demon's-lexicon

anonymous asked:

So, I finished reading the Demon's Lexicon trilogy last night and I am in a glass case of emotions and there is very little fanfiction I find appealing and I am annoyed at the world. Help.

Nonny. NONNY. Let me tell you right here and now that I feel your pain. FEEL IT. I have read those books like 4 times each, and I know well the pit of despair one falls into when the realization hits that there is just no more.

BUT NICK! Your heart cries out. ALAN! Your dreams taunt. SIN! Your soul yearns. JAMIE! Your shattered innocence wails. MAE! Your mind sobs, inconsolably.

Well, NEVER FEAR, my lovely! I have come to temporarily soothe (and eternally add to) your suffering with the revelation that SRB, that cruel heartbreaker of an author, did indeed HERSELF write short stories in TDL universe!

Nick’s First Word (A Christmas Story)
Sorcerer and Stone Part 1
Sorcerer and Stone Part 2
The Arundel Tomb
Quiet In The House
Nick And Jamie Go To The Movies
The Coward With A Kiss
All The Way Back Where We Started From

Look, I am here to tell you that these stories are all A++, 10/10, would read again (I may or may not have read them all at least 3 times, and some of them like 6 times). And, look, I don’t mean to be Judgey McJudgerson, but if “Quiet In the House” doesn’t leave you with a bone-deep well of sadness and/or make you sob uncontrollably, then you are probably dead inside. (Or you are Sarah Rees Brennan herself, who is filled with a dark and terrible power that only grows stronger by the strength of our anguish and tears.) (Alternatively, you’re Nick, in which case: Hey, bae, how are you? Car good? Excellent. Any new, gorgeous blades? Tell me about what’s made you dryly amused lately.)

So, my dear anon, go forth and ruin yourself! Also, come here and talk to me about these books and characters some more. PLEASE. Tell me all about stuff you love and everything incredible in those pages because I LOVE THESE BOOKS SO MUCH SOOOO MUUUUUCH.

The Demon’s Lexicon Trilogy by Sarah Rees Brennan

I totally should not be doing something else right now…Stop looking at me like that. It’s been a while since I read these books! But I still love them. I’m sad I couldn’t fit Jamie in so maybe I’ll make another one.

Also I know Mae doesn’t look as serious as everyone else but I just adored the unimpressed look on her face too much to not use it.

Images taken from Ao no Exorcist, Hyouka, Michiko to Hatchin, Noragami, Ergo Proxy, Ghost Hunt and Full Metal Alchemist.

kddailey asked:

Since you're waxing eloquent on Nick already, here's a question I've been trying to figure out on my own, but would prefer your insight. Nick has a difficult time with written words because demons don't use them. But (thankfully for us) his sense of sarcasm and humor is quite well developed. Why are spoken words so much easier for him?

The short answer is, I don’t think spoken words are much easier for him. Nick has problems with words in every capacity. 

Even Nick’s PoV (the way he sees the world) is affected by this: the sentences in Demon’s Lexicon are shorter, choppier, the rhythm off, the word choice different and simpler, than in any of my other books. (Of course… since it was my first book it was not immediately clear that this was a *thing* I was doing. This may have been poorly thought out of me: give El Dummo a prize. ;))

But more on Nick and speech! I have actually been asked this before, which is I think a compliment for Nick’s sarcastic charms. ;)  

I remember being puzzled about it at first, until I worked out that I was being asked why Nick was *good* with words–and I could totally understand why people thought he was, even while I didn’t think he was.

Nick learns to speak at age four, and in a way that human children don’t. So it was quite a struggle to get him to talk at all.

Once he could talk, he went with Cold Hard Facts and using words as weapons.

Nick is a guy who uses most things as weapons. His own body, actual weapons, a drop-dead stare: he is unconsciously hostile to pretty much the entire world he’s living in, a world not his own. Once he could use words, they became another thing in his arsenal.

And he does have certain advantages, when it comes to using his words–he’s much less conflicted about words than most of us are: he doesn’t want people to like him, the way most of us do. He doesn’t want to look cool or smart or kind. He doesn’t feel self-conscious in the same way other people do. He definitely doesn’t have any interest in big declarations, or indeed in meaningful interactions. He doesn’t care about being too mean. Shakespeare said ‘brevity is the soul of wit’ and Nick certainly doesn’t babble, obscuring humour or meaning with too many words. All these things can make us stumble and second-guess our words, and none of those things are obstacles for Nick.

