marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

'nother problem with prequels

Sometimes, of course, you're not boxed in.  Because you deliberately left a mystery about what happened.  Did the hero escape the tower's fall?  (And is that gray-bearded man him?)  Who really murdered the man that Jack was executed for killing?  Which prince really had been named the king's heir?

And those are exactly the ones where prequels are most intensely craved among the fans -- and which bring the greater danger.  Leaving aside disappointing fans who wanted it to go the other way, there is the aesthetic problem of stripping the mystery away.  There was, after all, the reason why you put in there in the first place.  (Or so I hope.)  It can add a tragic doubt and uncertainty to the characters' surroundings, and so make all their choices that much more difficult.

The first problem is making the resolution of the mystery as dramatic -- no, more dramatic, than the mystery itself.  A common problem with books, but here, the mystery has had more time to build and take on significance.

And the resolution at the end of the book doesn't have quite the potential to cast a retrospective light on the events of the books that came chronologically after.  If Prince John really was the heir, it makes Princess Jane's followers' noble attempts to put her on the throne look less noble, that you know they were suckered by a con.
Tags: aesthetics, ambiguity, backstory, discovery, exposition, fictional history, prequels

  • Julia's House Moves On

    Julia's House Moves On by Ben Hatke The second Julia picture book. Julia decides that they need to move the house. Everyone's unhappy. So she…

  • Witch Hat Atelier, Vol. 6

    Witch Hat Atelier, Vol. 6 by Kamome Shirahama Spoilers ahead for the first five volume. As in, they arrive at the magical city (underwater!) with…

  • Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes

    Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi Pandava Quartet book 3. Spoilers ahead for the earlier work The tale continues -- taking up…

  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded