Diana Wynne Jones Month, Day 15: Enchanted Glass! (#dwjmarch)

diana wynne jones month march
Diana Wynne Jones Month, Day 15: Enchanted Glass! (#dwjmarch)Enchanted Glass by Diana Wynne Jones
Published: Greenwillow Books (2010), Hardcover, 304pg
Source: Bought
Genres: Contemporary Fantasy, Fantasy, Fiction

Aidan Cain has had the worst week of his life. His gran died, he was sent to a foster home, and now malicious beings are stalking him. There is one person Gran told Aidan to go to if he ever got into trouble—a powerful sorcerer who lives at Melstone House. But when Aidan arrives on the doorstep, he finds that the sorcerer's grandson, Andrew, has inherited the house. The good news is that Aidan can tell immediately that Andrew's brimming with magic, too—and so is everyone else at Melstone. The bad news is that Andrew doesn't remember anything his grandfather taught him. Chaos is swiftly rising, and he has no idea how to control it. A sinister neighbor is stealing power from the land, magic is leaking between realms...and it's only a matter of time before the Stalkers find Aidan. If Aidan and Andrew can harness their own magics, they may be able to help each other. But can they do it before the entire countryside comes apart at the seams? (from Goodreads)

I read Enchanted Glass all in one night, staying up late just to race through the ending, and it was SO. GREAT.

Kristen has discussion questions! Here they are, with my answers (and spoilers):

1. What do you think of the relationship between Aidan and Andrew? Do you see it as more of a father/son relationship or older/younger brother or not familial at all? What do you think of the fact that they “see” magic in the same way? Did that give anything away?
I loved the relationship between Aidan and Andrew! It was completely adorable. At first, I had an inkling that maybe Aidan was Andrew’s fairy counterpart– especially because they acted so similarly. I was wrong, of course, but I still thought that they might be related somehow, even if only magically and not genetically. Don’t you think that Aidan is Andrew’s apprentice? The next in line to look after the field? Though of course Andrew learns just as much from Aidan as Aidan learns from Andrew.

2. What are your thoughts on DWJ including a disabled character (Tarquin)? What do you think of the treatment of his disability/injury?
I loved Tarquin! He’s kind and funny and knowledgable and he’s a good father, which is somewhat rare in a DWJ book. I don’t think he did ANYTHING even a little hinky. Yay good parents!

Like Kristen, I also liked that DWJ didn’t just wave a magic wand and make him/his leg completely fine again. It was a process, a slightly unstable one, and it felt much more satisfying than if it’d just been 100% fine immediately.

3. What’s the deal with Mrs. Stock? (Did anyone else want Groil to accidentally step on her?)
What IS the deal with Mrs. Stock? She’s one of the most unpleasant DWJ characters I’ve read about, even though she doesn’t do anything all THAT bad except grumble and make lots of calliflower cheese. Maybe because she takes up so much room in the narrative she seems more in-your-face? Mr. Stock wasn’t all that great, either, with his huge vegetables and trying to smash the colored window all the time.

I can undertsand Andrew not wanting to fire them, though, as it’d be impossible to find replacements. Plus it seems they bothered me, the reader, much more than they did Andrew or Aidan or Stache.

Sidenote: Stache is the worst name ever. Makes me think of mustashe. Is Eustacia SUCH a terrible name? idk, maybe Stache sounds better with a British accent.

4. Why do you think some counterpart pairs are opposites in personality (Titania/Stashe) while others are both “good” (Shaun/Groil)?
All the counterparts are opposites in some way– which is why I eventually decided that Aidan wasn’t Andrew’s counterpart, as they’re basically the same person a few decades apart. I don’t think it was so much good/bad as it was differences in personality (and intelligence). Titania has a forceful personality, but she could have been nice if she wasn’t so, uh, mean. Likewise, Groil is kind and friendly like Shaun, but it was mentioned multiple times that he’s got more intelligence and that’s how you know he’s a counterpart.

5. What did you think of the ending? Too rushed or just right?
The final battle was great! It reminded me of the end of Charmed Life when Chrestomanci and co. blew the baddies away. Fun and not so violent and ultimately very satisfying.

So, the ending was practically perfect! Except for the VERY end, with Oberon’s letter. That was not good. First, it was totally gross re:Aidan’s mother and Andrew’s grandfather. What sort of person says “yes, I will help your daughter because you’re a friend and such” and then SLEEPS WITH THAT DAUGHTER ew ew ew.

Secondly, what was the point of the entire book if all Oberon had to do was look at Aidan to know if he was his son or not? Nobody knew for sure if he was Oberon’s son or not, really? He has a magic wallet, big whoop. I thought for sure there was more to it than that.

And even THEN he could be lying just to mess with Andrew/Aidan/etc. All in all, it was just a very strange place to end the book.

4 thoughts on “Diana Wynne Jones Month, Day 15: Enchanted Glass! (#dwjmarch)”

  1. Ooh, I didn’t think about the Aidan/Andrew counterpart possibility. That would have been interesting! I wonder if Aidan will be the heir. I’m guessing that Andrew and Stashe will have kids? And shouldn’t Aidan have inherited his grandma’s field of care? That was never mentioned, was it? I wonder what happened to it.
    And Mr. Stock trying to smash the window in the door drove me CRAZY! But I think you’re right about Mrs. Stock. She’s just always there, moving the piano, making bad food, hiding things and complaining.
    Re your point about the name Stashe, I never thought about how it might not sound so bad with a British accent. Interesting!
    I don’t think Oberon was lying. He seems so arrogant that I don’t think he would bother to try tricking people. He would trust that he could just take care of things later when he found a way back into power. But then, yes, it makes grandpa so much worse — that he didn’t correct grandma’s assumptions, didn’t confess to being the father, etc. At least he set aside money for Aidan but still without a confession. So I guess he goes in the bad parent category?

    Thanks for joining me on reading this one!

  2. Gosh my memory of this book is flawed. I have to reread it — though not this instant; at this instant I’m yearning for The Dark Lord of Derkholm. I mainly remember them putting out enormous turnips or something for the giant to eat, and Stashe telling fortunes by the horse races in the paper.

    1. The horse race fortunes was so neat! It reminded me a little of something that’d be in a Chrestomanci book, actually, or maybe a Magid book. +1 bonus points for Enchanted Glass!

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