BBC Sherlock Fan Forum - Serving Sherlockians since February 2012.


You are not logged in. Would you like to login or register?



August 2, 2014 10:34 am  #21


Re: To the Ends of the Earth (William Golding)

Yes, I agree that he isn't responsible for Wheeler's death, but I'm quite uncomfortable about how he treats Wheeler after his return.   Wheeler is obviously traumatised and hangs around Edmund a lot, even trying to tell him how he feels ("I'm in hell").   Edmund seems to mostly shout at Wheeler and find him irritating.   Maybe it's to do with the class divide, and Wheeler being a servant.  I understand him not seeking to be friends with Wheeler (they don't seem to have that connection), but he doesn't seem to show much interest or care at all.  

I do see that Edmund was pre-occupied while Wheeler was going through his private hell.  I didn't think of Wheeler talking to anybody else - I wonder why he chose Edmund?   After all, it was Edmund who inadvertently caused trouble by naming Wheeler as an informant (by mistake!).  Maybe it was because Edmund had shown such an interest in nautical things and people from the beginning, that Wheeler thought he might care about him?

I suppose that nowadays we'd suspect that Wheeler had PTSD.  Before the Alcyone had come along, he must have been certain that he was going to die a slow, horrible death, and the exposure to the elements and dehydration maybe didn't help his mental state either.   Maybe he killed himself quickly because he couldn't bear the thought of going through that again.  And maybe talking wouldn't have helped with that. 

Thank you for talking about the books with me. I love hearing your views.  I don't know anybody else who has read them or even wants to read them! 

 

August 8, 2014 8:05 pm  #22


Re: To the Ends of the Earth (William Golding)

I've read a bit further and it seems as if Edmund does feel some responsibility for the deaths.  He hears himself saying "You could have saved us". 

I'm at the amusing bit where Edmund is shocked at Mr and Mrs Prettiman having pre-marital sex (I know they didn't actually do the deed, but Mr Prettiman pretended so that Letitia could inherit his wealth).  Quite the double standard when he has been gallivanting himself, earlier in the books.   It's a whole world of double standards, I suppose.  Different rules according to sex and class in particular.   He thinks the Prettimans are too old to have sex!  But he's also confused by Letitia's relatively youthful look, femininity and lack of stays http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png


The double standard reminded me of the way Edmund treated Zenobia earlier in the book (I didn't like that) so I went back and re-read it.   Somehow I'd missed that it was Zenobia clutching him when the blunderbuss was fired which caused him to .... not withdraw?  And that's why he blames her for taking the risk of getting pregnant.  More than a bit unfair, I thought. 

Anyway, I remember thinking when watching the TV series that I was surprised there were no consequences to Prettiman's letter about Letitia, like it getting into the wrong hands.   Edmund just disposes of it when it's no longer needed.  I liked that the story doesn't always take the obvious course. 

     Thread Starter
 

September 10, 2014 5:33 pm  #23


Re: To the Ends of the Earth (William Golding)

I finished the book recently, and it's a bit like saying goodbye to an old friend.  I slowed down reading towards the end because I didn't want to end!

There was a lot more detail about Marion and Edmund meeting up again and what became of them, but what has really stuck with me is the end of the Zenobia story.  I looked this up on the internet because it was disturbing (and just ignored in the TV series).  Zenobia was unwell after the encounter with Edmund at the beginning, and he hardly mentions or her or thinks of her.  When they arrive, she's carried off the ship on the stretcher.   And then Edmund gets a letter to say that she has died and wanted to know she was "crossing the bridge".  I had a look on the internet and it does seem as if this is meant to be a reference to Edmund saying that they'll "cross that bridge when YOU come to it", abdicating responsibility for a possible pregnancy.   Edmund isn't moved or bothered by the letter.  I'm quite horrified that Zenobia was unwell and pregnant by him for all those months, eventually dying as a direct result of the bit of fun with Edmund.   It's very dark ... of course, this is William Golding, not a historical romance! 

