|This time we start our adventure at Chapter 6, and conclude at the end of Chapter 10|
Take 15 - The One With Hamish in the MiddleDescription: Onward! We travel a little further in this adventure called A Discovery of Witches. This take is named "Hamish in the Middle" because his chapter is in the middle of this batch of chapters! We learn a little more about Matthew and Diana and the world they live in, including the people they consider co-workers, best friends and family members. Angela, Jean and Valerie pick out scenes they've noted as turning points in the main character's lives. Feel free to pick up your copy of ADOW and read before/after listening. Every reader is different, and we only represent 3 reader's POV; you may see and note something totally different! If you do, don't hesitate to contact us with your opinion and interpretations. Chapters 6-10, let's go!
SPOILER ALERT! We (The Daemons) approach this podcast with an assumption that the listener has read The All Souls Trilogy, including A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, and The Book of Life. If you haven't, and you don't mind, we certainly don't mind! 😊 Let's do this.
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1. Show notes:For newcomers to the series:
- We'll start with the basics: The books in discussion are A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night and The Book of Life. Together they make The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness.
- Our Daemon Guides to the All Souls Trilogy are available for download: ADOW, SON, TBOL
- If you'd like a ready-reference from the author herself, be sure to download the All Souls Real-Time Reading companion (free e-book at online booksellers via Penguin and Headline books).
- Deborah Harkness usually conducts a real-time reading on her Facebook Page (starting in September), and shares her posts across social media. Check out her website for all of her social media links, and of course all that she has to offer her readers!
- To see what's available on the web as far as the All Souls universe fandom, check our links page.
a. Chapter 6
* (01:06) – Miriam, the charmer!
The female vampire rapped a stack of papers sharply against the top of the desk.* (03:20) – Miriam, time for lunch! Diana goes to lunch at Blackwells, and we meet Agatha Wilson.
Clairmont smiled. “May I introduce my research colleague, Dr. Miriam Shephard. Miriam, this is Dr. Diana Bishop.”
“Dr. Bishop,” Miriam said coolly, extending her hand in my direction. I took it and felt a shock at the contrast between her tiny, cold hand and my own larger, warmer one. I began to draw back, but her grip grew firmer, crushing the bones together. When she finally let go, I had to resist the urge to shake out my hand
|Blackwells, Oxford UK|
[...] I passed by, the two female vampires from yesterday drove icicles into my skin, and the daemon from the music reference room had picked up two other daemons. The three of them were dismantling a microfilm reader, the parts scattered all around them and a roll of film unspooling, unnoticed, on the floor at their feet.* (04:31) – The "Vampire Murders"
“There is no evidence that these are ritual murders,” Knox told reporters at a news conference. “Nor does it seem that this is the work of a serial killer,” he concluded, in spite of the similar murders of Christiana Nilsson in Copenhagen last summer and Sergei Morozov in St Petersburg in the fall of 2007. When pressed, Knox conceded that the London case may involve a copycat killer or killers.* (05:05) – Daemons as visionaries:
Daemons could be visionaries. No one knew if their visions were reliable, like the visions that witches had.* (05:53) – Diana’s vampire (according to Agatha):
“Vampires and witches don’t share their thoughts with us. Not even your vampire tells us what he knows, though he’s fonder of daemons than most of his kind. So many secrets, and so many clever humans these days. They’ll figure it out if we’re not careful. Humans like power—secrets, too.”* (06:45) – Classical definition of Daemons (according to Agatha):
Nobody knows,” she said wistfully. “Every day we wonder. Humans thought daemons were guardian angels at first. Then they believed we were gods, bound to the earth and victims of our own passions. Humans hated us because we were different and abandoned their children if they turned out to be daemons. They accused us of possessing their souls and making them insane. Daemons are brilliant, but we’re not vicious—not like the vampires.” Her voice was clearly angry now, though it never lifted above a murmur. “We would never make someone insane. Even more than witches, we’re victims of human fear and envy.”* (07:17) – The first name basis thing!
~ “Perhaps you should call me Diana,” I said quickly, before I lost my nerve.* (09:05) – The “Smize,” and BTW, Matthew does sparkle. 😝
Matthew Clairmont smiled
~ “All right,” he said softly, “but then you must call me Matthew.”
My heart stopped beating for a fraction of a second. This was not the small, polite smile with which I was now familiar. His lips curved toward his eyes, making his whole face sparkle. God, he was beautiful, I thought again, slightly dazzled.b. Chapter 7
* (10:04) – Diana’s continuing restless days and nights.
Back in my rooms, I flipped on the bathroom light and saw that the past two days had taken a toll. The circles that had appeared under my eyes yesterday had now blossomed into something resembling bruises. I checked my arm for bruises, too, and was surprised not to find any. The vampire’s grip had been so strong that I was sure Clairmont had broken the blood vessels under the skin.* (10:22) – Diana’s habit of walking with her eyes closed.
