the edge of my seat (a polite way of saying I was emotionally unstable while watching it.) I want to say so much more, but I also want to persuade the people who haven’t seen the show to watch it, so I don’t want to say too much. Just watch the show, you’ll understand!
I wasn’t actually tagged to do this, but I saw it on @acourtofbookandlove and I realised I really wanted to do it. The tag combines books and music, and it’s always nice to talk about other things you like, apart from books. So, here it goes:
1. My Jam
A song you MUST listen to every time it comes on, no matter how old or how many times you’ve listened to it. + A book you’ll never get sick of.
My songs rarely come on. XD But sometimes, Youtube suggests something I’ve listened to many times before, and if that video is Deception by The Cruxshadows I always click on it. Or if it’s Sleepwalking. Oh, I love this song! Well, I love The Cruxshadows in general, so when I see them in recommended videos, I just click. XD
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley if my favourite book, so, of course, I’ll have to choose that one. How could I ever get sick of it if I adore it?
A song that reminds you of the cringiest time of your life. + A book that also reminds you of this time (or just something you wouldn’t like as much if you picked it up for the first time now).
Oh, my “emo” phase in high school… I have nothing against emos, definitely not, but I was really silly in that period of my life, and not really emo. I was always a goodie-two-shoes, and that’s fine, but I stressed about stupid things and people who didn’t really deserve it. Anyway, my emo side reached its bottom with Lover I Don’t Have to Love by Bright Eyes, and I don’t even know why I felt such a connection to that song since it was far away from everything I actually was. (I never even drank and the song is about drugs and sex.) So, to my teenage readers: your problems are going to pass, just as this cringy phase of my life. Trust me and don’t lose hope! People who make you hate yourself will be forgotten.
The book perfect for this question is Twilight. I was almost as pathetic as Bella, so I sympathised with her. I really should’ve read about someone stronger than her, but hey, then I wouldn’t be able to feel so sorry about myself all the time. XD
A recent song you have on repeat right now + A recent favorite book
I don’t listen to many “recent” songs, but Korn released a new single Black is the Soul this summer and I really like it. When I first heard of this song I spent the day repeating the video on Youtube many times in a row.
My recent favourite book is Bright Air Black by David Vann. Such a great book! I actually wrote a post about it while I was still reading it.
4. Gets Me
The song IS ME + The book is me in book form
I don’t know exactly why, but White Flag by The Romanovs is really “my song”. There’s just something very mysterious and poetic about it. It even gave me inspiration to write. It’s probably my favourite song ever.
I already mentioned that Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is my favourite book. It just has everything I like. And yet, I feel like (the first three books of)Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice might be me in book form. It started my love for vampires, and my enthusiasm for everything creepy and Gothic. Maybe I wouldn’t have liked Frankenstein as much if I haven’t had my vampire phase before reading it. (It wasn’t a phase, though. I’ll always love vampires.)
Weird but I like it?
+ A unique book that stuck out to you for whatever reason
Anything by Emilie Autumn is a bit weird, and she’s my favourite musician so I have to mention her. If I had to go for just one weird song by her, I’d chose Time for Tea. It’s very murderous. 😉
When it comes to books, I really like medieval sagas, which may be strange to some people. My favourite is The Song of the Nibelungs. Together with Norse sagas and mythology, this book inspired Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.
6. Let’s Go
Best pump up song (for workouts or just life)
+ A book that inspired you
I don’t really work out. I do yoga almost every day, but I do that in silence, and I rarely feel full of energy (low blood pressure and iron deficiency does that to a person XD) but I’d say Queen really picks me up. Show Must go On, I Want to Break Free, Bohemian Rhapsody… All of them!
So many book have inspired me… It’s so hard to chose one. Daphne du Murier is definitely a great writer and I wish I could write as she does, so I’ll choose Rebecca for this question.
Fav chill, relaxing song
+ A book you’d curl up with and read on a rainy day
I don’t really listen to relaxing music. I’m all gloom and doom. XD The Romanovs are the closest to that, I guess, but they are also quite dark when it comes to lyrics. But sad can be relaxing, too, I guess? So, I’ll say Sad Theme For a Marriage by Lacrimas Profundere. Christopher’s voice is so deep and wonderful, it’s really relaxing.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë sounds perfect for a rainy day!