But I still don’t think of Nick as good with words, in anything but a very limited way.

In Demon’s Covenant, Alan and Nick’s father Daniel Ryves writes in his diary: ‘I have a theory Nicky developed his smart mouth to stop Alan beaming at him every time he spoke. Nick doesn’t like it when we make a fuss.’

Nick’s dad could see Nick using words to deflect something Nick is even less comfortable with: human feelings. The rest of us use words to express those feelings, at least sometimes. Not Nick! At certain points of great emotional turmoil in each of the three books, Nick is literally at a loss for words. 

The Demon’s Lexicon: ‘He couldn’t seem to find any words, just a hollow feeling where words should have been. He opened his mouth and an odd sound came out, like a croaking bird’ and ‘As usual, he could not find the words to say what he meant.’ and ‘Nick shook too, but not from horror or grief. He just felt cold, empty of the right words. He knew how to talk, but he did not know what to say. He could not give Alan what he did not have.’

Nick is not crying or anything: there is no physical reason for him not to be able to speak. He is not struggling with how many things he has to say. He is past capacity: he has shorted out and lost his grip on words completely.

I personally find it much easier to be funny than to be sincere, and I think I gave that to Nick (though of course I have a much easier time with words than Nick does!). Again, it’s a method of deflection. Being sincere is terribly difficult. Nick doesn’t want to be sincere, and he can’t lie. Nick is in a tricky position, even if he had a natural facility for words… and he does not. Sarcasm is an escape hatch out of being sincere.

Words go wrong for all of us occasionally, and they do for Nick, too. Nick does try to be sincere sometimes, and even helpful and supportive: usually when he tries, he horrifies Mae, Jamie and even Alan. Honestly sharing his worldview does not go well for Nick. ‘Did he just tell me “well done” for KILLING A GUY,’ Mae must think at one stage. What a horrorshow. Someone stop him!

Nick is a guy who does have a snappy retort a lot of the time, but his humour is largely reactive: he would never tell a funny story. He takes verbal cues from people who are better verbally than he is, i.e. almost everyone: Alan, Mae, Jamie, even Gerald and Black Arthur. He is verbally cruel to shut down people when they talk about things he finds uncomfortable and upsetting, and verbally cruel to drive people away, but he doesn’t know how to use words to draw them closer.

Nick has learned to use words as weapons, and he can be good with words in this one way, on a fairly shallow level. 

We all use words as shields, and sometimes as swords. But the best way to use words is as tools: words as ways to clearly communicate what’s going on with us to others, words to build a bridge from us to someone else. 

Nick’s not great at that. But he is like the rest of us in one way: he’s learning. We all have to work out how to tell people the truth of us, how to convey real meaning. I spend all my time trying to think of better ways to tell stories. ‘I’ve spent my whole life trying to put it into words.’ (We were almost out without a Taylor Swift quote! But I would never do that to you all.) 

We’re all learning how to say it better, all trying to finally, finally reach the point where we can say it right.

It takes a lifetime to learn how to really use your words.

