Do you ever read a book, and think to yourself, “You know, this protagonist is an awful person, but he needs a bit more umph to push him into full-on supervillain territory. It’s not enough that he sells drugs to college kids, pals around with serial killers, kills people who happen to be in his way, manipulates his friends, and never takes responsibility for his actions. What he and his friends need is some good ol’ fashioned money-grubbing corruption proving that they love money more than humanity!”?

No? Never thought that? Not even once?

Well too bad! This is Hounded Chapter 17!

Atticus tells Perry, his goth store employee, that he’ll explain everything later, but for the time being to run the shop and brew the pre-made tea satchels for Emilya when she arrives the next day for her potion. He also tells him not to tell Emilya or any one else what happened at the store that day, anything at all, even if it’s to talk about the weather. He says he’ll be back in a few days. Perry thinks this is weird because he can see a bullet hole in Atticus’s shirt, thinking that Atticus will, in a best-case scenario, be in the hospital for weeks.

As the Black Knight famously said, that’s just a flesh wound.”

“The Black Knight always triumphs!” Perry beamed. Monty Python is like catnip for nerds. Once you get them started quoting it, they are constitutionally incapable of feeling depressed.

You know I kind of hate Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Alright that’s not fair, I don’t hate it. I hate that reciting is considered humor for a lot of people. I never watched it growing up; weirdly a Puerto Rican family never saw much sense in idolizing a movie by an English comedy troupe. And I hate that I can’t watch it now because it’s just… not… funny? At least, not anymore. Not because there’s anything wrong with the humor, or I’ve grown too old for it, but it’s just that I know all the jokes, because morons like this keep reciting them so that none of it humors me. That’s what happens when you tell the same jokes over and over again!

A few years ago there was a local production of Spamalot and I went to see it because I was curious and I just didn’t find it that funny, aside from the bits that I hadn’t heard a hundred times over, which were mostly the bits added specifically for the stage play. And I felt bad, because this is one of the staples of nerd culture, and I didn’t have that much fun watching it!

But even moving away from my personal issues with Holy Grail we must confront the fact of it that this is stupid! Just because Atticus quotes the Black Knight, Perry forgets that his boss has been shot! If you are not a young adult, imagine that you are for a second, and you come back from lunch to find that the man who pays your bills has been shot by a policeman. No amount of quotes from your favorite movie is going to make you forget that!

Do we take a shot for a “nerd reference”? I don’t know anymore. I don’t have enough apple juice for this book anyway. In any case, this is stupid, and it’s not even a joke, it’s a reference. Skin Game has a Holy Grail reference that’s actually a joke, but this is just “Hey, nerds love Monty Python!” Okay… and? Atticus has still been shot!

Atticus puts Perry in charge of the shop for now, and also tells him to do anything Hal tells him. He then introduces Hal to Perry, and then when Hal takes Perry back inside the shop, Atticus talks to Oberon for a bit and then works on Fragarach. See, he doesn’t want to let the sword out of his sight right now, so he’s planning on taking it with him on the ambulance. But he doesn’t want someone to freak out if he or she bumps into it, so he removes the magic camouflage. He then puts a binding on the sheath so that it doesn’t move more than five feet away from him.

When the paramedics arrive, Hal instructs them to take Atticus to Scottsdale Memorial Hospital, so that his personal doctor can take care of him. Atticus then explains to the audience that he doesn’t have a personal doctor, but the werewolves have one named Dr. Snorri Jodursson that is a member of their pack and also the doctor for the supernaturals in the area.

He was also willing to do things off the books; he had a whole surgical team who would work off record for obscene amounts of cash.

Ah yes, an easily bought medical team in your pocket! I see absolutely nothing wrong with that, do you? Hearne keeps fleshing out the supernatural world of this series in the most horrifying way possible without even thinking about it. Not like in a “here’s some monsters that kill people” sort of way, but in a “Hey, me and my supernatural friends, one of whom is a serial killer, have an army of lawyers and doctors who are bought and paid for, and a clean up crew to dispose of any bodies!” sort of way.

Imagine, if you will, if this werewolf doctor decided he wanted a patient dead? His crew could easily make the death look like a surgical accident and then feed the body to ghouls. And someone cries foul? Well he’s got a bunch of werewolf lawyers on hand to prevent that from ever being proven!

Hooray?

A paramedic walks up and naturally, he’s confused because Atticus is supposed to have been shot but seems fine enough. Atticus explains that he’s stable, but there’s fluid in his lungs and he needs to get to his doctor. The paramedic then asks, if he’s been shot, where’s the bullet hole? Yup, Atticus didn’t consider while healing himself and waiting for the ambulance that the paramedics might have a lot of questions about a man who got shot ten minutes ago but doesn’t have a wound on his body at all.

Atticus tries to lie and say that he was shot with a rubber bullet that caused internal bleeding, but the paramedic points out that detectives don’t carry rubber bullets, and even if they did, it wouldn’t make his lungs fill with fluid.

“Tell you what, sport. Put me on a stretcher and get me to my doctor and let him worry about it.”

Yeah, that’s not fishy at all, is it? The paramedic is astounded that this man is claiming his bullet wound healed so fast, but Atticus tells him that he’s going to get to the doctor and everything will be fine. Also his sword is coming too. This gives the paramedic some pause, but Atticus insists that it’s really valuable so he can’t leave it in his shop. Hal scoots over and threatens to sue the paramedic for not transporting his client, because he’s a one trick pony and really likes sueing people I guess. The paramedic points out that the sword is the point of contention but Hal says it’s a family heirloom and being separated from it would cause Atticus emotional trauma. So after Hal bullies the paramedic enough, he takes Atticus into the ambulance. Hal then promises that his vampire coworker Leif will go visit the paramedics tonight and mind rape them so that they don’t remember anything.

Atticus gets bored, so he decides to use his magic to give the paramedic a wedgie.

No, really.

Using a bit of power recently banked in my bear charm, I bound a few of the natural threads in the elastic band of his underwear to the fine hairs in the center of his back about five inches up. The result was an instant wedgie.

Ladies and gentleman, our protagonist!

This magic apparently fits under the category of “binding” but I don’t know how.

Also, hey! The bear charm on his amulet, the reserve of magical power? It’s already started recharging! You remember why it was uncharged? Because he kept using his power for fights and breaking spells and such. You’d think that if he was “Oh So Paranoid” (that should be a count too), upon getting that magical store of energy back, he’d save it for when he actually needs it? But nope! He just uses it to give the paramedic a wedgie!

And this?

Those have been funny for two thousand years, but they’re even more hilarious when your victim is sanctimoniously trying to behave like he knows more than you.

The paramedic was not “sanctimoniously trying to behave like knows more than you” at all! He was acting like a rational individual who knows how to do his job! He shows up at a location where a police officer has been shot, expecting to find someone else with a bullet wound, and instead finds a young man who not only doesn’t have a gunshot wound, but seems perfectly calm. In fact, he’s more than calm; he, the college-aged owner of a New Age shop, is telling a medical professional how to do his job, and blatantly lying to his face about his condition and what happened and refuses to tell the truth when called out on it. Then that man demands that he takes a sword with him, and his lawyer threatens to sue if he doesn’t get to do it.

I repeat, a man who is supposed to have been shot, at the site of a police officer having been killed, is actually fine, he lies to the paramedics and then demands to take a bladed weapon with him into the ambulance but the bad guy here is the paramedic because he doesn’t bend over backwards to do what Atticus orders him to.

This wedgie, which leads to “a girlish squeal followed by a high-octave “Ahh! What the fuck?!?” and an abrupt attempt to stand up, which cracked his head on the ceiling”

[puts down book]

Alright, Hearne? This is the kind of comedy a middle schooler would come up with. And it’s only a middle schooler who would find it funny.

[picks up book again]

Moving on.

Atticus admits that he shouldn’t have done it, because he starts laughing at this and it causes him pain. When they get to the hospital, he’s loaded off of the ambulance, and the driver comes to help him out. He asks what happened, and the paramedic says nothing’s wrong with him, so Atticus gives him another wedgie—

[puts down book]

Really Hearne? Really? Another one? Are you done?

[picks up book again]

So the werewolf doctor, Snorri Jodursson, arrives and we get a description of him. We’re given another reminder that Thor is a jerkface because Atticus thinks “His sharp nose and chiseled jaw made him look like a thunder god”. He also says that the doctor’s hair looks like a frat boy douchebag’s, as if I didn’t have enough reason to hate this guy. Of course he doesn’t say any of this aloud, because Atticus, contrary to all the evidence we’ve seen, does actually have some common sense. Not much though.

The doctor assures Atticus that everyone around them is on his payroll, so Atticus can tell the truth and not get any trouble for it. Jodursson tells him they’re going to withdraw the fluid from his lungs, and offers to take an X-ray because the cops tend to want those, but Atticus refuses because he’s already healed himself, so those X-rays wouldn’t look right anyhow. The doctor is a bit annoyed by this, but Atticus is basically like “Well I’m paying you a fortune anyhow so just lie to the cops like a good boy, okay?”

