LN Reading Program — August 24

(pictured: The Witch's House -- art source)

(pictured: The Witch’s House — art source)

It’s time to wrap up our summer reading! For the third and final week of this month’s LN reading program, we will discuss the final act of Durarara!! (volume 1) and The Witch’s House: Diary of Ellen.

Durarara!!

And our first volume concludes with everything ending happily ever after… sort of? It was a wild ride for the last few chapters, but overall I rather liked the story’s fast pace and the big reveal that ended up tying the large cast all together at the end.

Discussion Points

Speaking of the big reveal, what did you think of that? I remember when I first watched the anime, I expected Mikado to be the most normal character, providing a stable viewpoint to observe and react to all the wild things that would happen throughout the series. Instead, it turns out he’s quite possibly the most significant mover and shaker in Ikebukuro…

Though on second thought, perhaps that title still belongs to Izaya, considering what he accomplished at the end there? Something I didn’t really pick up on while watching the anime, but noticed much more clearly while reading the light novel, is the comparison the story appears to be making between Mikado and Izaya. Are their general motivations really all that different?

How do you feel about the arrangement made between Seiji and Mika? And for that matter, the arrangement between Celty and Shinra? One thing I personally like about Durarara in general is the story’s willingness to allow unorthodox relationships to form, survive, and potentially even flourish–but considering the way things often play out, it’s certainly a topic that can offer a variety of opinions.

For those new to the franchise, any predictions for what is to come? What characters are you most interested in learning more about?

The Witch’s House: Diary of Ellen

And so the prequel novel ends where the computer game begins. For those who haven’t played the game, I will note that the game does not reveal the plot point of the body switch until the very end, which completely flips the player’s understanding of the entire game once that reveal is made. But how do things ultimately fare for Ellen!Viola and Viola!Ellen in the end? I won’t spoil that, as that is arguably just as big of a plot twist. All in all though, I feel the novel and game work very well together to paint a fascinating and unique horror narrative.

Discussion Points

So, did anyone read this? I’m hoping at least one other person read this, but if not… Well, it’s a good story! Give it a try when you get the chance, and if you’re in the mood for a tragedy that delves deep into a character’s twisted viewpoint.

The final chapter did not back away from making Ellen do truly reprehensible things, which surprised me a little bit. Because Ellen is the protagonist and main viewpoint character, there is automatically some degree of sympathy–but in the end it’s difficult (at least for me) to really root for her. Her treatment of Viola is just far too cruel for that…

Regardless though, I feel this adds to the tragedy of her character. Her true wish was to be loved–and at last her wish was actually granted–but she was too blind to see that. Or perhaps, she was able to see that, but deliberately chose to disregard it in favor of staying the course with her demon-assisted machinations. Either way, it’s all terribly sad.

Any parallels you noticed between Ellen’s situation at the start of the story, and her situation in the end? In what ways were the magical house and her home as a child similar to each other? In what ways do Ellen’s decisions at the beginning of the story mirror her decisions at the end? Despite living for centuries, is she still just a child?

For a contrast, I think it’s interesting to take a look at the black cat and Viola, and note how each of them interact with Ellen. They both reach out to Ellen to help her, but their motivations appear to be exact opposites.

In the end, does Viola turn to hate Ellen? Viola is betrayed, tortured, and at the verge of death, but what is it that she truly resents Ellen for? At this point, it may be interesting to compare the relationship Viola and Ellen each had with their respective fathers. How does that family element contribute to each of their personal motivations?

———

As mentioned before, feel free to discuss any point you would like to bring up about either (or both) of these two books. General impressions, predictions for how the stories will play out, some compare/contrast between the two books, or any random observations and things you’d like to analyze are all fair game.

4 responses to “LN Reading Program — August 24

  1. I read The Witch’s House: Ellen’s dairy! And yeah, Viola does seem to hate hate Ellen an awful lot in the game, but I honestly think since her motives were pure at the beginning, she doesn’t truly resent Ellen, rather the situation Ellen put her in. Even so, I’d probably try to steal my body back too, no matter how much I’d hurt the other person. That’s why it looks like such a… violent move coming from Viola.

    • Thanks for commenting, Aya! I’m glad this story got a little exposure. ;>
      It seems to me that Viola was willing to give in to despair and be done with the whole ordeal, but the thought of Ellen loving Viola’s father in her place was what set off her resolution to fight back and use the magic to block off Ellen’s path. It’s an interesting situation, in that Viola was selfless enough to allow Ellen’s treachery to unfold, but not at the expense of her father being hurt.

  2. I was surprised to find out the reveal of Mikado’s character. I think it makes him a more interesting main character. Before he was just a normal high school student, now I found out how he created an organization by spreading rumors online.

    I liked reading this, but it didn’t exactly have me unable to put it down (except maybe the part where Celty came down from the sky) but I would like to read more to learn about how the unique relationships expand, learn how both Mikado and Izaya tick, and about how the gang activity goes. I feel the backstory has been laid and it only gets better from here.

    I feel like some relationships will get crazier but fizzle out (the brother and sister, likely) and some will get crazier and crazier, and the Dollars will find worthy opponents.

    • That’s what I believe is what makes Durarara the unique story it is: the way all the characters interact with each other, and how all their paths intersect in unexpected ways. Character A might only meet up with Character B in one scene, but it stands out in ways that are different from all of Character A’s other scenes (and likewise, from all of Character B’s other scenes). Much of the fun for future volumes I imagine will stem from anticipating what each character will do upon meeting the other characters, particularly when their specific goals at the moment conflict with each other.

      Characters that only had secondary roles in volume 1 will have bigger or leading roles in subsequent volumes, which also keeps things interesting. This will include Mikado’s classmates, as well as other members of the Dollars. Next volume will release November 17th, so I’ll be looking forward to that. :>

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s