Today, we’ll be mostly focusing our discussion on the philosophical/thematic nature of alchemy in of itself, and the components that interact and fuse together to have certain, strangely pre-determined results.
**SPECIAL BOOK CLUB GIVEAWAY (Copy comes courtesy of Viking Books, subsidiary of Penguin Random House)
**By leaving a comment below on our first discussion post, you will be instantly entered into a special giveaway for a paperback edition of Deborah Harkness’ Discovery of Witches, which is only open to those living in the US. The winner will be chosen at random upon the end of the giveaway-Saturday October 31,2015 at 11:59 PM. Eastern Standard Time.
Throughout the month of October, tweet (on Twitter) us using the hashtag #ashmolebibliophile, to engage in bibliophile reverie specific discussions for the first book of the All Soul’s Trilogy, by Deborah Harkness.
Be sure to stay up-to-date on all our updates beginning now, and throughout the month of October!
Our discussions will take place mainly on Lestat’s Book Coven (Facebook Group) and through discussion posts on here, posted every Saturday throughout October, specific to Discovery of Witches.
Chapters 14-23 Discovery of Witches
On the surface level of the story, many of the events of the story revolve around the growing intrigue in the world of otherworldly creatures, surrounding Diana’s inadvertent release of Ashmole 782 from the intricate spell that it was imprisoned under. Below the surface, we are gaining a better grasp of the various dilemmas, or polarized, clashing “elements of the story that seem to setting the story’s pace and suspense afire. All of these various dilemmas occur in similitude with Diana’s own emergent conflict with accepting the full potential of her powers. By trusting a pair of intelligent vampire scientists to scrutinize her DNA, we soon learn just how much potential she has. This part of the story deals with prodigious conflicts, foes, everything that is essential to a story constructed on the idea of paradigm shifts, and momentous alchemical change.
The biggest question surrounding this section, as we apprehensively speed read through to read the pages that detail Diana’s escape from Oxford, to rural France, where she is greeted by Matthew Claremont’s mother, is do these events arise out of some predetermined events. Was the very nature of Diana’s immense magical potential, and her being at the right place, at the right time, an event that is strangely surreal with how it seems to appear out of nowhere. Further in the novel, Deborah Harkness will examine this question more closely, as the novel doesn’t just surround the question of what events culminate in a paradigm shift, but how do individuals retain their free-will in the very way these events seem to uncannily/almost magically occur.
As we get further along in the next section, we’re bound to read the clashing ways/customs of a witch and vampire. Why is it that Diana seems to be somewhat grudgingly, though mostly accepted by the vampires, who have a historical prejudice against the witches? What if Diana Bishop decided never to trust Matthew Claremont, or pay attention to the supernatural world around her? Right now within this assigned section, we are mainly concerned with the events that arise out of her decision to (1) trust Matthew Claremont’s judgement, even when he appears overprotective/strangely ambitious with respects to unraveling the mystery of Ashmole 782.
All of the events of Chapters 14-23 beg the following questions:
Why is Diana Bishop’s DNA, in of itself, have such great magical potential, why her? And what if she decided to ignore everything that happens around her? How much free-will does she have in the midst of this seemingly pre-determined rush of events? (3) Overall, is evolution not analogous, to the way alchemy seems to work? Did the process of alchemy prefigure the scheme of Darwin’s evolutionary model?
I would really love to hear your thoughts on this, and other things that really intrigued/bothered/annoyed/ made you even incensed at intervals during your reading of these assigned sections.
In two weeks (October 31, 2015, to be precise), we’re discussing Chapters 24-End-of-the-Book of Discovery of Witches, Leave a comment below, and you’ll have a chance (if you reside in the US) of potentially winning a trade-paperback copy of this book.
**If you’re looking for somewhere to download the Discovery of Witches audiobook, you may find the below information relevant:
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