“Well, you’re going to charge me thousands for chest bandages I’ll never use, so I figure we’re even. You and your team will just have to lie convincingly on the stand when you get called up.”

See? Told you.

Atticus tells Jodursson that he’s planning on sueing the cops, not because he feels wronged or anything, but because he doesn’t feel like paying for the hospital bills. And since he’s got a big fancy law firm on his side, he’ll probably win. Jodursson decides he’ll pad the bill just to make the cops pay more.

“You’re the reason we need health care reform, you know.”

I AM TRYING. SO HARD. TO NOT LET THIS SPORKING SLIP INTO POLITICS. AND YOU KEEP DROPPING S*** LIKE THIS, HEARNE. FIRST THE IMMIGRATION, AND NOW THIS!

YOU! IN THE COMMENTS! DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!

[leaves and comes back with a tall glass of apple juice]

Once again! Our protagonist and his friends! Whatever you think of the police, I don’t think we can paint Atticus’s plan here as anything other than villainous. He’s planning on suing the police department, a public service funded by the city government, just to pay his fraudulent medical bills, which the doctor will artificially inflate to fill his own pockets. Atticus is almost literally stealing people’s tax money. At the very least, any public works, buildings or programs that the city’s planning are going to take huge dents in their budgets, because Atticus is taking away their money. Our protagonist and his friends are almost textbook examples of some of the worst types of corruption, and the book’s like, “Tee-hee! Isn’t this hilarious that he’s showing those stupid cops what’s what?”

NO. NO IT’S NOT.

Oh yeah, and then Jodursson points out that he’s going to need to be paid more for “hush money.” Look, anyone who is described as having had his or her “grin returned” when the topic of being paid hush money comes up is nothing but a villain.

Atticus urges the doctor to rush this, and so he’s rolled out in a wheelchair by nightfall. They go out the side door to avoid people in recovery, but Detective Jimenez is out there waiting. He points out that Atticus is in really good shape for having been shot that very day and asks for a statement. Atticus tells him he was shot, that Jimenez saved him, and he’s planning to sue the city for millions of dollars.

Then Jimenez notices the sword. Remember, right now the sword is enchanted to not move farther than five feet from him. So of course the detective sees it. Atticus points out that he’s sounding a lot like Fagles when he was supposed to be looking for a dog, and Jimenez shoots back with “If that sword was taken from the crime scene, then it shouldn’t be with you.” Atticus just claims that it’s a coincidence and Jimenez can’t prove it’s the same sword that Fagles claimed to have seen in the store.

See, this is part of what annoys me—this is so obvious? Atticus is practically screaming “I’m up to something illegal!” and the book’s treating him like he’s clever for back-talking cops. Except they’re making really good points, and he’s willing to steal money from the city government so he doesn’t have to pay hospital bills he wouldn’t have to pay if he wasn’t an idiot!

Jimenez tries questioning Jodursson, but he’s deflected and told that he’ll get more information when the report’s done. Atticus has the doctor push his wheelchair to a private spot so he could cast camouflage on himself and sneak away. But Jimenez follows them and calls the police station for a car. So Jodursson just goes faster and Atticus gets away anyway? Look, I stopped caring. The rest of the chapter is Atticus ranting about how he’s going to proceed.

If I continued to let Aenghus test my defenses and provide him with a stationary target, eventually he would find a way to break me—especially with a coven of witches backing him up. So it was time to change the game somehow, and I had two choices: run like hell or fight like hell.

Yes, that’s right! It’s seventeen chapters into this book, and our protagonist is finally like, “You know, I should actively do something about the Plot, shouldn’t I?”

Atticus explains that he doesn’t want to run, because he’s done that for two thousand years, and also because he feels honor bound because he promised Brighid that he will fight Aenghus, and despite spending most of the book claiming up and down that honor is stupid and useless and will get you killed compared to hard and cold practicality, this is now something he cares about. For Reasons. There’s also pride, because Atticus doesn’t like the idea of running away from the witches in town because witches are lame, man!

My ego didn’t want to let a bunch of Polish witches less than half my age get away with bearding me in my own den.

Yeah, stupid witches! They’re lame and younger than him, and… wait, wasn’t part of the reason he hates them because they’re physically older than he is? Look, I know they’re both older and younger than him, but pick the beef he has with them and stick with it, Hearne.

So Atticus is going to “fight like hell” and he tells us that it’s “about time” because he “had managed to out-dither Hamlet” and he quotes Hamlet to show us he’s smart, or something.

Have I mentioned how much I hate that Atticus is a Shakespeare nut? Not like in a “I like his plays” way, but apparently has all of Shakespeare memorized? Because it doesn’t make sense. It just reads like another way to show us that Atticus is brilliant, despite there being no reason that Atticus should know the Bard by heart. Why Shakespeare? Why not, say, an Irish playwright or author? Why not Oscar Wilde or George Bernard Shaw? I’ll tell you why—because according to pop culture, smart people love Shakespeare, and despite all evidence to the opposite, Hearne is still trying to convince us that Atticus is the smartest smart person.

And so our chapter ends with this:

If he’d been free to follow the dictates of his conscience rather than the pen of Shakespeare, perhaps he would have abandoned verse altogether, like me, and contented himself with this instead: “Bring it, muthafuckas. Bring it.”

This is what passes for wit in this book.

What am I supposed to do with this, exactly? I can’t really analyze it, because there’s nothing to analyze. It’s just another juvenile attempt to be funny. It’s another of those “The kids these days say this!” from Atticus, despite the fact that no one would ever say this in anything other than in parody of what a badass would sound like.

You know, someone in the comments for one of the early chapters mentioned that in some ways Hounded feels like someone’s doing a bad attempt at something like Percy Jackson and the Olympians but for adults. Like, mythology in modern day mixed with pop culture, but with sex and swearing and violence to make it “mature.” And yeah, I see it. Because there’s a lot of stupidity in this book I’d excuse more if it the audience was middle schoolers. Except it’s not written for middle schoolers, despite Atticus spouting jokes that only a middle schooler or high schooler would find funny.

Nobody talks like this! It just sounds stupid from Atticus’s mouth! It’s not funny! It’s not clever! I’d say it’s a poorly-worded expression of what Atticus should have been thinking this entire book, but it’s not even that! “Bring it”? Idiot, Aenghus Og has been “bringing it” the entire story! You’ve just been sitting on your butt the entire time not doing jack squat! Stop throwing this crap in my face, Atticus, and act like an actual likable protagonist!

…I’m okay. I … I needed a second.

Are you curious what’s up with the hawt Irish bartender? ‘Cause that’s what we find out in the next couple of chapters. I’m sure there’ll be something else to make me mad. But I need a break for now.

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Comment

  1. The Smith of Lie on 30 August 2019, 05:39 said:

    Well too bad! This is Hounded Chapter 17!

    Great. After the foreword you’ve given I can’t wait to discover new depths of hatered that I never considered possible!

    […] Monty Python is like catnip for nerds. Once you get them started quoting it, they are constitutionally incapable of feeling depressed.

    1. Black Knight does not triumph. His delusion of invincibility is the whole point of the gag. As is severe underreaction. “It’s only the flesh wound.” when used as reference makes sense if the damage is actually serious but character is making light of it. Not when it is a real flesh wound!
    2. Fact that Monthy Python is immensly quotable does not make it a cure for depression.
    3. This explains why Hearne’s jokes are so aggressively unfunny. He does not udnerstand how the humor works even when staring in the face of an actually funny gag. His apparent inability to parse the Black Knight scene (as explained in 1.) is a proof of that.

    But even moving away from my personal issues with Holy Grail we must confront the fact of it that this is stupid! Just because Atticus quotes the Black Knight, Perry forgets that his boss has been shot! If you are not a young adult, imagine that you are for a second, and you come back from lunch to find that the man who pays your bills has been shot by a policeman. No amount of quotes from your favorite movie is going to make you forget that!

    I am afraid that you ignore an important fact, thanks to which this actually makes perfect sense and renders your criticism invalid. Namely, every single character in the book is incredibly stupid and incapable of acting like a reasonable human being.

    Do we take a shot for a “nerd reference”? I don’t know anymore. I don’t have enough apple juice for this book anyway. In any case, this is stupid, and it’s not even a joke, it’s a reference. Skin Game has a Holy Grail reference that’s actually a joke, but this is just “Hey, nerds love Monty Python!” Okay… and? Atticus has still been shot!

    This just like those name drops in Immoral Instruments. Feels almost as if Hearne did a google search “what nerds like” and decided to drop thing or two for credibility.

    When authors who are actually into the stuff make nerdy references they usually weave them into the scene and allow them to speak for themselves. When Hearne or Clare do it, it feels almost contemtuous.

