[BOOKS] ✭ The Dark is Rising By Susan Cooper – Dolove.info

The Dark is Rising When the Dark comes rising, six shall turn it back Three from the circle, three from the track Wood, bronze, iron water, fire, stone Five will return, and one go alone Iron for the birthday, bronze carried long Wood from the burning, stone out of song Fire in the candle ring, water from the thaw Six Signs the circle, and the grail gone before Fire on the mountain shall find the harp of goldPlayed to wake the Sleepers, oldest of the old Power from the green witch, lost beneath the sea All shall find the light at last, silver on the tree As a child I developed my love of fantasy and superheroics I suppose that what appeals to a child about a fantasy novel is the sense of mystery, adventure and the fact that no one in a fantasy novel need be powerless against the forces of evil let loose in the world Haven t you ever dreamed about being able to use magic to solve the inconvenience of lacking a parking spot or being late to work Isn t one of our greatest fears that sense of powerlessness, the frustration that we cannot control everything I know that some people do not like this series I suppose it is better appreciated when read as a child Reading it again now for the fifth or so time I see the simplicity of the narrative, those few elements that don t quite make sense or seem a little shallow I must admit that the slight dig at how religion isn t relevant in this magical world also irks me in the book But that said this is in the end a novel and when you can see those little things you laugh at them and then ignore them to enjoy the overall story Or at least I do The one thing I ve always appreciated about this series is the story of Dark versus Light, good versus evil, one boy discovering his supernatural powers.The three verse poem written above represents the entire sequence of this series which I prefer to read in the order of book 2, 1, 3, 4, 5 as for me the proper story begins here in the story of Will Stanton, last of the Old Ones On his eleventh birthday, Will discovers that he has a calling to discover six magical signs which will enable the forces of the Light to begin their battle over evil Most of the mythology and fairytale elements of this story are taken from Celtic origins which is a fascinating set of mythology to me But don t ever read this expecting Tolkien or Lewis I still rate them a little higher than this But this is still a classic children s fantasy series and deserves to be read by audiences Interestingly reading it today it still reads like the first time I read it Only I m an even faster reader now than I was then Perhaps my powers are awakening like Will s I suspect that the books of this sequence are among the most beautiful I ve read I get that feeling especially with this book The tone here has changed already from the Blyton esque kids on a great adventure of the first book, and the character is different accordingly It s almost a bildungsroman, for all that we only see less than a month of an eleven year old boy s life.One of the main things I love about this sequence, particularly from this book on, is the characterisation Where Simon, Jane and Barney were simplistic but also realistic in the first book, Will is now much layered Literally There s a part of him that s a boy, and there s a part of him that s ancient and ageless, and in this book he s got to learn to balance the two, use the two, keep them separate where he can In my opinion, this is beautifully done One minute he s standing with the Lady and Merriman, fighting back the dark the next, boy like, he s making mistakes through over enthusiasm At first he cannot accept that he s not just an ordinary boy, and then he s playing tricks with his new found powers At the end, he acknowledges that sometimes he wishes he could just be an ordinary boy, but not always.It s not just Will, though Despite it being a short book, you catch glimpses of so many characters who are worth thinking about, and yet Susan Cooper never loses focus either The Stanton family are particularly well drawn, in my opinion There s so many of them that you can t get a fully rounded picture of any of them, but you still feel as if maybe you ve been to tea with them a couple of times or I do, anyway I feel like I d like to date Paul, I d want to hit Mary, I d antagonise James, I d It s wonderful how Susan Cooper shows us so many characters and makes us care about them, so briefly and succinctly.The writing, of course, I think is lovely I whisper it aloud to myself There are some beautiful images and scenes the Doors, for example, and the appearance of the ship, the signs I love the way Susan Cooper writes.I ve read reviews where people felt that nothing happened in these books I find that hard to understand there s moments of real brooding menace, real magic, but I think people who are expecting swordfights and high fantasy in that sense are going to be disappointed Ultimately, the sequence concludes that the battle against the Dark is fought in men s hearts That, in some ways, is not a satisfying conclusion yet it s a realistic one, and that s something I like Reread in December 2009 The bit that struck me most this time, somehow, was the dead king who carried the Sign of Water Beautiful. When The Dark Comes Rising, Six Shall Turn It Back, Three From The Circle, Three From The Track Wood, Bronze, Iron Water, Fire, Stone Five Will Return, And One Go Alone With These Mysterious Words, Will Stanton Discovers On His Th Birthday That He Is No Mere Boy He Is The Sign Seeker, Last Of The Immortal Old Ones, Destined To Battle The Powers Of Evil That Trouble