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Khazad-dûm Report: September 11, 1988

Khazad-dûm Discussion Group Report
September 11, 1988, Topic: Seventh Son by Orson Scott Card
Reported by Ellie Farrell


Reprinted from Mythprint Volume 25, Number 11 (Whole #102), November 1988.

The choice of this first book in Card’s new fantasy series set a record for Khazad-dûm meetings: nine people attended, all of whom had read the book! Most everyone liked Seventh Son. Randolph thought Card’s moral emphasis too obvious, but the rest of us all disagreed. David thought the characters particularly well-rounded: even the “evil” ones got their fair say. We discussed the identity of the Unmakes; Amy noted that this personification of entropy would be symbolically acceptable to the people of the culture. Several people were intrigued with Taleswapper’s role(s). David considered him to be Alvin’s mentor; Amy saw him as keeping the Miller family intact; Randolph thought he expressed Card’s idea of good through creativity. Tom brought up the use of water as a destructive power, ambivalent in itself but a tool of the Unmaker, and noted that in Red Prophet (the second book in the series) Alvin learns to control this force. We postulated that learning to control all of the elements may be one of the facets of Alvin’s growth to power. Everyone was intrigued by Card’s alternate history, which as far as we could tell from the book split off from ours at the time of Cromwell. The subtle effects of this change on separation of church and state (among other things!) in this world were cited, and we generally found that the “new” historical events were consistent (though David thought Card’s cartography a bit off). Ellie commented that Card (whom she met in the autograph line at Nolacon II) was pleased at receiving this year’s Mythopoeic Fantasy Award and being honored, as he said, for his storytelling. That storytelling certainly elicited a huge reaction from us, and led to one of the largest and most enthusiastic meetings Khazad-dûm has had lately.