    Imagine, if you will, if this werewolf doctor decided he wanted a patient dead? His crew could easily make the death look like a surgical accident and then feed the body to ghouls. And someone cries foul? Well he’s got a bunch of werewolf lawyers on hand to prevent that from ever being proven!

    To be honest? I think you’re digging too deep with this. If only because going through all the hoops to do such medical assasination seems redundant when they can just make people disappear using purely supernatural means.

    What irks me more about the werewolf doctor and his team is that this is another Makes it easy! bit. If there is ever any kind of medical emergency that his healing factor can’t handle or need to hide the healing factor (like now) there is Doctor Snorri on the speed dial, just to render any possible tension from such scenario moot.

    Using a bit of power recently banked in my bear charm, I bound a few of the natural threads in the elastic band of his underwear to the fine hairs in the center of his back about five inches up. The result was an instant wedgie.

    You know this trope, mostly popular with aime, where apparently very young character (usually looking like middle school girl) is really a 7000 years old immortal of some kind? The disturbing implications for why this trope exists aside, I think Atticus is a sort of reverse version. He has a body of 2000 years old druid, but really is a 15 years old dude-bro.

    This magic apparently fits under the category of “binding” but I don’t know how.

    Simple. You see unlike the actually good magic systems, magic in Hounded does not seem to be fueled by mana or magical energy or life force or any other such power. It is fueled only and purely by Authorial Fiat. Which means “binding” can mean anything for the sake of pulling whatever is required to make something “cool” happen. Or to Make is easy!

    [puts down book] ×2

    I admire your restraint. If I was reading it… Well, I wouldn’t get so far in before giving up. But instead of putting it down I’d hurl it at the closest wall. (Unless using an e-book reader. Then I’d just lay down on the floor, rock back and forth while crying).

    “His sharp nose and chiseled jaw made him look like a thunder god”.

    So… I guess Raijin is not a real thunder god? Because most of his depictions have round-ish, rather monstrous face with large, sort of bulbous nose.

    Atticus, contrary to all the evidence we’ve seen, does actually have some common sense. Not much though.

    In the kingdom of brainless the man with single brain cell is the king.

    offers to take an X-ray because the cops tend to want those, but Atticus refuses because he’s already healed himself, so those X-rays wouldn’t look right anyhow. The doctor is a bit annoyed by this, but Atticus is basically like “Well I’m paying you a fortune anyhow so just lie to the cops like a good boy, okay?”

    Simple solution. Grab a gun, shoot Atticus again, do the X-ray and have him heal himself again!

    But who am I kidding. They’ll probably shoot some poor, random guy from the streat and then devour the body after getting his X-ray as Attocus’s.

    YOU! IN THE COMMENTS! DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!

    Too late. I thought about it. What now?

    Atticus points out that he’s sounding a lot like Fagles when he was supposed to be looking for a dog

    I hate how smug he is. And all that back and forth? It only works in a weird world where people are only concerned about very specific and singular interpreation of the letter of the law, while throwing away all common sense, logic and humanity.

    And hell, if Jimenez now sees the sword, Fagles sudden break down starts to look way differently, because he apparently was not hallucinating and Atticus and his lawyer went and provoked him to shoot Atticus! In real life there’d be so much trouble over this!

    But not here. Because, repreat after me, Makes is easy!

    So Jodursson just goes faster and Atticus gets away anyway?

    I refer you to my previous statement.

    Yes, that’s right! It’s seventeen chapters into this book, and our protagonist is finally like, “You know, I should actively do something about the Plot, shouldn’t I?”

    Haha! I am not falling for that one. It probably is like the time he went to get prepared to fight a band of fomorians.

    My ego didn’t want to let a bunch of Polish witches less than half my age get away with bearding me in my own den.

    And of course he had to bring nationality into it. I am probably only caring about this because it touches me personally, but this is faintly racist.

    Also I’d like to make a point of the fact that witches still exist and seem to be doing well, having covens and so on. While Druids are all extinct bar one who runs on authorial fiat. I think the superior magical tradition between the two is obvious.

    This is what passes for wit in this book.

    And this even further proves my theory about Hearne being incapable of humor.

    Are you curious what’s up with the hawt Irish bartender? ‘Cause that’s what we find out in the next couple of chapters. I’m sure there’ll be something else to make me mad. But I need a break for now.

    Oh good. Can’t wait to see in what new, terrible way will Hearne make her stupid and cardboard cut-out!

  2. Juracan on 30 August 2019, 20:48 said:

    3. This explains why Hearne’s jokes are so aggressively unfunny. He does not udnerstand how the humor works even when staring in the face of an actually funny gag. His apparent inability to parse the Black Knight scene (as explained in 1.) is a proof of that.

    You basically nailed it here.

    I am afraid that you ignore an important fact, thanks to which this actually makes perfect sense and renders your criticism invalid. Namely, every single character in the book is incredibly stupid and incapable of acting like a reasonable human being.

    [sobbing] I’M TRYING TO MAKE SENSE OF THIS AND ALL I GET IS PAIN, SMITH! NOTHING BUT PAAAAAAIN

    When authors who are actually into the stuff make nerdy references they usually weave them into the scene and allow them to speak for themselves. When Hearne or Clare do it, it feels almost contemtuous.

    It does, doesn’t it? It’s not as bad in this example, but it does feel condescending, like “Oh those goofy little nerds and their Monty Python! How easy it is to manipulate them.” A lot of the other examples, like the “frakkin’ Cylon” “joke” that’s repeatedly thrown at us, is fairly contemptuous though.

    To be honest? I think you’re digging too deep with this. If only because going through all the hoops to do such medical assasination seems redundant when they can just make people disappear using purely supernatural means.

    What irks me more about the werewolf doctor and his team is that this is another Makes it easy! bit. If there is ever any kind of medical emergency that his healing factor can’t handle or need to hide the healing factor (like now) there is Doctor Snorri on the speed dial, just to render any possible tension from such scenario moot.

    Maybe there should be a “Make it easy!” count instead? Or drinking game? Actually, probably not a drinking game, because you’d be pretty plastered in one chapter and I don’t want to be accused of spreading alcoholism.

    You know this trope, mostly popular with anime, where apparently very young character (usually looking like middle school girl) is really a 7000 years old immortal of some kind? The disturbing implications for why this trope exists aside, I think Atticus is a sort of reverse version. He has a body of 2000 years old druid, but really is a 15 years old dude-bro.

    That’s fair.

    I admire your restraint. If I was reading it… Well, I wouldn’t get so far in before giving up. But instead of putting it down I’d hurl it at the closest wall. (Unless using an e-book reader. Then I’d just lay down on the floor, rock back and forth while crying).

    Yeah, I’m reading it on Kindle. That’s why there’s less throwing of the book.

    So… I guess Raijin is not a real thunder god? Because most of his depictions have round-ish, rather monstrous face with large, sort of bulbous nose.

    Look if you’re expecting Atticus’s descriptions to be nuanced, you’re going to be disappointed.

    Too late. I thought about it. What now?

    Eat a taco.

    I hate how smug he is.

    Me too.

    Like, maybe I would have liked this book better if it weren’t for the fact that Atticus is just SO. DAMN. SMUG. About everything. He’s constantly rubbing in people’s faces about how he’s not going to get in trouble or face any consequences, and then he rubs in the audience’s face how clever and powerful he is. It’s infuriating.

    Haha! I am not falling for that one. It probably is like the time he went to get prepared to fight a band of fomorians.

    I mean… you’re not wrong. The next day starts with him going to the Irish bar to meet his lawyer.

    And of course he had to bring nationality into it. I am probably only caring about this because it touches me personally, but this is faintly racist.

    Get ‘im, Smith!

    Also I’d like to make a point of the fact that witches still exist and seem to be doing well, having covens and so on. While Druids are all extinct bar one who runs on authorial fiat. I think the superior magical tradition between the two is obvious.

    One would think. Again, Atticus being the last of the Druids is never really explained. Considering how Super Special Awesome they’re meant to be, it’s unclear how they all died, though I think you at one point suggested that they killed themselves from shame of being associated with Atticus?

    Oh good. Can’t wait to see in what new, terrible way will Hearne make her stupid and cardboard cut-out!

    Maybe, but she also turns out to be one of the main characters of the series.

    For… Reasons.

  3. TMary on 8 January 2020, 04:49 said:

    Hey, it’s me again! Flying solo this time; Starspirit might be making a cameo, but I think I can manage without him, mostly.

    Before I get started, though, I just thought I’d let you all know that I have three perfect songs for Atticus. Here you go. After that intro, I’m pretty sure we’re gonna need them all.

