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for Through the Dark Clouds shining (English version)

1/24/2018 c20 19Alinya Alethia
That’s always struck me too, The Easter Offensive Of Vimy Ridge. When I first realised, I remember thinking ‘They can’t have done that on purpose.’ But narratively it makes for an apt centrepiece. Rilla facing the legion wounded recalls for me countless early Medieval images of Christ going down to Harrow Hell after his death on the Cross that he might purchase redemption. And reading this it strikes me, wherever Rilla falls on that slippery spectrum of belief, she’s doing much the same thing. She’s fighting terrific odds and darkness and worlds of chaos that these men might live, or maybe just go peaceably from the world. Circling briefly back to the darkness, I’m reminded of the part of the Crucifixion narrative that tells us the sun set until Easter -quite literally this becomes Rilla’s Dark Night of the Soul in L-speak, but it’s also powerfully evocative of that Easter grief. Again, I don’t know if you intend all this, but if you’re going to bring churchiness into it, I will disappear down these rabbit-warrens with abandon :)

Of course the other thing the amassed dead brought back to me, on a much less grand nite, was that unforgettable scene in Gone with the Wind when it went to film,of the deal lying in rows waiting attention. A different war, but seeing the echo here, it was impossible not to think how terribly high the toll of history’s dead was -which of course brought me round to Easter again. (Look, it’s my favourite festival of anything ever, I can’t help it.) And you echo it again at the end as the light breaks through after the darkness. It’s Creation’s story too, of course, the light coming after the dark, the first day passing, a new world beginning. But it’s Easter too, the new covenant, the new world in a different sense.

This one happens to be sealed with hot chocolate. I happen to think Dr Murray right, if they weren’t on Christian name terms before this, they certainly ought to be now. It’s a lovely gesture, the chocolate. You capture its meaning perfectly in Rilla’s wish for comfort and security, the way she all but inhales it lest she lose this small, fleeting comfort. And you know, I’m keen to see more of Zachary Murray. If he can anticipate what Rilla needs even now, he has my seal of approval. He certainly seems to understand that souls count as much as bodies -and I don’t mean that theologically but in the more ordinary, mundane usage. You must give people something to live for. Even if it’s shared moments of connectivity over hot dhocolate.
1/24/2018 c20 14elizasky
The beginning section, with Rilla’s reflections on Easter and redemption, was an interesting one. How do these characters make sense of their experiences? Canon Rilla was ever orthodox — this Rilla's faith is wavering. I wonder if she will ever find more to the religion of her childhood than empty promises. I wonder which of the characters might actually find God in the midst of war. A Big Picture question, for sure.

There is a strong argument in Rilla of Ingleside that the soldiers’ sacrifices in the War were redemptive — all that stuff about Walter and the white flame of sacrifice and Jem’s speech at the end about building the new world. For LMM in 1921, the War still meant that — redemption through suffering. You see her disillusionment in TBAQ, just as you see Rilla’s despair here.

One thing you do very effectively here is de-center the battle of Vimy Ridge itself. You stay on the margins with Rilla and the military/strategic significance of the fighting is vague and unimportant. Instead, we are faced with the “never-ending nightmare of nameless wounded.” The images from this chapter will stay with me — Rilla all alone in a tiny circle of lamplight in the midst of hundreds of stretchers and wounded men on the cold ground. And the silence — no unnecessary words and telling the jaw-less soldier not to speak, even though he couldn’t anyway (of course, not actually silent — the guns are pounding away in the distance — but an absence of human voice). I paused over the English soldier — for a battle so central to Canada's national mythology, you even de-center nationalism here, not focusing on Canadians in particular.

Even before Rilla says she feels alone and helpless, you capture that feeling beautifully. There is her forlorn “Where to being when help is needed everywhere?” and the men all looking the same to her and her trying to “force back the night with whatever little means I have” (a lovely sentence).

Dr. Murray is very sweet and endearing and competent and comforting. You are not doing a very good job of making me root for Rilla and Ken! Dr. Murray is kind and thoughtful, even when he’s just been through a hellish day and saved dozens of lives with his efficient, unceasing care. And then the hot chocolate — even oblivious Rilla knows that that was a gesture, and a very kind one! Her longing for Ingleside and “storms behind the window” rather than storms that have caught her up in their midst was beautiful. And Dr. Murray’s warm hands around her cold fingers . . . #TeamZachary.

