calling all Lymond fans

If you’ve read the entirety (yes, I mean the entirety) of Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles, then this post is for you.

I have a project in mind for this summer, or however long it actually takes me: I would like to re-read the Lymond Chronicles.

But, you say, doesn’t that usually sink you into a slough of despond where you think your own writing sucks? And don’t you have a novel to write this summer?

Yes, generally, and yes, I do. But while Dunnett may make me feel bad about my writing, I don’t think she actually makes my writing bad (except, y’know, by comparison), so as long as I sit my ass down in the chair anyway, I should be okay. And — more to the point — that’s kind of why I’m doing this. You see, I don’t just intend to re-read them. I intend to do a close re-reading of a craft-focused sort, looking for the kinds of things I’ve talked to some of you about, like how she manipulates point of view, or describes certain things but not others, or makes that one duel the awesomest duel ever seen on the page. (In other words, I’m trying to get over my inferiority complex by anatomizing it.) And I’ll answer a whole lot of niggling questions I need to re-read for, like which characters call him by his given name and when they start (or stop) doing so, how old he is when certain events happen, and just when we start seeing signs of [spoiler] or first get told [spoiler] but don’t realize what it means.

I could do this without other people, but it wouldn’t be half so fun. So the purpose of this post is to say, I will be blogging my progress through the books, bringing out interesting tidbits or answers to niggling questions, and inviting discussion in the comments. But this will involve spoilers like whoa, so I’ll be doing so behind a specially-constructed filter. If you’ve read all the books, and are interested in joining the party, please comment here and I’ll add you. If you have read some of the books, I’m sorry, but you really don’t want to be a part of this yet; one of the things I intend to track as I read is the growth of a plot from book six that I know starts in book one, and I don’t want to ruin that for you. But I’m more than happy to add people later, if they happen to finish the series and want to see what we’ve been up to.

Or, to put all this in other terms, I want to partially re-create the fun of the interactive “Let’s watch khet_tcheba read the books for the first time” circus of myself and kurayami_hime, via Khet’s locked posts on the subject. It will lack the tasty, tasty irony of seeing her make comments about ongoing plots when we, but not she, knew where they were going, but it should be fun regardless.

Edited to add: special brownie points for anybody who comes up with a good icon for me to use on such posts.

0 Responses to “calling all Lymond fans”

  1. kristine_smith

    I’ve read them all, though only once. Love the writing and some characters, lose track of other characters amid the sweep, and really dislike one major plot arc that other folks like just fine.

    I’d like to tag along with this, even though I’ll likely be working on other things as well.

    • Marie Brennan

      Hey, I didn’t realize you had friended me! I’ve added you to the filter, and when the time comes, you can talk about why you didn’t like the plot in question. (I suspect I know which one it is, but I’ll keep my mouth shut while out here in the open.)

      And I’ll be working on other things, too (the aforementioned novel), so this will be a sporadic thing, rather than a continual spamming of LJ.

      • kristine_smith

        ‘s OK–this place is hard to keep up with.

        I could rant for days about the plot in question. *g* Especially since I am 99.9% sure that Dunnett was veering in another direction until she suffered a bout of Authorial Change of Mind, which happens, but is damned hard to pull off at the halfway point of a series.

        And they were her characters, after all. But still…*mutter*

        I tend to think that a bug splatted on a windshield would be a good Lymond icon, at least for parts of the series. Or an image of St Sebastian.

  2. catrambo

    I’d like to tag along as well – I read those a few years ago and loved a lot about them. There’s one passage where the shadow of some ship’s rigging is compared to the netted string around a beef brisket (if I am remembering correctly) that made me sit back and go wow. Looking at the series on a craftmanship level sounds like a really cool idea.

  3. d_c_m

    So do you need to contact anima_mecanique, aka Petra Paternoster/Sarah Tilson from our Changeling game. She has been posting about these books for some time. I’ll drop her a line. 🙂

  4. khet_tcheba

    I think it goes without saying that I want in on this.

    I would dig up those nauseating 70’s book cover scans again, but you said you wanted a good icon. Actually, one of the Queen’s Play covers had a pretty nice, reasonably faithful rendition of Lymond. Failing that, every general icon subject I can think of is probably a spoiler on some level or another.

    • Marie Brennan

      You and got added when I created the filter, whether you wanted to be or not. <g>

      As character portraits go, that doesn’t suck — though it is a touch odd to see Lymond in a ruff, however much one reminds oneself that it is period. (At least the series is Edwardian/Marian Tudor, so not the giant ridiculous ruffs of Elizabeth’s court.) But it still isn’t what he looks like in my head. Nothing is quite what he looks like in my head.

      Beyond that . . . yeah, some spoiler-tastic icons could happen. But hey, if I’m only using them on the locked posts anyway, then the worst that could happen is that somebody looks through all my userpics and comes across it out of context.

      • khet_tcheba

        I think the ruff thing threw me for a loop briefly, as well. He doesn’t strike me as being terribly fashion-minded – not out of lack of awareness (Sybilla would have taken care of that), but because such things might impede his movement and breathing. I don’t recall if he ever expressed an opinion one way or the other on the subject (as we so seldom get into his head, and then only for very important events), but his casual disregard seems to indicate that he has better things to do than worry about what he’s wearing. Unless it’s a sword-belt.