“No”—his voice held a touch of acid—“although that’s an excellent question. I was going to ask why you walk with your eyes closed.”* (11:08) – Going to breakfast with Matthew, his nervousness, his building a literal wall (while building a figurative one). We were surprised by her appetite.
I laughed. “What—you don’t?”
Matthew shook his head. “Vampires have only five senses. We find it best to use all of them,” he said sardonically.
~“I suppose I need to know why I’m here,” he said, looking fixedly at the table. He was building a moated castle from the sugar jar and a ring of blue artificial-sweetener packets.* (12:46) – Matthew is a practicing physician among all of the other things he happens to be.
~ “Thank you!” I said. Mary’s critique of my appearance did nothing to diminish my appreciation for the extra food.
“Mary saved him the first time, but after he was admitted into hospital he had a terrible reaction to his medication. I told you she’s observant. When she took her concerns to one of the physicians, he brushed them aside. I . . . overheard—and intervened.”* (14:02) – Diana being curious a to what Matthew actually consumes:
“Do you often see patients?” I poured each of us a steaming mug of tea so strong you could stand a spoon up in it. My hands trembled slightly at the idea of a vampire prowling the wards at the John Radcliffe among the sick and injured.
“No,” he said, toying with the sugar jar, “only when they have an emergency.”
“Tea’s not really my drink,” he said, his voicing dropping slightly.* (14:36) – Diana’s tea ritual:
“What is your drink?” The minute the question was out of my mouth, I wished I could call it back. His mood went from amusement to tight-lipped fury.
“You have to ask?” he said scathingly. “Even humans know the answer to that question.”
Pushing one of the mugs toward him, I fixed my eyes on the sugar. He handed it to me. I put precisely half a teaspoon of sugar and half a cup of milk into my tea. This was just how I liked it—black as tar, a hint of sugar to cut the edge off the bitterness, then enough milk to make it look less like stew. This done, I stirred the concoction clockwise. As soon as experience told me it wouldn’t burn my tongue, I took a sip. Perfect.* (14:56) – Diana during this breakfast takes on the role of the interviewer:
Clairmont snorted. “Not the good scientists.” The people behind him got up to leave, and he tensed, ready if they decided to rush the table.c. Chapter 8
“And you’re a good scientist.”
He let my assessment pass without comment.
“Someday you’ll have to explain to me the relationship between neuroscience, DNA research, animal behavior, and evolution. They don’t obviously fit together.” I took another bite of toast.
* (15:46) – Yoga and chill?! We did learn a lot about Matthew in this scene. We learned he does mix with other creatures, we see his house and learn that he’s at least 500 years old. Angela mentions Aly’s yoga piece: Yoga and the All Souls Trilogy. Matthew’s impossible pose (performed by Aly):
|Fallen Angel pose (photo © Aly Davis)|
He picked up his keys. “Can I interest you in some tea before we head back to Oxford?”* (18:29) – Louisa. Matthew’s description of Louisa reminded Jean of Angelique in Dark Shadows
“We’ll go to the gatehouse,” Matthew said matter-of-factly.
“There’s a café there?”
“No, but there’s a kitchen. A place to sit down, too. I can make tea,” he teased.
“The death was only as terrible as the woman who suffered it. I loved my sister, but she didn’t make that easy. She absorbed every vice of every age she lived through. If there was excess to be had, Louisa found it.”* (18:59) – The chimneys . . .
We got back into the car and drove the short distance to the gatehouse. As the manor’s onetime public face, it had slightly more frills and embellishments than the main house. I studied the twisted chimneys and the elaborate patterns in the brick.
Matthew groaned. “I know. The chimneys were a mistake. The stonemason was dying to try his hand at them. His cousin worked for Wolsey at Hampton Court, and the man simply wouldn’t take no for an answer.”
|Some examples of the ornate twisted chimneys that Matthew described.|
“You can’t feel it when I look at you?” I asked.* (20:20) – Pushing your magic aside…
“No. Can you?” His eyes were guileless and caused the familiar reaction on my skin.
“Tell me what it feels like.” He leaned forward. Everything seemed perfectly ordinary, but I felt that a trap was being set.
“You’re trying to push your magic aside, just as you believe your scientists did hundreds of years ago. The problem is,” he continued quietly, “it didn’t work. Not even the humans among them could push the magic out of their world entirely. You said so yourself. It kept returning.”* (20:43) – End of pseudo date: “Goodnight, then!”… 😂! The actual quote:
The ride back to Oxford was quiet. Humans had it all wrong when it came to vampires, I reflected. To make them frightening, humans imagined vampires as bloodthirsty. But it was Matthew’s remoteness, combined with his flashes of anger and abrupt mood swings, that scared me.d. Chapter 9
When we arrived at the New College lodge, Matthew retrieved my mat from the trunk.
