Wednesday, February 24, 2016


You do not need to be a bed-pot maker to be a good magician


Anyone who knows about fan-literature may be reluctant to get into a novel that is so close to the most than famous Harry Potter line. I will not get into all the similarities because that would be unfair and anyway vain, and I would even say the vain vanity of someone who wants to impress the people in front of him or her with know-it-all expertise. Let’s pray I do not fall the prey of such a vain vein of inspiration.

I must insist on the originalities, and they are many.

Poor Avis Blackthorn is surely brought up in a hostile environment but it is not some kind of distant fat uncle and his despicable family, especially son, somewhere in London suburbs, but it is Avis’s own family, his father, his mother and his six brothers and sisters, which makes him the seventh son and that is a curse in this world of seven Magical realms. Seven is the most magic word you can imagine. Seventh sons escape evil, are protected against evil and black magic. Good for young 12 year old Avis, but it is a lie in a way since he is the seventh child but only the fourth son since he has three sisters. But hush it up, this is a secret you mustn’t tell.

He goes to a school for wizard that is of course somewhere in a very wild and isolated place you can only reach by train and you have to take a train from a station that does not look like a station and is hidden behind some plain house door in a plain ordinary street. But it is very original because it is a standard train with plenty of passengers who are simple people – and some are pickpockets – going to any station before the station of the school. And since some people from “outside” meaning the non magic world are coming to the school on that train, the train must start running in this very outside. Though be careful and do not pester the conductor, he is a magical monster of some sort.

Then the story is all normal and standard for a school for wizards. Nothing surprising, really, coats of armors, ghosts (who are the slaves of the whole school), all kinds of traps and tricks, and some strange sport but no brooms or broomsticks and no w ands, just channellers. And of course charms, curses, spells and other magic formulas.

But the main difference is in the main character himself, Avis. He is the seventh child of a family that is famous for their evilness. They work for the most horrible and nasty evil creature, in fact wizard, Malakai, and their job is to dominate, exploit, blackmail or eliminate all the wizards in the seven magic realms. The whole plot is built around a magic book of secret names that contains the secret names of all wizards and the person who controls the book can control all the wizards whose names are in that book. The point is that the secret names of seventh sons are not in this book, but is it true of seventh children, and so they escape the control of any evil person who uses this book as his possession, hence of Malakai.

The question is: Does a seventh child who is a fourth son benefit from this privilege just like a real seventh son? Does Avis benefit from this privilege?

The next main difference is that Avis is extremely bad – though not evil at all – and he is hated by everyone because of his name but he is not able to frighten everyone or even anyone because he is awkward, shy, unskilled, frightened, in one word a loser. When he tries it ends up as a catastrophe and he has to run away, be isolated, live in a clandestine place in the school with only one friend, a ghost and it will take him a tremendous amount of time to find out who this ghost was.

And that’s the secret of the book: to bring together tidbits of mystery to rebuild some kind of dramatic plot in which Avis is drowning. In other words it is well done and different enough from the pot-making teenager to be more than interesting, in fact fascinating in many ways. Don’t try to skip a page or a paragraph: you will lose the logic of the story. The style is dense and does not like beating about the magic bush too much, though it beats about the magic food a lot. The story telling is bow, arrow, target and shoot, over and over again, even if these bows and arrows are magic spells, most of the time fiery and colorful.

On the next part, second year Avis in the school will have to be very creative to go on differentiating himself from the earthenware bed-pot maker especially since Ms. J.K. Rowling has decided to bring her earthen pot maker back in the bookstores – and on the stage – with this time the son of this more than famous Harry Potter, hence a teacup maker. I hope too these characters could become slightly more modern – and this is true for Harry Potter too – and start having computers, smart phones, tablets, iPods and all other modern technology which is magic in itself. We do need to enter the world of cyber magic and magic hacking. After all CSI has become CSI Cyber. So let the new world enter our magic literature, like Lestat de Lioncourt has brought rock and roll into the landscape of vampires.


Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?