I loved that Edmund was a mixed character, with plenty of flaws.   But this one is the most shocking.  With the other deaths he did show a little remorse, and at least thought of them.   Zenobia's is probably the death he's most directly responsible for, but he barely thinks of her. 

     Thread Starter
 

October 21, 2014 11:26 am  #24


Re: To the Ends of the Earth (William Golding)

Can I join in? I just finished the book and it took me quite some time as I had to read some passage twice to understand them. The nautical terms were not exactly helpful either. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/wink.png


I agree with the things you discussed and wondered about Zenobia's fate as well so thank you for checking. 

One point I would like to address: Did you also feel a special something between Charles and Edmund? Their friendship starts quite early in the books and they very soon call each other by their first names which is probably very unusual among men in these times who come from different classes of society. 
What struck me most was Charles' open jealousy of Lieutenant Benét towards the end of the book. Of course there is professional rivalry and competition between them but IMO him talking of Edmund having "a new friend" shows that he is emotionally shaken as well. 

 


------------------------------
"To fake the death of one sibling may be regarded as a misfortune; to fake the death of both looks like carelessness." Oscar Wilde about Mycroft Holmes

"It is what it is says love." (Erich Fried)

“Enjoy the journey of life and not just the endgame. I’m also a great believer in treating others as you would like to be treated.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)

http://up.picr.de/28609194so.png

 
 

October 21, 2014 2:06 pm  #25


Re: To the Ends of the Earth (William Golding)

Yes, I think it was a special relationship - the main one in the book.  I forget books very quickly, so forgive me if I get some of the details wrong.   I thought they genuinely cared for each other.   Charles getting dry clothes for Edmund, and inviting him to do the middle watch (can't remember what it was called) because he knows he's scared in the night - I thought those were lovely.   But Charles also has an agenda in needing and seeking Edmund's patronage.  The class divide comes up again and again too.   Not that these things diminish what I think is a very genuine friendship, but they do add another dimension to it,

It seems that Charles was unusual in being an officer who had been promoted up.   He was kind of between classes.  I thought at first that maybe he was particularly good at his job and that was why he'd been promoted, but later on he explains that it was simply because somebody in power liked that he was religious and read the bible (I suppose it was an advantage that he could read!) rather than because of any particular skill.   And again, his chance of promotion is going to be down to somebody favouring him, rather than proving his worth.   (Although, in the end Edmund turns out to have far less power than he thinks he does). 

At the same time, Edmund always seems to be aware of Charles being of lower class and makes a couple of unpleasant remarks about it. 

Do you think Charles' jealousy could be sexual jealousy?  I'm not sure ... he seems more jealous that Anderson favours Benet, and I didn't get any "chemistry" between then two of them.   Charles and Edmund definitely had chemistry, but I don't know ... I see Colley as being attracted to Edmund (he definitely has romantic feelings about him, but I don't think he knows what the feelings mean), but I didn't see that so clearly with Charles, although it could be implied (and we still don't know which officers Billy Rogers suspected!).  I do see Charles as openly concerned about losing Edmund's patronage.   It's ironic that he gets what he wants through Benet in the end, rather than Edmund (if I remember correctly) and that it's the death of him. 

Of course, I think Marion has an agenda with Edmund too - she has no way (financially) of making a life of her own, and he can take her away from a life she's bored with and let her live respectably and comfortably. 

     Thread Starter
 

October 21, 2014 2:51 pm  #26


Re: To the Ends of the Earth (William Golding)

Yes, the various relationships between the characters and the favours and hopes for advancement involved are quite intricate. I am not sure about Charles being sexually jealous but IMO it is more than him being afraid of losing Edmund's patronage. I cannot remember where and when he says it but at one point Charles mentions that he is not interested in women. As I said, no idea how it was expressed and where to find out but I seem to remember something like that. 