90 WAYS TO SAY I LOVE YOU: A STUDY IN WAYS SRB BREAKS MY HEART
  1. Sometimes I want to be human for you. But only sometimes.
  2. I don’t lie to you, I lie with you.
  3. I won’t leave you. I don’t want to.
  4. I will not destroy the world, because it has you in it.
  5. I’m a social worker.
  6. Hey Bambi.
  7. Hey Clive.
  8. I could maybe draw you with a hook.
  9. We can do whatever boring thing you want.
  10. Do whatever you think you need to do, I do not care. But don’t leave.
  11. I’m going to lie and scheme and kill to keep you anyway.
  12. I want you to have many goals.
  13. He doesn’t like being left alone.
  14. The most interesting girl I know.
  15. You don’t have to be honest. If you lie, I’ll know what you mean.
  16. Anything I can do, I will.
  17. If I had a soul to trade, I would trade it for his.
  18. You’re not taking him.
  19. Where did you learn to dance?
  20. If you wish me to turn away this client for your peace of mind, I will.
  21. I wasn’t trying to hurt you.
  22. Next to those two choices what happens to me doesn’t matter.
  23. It matters.
  24. I was glad to do it.
  25. I hope that boy wastes his chance.
  26. I want you to teach me how to be human.
  27. I didn’t mean for you to take that laughing thing the wrong way.
  28. He’s ours.
  29. [You said you were interested] I was being polite.
  30. You are so much more trouble than you’re worth.
  31. When losing isn’t an option, it doesn’t matter what you have to do to win.
  32. Would you grab the first-aid kit anyway?
  33. Stay away from my brother!
  34. That’s my brother.
  35. You were willing to defend me with a kettle?
  36. I was hoping you would come back.
  37. I think we could manage to tempt a demon or two together.
  38. I’m on your side.
  39. She’s kind of amazing. And beautiful.
  40. I thought it would please you.
  41. I don’t mind it as much when some people touch me. Because I’d let them hurt me.
  42. Hi, Nick. Did you miss me?
  43. I had a nightmare. I need you to come and sleep in my bed.
  44. Why can’t you stay out of trouble?
  45. You manage that all right. You’re just learning.
  46. Maybe sometimes I could read the assigned books to you.
  47. I can trust you enough for anything.
  48. Which demon am I calling?
  49. That bookshop manager thinks she can run him into the ground. Don’t wake him.
  50. He was coming to look for me.
  51. Get up and go to bed.
  52. We toil not, nor do we jog.
  53. They can’t have him. He’s my friend.
  54. Knife work at night is something you’re going to have to learn.
  55. No, you should stay.
  56. Sit down. I’ll make you something to eat.
  57. Put your shirt back on right now.
  58. I’m going to save you.
  59. You are my friend.
  60. Your hair is the colour of flamingos!
  61. Sometimes when you are not being psychotic, you are quite funny.
  62. Then Gerald’s a fool, and so are you.
  63. You’re right. I am warning you.
  64. This is how you help me.
  65. I’m - sorry. That’s the way it is. I don’t know how to make it any different.
  66. You’re right, I’m an idiot.
  67. You’ll feel better when you start running.
  68. Get away from my son.
  69. I know I never did it right.
  70. I thought you’d be happy.
  71. We used to play dolls together for hours when we were little.
  72. Jamie. Come here.
  73. You don’t know my brother.
  74. We’re going to go home.
  75. It won’t happen to you. I won’t let it.
  76. I’ll protect you.
  77. I’m counting on it.
  78. I’ll sit with you in case you need help.
  79. And you’re not a monster.
  80. You’re brave.
  81. I put you first. I always have.
  82. (How many times have you lied to me?) I’ve lost count.
  83. Don’t leave me.
  84. I didn’t want you to - feel any diffferently about me.
  85. I’m sorry.
  86. I understood being brothers, I understood that word, but now I don’t understand anything.
  87. All right. I’ll put down my weapons.
  88. Kill them all.
  89. I set you free.
  90. In two worlds there is nothing I love half so much as you


Also a study in ‘this makes way more sense in context’.
(okay, some of them are I love him/her)

I went to Ryves Brothers Computer Repair yesterday

I dropped off my computer and there was this helpful younger-middle-aged man who was smiley and friendly and reassuring and vaguely redheaded, told me he thought he knew what the problem was and yada yada, don’t worry, we will get it fixed, all is calm and good and smiles. On my way out I found I had gotten a call from my… mum’s boyfriend, let’s go with that, who had just found out about the computer saga.

So I told him what I’d done and he said it sounded like I was on top of things, had I asked questions x, y, and I said no and that I’d go back after I finished the shopping.

This time when I went in, it took a moment for someone to respond, and when it did, it was this taller, darker guy who came in - he didn’t quite look like the typical computer nerd but somehow managed to give that effect anyway, and he was Not Smiley.

So I asked question x and he said,

“No.”

So I asked question y and he said,

“Yes.”

So I said thanks and turned to leave, and as I was turning I saw the first guy come out of the back, spot Nick, and get this look of horror on his face like, “You talked to a customer? Nooooooooooo!”

sherlockandtheholmeboys asked:

Hi, so I read The Demon's Lexicon series this week, and was looking at reviews and discussion of the books online. Several people described Nick as 'emotionless,' and that really surprised me, because to me, Nick reads like someone who *has* emotions but doesn't understand them (or anyone else's, really). I was just wondering - when you wrote the books, which were you aiming for: an emotionless Nick, or one who has emotions but doesn't understand them? (PS. I love your books!)

Thank you, my petal!