    Atticus tells Perry, his goth store employee, that he’ll explain everything later,

    And Perry still thinks it was the bird who half-killed Atticus, as far as I can make out. Which is…I don’t even know what it is. Except awful.

    but for the time being to run the shop and brew the pre-made tea satchels for Emilya when she arrives the next day for her potion.

    unwisely picks up the book again oh my gosh he calls it humili-tea i cant even this isnt worthy of capitalization or punctuation help me

    Monty Python is like catnip for nerds. Once you get them started quoting it, they are constitutionally incapable of feeling depressed.

    oh what is even the point any more i fed up with this waaarld

    I don’t really think I have much to add here, because you and Smith already dissected this pretty well. But I would like to say that not all nerds are constituted equally; I consider myself pretty nerdy, but I’ve always had mixed feelings about Monty Python. I like a lot of their stuff, but some of it is off-putting to me. So, should I ever be upset, quoting Monty Python may or may not cheer me up.

    Also, are we supposed to laugh at Perry here? Are we supposed to go, “Ha ha, nerds are stupid, all you have to do is quote their favorite movie at them and they stop worrying”? I can’t tell any more.

    Although:

    If you are not a young adult, imagine that you are for a second, and you come back from lunch to find that the man who pays your bills has been shot by a policeman. No amount of quotes from your favorite movie is going to make you forget that!

    grinds teeth I would rather go an entire month without any bagpipe music than be fair to this book, but…I will say that, if I thought someone was mortally wounded, and then they started quoting Monty Python at me, I would assume that they were probably relatively okay and I could relax a little. If it was framed that way, as Atticus trying to make Perry feel a little better by quoting his favorite movie and Perry being comforted that his boss was at least not in any mortal danger, I could accept it – I could even accept his misuse of the quote! It might even be kind of a nice character moment, for both of them!

    But…it’s not framed that way. It’s framed like Monty Python literally wiping all fear from Perry’s mind, because nerds are a different species from the rest of us. Not to mention, even if I went, “Oh, OK, you’re not dying,” I would still have other questions, like, “How are you not dying?” “Why did the cop shoot you?” and “What happens now?” So…yeah, this is still stupid, forget I said anything. Here, have an XKCD comic about the overuse of Monty Python quotes in place of humor.

    See, he doesn’t want to let the sword out of his sight right now, so he’s planning on taking it with him on the ambulance. But he doesn’t want someone to freak out if he or she bumps into it, so he removes the magic camouflage.

    This does not make any sense. Maybe I’m just clumsy, but I have, on occasion, bumped against something or felt something brush my arm and been unsure what it was. I did not immediately assume that it must be an invisible magical object and panic; I just shrugged it off and went on with my day. If Atticus left the sword invisible, ten to one that’s what would happen if someone actually did bump into it. If, however, he takes off the cloak, suddenly he’s got to deal with people around him who are wondering what he wants with a sword!

    Also, I just noticed a grammatical error in the book and am wondering if I should bring it up in detail?

    Atticus then explains to the audience that he doesn’t have a personal doctor, but the werewolves have one named Dr. Snorri Jodursson

    So I searched for “Snorri name” and “Jodursson name” respectively because I don’t trust Hearne, and while “Snorri” came up with its own Wikipedia page and everything, there were two pages of results total for Jodursson, and every one of the first page results was somehow related to The Iron Druid Chronicles. I turned up one result that might possibly have not been Hearne-related on the second page. In Russian. I have no idea where Hearne got that name, but my money’s on “not any Nordic country”.

    Imagine, if you will, if this werewolf doctor decided he wanted a patient dead? His crew could easily make the death look like a surgical accident and then feed the body to ghouls. And someone cries foul? Well he’s got a bunch of werewolf lawyers on hand to prevent that from ever being proven!

    And if Atticus decided that he wanted someone dead, he can do all that too, plus he’s got vampire lawyers who could make anybody who saw anything forget all about it. Sweet dreams!

    It occurs to me that the more powers a hero has, the more I need to be reassured that he or she will not abuse those powers. Anybody with the amount of power Atticus has at his disposal would have to be practically a saint before I stopped being terrified at the mere thought of them. I mean, I understand that this is all fiction and not real, but the whole point of fiction is to cause real feelings, and when I’m reading about a hero, I like those feelings to not be horror.

    Yup, Atticus didn’t consider while healing himself and waiting for the ambulance that the paramedics might have a lot of questions about a man who got shot ten minutes ago but doesn’t have a wound on his body at all.

    You mean…he acted like a stupid, reckless nitwit without an ounce of self-preservation instinct?

    “Tell you what, sport. Put me on a stretcher and get me to my doctor and let him worry about it.”

    Tell you what, sport. How about you try to remember that you are nominally twenty-one years old, and this man is at least five years older than that if not more, and stop acting like an obnoxious, condescending little snot for two seconds?

    Also, if I was the paramedic in this scenario, I’d…well, honestly, I don’t know what I’d think, considering that I can’t think why anyone would try to scam a ride in an ambulance and a trip to the hospital, but I definitely would no longer think this man had been shot.

    Also his sword is coming too. This gives the paramedic some pause, but Atticus insists that it’s really valuable so he can’t leave it in his shop.

    You know, Atty, if you had just left the sword invisible like I told you, you wouldn’t have this problem.

    The paramedic points out that the sword is the point of contention but Hal says it’s a family heirloom and being separated from it would cause Atticus emotional trauma.

    Oh, frack you, O’Sullivan, and frack you too, Hal. How dare you try to use “he’ll be traumatized” as a justification for bringing the stupid sword? How dare you trivialize actual, real trauma like that? Atticus wasn’t even acting like somebody who would experience trauma from being separated from his supposed family heirloom – which…OK, I’m not gonna say that would never happen, but it sounds highly unlikely – he was acting like his usual entitled, self-absorbed, irreverent self!

    Hal then promises that his vampire coworker Leif will go visit the paramedics tonight and mind rape them so that they don’t remember anything.

    This is one of those instances where, in another book, I’d accept that this was something that had to be done, not something the protagonist enjoyed, but necessary, and at the end of the day, not that bad. But those other books usually have A: a sympathetic protagonist, B: an actual, serious breaking of The Masquerade rather than a few unanswered questions which probably Atticus and Snorri Noonesson here could lie their way out of, and C: a genuine reason why upholding The Masquerade was so dang important in the first place!

    Here, I’ve got none of that. All I’ve got is hate for that frickin’ vampire and his employer and his coworker.

    Those have been funny for two thousand years,

    OK, so underwear has changed significantly over the last two thousand years just in Ireland (leaving the variations across cultures out of the debate for a moment), and while I’m far from an expert, I’m not sure that it has always been something you could even get a wedgie from?1 But more to the point: Am I weird in that I never, even as a kid, saw the humor in wedgies? I mean…there’s just not that much to laugh at.

    I repeat, a man who is supposed to have been shot, at the site of a police officer having been killed, is actually fine, he lies to the paramedics and then demands to take a bladed weapon with him into the ambulance but the bad guy here is the paramedic because he doesn’t bend over backwards to do what Atticus orders him to.

    Can we just buy Atticus this shirt? And then somehow force him to never take it off again?

    Alright, Hearne? This is the kind of comedy a middle schooler would come up with. And it’s only a middle schooler who would find it funny.

    Out of curiosity, I asked the nearest available middle-schooler, my twelve-year-old sister, what she thought about this scene. Her response was incredulous laughter, followed by saying something along the lines of, “That’s so stupid, why would anyone write that? That’s awful!”

    So I’m not sure this is even middle schooler humor as much as it is comedy written by adults who think they know what middle schoolers find funny. Except this book isn’t for middle schoolers, so it doesn’t even have that excuse.

    Atticus admits that he shouldn’t have done it, because he starts laughing at this and it causes him pain.

    Now on that basis, I would disagree. He should have done it, and while he was at it, he should have marathoned his favorite sitcom.

    Really Hearne? Really? Another one? Are you done?

    Starspirit: pokes his head around the door Is he done?

    TMary: He’s done.

    Starspirit: Oh, great. Because I have a thing to say. clears his throat

    Look, O’Sullivan, you worthless parasite, I know practical jokes. I live for practical jokes. This? This is not a practical joke. This is cruel. As Juracan so aptly said, this man was being perfectly reasonable in all of his reactions, and if you weren’t so busy feeding your own ego till it explodes, you would have realized that! But nooo, Atticus the Great and Powerful got his pwecious pwide huwt, and he just had to take it out on the person nearest to him. That’s not funny, except to you, and a practical joke should always be funny, in the end, to everyone, including the person having the joke played on them. And if it’s not funny to them? Then they had better have done something truly horrible to you or someone else at some point. There’s a reason that characters like Bugs Bunny or the Marx Brothers eventually had to start picking on unreasonable jerks and snobs who had already picked on them first – because otherwise, it’s not funny or deserved, it’s just mean.

    And that’s exactly what this is. Expressing understandable concerns about your lack of any life-threatening wounds and your desire to bring a prehistoric sword with you into an ambulance is not picking on you! Sorry to break it to you (actually, I’m not), but you’re not a funny and sympathetic Karmic Trickster, you’re a bully who attacks people for doing their job!

