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The Laughing Academy
A Life of Noisy Desperation
Pob hwyl,* Susan Cooper 
3rd-Oct-2007 12:20 pm
Reading
Like many people, I have been gnashing teeth and rending garments over the desecration of The Dark Is Rising that will shortly be infesting movie theaters under the title The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising. (Go here to learn why we are so cheesed off.) But whenever I’m in danger of giving myself an aneurysm, I take a deep breath and recall Raymond Chandler’s response to the question, How do you feel about what Hollywood has done to your novels?: “Why, Hollywood hasn’t done anything to them. They’re still right there, on the shelf.”

Furthermore, even this towering thunderhead of dreck has a silver lining: perhaps someone, intrigued by the film or by the tsunami of outrage from the fans, will pick up Susan Cooper’s books; which means, if they read all five volumes of the series, that they will finally come to these words from Silver on the Tree:
“We have delivered you from evil, but the evil that is inside men is at the last a matter for men to control. The responsibility and the hope and the promise are in your hands—your hands and the hands of the children of all men on this earth. The future cannot blame the present, just as the present cannot blame the past. The hope is always here, always alive, but only your fierce caring can fan it into a fire to warm the world...

“For Drake is no longer in his hammock, children, nor is Arthur somewhere sleeping, and you may not lie idly expecting the second coming of anybody now, because the world is yours and it is up to you. Now especially since man has the strength to destroy this world, it is the responsibility of man to keep it alive, in all its beauty and marvelous joy...

“And the world will still be imperfect, because men are imperfect. Good men will still be killed by bad, or sometimes by other good men, and there will still be pain and disease and famine, anger and hate. But if you work and care and are watchful, as we have tried to be for you, then in the long run the worse will never, ever, triumph over the better.”

I have to make a mildly embarrassing confession: that’s what happened to me. In grade school I read the first four books (out of order—The Dark Is Rising, which is the second volume; then the first, Over Sea, Under Stone; the third, Greenwitch; and The Grey King) but not the fifth. I can only assume that my elementary school didn’t have Silver on the Tree, and then I forgot that I hadn’t read it until I borrowed the entire series from the New York public library. So although I am very, very disappointed in everyone involved with The Seeker (and yes, that includes you, Christopher Eccleston; this might cost you all the geek cred you earned from Heroes and Doctor Who), I suppose I owe them a debt.

Still not gonna buy a ticket or the DVD, though.

* Welsh for good luck.
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