S4L Book Club – The Graveyard Book

Jen brought up an interesting question earlier – she questioned why we, the readers, are asked to accept some characters are good and some are bad with no supporting motives. And I wondered if that was an artifact of the book’s genre. In fantasy, does the reader take a few more leaps of faith? Does this help or hurt the story? Do the genre elements add or detract from the story for readers coming from outside the genre? For instance, I picked up very quickly on the fact that Silas was a vampire and Mrs. Lepescu was a werewolf, but Jen did not (sorry, Jen). There is also the skills of Fading and the like that Bod can learn as part of his freedom of the graveyard.

Categories: Reading

3 replies »

  1. lol. No worries. I freely admit I didn’t make the vampire/werewolf connection.

    All fantasy requires some leap of faith, but if some of it can be supported, why not all of it? I was wondering if it was simply a case of keeping the story simple for a younger age group, but I’m not sure I’m willing to forgive that, either. Would it really have take a long time to explain why the Jacks were bad, and why they were destined to be killed off by Bod?

    Here’s something else that bothered me: What was the purpose of having Silas keep the story of the Jacks from Bod? Why didn’t Silas inform and prepare Bod? I have a hard time believing that a child’s caretaker would deliberately and without reason keep a child ignorant and put him at risk rather than prepare him to deal with trouble.

    For the climax, Silas and Lupescu left Bod unprotected and completely unprepared. How dumb is that? That’s like the horror story that has a girl going out alone in the dark to investigate a creepy sound. Why were they both gone? What were they doing? Why didn’t they arrange for Bod’s protection?

    And why don’t you readers care?! 🙂

  2. Hrm, I figured out the characters at least I know I figured out Ms. Lupescu was a werewolf very quickly and I think it took a few chapters before I realized Silas was a vampire on the first reading.

    I just accepted the Jacks as bad when I read it and didn’t really worry myself about why.

    I’ll have to reread that part of the book on why they were both gone. I think because of the prophecy if they interfered it wouldn’t have gone correctly. Perhaps they could have prepared him more. I think the idea of not telling him was to spare him early for not knowing that his family was killed and he wouldn’t go out and seek revenge too early.

    A lot of prophecy related books have the hero in the dark because otherwise they would be influenced by others and not what they would do if they were free to think for themselves. I’ve read some of another series for children called Gregor the Overlander and he helps the people under the city and always solves the problem contrary to what they think it’s going to go.

  3. Yay, Ziggy—so glad you’re joining in!

    I don’t read a lot of fantasy (surprise, surprise), so I can’t say I’ve read a ton of prophecy-related tales, but unless there’s a good reason for keeping a character in the dark, I’m going to feel manipulated. And there are loads of good reasons:

    *the character in the prophecy is unidentified
    *the prophecy isn’t discovered until later
    *there’s pressure on the person who knows the truth to not disclose it
    *on and on and on

    There definitely seem to be standards in the fantasy field that fantasy fans are willing to uphold and I am not.

    I hope you will re-read the section where Silas and Lupescu go away and leave Bod alone, and let us know if there is some reason that we missed. I’m not going to re-read it, and I gleaned no good reason for them both being gone and leaving him completely unprotected and ignorant.