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The Owl Service


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What's On? | The Owl Service

 

These plates are rarer than hen's teeth and extremely valuable.

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The mythical Blodeuwedd is featured in the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogi. She is a woman created from flowers by the king of Gwynedd, Math, and the magician and trickster Gwydion, for a man who was cursed to take no human wife. She betrays her husband Lleu in favour of another man, Gronw, and is turned into an owl as punishment for inducing Gronw to kill Lleu. In Garner's tale three teenagers find themselves re-enacting the story. They awaken the legend by finding a set of dinner plates (a dinner service) with an owl pattern, which gives the novel its title.

Michael Holden (Gwyn) became a computer programmer. He was murdered in 1977; a random attack in a London Pub.

There's something haunting yet real about the series.

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9 minutes ago, Wahoo said:

What's On? | The Owl Service

 

These plates are rarer than hen's teeth and extremely valuable.

Michael Holden (Gwyn) became a computer programmer. He was murdered in 1977; a random attack in a London Pub.

There's something haunting yet real about the series.

Brings back memories as I read that book as a young teen & I know I liked it. Unfortunately, I can't remember anything about the story now!

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The book was excellent.

I don't think that the TV series did justice to it.

A big failing was that the book is set in an unusually hot summer (in Wales - I know!) which puts every on edge and prone to losing their temper.

In the TV series it looks like autumn most of the time; Gwyn is permanenly in a jumper and rather than cooling off by swimming in the river Roger looks like he's shaking from the cold.

The actor who played Gwyn was in I think his first role; he was killed not longer after by two blokes who attacked him, apparently at random, in a west end bar.

I'd love to see a big budget remake.

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Yes a great book. Never saw the TV series. She wants to be flowers but they make her be owls.

I think it was set in Alderley Edge and after reading the book to us we had a school trip. From memory one of the husband blokes thrusts his spear through a hole, OO-ER ALERT, creating a stone with a hole in it. Would like to read again and thanks for reminder.

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12 minutes ago, Funn3r said:

I think it was set in Alderley Edge and after reading the book to us we had a school trip.

I remember a quite spooky late 70s schools programme in which the author points out various settings in Alderley Edge - wouldn't mind finding it again

Edited by Panther
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19 minutes ago, Funn3r said:

Yes a great book. Never saw the TV series. She wants to be flowers but they make her be owls.

I think it was set in Alderley Edge and after reading the book to us we had a school trip. From memory one of the husband blokes thrusts his spear through a hole, OO-ER ALERT, creating a stone with a hole in it. Would like to read again and thanks for reminder.

Alderley Edge was the setting for The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and The Moon of Gomrath. The Owl Service is set in an isolated valley in mid Wales.

Alan Garner also wrote Elidor based around Manchester, there is a reasonably good children's TV series based upon it, and Red Shift centring upon a derelict house in Stoke which I visited.

I think that there is a lot of potential in similar themes and Alan Garner really only scratched the surface.

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3 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

Alderley Edge was the setting for The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and The Moon of Gomrath. The Owl Service is set in an isolated valley in mid Wales.

Alan Garner also wrote Elidor based around Manchester, there is a reasonably good children's TV series based upon it, and Red Shift centring upon a derelict house in Stoke which I visited.

I think that there is a lot of potential in similar themes and Alan Garner really only scratched the surface.

How do you remember all these things?

 

I am pretty sure I have read Elidor too, now you have mentioned that.  (Was there a horse in that one?)

 

My memory is so rubbish! I could go and google Elidor now I suppose ...

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14 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

I think that there is a lot of potential in similar themes and Alan Garner really only scratched the surface.

Another of his books rooted in a real landscape is Thursbitch, set around Shining Tor in the Peak District.

Another is Boneland, set in Alderley Edge and spooky places like Lud's Church in the Peak District

Edited by Panther
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1 minute ago, whocares said:

How do you remember all these things?

 

I am pretty sure I have read Elidor too, now you have mentioned that.  (Was there a horse in that one?)

 

My memory is so rubbish! I could go and google Elidor now I suppose ...

There was a unicorn within it called Findhorn which would only sing upon death; the people huniting it (portrayed as Saxons as the four cities cited in Elidor as being under attack are the four cities, I remember Erebron, in Ireland in ancient Celtic myth).

The Saxons chased the unicorn to kill it not realising that their killing it brought on their own demise and the Celtic resurgence when Findhorn "sang" at death.

I do have a good memeory but I have read that recalling things to memory makes those memories afresh.

I have lengty vivid dreams most nights which serve to replay and so fix past memories.

I think that the secret to good memory is spending a long time asleep!

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9 minutes ago, Panther said:

Another of his books rooted in a real landscape is Thursbitch, set around Shining Tor in the Peak District.

Another is Boneland, set in Alderley Edge and spooky places like Lud's Church in the Peak District

Keep away from luds church you

might meet the green knight and end up listening to songs from

the wood 

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18 minutes ago, whocares said:

How do you remember all these things?

 

I am pretty sure I have read Elidor too, now you have mentioned that.  (Was there a horse in that one?)

 

My memory is so rubbish! I could go and google Elidor now I suppose ...

