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From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes" <ddanehy@siebel.com>
Subject: (urth) Castleview Haloo
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2001 12:47:34 

Speccahtickled Bear done wrote:

> At 10:55 2001-01-04 -0800, Dan'l Danehy-Oakes wrote:
> >Okay... Having now reread CASTLEVIEW under somewhat better
> >circumstances (i.e., at home, not lacking massive quantities
> >of sleep, etc.), I'm still puzzled by the puzzlement. 
> ...
> >So what's the problem here?

> Does that mean you can answer all, many, or even some of the
> long list of questions I posted a few weeks ago?

The short answer is "no." Unfortunately, you left out my very 
important caveat. 

I wrote:
> > The only major puzzles I think left by the book's ending are
> > whether certain characters are mortal or fay.

I suspect that if we could decide clearly who was and who was not 
Fay, the rest would fall into place -- at least, as much as you 
can expect things to do with Faerie to fall into place. 

Many of your questions either fall into that category or would most 
likely be answered as a side effect of answering one or more 
questions in the category. I guess I'm just comfortable with the 
uncertainties the book leaves -- I don't see them as puzzles so 
much as a direct result of the slippery nature of Faerie.

The answer to the big question ("what's going on here?") seems to 
be: "Two factions of faerie-folk are fighting over something. At 
least a part of the subject of the fight is Morgan's wish to bring 
her brother (who is [in some sense] Shields) back to dwell in her 
castle." (Morgan's brother is, traditionally, Arthur; nobody ever 
seems to notice that if Morgan is fay, Arthur ought to be also.)

One can ask the subsidiary question as to which faction a given 
faerie belongs to, but the question disintegrates: faeries are, 
by nature (or at least by tradition), treacherous; I suspect that 
they change sides much as they change clothes, and perhaps more 

Given all that, I'll attack at least some of those questions...

> Is Shields really killed? 

Flip answer -- "Yes, but he got better."

Serious answer: Define "killed" so as to give the question 
meaning. In particular, define it as it pertains to a native 
of Faerie -- which Shields, in some sense, is. For that 
matter, define the word "really" (or "real") in that context...

> But what about the rest of the details? Who is Liam Fee,
> and why does he want to buy the house? 

I have no trouble saying, "Yeah, _he's_ fay." The questions then 
become: "Which side is Liam Fee on when he wants to buy the house?
And why does he want to?"

I suspect that he doesn't actually want to buy the house --
I think that's a sort of reverse-Maguffin, something which
has no real importance at all, but which a character (Liam
Fee) uses to prod others into behaving the way he wants.

> Is he really an alien or monster, as he appears to be when
> Hwan Lee stuns him?

I think this is another question that needs to be taken into a 
different context -- again, the word "really" is perhaps not 
meaningful here. I mean: where do you get the idea that a faerie 
_has_ a single, "real" form? We do not see the fair folk; we see 
what they want us to see. 

I don't know whether he's _an_ alien or _a_ monster, but he's 
certainly alien and monstrous.

> Are Jose Balanco and Hwan (which sounds a lot like "Juan")
> Lee the equivalent of Balin and Balan? There's the names
> and the killing of a brother.

I would say that, yes, there is a definite and deliberate resonance 
there. (Which  raises the most interesting question of who reflects 
the Fisher-king role in this particular resonance-pattern ...)

> Who is Lucie? Why is she pretending to be French, or if
> she really is French, why does she sound American for a
> while to Sally? 

Another faerie, I'm pretty sure. I'm not clear at this point which 
side she's on at any given moment. 

> Do we agree that she appears and disappears a lot, and doesn't 
> show up in mirrors? 


> She's afraid of water too, like a cat, and her name, Carabas, 
> is from Puss in Boots. I can't buy Robert Borski's theory 
> that she is the same as G. Gordon Kitty, though!

I'm inclined to agree - though come to think of it, I don't recall 
that we ever see them together 8*)

> G. Gordon Kitty is great fun, and one of the most
> explicable figures. I take him to be just what he seems,
> Judy's cat transformed by the magic of the fairy realm.

This is hardly a "just what he seems" kind of answer! I came away
with the idea that this is as much his "real" form as the one he 
shows at home: nothing certain, but suggestive enough to entertain 
the idea that he's a Faerie-cat that Judy has (unknowingly[? but 
who knows what, in her so-imaginative heart, Judy really knows?]) 
taken in.

> What's all the business with the organ playing in the museum?

Cool effects? 

Sorry, flip again. Try it this way:, who took (blanking on his 
name) from the museum and why, and why'd they let him go -- 
especially out near-or-at the camp? 

Is he fay? (And on which side?) I'm not sure. But clearly at least 
some of the characters who want us (or who want the residents of the 
town, or whom Wolfe wants us) to think they're mortal aren't, and 
he's not a bad candidate.

> There are hints in it of trolls, which tells us who took the
> diary, but why? Why play the music?

This is a "damifino" question. I forgot about it completely.

> Viviane Morgan appears to be Vivian *and* Morgan le Fay.
> How does she manage to be both?

-- and the Lady of the Lake, who is not _always_ the same 
person as Viviane. I gather that "identity" is not the same 
thing to faeries as it is to us -- you may be me tomorrow?

> Does Sally really take up with von Madadh at the end?

It kind of looks that way. I wouldn't want to stake money on 
it, though; the story ends with no real sense of what is going 
to happen afterwards.

> How does Mercedes feel about that, if he killed her father?

Did he? Are you sure? More important: Is Mercedes sure? Do we
see Mercedes seeing what Mercedes sees? What does she see and

> Von Madadh is King of Hounds or Wolves, and he's the dog
> that Sally thinks is Rexy. But what's he doing? Is he just
> there to lure everyone to the Castle?

I suspect he's someone who's on neither side. I'm pretty darned 
sure that he has to do with the Wild Hunt. (H'mmm. Does the horned 
king show up again after Von Madadh appears...? Is Von Madadh... 
Ah, never mind...)

> Is all the trouble at Meadow Grass to do with the attempts
> to kill Wrangler? It all seems rather indirect if so. If
> not, what is it about?

Lucie, at least. And Shields, once he shows up there.

> What is Sally doing in the wagon with the wild horsemen?

See above re: Von Madadh.


*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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