    And you know something else? This isn’t just mean, it’s stupid! It’s obnoxious! It is an insult to the fine art of practical jokes!

    TMary: Starspirit, the “fine art” of practical jokes involves, just for one example, tricking someone into drinking out of a mug printed to look like there is a squashed bug on the side.

    Starspirit: Yes, and there is a certain amount of finesse involved in doing that. If the squashed bug print was on a glass, then they would notice right away, and there would be a moment of disgust and they would be over it. A mug is opaque, and most beverages you drink out of a mug are opaque as well, so you don’t notice the squashed bug until you’re almost done, and then the disgust is multiplied by ten thousand, because you were drinking out of a mug with a squashed bug in it ALL ALONG! AAAGH!

    TMary: …I’m never letting you make me a cup of tea ever again.

    Starspirit: That’s probably pretty sound.

    My point is that there’s some creativity and thought that goes into a decent practical joke. This? This is…the bottom of the barrel. There is no cleverness in a wedgie. And I don’t think it’s coincidental that it’s the favored tactic of clichéd stupid school bullies, either.

    Okay, I’m done. I just had to get that off my chest. Enjoy the rest of your spork, folks. leaves

    You and your team will just have to lie convincingly on the stand when you get called up.”

    TMary: Hearne. Hearne, listen to me. Every other character who talks like this that I have ever seen? Is a supervillain. I’ve written a few characters who talk like this myself, and they’re all villains, most of them super! Because that is a creepy, arrogant way of talking, and those traits go along well with supervillains! Have you ever watched a movie or read a book before in your life? Can’t you tell how this sounds?

    “You’re the reason we need health care reform, you know.”

    You know what’s really galling about this? Snorri’s just said that he intends to pad the bill and cost the police department more money, because that’s a thing he can do, and Atticus’s response is to make a joke. A joke which clearly recognizes that this is unacceptable behavior, but eh, Snorri’s helping Our Hero out, so who cares, right?

    Atticus just claims that it’s a coincidence and Jimenez can’t prove it’s the same sword that Fagles claimed to have seen in the store.

    I just – I want to filet him. With a coat hanger. Especially since, as Smith pointed out, now the sword wasn’t necessarily just Fagles seeing things in the middle of a mental breakdown, it was possibly actually there. Not a crime yet, but suspicious that Atticus tried to cover it up. Of course, nothing will ever come of this except me coming up with increasingly unpleasant ways of murdering our so-called protagonist…

    Atticus is practically screaming “I’m up to something illegal!” and the book’s treating him like he’s clever for back-talking cops.

    sighs loudly

    OK, so I just finished reading this book, Off to Be the Wizard, by this webcomic artist I like, Scott Meyer of Basic Instructions (I linked to one of his comics in a previous comment). It’s a fairly light sci-fi romp where the premise is that reality as we know it is a computer program, and we are all rendered bits of code. A twenty-three-year-old amateur hacker named Martin accidentally discovers this one night, along with the discovery that anybody with the know-how can edit the file for said program and bend reality to their will. A few misadventures later, he ends up in medieval England with his newfound powers, masquerading as a wizard.

    The reason I bring this up is that Martin, who can now edit reality to suit his whims? Still faces more obstacles and conflicts than Atticus does, in the first five chapters alone. THE MAN WHO CAN EDIT REALITY FACES MORE OBSTACLES AND CONFLICTS THAN ATTICUS DOES.

    And I really have to commend Scott Meyer for that; I think he was well aware that he could very easily hand his protagonist too much power in this scenario, and balanced that with Martin having to learn how to use his newfound power, having interpersonal conflict with other people, and there still being limits on what he can actually do with the file (like, for instance, he can make himself invulnerable, but he can still die through lack of water/food/air, and he can’t stop feeling pain). Not to mention, Martin actually has some initiative and wants to do things, and he gets into situations where he can’t just brute force his way out and has to use some finesse, and…

    Honestly, Off to Be the Wizard is almost like the anti-Hounded in a lot of ways. It’s a nerdy, geeky book that knows it’s nerdy and geeky and makes no attempt to hide that fact. The main character makes stupid mistakes and screws up, and the narrative acknowledges this and has him face reasonable consequences, instead of making sure he never has any problems and informing us the whole time that he is clever and paranoid (also, Martin actually is in his early twenties and until recently was a perfectly ordinary guy, so when he acts like a young adult with more power than he knows what to do with, it’s a little more understandable). Martin is also, while not a paragon of virtue, also a fairly decent person who does not do anything on the level of, say, murdering his own comrades in combat, despite his aforementioned reality-warping powers. And there are actually some decent jokes – it’s not knee-slappingly riotously funny every other page, like Discworld, for instance, but it got a good few chuckles and some outright laughs out of me. And there’s genuine mysteries! And build-up! And conflict! And a threatening, interesting villain! AND A MONTY PYTHON REFERENCE THAT’S ACTUALLY A JOKE!

    It’s kind of funny, because reading Off to Be the Wizard by itself, I feel like I’d have thought of it as a fun, if somewhat amateurish (it was Scott Meyer’s first novel), mostly light-hearted read. Having experienced Hounded, though, I still think it’s a fun, if somewhat amateurish, mostly-lighthearted read, but it is also balm to my injured soul. Only other people who have suffered through this book can understand how satisfying it is to see your protagonist being actually pursued by the police after a misuse of his power and barely escaping, or being shot down by the first (and only) woman he attempts to flirt with, or being told this:

    “I command you to…think! Being a man of action is fine, but you need to think before you act.”

    [Martin]: “That’s…”

    “Stop! Did you think about what you’re about to say?”

    “No.”

    “Then take a moment. Think about what you were going to say, what you have riding on my continued good will, and how I’m likely to react to the words you were about to let fall from your mouth like a partially chewed mouthful of spoiled cheese. […] Have you thought about it?”

    “Yes.”

    “Do you still intend to say whatever it was?”

    “No.”

    “Excellent!”

    chef-kiss Beautiful.

    So, basically, I guess I’m recommending Off to Be the Wizard if you guys can get your hands on it? (It was a Christmas present for me, but I’m pretty sure it was ordered on Amazon.) If you have room in your to-be-read pile for a sci-fi book that doesn’t take itself too seriously and has fun with its premise, then I’d say it’s worth a try. And if, like me, you have been scarred by the existence of Hounded, then do yourself a favor and read it. (I will issue two disclaimers, however: It does Mood Whiplash suddenly into pretty dark territory somewhere around the two-thirds mark, and while I think it was all handled well if not dwelled on, I was unprepared for it based on how the book had been chugging along up to that point. Not saying it was bad, but just that it’s not complete goofy fun all the way through. Also, I would recommend reading at least some Basic Instructions before trying this book so you can get an idea of what Scott Meyer’s sense of humor is like, because the book’s basically four hundred pages of his sense of humor, and if you don’t like it, you probably won’t have fun reading.)

    Anyhow. Unpaid promotion over, let’s go back to the sporking.

    despite spending most of the book claiming up and down that honor is stupid and useless and will get you killed compared to hard and cold practicality, this is now something he cares about.

    You know, this would make more sense with his established character if his reasoning was less “I must, for I have HONOR!” and more “I promised a goddess that I’d do a thing, and if I don’t do the thing she will come back and kick my butt nine ways to Sunday.” Not that I’d really believe she’d kick his butt nine ways to Sunday, but at least it would go along with the self-serving coward he’s proven himself to be already.

    They’re lame and younger than him, and… wait, wasn’t part of the reason he hates them because they’re physically older than he is?

    Nah, that’s the reason he holds them in contempt and doesn’t want to sleep with them. He hates them because they’re younger than him and smarter and have more freaking initiative.

    I’ll tell you why—because according to pop culture, smart people love Shakespeare, and despite all evidence to the opposite, Hearne is still trying to convince us that Atticus is the smartest smart person.

    The writer doth protest too much, methinks.

    More seriously, this reminds me of the way I used to write “smart” people when I was about twelve. It’s a very immature understanding of what intelligence is.

    If he’d been free to follow the dictates of his conscience rather than the pen of Shakespeare, perhaps he would have abandoned verse altogether, like me, and contented himself with this instead: “Bring it, muthafuckas. Bring it.”

    shoots out of her chair HEARNE, DID YOU JUST COMPARE YOURSELF FAVORABLY TO SHAKESPEARE? DID YOUJUSTCOMPAREYOURSELFFAVORABLY – TO SHAKESPEARE?!

    You don’t do that! Ever! If you are an artist, you do not compare yourself favorably to someone almost universally considered a master of that art! Painters do not compare themselves favorably to Da Vinci, composers do not compare themselves favorably to Mozart, and English writers do not compare themselves favorably to William Shakespeare! To do so speaks of an ego that would rival some planets for size!

    I can’t really analyze it, because there’s nothing to analyze.

    Please, please, may I try? Because I have thoughts.