The Land His Task Is Monumental He Must Find And Guard The Six Great Signs Of The Light, Which, When Joined, Will Create A Force Strong Enough To Match And Perhaps Overcome That Of The Dark Embarking On This Endeavor Is Dangerous As Well As Deeply Rewarding Will Must Work Within A Continuum Of Time And Space Much Broader Than He Ever Imagined The one of my heart But not entirely a book of childhood Unlike the rest of the series, this one is layered all through young adulthood for me I read it countless times as a wee thing, of course, but it was also my book on a horrible flight home from Oxford after Trinity Term, and what I read the week I retired my first guide dog, and what I read in tiny pieces in the month after I lost my eye Looking at that list is one of those foreheadslap moments where you notice that narrative refrain isn t something that happens only in fiction This book recurs in my life the way Greensleevves recurs in the book This is a book of departing for me, a book of loss Which is not surprising, since that s kind of what it s about.It s true there isn t much of a story here It has this treasure hunt quality to it, where Will shows up somewhere and magic happens and then he gets a prize There s this one part where Will beats back the Dark by being a coat rack Straight up, he stands still and holds up the signs and waits And this is textually celebrated as extraordinary, because the Old Ones have always needed their minds to beat back the Dark, but now they have things I stopped reading there and blinked a lot, because you just don t see formulations like that in fantasy, and it was confusing because I remembered this book as being so much about the mind That s because it s not about the quest It s about Will And it s all about his mind He has this beautiful, sad, double voiced narration One voice is eleven and content with life, and then afraid and delighted by magic in turns And the other is the Old One, the overnight adult who alienates Will from his family and community Coming into power and into symbolic adulthood is a process of endless loss for Will though of course it doesn t really ramp up until Silver on the Tree This is the only book in the series to take place at home all the others are on holiday It has to be at home, because you have to be home to lose home.So of course I read it in times of loss But not in the expected way I loved Will as a child, fiercely and without reserve, like a totem There was something hopeful to this sad, sad book It s like Will reading his book of magic within this book and being granted power through reading that s what I wanted, and a little of what I got That a child could be lifted out of childhood by knowing and by reading , that adulthood would come and take me into a new world, and even if it wasn t always a kind world, I would have power there and it would be mine and I could find my people And hey, look, here you guys are.Anyway There s a whole hell of a lot going on here, with Merriman s bitter lesson through loss, of course that mortal men will break if trusted too well, used too hard And the connected tidbit that I don t really have anything to say about yet, but I want to flag it for myself, because I willneed it later I think that a person must be born to the Light to be of it, but that the Dark is a thing any man can choose.Onward to Greenwitch. The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper is a young adult fantasy novel first published in 1973 The second book in the series of the same name, apparently the first book, Over Sea, Under Stone, was written for a younger audience and provides of a prequel than a beginning point This book tells the tale of Will Stanton, who on his eleventh birthday learns that he is an Old One, a member of a group with magical powers who represent the Light, opposed to the members of the Dark Cooper uses colorful Celtic and Britannic legends and lore to create a world where Will must collect signs of power to be used against the forces of the dark Cooper also uses time travel elements to further compliment this imaginative and well written fantasy.Not bad, but definitely for the younger crowd. Reread I saw the trailer for the upcoming movie and importantly, I saw Darcy s furious reaction to the trailer for the upcoming movie, and I realized that I didn t remember these books well enough to be properly furious myself I read the first two in the series, in the wrong order, when I was much younger, but didn t recall being particularly engaged by them, which was why I never continued I figured that, rereading them as an adult, I d see the error of my ways.Sadly, I didn t I still don t find these books very engaging Over Sea Under Stone is, as even Darcy admits, only so so the setting is great the rambling old Cornish house, the standing stones perched on their cliffs, the sea cave , and at least one of the siblings Barney is spunky and entertaining, yet the treasure hunt plot is oddly slow, and the conclusion completely unsatisfying in my mind They give the grail to a museum and get 100 quid Barney has his Dude Merlin revelation Yawn I thought The Dark Is Rising would be better, but it didn t do much for me, either There s a lot of portentous stuff, but I felt that every scrape Will gets into he gets out of either through the intervention of an adult or thanks to a deus ex machina Meanwhile, the Dark Rider and the Dark in general seemed oddly unthreatening to me, while being an agent of the Light did not seem particularly exciting or pleasurable I never wished I was there with, say, the Narnia books, I wanted SO BADLY to go through a wardrobe or a painting of my own, even if it