“Have a good weekend,” he said without emotion.
* (21:13) – Hamish in Scotland! We didn’t even talk about the location here. Let’s remedy that!
"Matthew crossed the river Avon, driving over the bridge’s high, arched spans. He found the familiar Lanarkshire landscape of craggy hills, dark sky, and stark contrasts soothing. Little about this part of Scotland was soft or inviting, and its forbidding beauty suited his present mood."
|Duke's Bridge in Scotland - it's the bridge that leads to the inspiration of Hamish's house (crosses the River Avon)|
|Châtelherault South Lanarkshire, Scotland - Deb's inspiration for Hamish's lodge|
“I can’t conceive of what you would have to do to make me hate you, Matthew. I love you like a brother, and I will until I draw my last breath.”* (24:52) – Hamish’s diagnosis of Matthew:
The daemon glanced at his watch. The day was young, but he already knew why his friend was in Scotland.* (25:53) – Matthew killed someone! Her name was Eleanor.
Matthew Clairmont was falling in love.
“Her name was Eleanor.” Matthew stumbled over the name. He dashed the back of his hand across his eyes, a fruitless attempt to wipe the image of her face from his mind. “My brother and I were fighting. Now I can’t even remember what the argument was about. Back then I wanted to destroy him with my bare hands. Eleanor tried to make me see reason. She got between us and—” The vampire’s voice broke. He cradled his head without bothering to clean the bloody residue from his already healed fingers. “I loved her so much, and I killed her.”* (26:01) – Cecilia: parallel between stalking Cecelia and now Diana.
“I saw her at the opera and became infatuated. Everyone in Paris was infatuated with someone else’s wife at the time.” His finger traced the outline of a woman’s face on the pane of glass before him. “It didn’t strike me as a challenge. I only wanted a taste of her, that night I went to her house. But once I started, I couldn’t stop. And yet I couldn’t let her die either—she was mine, and I wouldn’t give her up. I barely stopped feeding in time. Dieu, she hated being a vampire. Cecilia walked into a burning house before I could stop her.”* (27:00) – Liberace! Jean talked about Hamish having all of the accoutrements of a stereotypical gay man, however not necessarily carrying himself that way. We did say something about this in our daemon episode, too! Anyway, she went on to describe what she imagined Hamish’s home dress ensemble would consist of, and the word “smoking jacket” triggered a vision of Liberace in Val’s head. A very “dialed-down” version of the gentleman pictured below! Liberace fell on the explosive end of the stereotype spectrum that Jean described. 😉
“Matthew snarled.* (30:07) – End scene.
“Very impressive,” Hamish said in a bored tone.”
“But is she lucky, Hamish? Is she fortunate to have a creature like me in pursuit?”e. Chapter 10
“That’s entirely up to you. Just remember—no secrets. Not if you love her.”
Matthew looked into his queen’s serene face, his fingers closing protectively around the small carved figure.
He was still holding it when the sun rose, long after Hamish had gone to sleep.”
* (31:43) – Where’s Matthew? Miriam is over Diana’s damsel-in-distress act. Diana is over Miriam’s judgement of her. We see Diana’s hands spark for the first time.
“You should be more careful with your things,” Miriam muttered. “You’re a witch, Dr. Bishop. Take care of yourself and stop putting Matthew in this impossible situation.”* (32:33) – Diana has to step up and deal with all of these wayward creatures.
I turned on my heel without comment and went to pick up my manuscripts from Sean.
“Everything all right?” he asked, eyeing Miriam with a frown.
“Perfectly.” I gave him my usual seat number and, when he still looked concerned, a warm smile.
How dare Miriam speak to me like that? I fumed while settling into my workspace.
The room was full to bursting with creatures. They had segregated themselves. One long table held nothing but daemons, conspicuous because not a single book—open or closed—sat in front of them. Vampires sat at another table, their bodies perfectly still and their eyes never blinking. The witches appeared studious, but their frowns were signs of irritation rather than concentration, since the daemons and vampires had staked out the tables closest to the staircase.* (33:38) – Diana has to face the music with Sarah and Emily. She’s hanging out with a vampire.
“I never thought I’d see the day when a Bishop relied on a vampire for protection, rather than her own power,” she said. “My mother must be turning in her grave. This is what comes from avoiding who you are, Diana. You’ve got a mess on your hands, and it’s all because you thought you could ignore your heritage. It doesn’t work that way.”* (36:24) – GILLIAN! She’s not so nice. . .