Googled it.  Unicorn apparently? Just read the synopsis ... and I still can't remember any of it! 

 

One man (writing a review of Elidor) recounts how his teacher had read it to him & his class mates (aged 9) in installments, soon after it was first published and how he had loved it so much that it has always stayed with him. 

 

He also mentions other books being read to the class in this way incl The Hobbit. 

 

Well I remember we had a student teacher (from the local teacher training college) for a while (to pass her practical) and she tried reading The Hobbit to us at the end of the school day.

 

I clearly remember thinking "this is so dull/boring" and struggling not to fall asleep! (And I generally like being read to!)

 

Put me right off reading The Hobbit (or any of the other Tolkein books) later in life tho I think I might have  had another crack at The Hobbit (many years later) just to check my 10 yr old self wasn't wrong about it! (Before giving up.) I still found it dull.

 

I clearly isn't my sort of thing. (I can't stand Star Wars either!)

 

 

Edited by whocares
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2 minutes ago, whocares said:

Googled it.  Unicorn apparently? Just read the syopsis ... and still can't remember it! 

 

One man (writing a review of Elidor) says how his teacher had read it to him & his class mates (aged 9) in installments soon after it was first published and how he had loved it so much.  It has always stayed with him. 

 

He also mentions other books being was also to the class in this way incl The Hobbit.  Well I remember we had a student teacher (from the local teacher training college) for a while (to pass her practical) and she tried reading The Hobbit to us at the end of the day.

 

I just clearly remember thinking "this is so dull/boring" and struggling not to fall asleep! (And I generally like being read to!)

 

Put me right off reading The Hobbit (or any of the other Tolkein books) later in life tho I think I might have  had another crack at The Hobbit (many years later) just to check my 10 yr old self wasn't wrong about it! (Before giving up.) I still found it dull.

 

I clearly isn't my sort of thing. (I can't stand Star Wars either!)

 

 

I think you're right.

The JRR Tolkien books are dull.  I like them for their imagined post Roman landscape which is excellent but if you're reading them for entertainmentthen hard luck.  I did try one of the background books - probably the Silmarillion - and it was deathly dull.

There are some fantasy series that are fun light reading, David Eddings or the Thomas Covenant books, but most are simply tedious.

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https://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/the-filter/angel-awards-why-we-must-continue-to-safeguard-our-heritage-site/

On phone so I can't re-read this article but I think it tells the story of Alan Garner's decades long quest, with his wife, to repair his house and save another one. 

Red Shift is partly set in Mow Cop, a place I know very well. @stokiescum will know the folly at the top.

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23 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

There was a unicorn within it called Findhorn which would only sing upon death; the people huniting it (portrayed as Saxons as the four cities cited in Elidor as being under attack are the four cities, I remember Erebron, in Ireland in ancient Celtic myth).

The Saxons chased the unicorn to kill it not realising that their killing it brought on their own demise and the Celtic resurgence when Findhorn "sang" at death.

I do have a good memeory but I have read that recalling things to memory makes those memories afresh.

I have lengty vivid dreams most nights which serve to replay and so fix past memories.

I think that the secret to good memory is spending a long time asleep!

I sleep a lot (I nearly always get 10 hrs a night of solid kip, minimum of 8 hrs or I will feel tired & grumpy) so obviously can't blame my poor memory on that! (I go to bed late but once asleep I find it hard to wake up again!)

 

I think my poor memory is often due to the events not having had enough significance?

 

We probably remember (commit to longer term memory) those things we deem to be worthy? (And erase the rest?) Like deleting all the rubbish digital pix we take (to free up memory space) ... and just keeping the best/funniest/most useful?

 

My husband and I remember different things from the past. And if we walk, he notices the route whereas I will get lost very easily because I am usually talking and not paying attention to my surroundings!

 

I do agree that refreshing the memory defo helps to keep it clear for longer.

 

Tho the brain tends to rewrite a memory each time it is retrieved so like Chinese Whispers, the memory can get subtly deformed over time to the point that 2 eye-witnesses to an event might have totally different recollections if they hadn't discussed it with anyone over the years?

 

Edited by whocares
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2 hours ago, eight said:

All I remember from Alan Garner is a terrifying description of an escape through an underground tunnel which did my claustrophobia no good at all. I'm sure it's been brought up (possibly my me) here before.

 

That was genuniely terrifying; especially the flooding section when you were already having to squeeze your way through it,

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7 hours ago, Heart's Ease said:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/the-filter/angel-awards-why-we-must-continue-to-safeguard-our-heritage-site/

On phone so I can't re-read this article but I think it tells the story of Alan Garner's decades long quest, with his wife, to repair his house and save another one. 

Red Shift is partly set in Mow Cop, a place I know very well. @stokiescum will know the folly at the top.

You could see the folly from the an xs house ie Margo step son has metal detecting permission on the farm next to it

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This month, the DOSBODS book club will be reading "The Owl Service" and "Elidor" (both by children's author Alan Garner) for an in depth discussion to be held at the end of December. (Or right now if you think you don't need to, you know-it-alls!)

 

@Frank Hovis

is excused ... on account of his flashbacks and ongoing claustrophobia. 😂

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