was dangerous but being an Old One mostly seems dull and chanty to me, to the point that if the position were offered on craigslist, I think I might pass What is wrong with me Because I really do feel, having this reaction, that there must be something wrong with me and not the books so many people and people whose opinions I trust love them Oh well I suppose I didn t like The Lord of the Rings, either. Slightly ahead of the ideal time to read this book which would be veeery slowly, a chapter or two at a time, over the Twelve Days of Christmas I never have the patience for that As usual, I loved The Dark is Rising the quiet moments of enchantment, the beautiful writing, the warmth of the family relationships and the reality of the bickering, protective group of siblings There s adult, complicated stuff as well as simple squabbling among siblings the whole relationship between Merriman and Hawkin is a difficult one, and foreshadows what John Rowlands says about the Light in a later book The morality of the Light is a cold, clear justice.One thing I noticed a lot this time, though, was how Britain centric the sequence is Every so often it ll make a reference to other parts of the world the Jamaican carnival head, the darker skinned Old Ones, etc but it talks about the battle for this land As though the struggle between Light and Dark throughout history is focused on Britain I m not sure that s an attitude that can really fly any, however simple and obvious it may have seemed when the books were originally written I love how rooted the books are in Britain, the landscape and the people and the different histories that intertwine, the Anglo Saxon and the Celtic, the Roman But the focus on Britain as the whole centre of the fight against the Dark seems short sighted.Still, that is the other thing to love the glimpses of mythology surrounding the books Not just the Arthurian mythology, but the mysterious king whose dead hands held the Sign of Water for Will the lore of the smiths the Old Ways Herne the hunter I wish I could read beyond the pages into all that richness.Originally posted here. With The Dark is Rising, Susan Cooper sets the stage for a sweeping fantasy saga about nothing in particular.When Will Stanton, an English lad from an unusually large family, turns twelve, he finds out he is an Old One a being of great and mysterious powers who can hop in and out of human time and space anytime he chooses Occasionally assisted by Merriman Lyon, who was once called Merlin and is now passing himself off as an archaeology professor, Will sets off to assist The Light, who are good, because reasons, in their great struggle against The Dark, who are evil, because reasons Will s quest is to do something and go somewhere, or likely go somewhere else and watch somebody else do something that was important because it was.It does not bode well for this book that I read it only nine months ago and cannot for the life of me remember the plot, let alone the point Maybe because it possesses neither.Cooper dazzles with her strong prose With words that sound like music together, she tricks you into thinking you re reading a good book that has meaning and occasionally even makes sense If you then run off and read the three remaining books in the sequence as fast as you can I did , you might not notice until halfway through Silver on the Tree that this series is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing But sadly, this is the truth of the matter Cooper tries to set up her two sides as absolute good and absolute evil, but her book either doesn t know or doesn t care what those words actually mean There is little distinction between the behaviors of the two sets of characters Both are after power, use violence and deception to achieve their ends, and view ordinary people caught up in their confrontations as collateral damage And the critics compare this series to Narnia and Middle earth, because England and pretty words.This is most manifest in the character of Will He doesn t want any harm to come to his family because of him, but his feelings regarding them are alarmingly detached I don t care if he s really a five thousand year old inter world traveler who is not their blood relative and only got plopped into their family because reasons As far as he knew until literally yesterday, these are his mum and his dad and his siblings we re talking about here He ought to love them, not just care about them in this cool, distant, holier than thou way Not to mention that Will has no discernible interests outside of being an Old One, and doesn t even seem particularly enthused about that He learns everything he needs to know about nearly everything in the universe over the course of a few minutes, and is never inquisitive about anything ever again He is sedate and obedient to an unusual point for anyone He s not close to any of his siblings or either parent He doesn t seem to notice sports, science, action movies, comic books, rock music, or girls In short, he is nothing like any twelve year old boy I ever met, and I doubt anyone else has met one like him either He is bland to the point of being creepy He is so devoid of personality he makes Harry Potter look like Howl Jenkins.And what does being an Old One entail, exactly Saving the world Okay, how By driving away The Dark How does one do that Umby, uh, chanting, I guess And time travelling, to get, uh, artifacts The Things of Power What do the Things of Power do Well, they can block people And when you put them all together, they make a humming noise orsomething Also, be sure to snipe at the good hearted Anglican priest who s just trying to protect