        What you really need, I realized at 4 AM, is a chess icon. It works on a number of levels, and isn’t obviously a spoiler unless you know why it’s a spoiler, in which case it’s not spoiling anything at all.

        Yes, thank you, subconscious brain, for deciding I needed to be awake for that.

  5. diatryma

    If it starts after, say, mid-June, I’m in.
    I’m still… I saw ‘Lymond’ and part of my brain froze. But after comps, I’ll probably be in sedentary shape for at least two books’ length. I can’t promise I’ll be useful in the discussion, but… I have to finish them. I don’t not finish things because they make me feel so tragic.

  6. eclectician

    Maybe this is a really, really bad idea.

    But maybe I could pace you through the books. I’ve read the first, I’d be happy (in fact I think I need) to read it again.

    And y’know, I can’t be cooking and baking during _all_ my free time. =)

    • Marie Brennan

      I won’t add you to the filter until you’re done; there literally is a plot that doesn’t resolve until about two pages from the end of the sixth book, but it gets started in book one, and I’m going to be talking about the ways in which Dunnett sets it up. So yeah: spoilers like whoa. But I wholeheartedly recommend reading the entire series as fast as you can go, and then joining us when you’re done. I’m going to be trying to pace myself, so you could definitely beat me to the end.

  7. gollumgollum

    So this is the spark i needed, right?

    I’ll buy the book tomorrow, if i can swing it. (;

    • Marie Brennan

      This is actually the other reason I’m eager for you to finish. <g> You’ve got until June 1st, if you want to be on board from the start; far more likely is that I’ll add you when you finish the series. (Because I’m not sure reading all three remaining books in the next two weeks would be good for you.)

  8. anima_mecanique

    I’m in.

    Lymond renders me incapable of anything but fannish flailing, so I’d like to see your take on it.

    • Marie Brennan

      Oh dear. Now I’m under an obligation to actually live up to my lofty ideal of more than fannish flailing. <g>

      Lymond is the only character over whom I can abjectly fangirl while still wanting to punch him in the mouth.

  9. jorrie_spencer

    Please add me. I’ve read the LC twice and the second round was the most intensive, fantastic reading experience of my life.

    • Marie Brennan

      Yeah, I’ve re-read the first three books once, but had to put them down to get other things done. I know, though, that they’re the kind of thing that rewards re-reading, when you have a better sense of who the people are underneath, and what they’re really doing.

      Glad to have you!

  10. cofax7

    Came here by way of ; and this sounds like a great deal of fun.

    I shall use one of my Dunnett-quoting icons!

    • cofax7

      Err, by which I mean, can you please add me to your filter? No need to read me otherwise unless you find media fandom interesting (it’s not everyone’s thing).

      • Marie Brennan

        I read my flist by filters anyway (organized generally around how I know the people and/or what they post about), so while media fandom is in fact not my thing — I’m too out of the loop on most things to get it — it’s no problem to add you just to that filter.

    • Marie Brennan

      I’m getting quite a few people from her link. The more, the merrier!

  11. aswego

    Also here via ! Please add me; I’ve read the series more than once, though it’s been a while, and getting in on a craft discussion would be wonderful.

    • Marie Brennan

      I’m looking forward to seeing how the discussion goes; we seem to have a great bunch.

      You’re on the filter now; friend me back if you want to see the posts automatically, or just check the “lymond” tag from this post periodically to see what’s gone up. I don’t know how frequent the updates will be — probably quite variable, depending on what else I’m doing.

  12. fitzcamel

    Here via Sartorias and a huge Dunnett fan — please add me?

  13. elishavah

    Ooh, here from , actually. I was just thinking that I wanted to re-read these books, so I’d love to join in.

  14. benbenberi

    Here via . I’ve been a Lymond-lover since before Checkmate was published, so I’d love to join the reading fun here – please add me to your filter!

    • Marie Brennan

      Wow. I think I would have snapped if I’d been reading the series as it came out, and had to wait for the later books.

      Welcome to the fun!

  15. octavia_b

    You don’t know me, and I can’t even begin to recreate the round-about way I found myself here, but I just finished reading all the Lymond Chronicles for the first time a few months ago and would love to tag along as they completely blew my mind.

    Friending you, if that’s ok.

  16. kernezelda

    Here via . I am a lurker for the most part, but I’d enjoy following your progress and analysis/discussion. I’ll friend you, if you don’t mind.

  17. wojelah

    I’m here via – a day late and a dollar short, but may I play along?

    • Marie Brennan

      I’m barely a third of the way through the first book; there’s plenty of time left to play along. ^_^ Just check the “Lymond” tag to see what’s been said so far.

  18. rusty_halo


    Are you still doing this? I’d love to participate, if you are. Or even just to read what you’ve written, if you’re finished. (I just read the Lymond Chronicles and am mind-blown, and will be starting on a re-read immediately.)

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