    So, full disclosure, I have not yet read Hamlet, so I don’t really have any opinion on the play itself, but I just find the smug self-satisfaction with which Atticus said that line so galling. “Aren’t I so much more better and more interesting than Hamlet, able to say whatever I want without having to worry about putting it in blank verse? Isn’t my line so much more clever and funny?”

    No, Atticus. No, you are not, and it is not. Do you want to know why? “O, from this time forth/My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!” is infinitely better than what you said, because it has heart. It has originality, and creativity, and depth, and intelligence, and meaning, and conviction, and life to it, and a defined character with strong emotions and clear desires saying it. It was written by a man trying his darnedest to tell a story, not a man showing off on how clever he thought he was. Half the genius of Shakespeare’s writing is that he was able to take all the complexity and richness of human thoughts and feelings and dreams and convey them through blank verse, which is not a natural way for human beings to speak. And yet, you understand characters like Hamlet, like Juliet, like Lysander and Hermia, and you believe in what they’re saying, because Shakespeare knew how to show us human life through the medium of poetry. Heck, you understand them even though they speak 16th-century English!

    The works of Shakespeare have lasted, they have endured, they have been read, studied, cherished, performed from the fifteen hundreds to now, because they are, in the end, about reality, and while much has changed since Shakespeare’s day, there are things that haven’t. There are emotions and ideas in Shakespeare’s plays that we can still recognize in ourselves nearly five hundred years later. And we remember his way of showing us those emotions and ideas because he knew how to write memorably. And he knew how to write memorably because he took those powerful emotions and ideas and used the power of them to his advantage when he wrote, because he knew that if your characters feel strongly about these things, then you can make the audience feel as strongly. And he knew also how to use his language, how to craft a sentence so that the words and the rhythm and the tone resonated with the reader. “O from this time forth/My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!” is not a line you forget in a hurry. It hasn’t been forgotten in nearly five centuries.

    Does anyone here think that anyone will be able to say the same about Atticus O’Sullivan and his feeble attempt at throwing down the gauntlet, there?

    Anyway, that was an excellent closing rant, but I must know:

    Do you know where this GIF comes from? Please tell me, if you do.

    Smith: After the foreword you’ve given I can’t wait to discover new depths of hatered

    I’m aware that was a typo, but I like it. It’s like hatred so intense that you’re seeing red.

    In the kingdom of brainless the man with single brain cell is the king.

    I like this too. I’m gonna take it.

    Simple solution. Grab a gun, shoot Atticus again, do the X-ray and have him heal himself again!

    I would be absolutely delighted to help. Yes, that’s it, help. As much as needed. Over and over and over again…

    And all that back and forth? It only works in a weird world where people are only concerned about very specific and singular interpreation of the letter of the law, while throwing away all common sense, logic and humanity.

    Yes! This has been bothering me ever since the cops first started investigating Atticus. I’m aware that legal technicalities are a thing and sometimes people are found innocent/guilty because of them, but it feels like Hearne thinks the entirety of law is just pure technicalities and you can get away with basically whatever you want as long as the letter of the law protects you.

    And of course he had to bring nationality into it. I am probably only caring about this because it touches me personally, but this is faintly racist.

    You know, it was starting to bother me too. Why does it matter that they’re Polish? Would Atticus be less offended if they were, I dunno, French witches?

    Also I’d like to make a point of the fact that witches still exist and seem to be doing well, having covens and so on. While Druids are all extinct bar one who runs on authorial fiat. I think the superior magical tradition between the two is obvious.

    Ahaha, yes. I think Atticus is suffering from a touch of jealousy.

    And last of all, I’m writing a spitefic in which Mr. “Fine Art of Practical Jokes” up there decides to let Atticus have a taste of what it’s like to be constantly irritated by somebody. The reason I bring this up is because it’s kinda getting long because I have no self-control when it comes to this character and I was wondering if you guys would want to read it, or if the idea just sounds too annoying? If so, I can link you to the Google Doc once I’ve finished it. Just curious. Anyhow, see you around!

    1 Help me, I’m discussing the realism of a two-thousand-year-old druid saying that wedgies have been funny as long as he’s been alive. You see what you’ve done to me, Hearne?

  4. The Smith of Lie on 8 January 2020, 14:40 said:

    And Perry still thinks it was the bird who half-killed Atticus, as far as I can make out. Which is…I don’t even know what it is. Except awful.

    New Headcanon time! (I would also like a head canon, but from what I hear some German dude is first in que to get one of those installed).

    Perry knows that Atticus is full of shit and suspects that he is doing something shady. Except, not knowing about all the supernatural stuff, he thinks it is drugs. But Perry does not care. He is paid to stand behind the counter in the shop that is an obvious front for mafia? Ok, he will stand behind the counter and pretend he has no idea what goes around.

    As far as he is concerned Atticus got into shoot out with some Cartel. He does not want to know, he just wants his minimum wage.

    unwisely picks up the book again oh my gosh he calls it humili-tea i cant even this isnt worthy of capitalization or punctuation help me

    Eh, I lost ability to be annoyed at that by the time the “immortali-tea” came up.

    And I usually love puns and dad jokes, the worse and more groan-inducing the better. But the “x-tea” pun is not even that bad, it is just lazy and falls flat. Not cheesy and dorky enough by half.

    grinds teeth I would rather go an entire month without any bagpipe music than be fair to this book, but…

    You are putting more thought into this than Hearne did. Happens to us here all the time, especially when we try to give him credit for something. It is almost a weird kind of pareidolia – the sense is not present in the events of the book, but out of the suggestion of the outline that the nonsense create we try to make some semblence of it.

    I did not immediately assume that it must be an invisible magical object and panic;

    You… You didn’t? Erm, well… Wow… I must admit I am kinda embarassed now.

    So I searched for “Snorri name” and “Jodursson name” respectively because I don’t trust Hearne, and while “Snorri” came up with its own Wikipedia page and everything, there were two pages of results total for Jodursson, and every one of the first page results was somehow related to The Iron Druid Chronicles. I turned up one result that might possibly have not been Hearne-related on the second page. In Russian. I have no idea where Hearne got that name, but my money’s on “not any Nordic country”.

    Nice catch. Personally this is something I am usually to give authors a pass. As long as names don’t sound patently ridiculous or are wrong in a way I can see (like there was a character with Russian patronymic that was a derivative of a woman’s name in Angelopolis) I just assume that they are close enough. But of course this is Hearne and this is Impish Idea and I guess that by this point if Atticus tells us the sky is blue, a good idea would be to look out and check.

    And if Atticus decided that he wanted someone dead, he can do all that too, plus he’s got vampire lawyers who could make anybody who saw anything forget all about it. Sweet dreams!

    It occurs to me that the more powers a hero has, the more I need to be reassured that he or she will not abuse those powers. Anybody with the amount of power Atticus has at his disposal would have to be practically a saint before I stopped being terrified at the mere thought of them. I mean, I understand that this is all fiction and not real, but the whole point of fiction is to cause real feelings, and when I’m reading about a hero, I like those feelings to not be horror.

    Oh it can’t be that bad. It is not like he murdered multiple beings in front of his own house, used the resources at his disposal to hide or destroy the bodies, roped an innocent cardboard cutout into hiding a corps of god he killed, caused a death of a policaman mostly for his own amusement… Oh. Oh.

    You mean…he acted like a stupid, reckless nitwit without an ounce of self-preservation instinct?

    So… Business as usual then.

    Tell you what, sport. How about you try to remember that you are nominally twenty-one years old, and this man is at least five years older than that if not more, and stop acting like an obnoxious, condescending little snot for two seconds?

    But how would the readers know that Atticus is so much superior than everyone else in the univese?

    You know, Atty, if you had just left the sword invisible like I told you, you wouldn’t have this problem.

    It is not a problem. It is an opportunity. Opportunity to show witty quips, smart bluffs and great legal manouvering. Other then that, it is not inconvenient in the least.

    But more to the point: Am I weird in that I never, even as a kid, saw the humor in wedgies? I mean…there’s just not that much to laugh at.

    I never found them funny either. But I assumed that this is because they simply were not a thing where I live and that it was an American thing. The whole concept is just weird to me.

    You know, this would make more sense with his established character if his reasoning was less “I must, for I have HONOR!” and more “I promised a goddess that I’d do a thing, and if I don’t do the thing she will come back and kick my butt nine ways to Sunday.” Not that I’d really believe she’d kick his butt nine ways to Sunday, but at least it would go along with the self-serving coward he’s proven himself to be already.

    We said it multiple times, if Atticus acknowledged his own role as a vllain protagonist and actually acted in a well thought out self-interest (instead of being a passenger in his own book) he’d be much more likeable characer.

    Nah, that’s the reason he holds them in contempt and doesn’t want to sleep with them. He hates them because they’re younger than him and smarter and have more freaking initiative.

