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Old 06-19-2012, 06:56 PM   #1
WT Sharpe
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June Discussion: Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott (spoilers)

Let's discuss the May MobileRead Book Club selection, Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott. What did you think?
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Old 06-20-2012, 03:55 PM   #2
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Guess I'll go first since I nominated it, although I just finished it yesterday so I'm still kind of thinking about things.



Action, adventure, heroism, betrayal, chivalry & romance. Robin Hood, Templars, Friar Tuck and Richard the Lion Heart, what's not to like?

I enjoyed the book. I can definately see the language & structure not being to everyone's liking, I know a friend of mine gave up reading it a while back because of what he called dated writing.

I grew up liking stories of knights, the crusades, Normans, Saxons, etc. so this book definately had all of that going for it from my perspective. I think the setting had a lot to do with my liking of this book and thought the actual story told was just OK. I was disappointed that there isn't all that much character development for the most part, well except for maybe Rebecca. One fairly minor character who kind of stuck with me was Ulrica and her experiences in the past while I found the title character fairly dull when he did get some 'screen time'.
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Old 06-20-2012, 04:13 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnemicOak View Post
...

Action, adventure, heroism, betrayal, chivalry & romance. Robin Hood, Templars, Friar Tuck and Richard the Lion Heart, what's not to like?

...
This is what I enjoyed about the book.

Quote:
...
I enjoyed the book. I can definately see the language & structure not being to everyone's liking, I know a friend of mine gave up reading it a while back because of what he called dated writing. ...
I did initially get hung up on the style, and almost didn't finish the book (I thought it started way to slow). But I'm glad I finished it, and enjoyed the book overall.

I was expecting white knights, pretty damsels, and clean-cut heroes. For such a dated book, I was surprised at some of the grit.
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Old 06-21-2012, 04:43 PM   #4
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So very sorry....June ended up being way to hectic leading up to my surgery yesterday, and I only managed the intro and ch. 1...sigh....will look forward to participating next month.
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Old 06-21-2012, 04:49 PM   #5
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So very sorry....June ended up being way to hectic leading up to my surgery yesterday, and I only managed the intro and ch. 1...sigh....will look forward to participating next month.
The Discussion threads are open all the time. Feel free to read he book at your leisure and come back to the discussion when you can.
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Old 06-21-2012, 06:46 PM   #6
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first, I found that it was a great deal better a novel than when I last read it at the age of 17! However, it wasn't as good as I wished it to be.

Part of the problem is that this is a book witten in the early years of the English Novel genre and a certain clumsiness is evident. Thus, I found myself bored with Scott's ponderous style and his tendency to substitute authorial editorialising of event and motive for dramatisation of them.

On the other hand, Scott clearly knew a good story when he found one and the combination of the conflict of Richard and John, the Norman and the Saxon rivalry with the attack on anti-Semitism and the input of Robin Hood clearly makes for an excellent, absorbing action-filled plot. I thought the novel really came to life when Richard met Friar Tuck! Rebecca is a vivid character {and much more interesting than Rowena IMO). The male characters tend to be more stereotypical but effective nonetheless. Prince John, for example, is an excellent villain while Richard, of course, is presented as the iconic good warrior-king.

All-in-all I enjoyed the novel and also the chance to reassess it {which I probably wouldn't have done otherwise}.

Last edited by fantasyfan; 06-22-2012 at 04:17 AM.
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Old 06-21-2012, 07:04 PM   #7
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I started reading Ivanhoe with a sense of dread, but it’s been on my to-read list for over 50 years so I was determined to plough through. The first 50 pages were heavy ploughing, indeed. Then I fell love with the story and the language and read the rest swiftly and with great enjoyment.

Aethelstane and his obsession with his next meal was particularly delightful. I saw Jon Stewart as Wamba and Richard McCabe as Gurth and enjoyed every appearance.

Robin Hood, Friar Tuck, King Richard the Lion-Hearted, the evil King John…a story with these characters is unlikely to go wrong. Wilfred of Ivanhoe was rather a snooze except in his few finest moments, and I was happy that he and Rowena were united at last. Even though Rebecca wanted him, she deserved better.

The Templar knight Brian de Bois-Guilbert was particularly fascinating and I was sorry that he got off on the wrong foot in his attempted seduction of Rebecca. He was the only character who came to fully appreciate her, but alas, the damage had been done. I couldn’t see him as evil so much as tragically flawed and misguided. He had enough substance to have been worthy of a sequel had he not been killed off.

For me, Ivanhoe was a delightful read.
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Old 07-24-2012, 09:29 PM   #8
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I’m new to Mobileread and I’m not sure of proper discussion etiquette. It may not be cool to revive a dead thread or to double dip. But Ivanhoe has stayed with me because I didn’t understand why I liked it so much. I expected to just wade through it.

The answer came to me while reading ‘In Pursuit of Spenser: Mystery Writers on Robert B. Parker and the Creation of an American Hero’ edited by Otto Penzler. Parker described himself as a writer of romance. He meant the Sir Walter Scott, not the Harlequin, variety. I was instantly enlightened. It was almost a spiritual experience.

My most beloved genre is the hard-boiled mystery. I know that Philip Marlowe, Lew Archer, and Spenser are fantasy. My son-in-law was a licensed private detective until he gave it up because it was too hard to stay awake while waiting for disability claimants to leave the house with a tennis racket or dive in the pool. But I love the code of the knights and fiction P.I.’s: fight evil, protect the vulnerable, preserve the good even at great personal cost.

While reading Ivanhoe I was in familiar but unrecognized territory. After reading it, I have a new understanding and appreciation of Marlowe and Spenser.
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Old 07-25-2012, 04:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
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I’m new to Mobileread and I’m not sure of proper discussion etiquette. It may not be cool to revive a dead thread or to double dip. But Ivanhoe has stayed with me because I didn’t understand why I liked it so much. I expected to just wade through it.

The answer came to me while reading ‘In Pursuit of Spenser: Mystery Writers on Robert B. Parker and the Creation of an American Hero’ edited by Otto Penzler. Parker described himself as a writer of romance. He meant the Sir Walter Scott, not the Harlequin, variety. I was instantly enlightened. It was almost a spiritual experience.

My most beloved genre is the hard-boiled mystery. I know that Philip Marlowe, Lew Archer, and Spenser are fantasy. My son-in-law was a licensed private detective until he gave it up because it was too hard to stay awake while waiting for disability claimants to leave the house with a tennis racket or dive in the pool. But I love the code of the knights and fiction P.I.’s: fight evil, protect the vulnerable, preserve the good even at great personal cost.

While reading Ivanhoe I was in familiar but unrecognized territory. After reading it, I have a new understanding and appreciation of Marlowe and Spenser.
So far as I know, one can make a point on a thread at anytime.

I liked your contributions because they opened a whole new perspective on Ivanhoe for me! What a fascinating and lateral way of looking at this work! Maybe I'll have to reassess my reassessment.

Last edited by fantasyfan; 07-25-2012 at 05:04 AM.
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