I think Nick has emotions: I think he doesn’t have *human* emotions, and he’s very conscious of that. He discusses how his anger is clearly not the same thing as Alan’s anger. (Anger: Nick’s expert topic, emotionally. But even when he thinks he’s angry, I hope it’s clear to the reader that sometimes he’s actually more frustrated: at himself and his inability to understand himself, at other people and his inability to communicate with them effectively. Sometimes it’s hard for humans to differentiate between whether they’re feeling anger or frustration: multiply that by a thousand for Nick.)

Fantasy is a way of talking about both how things are and how things will never be. Talking about werewolves can be a way of talking about people who have rage. And yet it can never map on perfectly–angry people do not *actually* exist under a curse which makes them eat others on the full moon. 

So I was both examining very human uncertainty about feelings–not knowing how someone else feels, how you yourself feel, how the feelings of others can seem alien to you–and talking about how I thought it would really be, to actually be a very alien being with emotions essentially different from humans.

And of course, since emotions are a human thing, I can completely see how nonhuman emotions would be perceived as ‘not having emotions.’ Nick says definitively that he’s not human and he doesn’t want to be: this is not a story about becoming human, but being inhuman. Nick definitely has a dearth of several human emotions we perceive as positive and necessary–he says explicitly that he doesn’t feel anything like pity. And of course, there’s the question of what many people consider the most important human emotion: he doesn’t know if he feels love.

I often think about whether it would be better to have written Nick as more sympathetic–since obviously readers have more sympathy with the sympathetic. ;) But ultimately, it was important to me to write it like this: the small steps we take, at great cost to ourselves, toward understanding each other and ourselves, toward truly changing. At the end of Demon’s Lexicon, Nick has an emotional breakthrough but he can only express it by talking about through his actions and desires: he tells Alan ‘I won’t leave you. I don’t want to.’ rather than ‘I feel x.’ And in Demon’s Covenant, he says: ‘Don’t leave’–meaning ‘don’t leave *me*’, making himself more vulnerable than before. And then we see that he’s made even more progress, by Demon’s Surrender. Anzu says, about Alan: ‘He would have lived, without you. He would have had a life, if only he hadn’t wasted his time trying to love something that could never love him back.’ Nick doesn’t respond in a human way–he laughs a laugh ‘with nothing human in it,’ because I never wanted to make Nick human, make him something he wasn’t–and he says ‘Maybe I did.’

And, reader, maybe he did. Maybe.   

Jeannette Winterson writes, talking about humans, ‘If what I feel is not precise then should I call it love?’ People say you should be sure about love, but we all know it’s hard to be sure. That’s why many long for love that is sure and never-faltering: because it’s rare. Nick never says ‘I love you’ to anyone. ‘I love you’ is a great end to a lot of stories. But not, I thought, Nick’s. He starts out not being able to even conceive of the possibility of loving someone–and then by the end, he is able to conceive of the possibility. The world is full of radiant potential. I think that’s enough. ;)

If Nick had known he loved Alan, he would have told him so. He really wants to please Alan (see: getting Mae to give him Lessons in How to Human Good) and he knew Alan wanted to hear it. But he always tells the truth: it would be a huge and terrifying thing to have someone tell you they love you, and *know*–not just have faith–that they meant it. How much scarier to be the one to say it? How would Nick know? He can’t know, so he can’t say it–not quite, not yet. 

So, I’d say: he’s both dealing with the fact that he doesn’t have emotions in the same way as humans, and he is trying to understand his own emotions as they map onto human emotions with mixed results–and trying to express said emotions in human language, which is also tricky for him. He has emotions. But what emotions, and how closely or how little they resemble human emotions… 

Even Nick doesn’t know.

And still. There is that progress: there is that potential. To quote Philip Larkin, in a beautiful line full of qualifiers because even humans often don’t know how to say it and be sure it’s true: 

‘Prove/Our almost-instinct almost true/What will survive of us is love.’

slapface asked me to talk about the demon’s lexicon series some more and IT IS HARD FOR ME, harder than usual, it is one of those series that i personally recognize makes me inappropriately emotional like two characters look at each other and i burst into tears and call my mom bcs family is the most important thing you guys

and that is the best thing about this series is its thesis statement FAMILY FAMILY FAMBLY like, found family created family adopted family SIBLINGS siblings protecting each other supporting each other accepting each other fighting defending crying i am crying you are all crying he she it is crying