    And if you think about it, his misgivings should apply to him just as well. I mean he isn’t actually the strapping 21 years old lad that Leperchaun Cutout sees. He is a dirty, sleazy old man. Who also behaves like douchy frat-bro.

    shoots out of her chair HEARNE, DID YOU JUST COMPARE YOURSELF FAVORABLY TO SHAKESPEARE? DID YOUJUSTCOMPAREYOURSELFFAVORABLY – TO SHAKESPEARE?!

    And with a banal line that Atticus delivered in the lamest way possible. Why not just use “motherfuckers”? Why use the weird, ghetto/hood/slang/whatever version? Atticus is not some gang youth. I can take him being crass and simple, but this version is just… I don’t know, it sounds like a dork trying to pose as badass (so, something I have sadly a lot of first-hand knowledge about).

  5. TMary on 9 January 2020, 15:46 said:

    New Headcanon time! (I would also like a head canon, but from what I hear some German dude is first in que to get one of those installed).

    I thought it was some guy in a black hat. :P

    As far as he is concerned Atticus got into shoot out with some Cartel. He does not want to know, he just wants his minimum wage.

    I choose to believe this, primarily because it would mean there was one person in the whole story who had at least half a brain and used it.

    And I usually love puns and dad jokes, the worse and more groan-inducing the better. But the “x-tea” pun is not even that bad, it is just lazy and falls flat. Not cheesy and dorky enough by half.

    That’s half the problem. The other half is that I don’t find Atticus nearly charming enough to allow him to get away with stupid puns.

    It is almost a weird kind of pareidolia – the sense is not present in the events of the book, but out of the suggestion of the outline that the nonsense create we try to make some semblence of it.

    That’s the best metaphor for sporking ever. I love it.

    You… You didn’t? Erm, well… Wow… I must admit I am kinda embarassed now.

    …Well, not always. :P

    Nice catch. Personally this is something I am usually to give authors a pass. As long as names don’t sound patently ridiculous or are wrong in a way I can see (like there was a character with Russian patronymic that was a derivative of a woman’s name in Angelopolis) I just assume that they are close enough.

    That’s fair. Names and languages are kind of my thing, so I’m more suspicious and less inclined to give a pass.

    Also:

    But of course this is Hearne and this is Impish Idea and I guess that by this point if Atticus tells us the sky is blue, a good idea would be to look out and check.

    This.

    Oh it can’t be that bad. It is not like he murdered multiple beings in front of his own house, used the resources at his disposal to hide or destroy the bodies, roped an innocent cardboard cutout into hiding a corps of god he killed, caused a death of a policaman mostly for his own amusement… Oh. Oh.

    Ecco.

    But how would the readers know that Atticus is so much superior than everyone else in the univese?

    By his proving his superiority by not constantly acting superior.

    I never found them funny either. But I assumed that this is because they simply were not a thing where I live and that it was an American thing. The whole concept is just weird to me.

    It’s…it’s not a thing in Poland? Huh. It seemed to be everywhere in American kids’ media. Despite this, I never got it either.

    And if you think about it, his misgivings should apply to him just as well. I mean he isn’t actually the strapping 21 years old lad that Leperchaun Cutout sees. He is a dirty, sleazy old man. Who also behaves like douchy frat-bro.

    Ah, but you see, he is actually physically twenty-one years old. It’s not an illusion. Because Druid Juice™. What, you didn’t think he was going to stoop to anything those nasty witches did, did you?

    (We’ll just quietly ignore that his mind is thousands of years old at this point, of course.)

    I can take him being crass and simple, but this version is just… I don’t know, it sounds like a dork trying to pose as badass (so, something I have sadly a lot of first-hand knowledge about).

    This, this exactly. He might be able to get away with it if he sounded like somebody who would actually talk this way, but he doesn’t. It’s not convincing and it doesn’t sound natural coming from him, so he just comes across as a dork. Alternately, if he and the author recognized how dorky he is and ran with it, it also might work. But nope!

  6. Juracan on 10 January 2020, 09:49 said:

    Before I get started, though, I just thought I’d let you all know that I have three perfect songs for Atticus. Here you go. After that intro, I’m pretty sure we’re gonna need them all.

    Much appreciated!

    Also, are we supposed to laugh at Perry here? Are we supposed to go, “Ha ha, nerds are stupid, all you have to do is quote their favorite movie at them and they stop worrying”? I can’t tell any more.

    I mean honestly, I don’t know either. We’re supposed to find this funny, because this book thinks pop culture references are in and of themselves funny, but I can’t tell if it’s meant to be a mean-spirited way at Perry or not. Probably though. Considering I’m not giving this book the benefit of the doubt.

    So…yeah, this is still stupid, forget I said anything. Here, have an XKCD comic about the overuse of Monty Python quotes in place of humor.

    I thought about this comic! I think about it a lot, actually. It didn’t make it into the sporking ‘cause I wasn’t sure how to work it in.

    This does not make any sense. Maybe I’m just clumsy, but I have, on occasion, bumped against something or felt something brush my arm and been unsure what it was. I did not immediately assume that it must be an invisible magical object and panic; I just shrugged it off and went on with my day. If Atticus left the sword invisible, ten to one that’s what would happen if someone actually did bump into it. If, however, he takes off the cloak, suddenly he’s got to deal with people around him who are wondering what he wants with a sword!

    You’re right, and it’s hard to really come up with a counterargument, considering that the story earlier had a scene where Atticus explains to Malina that if anyone overheard them talking about the supernatural, they’d assume they were talking about a video game or RPG or something. Likewise, if he just stashed the sword somewhere while it was invisible, it’d probably go as you describe.

    But this book doesn’t really care about realistic reactions. It cares about Atticus going about his day and if anything inconveniences him, it’s handwaved off or killed unceremoniously.

    Also, I just noticed a grammatical error in the book and am wondering if I should bring it up in detail?

    So I searched for “Snorri name” and “Jodursson name” respectively because I don’t trust Hearne, and while “Snorri” came up with its own Wikipedia page and everything, there were two pages of results total for Jodursson, and every one of the first page results was somehow related to The Iron Druid Chronicles. I turned up one result that might possibly have not been Hearne-related on the second page. In Russian. I have no idea where Hearne got that name, but my money’s on “not any Nordic country”.

    Huh. I just did a search myself and you’re right—I can’t find a Nordic name like this. I switched to ‘Jodur’ to see if that would get me anything either (given the nature of Icelandic surnames), and once again… nothing that was Iceland. Nothing that was a proper name in fact. Like Smith, I don’t consider it that big a deal, and I usually excuse this kind of thing… but as far as I can tell, it’s not only not an Icelandic name, it’s not a name at all. So, uh, where did this name come from, Hearne? Did he just mash up some syllables until he got something that looked Nordic?

    I don’t know if I’m taking off points for it, but I am giving it askance glances.

    It occurs to me that the more powers a hero has, the more I need to be reassured that he or she will not abuse those powers. Anybody with the amount of power Atticus has at his disposal would have to be practically a saint before I stopped being terrified at the mere thought of them. I mean, I understand that this is all fiction and not real, but the whole point of fiction is to cause real feelings, and when I’m reading about a hero, I like those feelings to not be horror.

    Yup-yup. We have to convince the audience that they can trust the hero, or that this power is in good hands. And if they don’t convince them that, it should be part of the story.

    [Reminds me a bit of an article I saw last year pointing out that The Dark Knight has a climax involving a mass surveillance device, which the characters all agree is too much power for one person to have, but use because they believe they have no choice if they want to locate Joker. And it leads to Mr. Fox destroying the device and quitting his job because he thinks it’s unethical that Bruce had that built in the first place. Fast forward to 2019 and Spider-Man: Far From Home which also involves a mass surveillance device, but with killer attack drones as well, and no one in the movie thinks to question that the device exists, the conflict is over who should get it. Hmmmm.]

    Atticus is a bit like Superman, in that he has an extreme amount of power. But whereas with Superman, the writers have to convince you “Hey Clark is a good guy who wouldn’t use his powers for evil or selfishness,” Hearne instead is like, “Yeah Atticus uses his powers and connections for kicks all the time to do whatever we want, but he’s cool because he quotes pop culture and Shakespeare so it’s good.”

    No. No it’s not.

    Also, if I was the paramedic in this scenario, I’d…well, honestly, I don’t know what I’d think, considering that I can’t think why anyone would try to scam a ride in an ambulance and a trip to the hospital, but I definitely would no longer think this man had been shot.

    I mean, I should think he’d just leave, but then Atticus and Hal would sue him because that’s the one thing they know how to threaten normal people with.

    OK, so underwear has changed significantly over the last two thousand years just in Ireland (leaving the variations across cultures out of the debate for a moment), and while I’m far from an expert, I’m not sure that it has always been something you could even get a wedgie from? But more to the point: Am I weird in that I never, even as a kid, saw the humor in wedgies? I mean…there’s just not that much to laugh at.