Apart from that, I suppose that in a ship full of men who spend months together without any chance of female contact homosexual acts would have been quite common even if those men were not necessarily gay. This might be compared to a boys' school although there you have at least the chance of holidays or just slipping off to meet a girl. 
In the book the only characters having relationships with women are passengers. Of course there is Benét's romantic infatuation with Lady Somerset but beyond this … nothing.  There are two separate worlds existing in a very confined space and they do not touch very often. The only real friendship between a passenger and crew member is the one between Edmund and Charles and even they seem to exist in different worlds. 
 


------------------------------
"To fake the death of one sibling may be regarded as a misfortune; to fake the death of both looks like carelessness." Oscar Wilde about Mycroft Holmes

"It is what it is says love." (Erich Fried)

“Enjoy the journey of life and not just the endgame. I’m also a great believer in treating others as you would like to be treated.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)

http://up.picr.de/28609194so.png

 
 

October 21, 2014 4:28 pm  #27


Re: To the Ends of the Earth (William Golding)

Didn't Edmund mention something about having sexual experience with boys at school?  Or did I imagine that? http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/grin.png
  Yes, it seems as if male sexual liaisons were tolerated as long as they were kept private.  I suppose that has often been the case at sea (a bit of a tradition).  Definitely agree about Charles' feelings for Edmund being more than wanting his patronage (he doesn't make a big fuss over the kind things he does for him), but I think it's interesting that there's that aspect there, along with the class thing.

(A bit of an aside, but I was thinking that it's odd that there seems to be so little fanfiction about Edmund/Charles.  I thought that they seemed a perfect couple to write about).

Yes, it's interesting how separate the crew and passengers were, despite the close quarters.  And also the upper and lower passengers.   Edmund knew the upper passengers quite well, but with the lower ones, there wasn't much in the way of names or individuality, although he did notice some of them .... I kept thinking that however awful it was for the upper people during storms, etc., it must have been hell on earth down below.   On the Alcyone, there seems to be more socialisation between crew and passengers - in fact the Captain has his wife with him.   But after the journey, even the passengers don't socialise much with each other, and it didn't look as if Edmund and Charles would have continued to be "best friends" afterwards, even if Charles had lived. 

I also thought that Edmund's feelings for Charles were partly influenced by taking sides against Benet, and that he was against Benet because of his contact with Marion - I don't know if it was certain that the fire was Benet's fault, and perhaps he did have some good ideas, while Charles was stuck in the past?  And of course, Edmund was being loyal to Charles. 

     Thread Starter
 

October 21, 2014 8:48 pm  #28


Re: To the Ends of the Earth (William Golding)

I am not sure about the school thing, tbh. But I would not put it past him. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/wink.png


As for the fanfic - there is not much at all about the series but the one that are there are mostly Edmund/Charles. And to be honest, it was my first idea when I saw the film for the first time - I felt they had a special something, exchanging looks and all that. For me there was more chemistry between them than between Edmund and Marion. 

As for Benét - quite interesting question. He is a progressive thinking man while Charles is conservative but he has also a disregard for dangerous situations. And I understood it ifrom the film as well as from the book that he caused the fire by heating up the you-know-what of the mast and having the heat smoulder for weeks and months. 

But of course we have only one narrator and see everything through Edmund's eyes so there is room for speculation. His judgment may be influenced by his sympathies and dislikes. 


------------------------------
"To fake the death of one sibling may be regarded as a misfortune; to fake the death of both looks like carelessness." Oscar Wilde about Mycroft Holmes

"It is what it is says love." (Erich Fried)

“Enjoy the journey of life and not just the endgame. I’m also a great believer in treating others as you would like to be treated.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)

http://up.picr.de/28609194so.png

 
 

October 21, 2014 9:37 pm  #29


Re: To the Ends of the Earth (William Golding)

Yes, he's a very unreliable narrator!  (Which is something I loved about the books). 