his flock Silly man just doesn t understand that God and gods are silly superstition and the Old Ones are the real deal.The anti Christian found in so much of contemporary fantasy does not start with Rowling, or even with Pullman It starts here, in this book It starts with Cooper.I feel awful skewering a Newbery book like this, but I really wonder what the committee was thinking when they selected this one Perhaps they were too bamboozled by Cooper s beautiful prose to notice that there is no character development, no plot, no overarching theme, and no story.The next book in the series is Greenwitch, which is a lot better than this one if only because the Drews remember them from Over Sea, Under Stone are in it.In conclusion, this book and this series are an incoherent mess that have done nothing to merit the title of classic except be around for forty years and that is only because their underlying ideology is compatible with the narcissistic gnosticism of our time Not recommended. Originally read 1979My absolute favorite series as a child One of these days I need to reread it ETA see below A bit like Harry Potter, but darker in tone and of course, Will Stanton predates Harry Potter by decades A shame that Hollywood s treatment of this classic book was so epically bad It should be noted that while technically this is book two in the series, the saga really begins here, with Over Sea, Under Stone being a prequel of sorts.Reread 2013I first read this book when I was ten years old, and though I have held it in my heart as one of my favorite books ever, I only just reread it for the first time in decades.Susan Cooper s The Dark Is Rising features Will Stanton, last of the Old Ones and no, we re not talking about Lovecraft Old Ones On his eleventh birthday, he learns that he is a being of great power who is prophecied to bring the circle to a close, ending a cycle of battles between the Light and the Dark that has been waged for thousands of years Mentoring him in his quest is one of the most ancient and powerful of the Old Ones, a stern yet compassionate old wizard named Merriman.Sound familiar Yes, perhaps this series was why, many, many years later, I took to Harry Potter despite being long out of the target age range for those books.In my opinion, Susan Cooper is an enormously better writer than J.K Rowling Whereas Rowling s worldbuilding is a creatively zany hodge podge of random fairy tales, mythological critters, and pun Latin spells Cooper s is a carefully constructed reinterpretation of English myth There is tons of lore even in the first book, from the obvious Arthurian references to the men out of time cursed to wander the world forever, to the Wild Hunt And on a prose level, Cooper just writes better than Rowling too Her imagery and especially her poetry is far artful.That said, this is ultimately a rather dark and gloomy tale, even if the good guys win there s very little of the fun and light heartedness of Harry Potter, no secondary characters who become best friends Will Stanton s quest is mostly made up of tasks he must perform on his own, and his introduction to magic and the power of the Old Ones is not an entrance into a fantastic world of wizardry, but the realization that he s now an eternal warrior whether he likes it or not, and he s also been forever set apart from his family and everyone else he knows.For a book targeted at young readers, it s pretty heavy stuff There is of course not much direct violence though there is death , and the good guys are always good, the bad guys unambiguously bad Though one character, a traitor who turned to the Dark, is as tragic a figure as Gollum, and far sympathetic But this isn t fun times with wands and owls It s freezing storms blanketing all of England and sinister rooks and as much scary stuff as you can throw at a preternaturally aged eleven year old boy.I really liked The Dark is Rising upon rereading it, though to be honest, I would probably rate it only 4 stars if it were my first time reading it While in my opinion a better work of literature than most juvenile fiction, including that really famous one with the Johnny come lately boy wizard, it does lack that indefinable quality of joy and fun that I guess made J.K Rowling the richest woman in England and not Susan Cooper It s really a classic of children s fantasy literature, though.I will continue my reread of this series.Warning A few years ago, Hollywood made a movie called Seeker The Dark is Rising Do not see this movie It is awful I cannot describe how awful it is Even aside from the book it s supposedly based on, it s just terrible and brainless one of my few 1 star ratings on Netflix , but when compared with Susan Cooper s book, it is truly painful to watch Susan Cooper deserved the J.K Rowling treatment, and what she got was a dumbed down Americanized piece of crap that bombed, deservedly, at the box office. The Dark Is Rising does no wrongEach word in place so perfectly And I have loved you oh so longCherishing your company.Young Will was my delight,Merriman my heart of goldChristmas cheer my heart of joyAll thanks, my lady Cooper.You have been ready at my handTo grant me what I often crave A wintry chill across the landVillains dark and a child brave.Black Rider was my delight,Maggie Barnes my heart of goldChristmas menace my heart of joyAnd tragic Walker to sting the soul.Thy battles betwixt Dark and LightWhere Time and Space twist madly Thy family tender but never triteAll these I cherished gladly.Young Will was my delight,Merriman my heart of goldChristmas cheer my heart of joyAll thanks to Susan Cooper

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