i mean nick isn’t crying but you know

anyhow the demon’s lexicon trilogy (by sarah rees brennan) is primarily about three sets of siblings: alan & nick, mae & jamie, and sin & lydie & toby and each book focuses on each family in turn with narration by nick, mae, and sin and it’s london-based urban fantasy WITH ACTUAL QUEER & POC CHARACTERS, jamie is gay and sin is biracial— also alan is disabled and mae is chubby, it is a really good diverse cast of beautiful dorks and there are ladyfriendships and ladyheroes, it is a really explicitly feminist text

and it’s like GOD I DON’T KNOW, srb’s prose is really sparse & lush by turns, she does a lot of really clever sexy banter and BANTER FLOWS THROUGH MY VEINS IN LIEU OF BLOOD but she’s also capable of these incredibly devastating circumstances and brief brutal lines, like one of the most emotionally vivid ya authors i’ve ever read, sometimes i feel like she was created just to destroy me

because these books are entirely 100% about feelings, like the plots are great but the plots are just to fuck with people’s feelings and make them talk about their feelings which is so great 2 me personally bcs i am here for

feelings

also ROMANCES, romances -____-, sexy unbearable perfect romances, i am allowed to be vain about the romances because i was right about all of them and they happen so beautifully

and it is about, idk, becoming your own individual while remaining an inseparable part of your family, and about all the different marvelous ways of being a fighter and a hero, and ultimately about trusting your sibling even when you might not be able to wholly know your sibling, about being or loving a monster– someone strange or dangerous or “irredeemably messed up” but yours

just trust me guys

i am sorry this did not make sense

I Wish To Immortalise This Conversation

So, I was having a conversation with Scott Tracey as a bunch of us discussed stuff dude characters do that irritates. Being condescending, being controlling, being homophobic, being entitled were among the many no-nos.

SCOTT: It’s not EXACTLY a guy behavior, but I hate the idea that guys being overly promiscuous before meeting the heroine=sexy

SARAH: It is weird! I mean, dudes & ladies can both sex anyone they like, but when the other ladies are regarded as the dude’s random sex buffet?#dudeno

SARAH: And of course, why would anyone want to be with anyone who regards other people as a random sex buffet?

SCOTT: I just dislike the split there. A girl’s hotness is related to her innocence, and a boy’s to his experience? Ew.

SARAH: recalls reading Diana Gabaldon. Hero’s all ‘I am an untouched flower, thank God you know what to do’ & I was like 'Yessss.’

SCOTT:  I am a fan of equality in sexytimes, whether it be innocence or experience. ;)

SARAH:  Indeed, but it’s sometimes nice to see the stereotype turned on its head. Levels of experience can vary all over the board!

SCOTT: Also this! Absolutely! You are as nearly as wise as you are sinister. ;)

SARAH:  I may also just be all over untouched flowers because I finally got to write some in Unspoken. ;)

SARAH: Nobody ever got to be an untouched flower in the Demon’s Lexicon series. So many demons. Demons touching all the flowers.

… In summary, Scott Tracey is a smart dude, and nobody should really ever talk to me because I am a pervert?

shivainlondon asked:

I finished Unspoken a few days ago. WHY SARAH! WHY DID YOU LIE. YOU SAID YOU WEREN'T AS CRUEL AS CASSIE. YOU TOOK MY TRUSTING HEART AND BROKE IT INTO PIECES. *sniffle* Are you doing any appearances in London anytime soon so I can cry on you and/or tell you that you are actually wonderful in person. I still regret that I hadn't read the Demon's Lexicon at the time of seeing you at Foyles with Cassie. PS..If Nick and Jared knew each other, would they get on? Seems like they would. Heartbreakers.

I am not quite sure on the topic of London yet but as regards my cruelty…

External image

I feel like Nick and Jared would get on OK up to a point, in that they would both sort of squint at each other and go “Sup, man’ in a tough kind of way and be perfectly happy.

But if anyone set up a super ill-advised playdate, I think it’d fall apart fairly fast…

JARED: Have you read any books? I have read lots of books! So many books! What books d'you like?

NICK: No.

JARED: I have lots of feelings! So many feelings! What feelings do you have?

NICK: No.

NICK: … How’s your luck with the ladies?

JARED: I have never kissed anybody in my entire life.

NICK: … I KNEW reading messed people up, but would Alan listen?

NICK: Um. Do you like cars?

JARED: I have a motorcycle! See?

NICK: What ungodly thing have you done to your motorcycle? WHAT KIND OF MONSTER ARE YOU?

JARED AND NICK: … we were so happy when we were just saying ’‘sup?’