Can you tell us a little bit about each character from IWWV's upbringing? Their family/home life etc?
Wren and Richard probably had the most privileged upbringing of the group. (Meredith’s family may have had more money, but she was starved for attention in a way the Stirlings were not.) Expensive schools, gallivanting around Europe on holiday, attending the theatre from a very young age and being coddled and pampered by their parents and all their friends. As Wren mentions in Act III, neither of them had siblings, but because their fathers remained close, they saw each other quite frequently and so had a relationship more like what you might ordinarily find between siblings than cousins.
Meredith grew up in a somewhat similar fashion in that there was always plenty of money. She was mostly raised by a nanny until she was old enough to start school, but her education wasn’t something her parents took terribly seriously. Starting at thirteen they shipped her off to boarding school, which functioned more as a babysitting service than anything else. She spent summers with friends from school or wandering around New York, finding ways to entertain herself–books, music, movies, theatre.
James was born and raised in academia, and his parents–rather like Meredith’s in some respects–mostly left him to his own devices until he was old enough to be treated as an adult. (He called his father “Professor” his entire life, with increasing sarcasm as he aged.) Growing up in Northern California, he spent a lot of time outside. Clear air, clear head. He had enough friends but only a few that were close, and developed a keen fascination with his father’s students, who were often around the house for study groups and dinner parties or just to borrow books from the library.
Alexander was brought up in foster homes among foster siblings. He rarely got to stay in one place for more than a few years, and was expelled from two different middle schools before finally mellowing out under the influence of his favorite foster brother (the one he spends holidays with in Philadelphia), who turned him into a stoner but kept him from getting in fights long enough for him to graduate.
Oliver’s home life is the only one the book offers a close look at it, and I don’t know what needs to be added. Everything about it was average and ordinary.
Filippa’s upbringing was a lot like Oliver’s until middle school. If you’ve finished the book you’ll know why.
I remember that night I just might regret that night for the rest of my days I remember those soldier boys tripping over themselves to win our praise I remember that dreamlike candlelight like a dream that you can’t quite place