Guilty pleasure song – one that’s catchy and addicting but not a whole lot of substance
+ Guilty pleasure/trashy/fast/light read
For a strange reason, I really like Mika. He’s so happy, and I never listen to happy songs, but he’s the exception to the rule. So I have to choose Grace Kelly by Mika as my guilty pleasure song, though I think his songs do have substance.
I rarely read light, fast books. They kind of annoy me. XD But I’d say Soulless by Gail Carriger falls into this category. It’s witty, but also quite silly…
Throwback you look back on fondly
+ A book you read forever ago that you look back on fondly or reminds you of a happy childhood time
Anything by Evanescence, if I had to choose one song it would be Bring Me to Life since it’s the first song I’ve heard by them. Besides Marilyn Manson and Korn, Evanescence opened the door for me to all the music I listen to now. And while I still listen to Manson and Korn, I don’t listen to Evanescence as often, so it really feels nostalgic when I do.
And when it comes to childhood books, I’ll actually have to go with a graphic novel. W.I.T.C.H. was everything to me when I was about thirteen. I loved it so much!
And that’s it! Hope this was fun for you as it was for me. 🙂
What kind of music do you listen to? Who are your favourites bands and artists? Feel free to share, or you can do this tag if you think it would be fun for you. 🙂
The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to those who are creative, positive and inspiring, while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.
How Does It Work:
Thank the person(s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog
Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you
Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions
List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or on your blog
My Answers to Lana’s Questions:
1. Is there something you can tell readers about yourself and your blog?
Well, my name is Irena and I’m a tea-drinking, almond-eating bookworm and the mother of chinchillas. (Two chinchilla girls, Seffi and Kira.) And my blog is mostly about books. I still don’t know exactly what I’m doing here, but I like to talk about books so I do that. XD
2. What satisfaction do you get from blogging?
As I said, I like to talk about books. It’ really fun for me to write the posts for the blog. It’s also great when I get some book recommendations from other bloggers.
3. How do you bring traffic to your blog?
I don’t. XD I really don’t try to bring traffic at all. I just write my posts and hope people will read them.
4. What’s something that you’d like to improve on this year?
I would probably like to write more regularly and have some kind of a schedule…
5. How do you get motivated to blog?
I am usually motivated, the only problem is to find time for writing posts. My motivation is usually low when I’m very busy. I write less often then, but still manage to keep up.
6. Do you have any favorite books this year?
Yes! Bright Air Black by David Vann, and Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier, which I finished a few days ago, are amazing books! I also finished Marie Brennan’s series Memoirs of Lady Trent which I really liked.
7. Are there any songs you’re into right now, or music artists?
Well, of course, though I rarely listen to new music. My tastes haven’t changed in years. XD I like Korn’s new single Black is the Soul and another song they haven’t released a video for The Hating. These songs also made me want to listen to some of their older songs as well.
8. What do you like to do with your spare time?
I read (well, who would’ve guessed that XD), watch my chinchillas eat (it’s so cute!), and since it’s summer I like to go swimming in the sea (I hate crowded beaches, though, so I just stay in the sea for as long as I can, and then go home XD). I also like to make almond butter, and eat it afterwards, of course. And I like to spend time with those few people I love. 🙂
9. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Oh, no, don’t ask me that! I have some idea, but who knows.
10. If you could choose ONLY 5 subjects to read on other blogs, what would they be? (Books, music, film, health, etc.)
Books, mythology, healthy food and recipes, film, and history. I just recently spent the entire afternoon reading about medieval fashin on the internet. XD
11. Do you make money from your blog? If not, do you have plans to try in the future?
I wish! XD But no, mine is just a small blog.
1. What is your favourite period in history (the one you find most interesting)?
2. If you could be a fictional character for a day, who would you be and why?
3. What is your favourite TV show at the moment?
4. What is the best book you’ve read so far in 2017? (Or at least one of the best, I know it can be hard to choose.)
5. Do you have a favourite toy, from childhood or now? (Yes, I still buy toys for myself.)
6. Who are some of your favourite villains?
7. What is the favourite place you’ve visited?
8. What is your favourite snack?
9. If you had to choose, would you rather become a vampire or a werewolf?
10. Pirates or ninjas? 😛
11. Share a quote you really like!
This is a great topic! I’ll just start showing some lovely covers, straight away! 🙂
1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone illustrated by M. Kay
Well, we’ll just get this out of the way because, of course, I need to have a Hogwarts related book cover on this list. Everyone wants to live there. I (still) don’t own any of these editions, but I think they’re gorgeous! This is the entire illustration. Just look at this!
2. The Wordsworth Classics Edition of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
It just looks so peaceful. And such a gorgeous view! Also, I really wish I could paint, but I’m very bad at it. Maybe I could learn?
3. The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
How pretty is this, ha? Barcelona, here I come!
4. These editions of the first two Vampire Chronicles books
This is how I would live if I ever became a vampire. (There’s still time, I might.) I mean, what’s the point of being a vampire if you don’t live in a big creepy house, right?
5. My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier
So, I get a gorgeous mansion with this one? Ok, I’m gone, bye!
I’m really happy with my book choices lately. Juliet Marillier’s Daughter of the Forest is amazing so far, and I believe it will be amazing ’till the very end.
This novel is a retelling of the fairy tale “The Seven Swans”, but it’s also so much more than that. It’s a story about six brothers and a sister, Sorcha, who will in the end have to save all of them. I believe this sentence from the Goodreads description portrays it perfectly:
Daughter of the Forest takes the reader to an Ireland on the edge where history and fairy tale meet.
The book has fantastical elements, but the magic feels so realistic that you almost don’t percieve it as something foreign or made up. It is also deeply rooted in Celtic folklore, and it speaks about the history of Ireland and Britain, where different nations lived, fought, and coexisted. At times it felt like reading historical fiction.
One thing I’ve noticed, which may not be that important to everyone, but is very important to me, is the way this book deals with animals and nature. Respect which the characters show towards nature is very true to Celtic beliefs (I’m not an expert on this, but I’ve read about it quite a lot). It is stressed many time just how important nature is, and I think this is something we should hear more often. The villain of the story shows her true nature by doing bad things not only to people, but also to the plants. Animals are treated with respect. One of the brothers saves a dog, loyal Linn who appears all the time in the book (at least for now). Another brother saves a wounded owl, and cries as he lets her fly free. Sorcha doesn’t even eat animals, and I was so happy to read that, since it is not that common to have vegetarian characters.
I had not eaten flesh or fish since I was a small child, for I had always felt a closeness with other creatures that made my senses revolt at the very idea.
Then, there’s also her reason for not wearing shoes:
“I need no shoes, Father,” I said, hardly thinking. “My feet are tough, look,” and I raised one narrow, grubby foot to show him. “No need for some creature to die so I can be shod.”
I was so excited to read this, as I, too, don’t wear leather at all. And then, this book is also against war, and it makes it clear that people shouldn’t be judged by their nationality. So many good messages! This is what one of the brothers, Finbar, says to Sorcha:
“But there are two sides to every fight. It starts from something small, a chance remark, a gesture made lightly. It grows from there. Both sides can be unjust. Both can be cruel.”
Sorcha is kind and loving, but she’s also smart and she always speaks her mind. She knows how to make potions and is a very good healer. It is clear that she is proud of who she is, and that she doesn’t want to change for anyone.
“Why should I be polished and improved like goods for sale? I might not even want to marry! And besides, I have many skills, I can read and write and play the flute and harp. Why should I change to please some man? If he doesn’t like me the way I am, then he can get some other girl for his wife.”
Of course, good messeages don’t necessarily make a good book, but this book IS good. It is interesting, thought not too fast-paced. It gives you time to get to know the characters, without being too descriptive or slow. I really hope it’ll stay this good until it’s finished.
Have you read Daughter of the Forest? Do you want to? Feel free to let me know. 🙂