    I thought it weird too, considering how undergarments have changed over time, but I focused more on the stupidity of Atticus’s sense of humor, mostly because I didn’t feel like Googling historical underwear. I got it as a kid, but I feel like in fiction it was more often depicted as something bullies did to the Little Guy? It generally wasn’t funny in and of itself; it was more of a thing that middle school douchebags thought was funny, and was funny to the audience when said bullies had it done to themselves in return.

    And yes, this means that in this scenario, Atticus has the mentality of a middle school bully. This… really doesn’t endear him to me.

    Can we just buy Atticus this shirt? And then somehow force him to never take it off again?

    If he was real? I’d say let’s do it.

    So I’m not sure this is even middle schooler humor as much as it is comedy written by adults who think they know what middle schoolers find funny. Except this book isn’t for middle schoolers, so it doesn’t even have that excuse.

    Again, I feel like this is something usually played as ‘middle school bullies do it, and it’s funny when it’s done to them in turn.’ There are circumstances it could be funny to a younger audience, but it’s not even that. It’s just… Atticus being a dick.

    Also all of Starspirit’s bit? Yeah that, but especially this:

    My point is that there’s some creativity and thought that goes into a decent practical joke. This? This is…the bottom of the barrel. There is no cleverness in a wedgie.

    Because this underlines the problem with Atticus’s character: he’s not clever or creative at all. The story thinks he is, sure, but he’s just magically bludgeoning all his problems rather than thinking them through. It’s hard to say that this man is a clever trickster type if he’s got superstrength, healing, and a sword that cuts through anything along with an army of lawyers to pick up his messes.

    So when he pulls jokes, they’re not funny, or witty or anything. They’re just… “Hey, look, I can pick on people with magic!” It’s like something a preteen Draco Malfoy would find funny, and Harry would hit him for.

    A joke which clearly recognizes that this is unacceptable behavior, but eh, Snorri’s helping Our Hero out, so who cares, right?

    “We’re screwing over the public for the sake of getting what we want, aren’t we cute? Tee-hee!”

    The reason I bring this up is that Martin, who can now edit reality to suit his whims? Still faces more obstacles and conflicts than Atticus does, in the first five chapters alone. THE MAN WHO CAN EDIT REALITY FACES MORE OBSTACLES AND CONFLICTS THAN ATTICUS DOES.

    Huh. I’ll have to check this book out.

    HEARNE, DID YOU JUST COMPARE YOURSELF FAVORABLY TO SHAKESPEARE? DID YOUJUSTCOMPAREYOURSELFFAVORABLY – TO SHAKESPEARE?!

    [takes a sip of apple juice]

    …how would you feel if I told you the author was a former high school English teacher?

    Does anyone here think that anyone will be able to say the same about Atticus O’Sullivan and his feeble attempt at throwing down the gauntlet, there?

    See, I didn’t see this as a throwing down of the gauntlet as much as Hearne/Atticus trying to modernize it? Like, “Oh, if it was written today, this is what he would have said.” Which… that’s not really how I think it would go at all. He’s still comparing himself to Shakespeare, and putting himself on that level, but I think it’s a pretty stupid line, and if he thinks that’s what you’re meant to get from Hamlet’s character, uh… it’s like you missed the basic gist of the story.

    Do you know where this GIF comes from? Please tell me, if you do.

    It’s from foreign Panda Cheese ads.

    I’m aware that was a typo, but I like it. It’s like hatred so intense that you’re seeing red.

    [bangs gavel] New word has been declared!

    And last of all, I’m writing a spitefic in which Mr. “Fine Art of Practical Jokes” up there decides to let Atticus have a taste of what it’s like to be constantly irritated by somebody. The reason I bring this up is because it’s kinda getting long because I have no self-control when it comes to this character and I was wondering if you guys would want to read it, or if the idea just sounds too annoying? If so, I can link you to the Google Doc once I’ve finished it. Just curious. Anyhow, see you around!

    Yeah sure, link us to it! I’d be fine with that.

    Perry knows that Atticus is full of shit and suspects that he is doing something shady. Except, not knowing about all the supernatural stuff, he thinks it is drugs. But Perry does not care. He is paid to stand behind the counter in the shop that is an obvious front for mafia? Ok, he will stand behind the counter and pretend he has no idea what goes around.

    [bangs gavel again] I accept this as canon.

    Oh it can’t be that bad. It is not like he murdered multiple beings in front of his own house, used the resources at his disposal to hide or destroy the bodies, roped an innocent cardboard cutout into hiding a corps of god he killed, caused a death of a policaman mostly for his own amusement… Oh. Oh.

    Oh.

    I never found them funny either. But I assumed that this is because they simply were not a thing where I live and that it was an American thing. The whole concept is just weird to me.

    I think it is? An American thing, that is. Which is why, if we accept that Atticus is an ancient Druid, he claims this is a thing that’s been funny for thousands of years, when it’s a relatively recent thing. I mean at this point WE know that Atticus’s sensibilities are almost entirely those of a modern person, but he’s not even trying at this point.

    And if you think about it, his misgivings should apply to him just as well. I mean he isn’t actually the strapping 21 years old lad that Leperchaun Cutout sees. He is a dirty, sleazy old man. Who also behaves like douchy frat-bro.

    I’m imagining an old man acting like Atticus does.

    Ew.

    And with a banal line that Atticus delivered in the lamest way possible. Why not just use “motherfuckers”? Why use the weird, ghetto/hood/slang/whatever version? Atticus is not some gang youth. I can take him being crass and simple, but this version is just… I don’t know, it sounds like a dork trying to pose as badass (so, something I have sadly a lot of first-hand knowledge about).

    Again, this sounds like Hearne/Atticus is trying to sound like “Hip youth” as if this is the way everybody talks right now. It’s… not. While it’s used in comedic writing a lot, I can’t exactly say I know a lot of people who use the word ‘motherfucker’ in conversation.

    It’s…it’s not a thing in Poland? Huh. It seemed to be everywhere in American kids’ media. Despite this, I never got it either.

    See, now I’m wondering, because I can’t recall it ever being used in British media, or any Hispanic media that I can think of that’s not Hispanic-American. I want to know more, but I’m scared of what I’ll get if I start Googling the history of wedgies.

  7. The Smith of Lie on 10 January 2020, 17:18 said:

    I choose to believe this, primarily because it would mean there was one person in the whole story who had at least half a brain and used it.

    I am now thinking about what kind of spite-fic I could whip up about Perry, but for the time being I have no good idea where to take it besides him suspecting Atticus of running drugs for the mob.

    I’ll be back with a comment the second I come up withs something.

    By his proving his superiority by not constantly acting superior.

    Ah, a good idea. Except it would require effort on his part. And we can’t have that. Sorry, back to acting like a superior asshole it is.

    It’s…it’s not a thing in Poland? Huh. It seemed to be everywhere in American kids’ media. Despite this, I never got it either.

    and

    I think it is? An American thing, that is. Which is why, if we accept that Atticus is an ancient Druid, he claims this is a thing that’s been funny for thousands of years, when it’s a relatively recent thing. I mean at this point WE know that Atticus’s sensibilities are almost entirely those of a modern person, but he’s not even trying at this point.

    Outside of American media I have never met with concept of wedgie. I never witnessed, esperienced or even heard about anyone having it done to them in real life. It is just something that happens in American cartoons/sit-coms to us.

    And given Juracan’s musings, I am afraid I need to propose a new bit of headcanon. Atticus is the inventor of a wedgie and a person solely responsible for introducing it to the American culture. Probably tied it elswhere too, but it didn’t take.

    I know that compared to some other stuff he did it is pretty mild, but I move to add this to the list of atrocities he is responsible for.

    bw. I’m imagining an old man acting like Atticus does.
    Ew.

    I’m imaging Atticus acting like Atticus does and I get an “Ew”. So yeah.

    Again, this sounds like Hearne/Atticus is trying to sound like “Hip youth” as if this is the way everybody talks right now. It’s… not. While it’s used in comedic writing a lot, I can’t exactly say I know a lot of people who use the word ‘motherfucker’ in conversation.

    This is such a weird part of him. I understand adopting the current cultural stances, at least aa a camouflage, I don’t expect him to speak in Middle English or anything. But he whips between old timey, archaic and “hip” in such a way that it gives me whiplash. And it also leaves him without his own unique voice.

    This line just annoys me on its own, ignoring Shakespear comparisons. It was a perfect chance to have a real, fitting boastful phrase. But it comes off as forced and stupid.

    Now if you want a good line in the similar spirit, I give you one of my favourites – Tanith Low in Skulduggery Pleasant “Come and have a go, if you think you’re hard enough!”

    It is such a good line. A bit old fashioned in the phrasing, inviting the opponent to try her but with a warning that it is not gonna be easy or pleasant. It radiates confidence without being either overly pretentious or crass. Perfectly balanced, as all things should be!

    Man, now I am feeling like I should re-read the series.