At first I was sure that the fire was Benet's fault, but I don't feel the book made it 100% clear, and I still think that's probably what happened, but ... I don't know, the idea of the fire smouldering for so long seems strange, and there's Charles determination to go down with the ship.   There's something metaphorical about the whole thing that I'm not quite getting the meaning of, I feel.  Even the fact that that the ship was such a wreck to start with, converted from a warship (was it?  I can't remember - it wasn't meant to be a passenger ship originally), and barely seaworthy.   There's a feeling of impending doom all the time.  As if it was just waiting for the right moment to go down. 

The school thing ... I thought I remembered something about Edmund thinking about Colley and Billy Rogers and thinking of it as a schoolboy thing.   But I may have remembered that wrong.  I'll see if I can find it in the book later. 

Definitely agree about their being more chemistry between Charles and Edmund than Marion and Edward!  Apart from anything else, Charles and Edmund's relationship develops over months, whereas Edmund and Marion's only has a day or two, then a little bit right at the end of the trilogy.     It's an infatuation, which eventually develops into something because they are (I think) compatible at the end.  I still think Edmund's love for Marion was partly concussion .  I found it odd that she always referred to herself in the third person too ("a young person").   But there is no real relationship there, just a fantasy of each other.

     Thread Starter
 

October 22, 2014 6:25 am  #30


Re: To the Ends of the Earth (William Golding)

Yes, you are right about the metaphorical quality of the ship itself, the fire down below and Charles going down with it. I cannot quite grasp it but the fact that we never learn the ship's name is probably important as well. Maybe because it is more than just a ship, a microcosm that for nearly a year becomes Edmund's whole world. And the image of a ship held together by ropes, rotten to the core, with a smouldering fire deep in its belly is a very strong one that remains in memory long after you have forgotten the actual ending of the book. 

I probably forgot about the schoolboy thing, could well be somewhere in there 

For me in the film the dreamlike quality of their meeting on "Alcyone" and Edmund's instant infatuation are even stronger than in the book. When watching it for the first time I constantly asked myself if this was real or just happening in Edmund's feverish mind. 


------------------------------
"To fake the death of one sibling may be regarded as a misfortune; to fake the death of both looks like carelessness." Oscar Wilde about Mycroft Holmes

"It is what it is says love." (Erich Fried)

“Enjoy the journey of life and not just the endgame. I’m also a great believer in treating others as you would like to be treated.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)

http://up.picr.de/28609194so.png

 
 

October 22, 2014 5:06 pm  #31


Re: To the Ends of the Earth (William Golding)

I've found the bit I was thinking about, where Edmund is thinking of Billy Rogers comments about what happened with Colley:

Oh, doubtless the man consented, jeeringly and encouraged the ridiculous, schoolboy trick ...

From that, I seem to have extrapolated that there were similar acts going on when Edmund was at school.  Reading it again, I'm not sure.   (But it wouldn't be unusual to have sexual relationships between boys at school). 

The meeting with Marion did seem dreamlike, didn't it?  I'm sure a lot of what happened was to do with the head injuries (the white light surrounding her, etc.), but it seems odd that she would be so drawn towards somebody who was acting so oddly.   It's kind of surprising that they managed to make a relationship out of that fantasy at the end. 

     Thread Starter
 

October 22, 2014 5:28 pm  #32


Re: To the Ends of the Earth (William Golding)

You might have a point there. Not long ago he was a schoolboy himself, possibly at an all boys boarding school so there we are. 

Yes, it is. And I was wondering about the end as such. Of course it is lovely for Edmund to meet again the love of his life, especially after losing his friend and being injured himself, but it seems a bit like a fairytale. On the other hand the book ends on a different note with Edmund musing about what would have happened if he had joined the political crusade of the Prettimans. 