“There was nothing the Cambridge coven could do to prevent my parents’ murder. They were killed on another continent by fearful humans.” I gripped the arms of my chair, hoping that she wouldn’t see my white knuckles.* (36:47) – Gillian does NOT live up to her namesake ('Gillian Holroyd' played by Kim Novak) in Bell Book & Candle. This makes Jean sad. 😞😂
Gillian gave an unpleasant laugh. “It wasn’t humans, Diana. If it had been, their killers would have been caught and dealt with.” She crouched down, her face close to mine. “Rebecca Bishop and Stephen Proctor were keeping secrets from other witches. We needed to discover them. Their deaths were unfortunate, but necessary. Your father had more power than we ever dreamed.”
* (37:08) – Professor Marsh – The meeting with the warden. Surprise! Peter Knox.
“Then you have forgiven me for neglecting you for so long,” he said. “I hope to make it up to you by introducing you to an old friend of mine who is in Oxford for a few days. He’s a well-known author and writes about subjects that might interest you.”* (37:57) – We learn what’s possible with witch's powers in the All Souls world with Peter Knox
Marsh stood aside, giving me a glimpse of a thick head of brown hair peppered with gray and the sleeve of a brown tweed jacket. I froze in confusion.
“Come and meet Peter Knox,” the warden said, taking my elbow gently. “He’s acquainted with your work.”
“Missing students?” I said blandly. Surely Knox had magically engineered both the crisis and the phone call that had drawn Marsh away.* (38:48) – A takeaway from this chapter: infighting within the witch community.
* (39:43) – End scene (Diana gives in and leaves a message on Matthew's answering service. Her reasoning):
I’d assured Sarah and Em that no vampire would meddle in my life. Gillian Chamberlain and Peter Knox had changed my mind. With shaking hands I lowered the shades and locked the door, wishing I’d never heard of Ashmole 782.-----
* (41:43) – Promo break. See how to support & get a hold of us below! Scroll down, or click here.
* (43:07) – Jean would love to have a dinner date at Matthew’s gate house.
* (43:29) – We’ve just named the next chapter discussion
* (44:02) – Angela thinks this chapter (10) set us up perfectly for the next ones.
* (44:40) – Valerie is invested, finally. She has a crush on Matthew and now fears for Diana's future.
* (45:32) – The Living and the Dead production on BBC America (done by Ashley Pharoah writer of ADOW TV series)! It's gone through it's one and only season, and Angela cannot let go of the cliffhanger. She’d like the show to come back in a different form so she can see the conclusion to satisfaction.
* (46:25) – Which book is coming next? Matthew’s or Marcus’? Stuff like this sets the Daemons off into “speculation mode”
* (47:45) – There is a tweet re: Deb’s writing. Angela posed a Daemon question, Deb answered (kind of…):
To which we posed the question, and she replied...there comes a moment in the writing of every book when all the individual chapter files get put into a single file. I just had it. #progress— Deborah Harkness (@DebHarkness) March 11, 2017
* (48:40) – Val thinks the TV show must be close … dormant ends of the fandom are waking up. She jokingly parallels the state of the fandom to the shrimp 🦐 that live in the Mojave desert lake beds at Edwards AFB. You can read about that phenomenon here: NASA - From Shrimp to Shore@DaemonsDomain 1. not saying 2. too many and counting 3. computer :)— Deborah Harkness (@DebHarkness) March 11, 2017
|Aerial view of the vast dry lakebed at Edwards AFB|
* (50:20) – ALL SOULS CON IS COMING!
Passes: $79, virtual passes: $0 (! --> thanks goes to Penguin Books for sponsoring the live stream) All early bird prices end the 15th of June, 2017 -- Virtual passes will remain absolutely free! Regular passes will go up to $99.
- Visit AllSoulsCon.org -- You can also see 2015 All Souls Con video there.
- Register for passes (virtual passes included - you must register to stream): AllSoulsCon.org/tickets
- Don’t forget to join the All Souls Con Attendees Facebook group!
* (51:15) – RECORD SCRATCH! "Domain" ... "Discuss" – meh, whatever! 😜
Take 14, The One With the X's and the Y's
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Until next time...
* Intro music: "Ghost Dance" (edited down to second chorus) by Kevin Macleod, licensed for use by Creative Commons.
* News intro: by AwesomeMusicVideos21; provided for fair-use/royalty-free.
* Outro music: Rimsky-Korsakov - "Scheherazade Symphonic Suite for Orchestra Op.35 - IV. Allegro molto," Public
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* Our episode titles are a loving tribute to the show "Friends" just 'cause we love Friends and - let's face it - it's easier! Here's how one of the show creators explains their reasoning:
Jeff Greenstein: "When Marta & David & Jeff & I did 'Dream On', we used to spend a lot of time thinking about titles, because they were on-screen at the top of each episode. On "Friends", we decided that was a waste of time. We figured, why not name each episode after the thing that people will ostensibly be talking about around the water-cooler the next day?"
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