------------------------------
"To fake the death of one sibling may be regarded as a misfortune; to fake the death of both looks like carelessness." Oscar Wilde about Mycroft Holmes

"It is what it is says love." (Erich Fried)

“Enjoy the journey of life and not just the endgame. I’m also a great believer in treating others as you would like to be treated.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)

http://up.picr.de/28609194so.png

 
 

November 3, 2014 8:56 pm  #33


Re: To the Ends of the Earth (William Golding)

I can't remember if this occurred to me before, but I think I've realised what's niggling me about Charles' death.  The other two in the trilogy are self-inflicted deaths, so I think I'm expecting Charles' to be too, in some way.  Colley willed himself to die, and Wheeler killed himself ... what was Charles' role in his own death?   It may just have been that he chose to go down with the ship, when he could have escaped.   It would normally be a noble thing for a captain to do, but there were no lives to save here - just a ship that was falling apart and was never going to make another long voyage. 

     Thread Starter
 

November 3, 2014 9:05 pm  #34


Re: To the Ends of the Earth (William Golding)

Yes, interesting point. But why did he chose to go down with it? In which way was he attached to it? Did he have no hope of getting on with his career on another ship? Or was it sentiment, the memories of the long voyage, maybe even the memory of Edmund? 


------------------------------
"To fake the death of one sibling may be regarded as a misfortune; to fake the death of both looks like carelessness." Oscar Wilde about Mycroft Holmes

"It is what it is says love." (Erich Fried)

“Enjoy the journey of life and not just the endgame. I’m also a great believer in treating others as you would like to be treated.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)

http://up.picr.de/28609194so.png

 
 

November 3, 2014 9:20 pm  #35


Re: To the Ends of the Earth (William Golding)

I don't know why (and I know it sounds a little bit stupid) but I've always felt that Charles decided to die just to prove that Lieutenant Benet's idea of repairing the ship with this hot metal was bad and he was the only one that was right. If I remember correctly, in TV series while speaking with Edmund on this burning ship he was laughing that in the end it was him who was right all the time. So maybe he decided to die, maybe he wanted to rescue himself but just didn't make it or maybe he thought that his ship could still be saved and he died trying to rescue it. I don't know, his death was one of that things that suprised and wondered me most.


***************************************************************************************************************************                                    
http://38.media.tumblr.com/ddadc75684f49bb93aab27d07a65dc0f/tumblr_mix7t2MbiI1qagu44o7_500.gif
"Hey, chief, I might be wrong, but I think we're flying into a mountain. This makes me feel... scared of the mountain.
One thing we could do is pull up and fly over the mountain. How does that sound to...
"
 

November 3, 2014 9:23 pm  #36


Re: To the Ends of the Earth (William Golding)

Well, he seemed quite obsessed with the question of using fire or not on board the ship and the way the captain preferred "progressive" Benét. And the smouldering wood could be a symbol the smouldering resentment he feels towards Benét. 


------------------------------
"To fake the death of one sibling may be regarded as a misfortune; to fake the death of both looks like carelessness." Oscar Wilde about Mycroft Holmes

"It is what it is says love." (Erich Fried)

“Enjoy the journey of life and not just the endgame. I’m also a great believer in treating others as you would like to be treated.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)

http://up.picr.de/28609194so.png

 
 

November 3, 2014 9:49 pm  #37


Re: To the Ends of the Earth (William Golding)

I don't know.  With Colley, it's shame that kills him, with Wheeler it's fear, with Charles it's ... if feels like it should be something more positive - love, ambition, duty, honour?   It had always been very important for him to get the job, and there's a tradition that a captain should go down with the ship (one of the maritime phrases which are in common use and sprinkled through the story I suppose).  I don't know if they really did go down with their ships when there was a chance to get off.  I got that impression in the TV series too, Marta.

It's terribly ironic that Benet (possibly) causes the fire AND is instrumental in getting Charles promoted so that he has to stay with the ship and die. 

Last edited by Liberty (November 3, 2014 10:01 pm)

     Thread Starter
 

Board footera

 

Powered by Boardhost. Create a Free Forum