In the end, you land on the redeeming power of fellowship, rather than sacrifice. I will think more about that.
1/23/2018 c20 5McFishie 7759380
Wow, this is impressive. I read this with a real fear, waiting for someone familiar to be in that queue, Beardless or Moustache or even Ken. Now that I've finished, however, I can see it as more powerful for not being patients we know. If it had been, the chapter would have focused on them, when its the magnitude of what Rilla faced that is important. You capture the day, the time of year, the weather, the weary patience of the men, the heartbreak that not all will survive, or survive in one piece, the dedication, determinedness and sheer bloody mindedness of the doctors and nurses to carry on in such overwhelming odds. The hot chocolate at the end, the touch of home and comfort and warmth was beautiful done. Rilla is certainly not a child anymore, such maturity, authority, and dertermination. Gil would be so proud of her, and Anne while proud too sorry that her beautiful daughter had to be part of such horror.
1/23/2018 c20 2Kim Blythe
I have no words for the horror, pain, dislocating bodies, blood, cold, everything that Rilla and Dr. Murray (Zachary) have endured, fight, worked, together on such a night...
1/23/2018 c20 10Excel Aunt
What an accomplished day/night Rilla is having! I think she has a lot to be proud of, but I want to start first with her thoughts of the generals having that battle over Holy Week, (esp Good Friday), and there being a special punishment for that made me proud of Rilla. She may not partake in her faith anymore, but the fact she recognizes the absurdity of war among Christians in the Holiest of weeks tell me she understands things others do not. Hopefully, you can cut through this ambiguity and pick up my drift.

I think my favorite part of your writing in this section was the mental note of her voice and the authority infused into it. I like how she made decisions so quickly, hot tea, blankets, even, the personnel's blankets.

Now, it sounds like she's warming up to Dr. Zach (can I call him that? It sounds so much like Dr. Zap and that sounds like fun.). I think this is going to a fun relationship overall. They seem to know how to pace one another already. I do hope one of her brothers get to see the two of them together and there's some more input to the relationship.
1/23/2018 c20 45oz diva
Snowflakes dance in a merry play is such a lovely sentence, even amidst the horror there is something beautiful, I am assuming Rilla is noticing it.
Otherwise, you do a very good job of describing the unremitting horror of a cold night with endless wounded. I liked how everyone around just got on with the job, pulling together. Even if you’re not trained, if you’re able bodied you can help.
Poor Rilla has too much responsibility in the face of so much horror, wounds no one has ever seen before this war. Death, destruction of mind and body.
Thank goodness for that hot chocolate, I could almost feel it in my mouth myself. That and the cameraderie made the night just a little bit more bearable.
1/22/2018 c19 2Kim Blythe
Nan and Di have to make up this disagreement, this fight they had with each other. They are sisters, twins, they cannot go on in life mad and angry with each other...

We know that Ken knows about Di being gay, so does Walter, and Nan, and now, Rilla knows it as well. I wonder if Anne and Gilbert knows about it and how they reacted and taken the news of it ?

It was good of Rilla in accepting to go sing a song on stage in front of everyone, even though, she is not a good singer at all !

So, Ken does have a fiancée, Selina, that's her name !

And Ken seems to be obvious to the fact that Dr. Murray his in love with Rilla, and he has advice to Rilla for her to give him a chance !

Which makes me think that Ken, here in this story, only sees Rilla as a little sister and nothing more !
1/22/2018 c18 Kim Blythe
Una is married, good for her, and I am happy for her !

I am sad that Jerry's condition seems to not have made any progress at all...

Hum, do I sense a little bit of jealousy that Dr. Murray has towards Ken Ford ? Or does he only wants to protect Rilla from getting hurt by an older man ?

All in all, I am just so glad that Ken and Rilla are so close to each other !
1/22/2018 c17 Kim Blythe
Thank you for the laugh in this chapter !

First, with the two young soldiers, that Rilla named beardless and moustache...

Then with the fake disease named mentiri...

Then with Rilla breaking not one, but two thermometers at the same time...

Then with the severe captain coming to find the two at fault soldiers...

All that time, the captain staying with his face completely in the shadows of the light...

Then, with the revelation of him being the Kenneth Ford...

I loved that he recognised Rilla first...

and then, you ending this chapter with Rilla saying to herself, ''Had he called me Spider, I would not have been more incensed !

Was the very best way for you to end this chapter !
1/20/2018 c16 Kim Blythe
That patient, Gallou, even though he lost a hand, he really does have to go back to Brittany to his wife and kids and farm...

Someway, somehow, the staff discovered about what is happening between Colette and Maurice, and, as it is not permit for staff members to have a relationship together, Maurice is going to be sent someplace else...

And Rilla as just received her marching orders, which mean that she too will be sent someplace else...

Leaving Colette all alone...
1/20/2018 c15 Kim Blythe
I hope that Dr. MacIver health, sickness is not so bad and grave, and that he can soon come back and be the doctor at the theatre with Rilla...

Oh, Oh, Colette with Maurice, kissing in the cold night of winter, my, my, what a nice surprise this was. I really do hope that Colette will give a chance for this romance to have a story !

Îlienne, for Island Girl, I love it !
1/20/2018 c14 Kim Blythe
Jerry, look at what this bloody hell of a war did to you...

And, Nan who is patiently and eagerly waiting for Rilla's letter informing her of Jerry's condition...
1/20/2018 c19 8Catiegirl
So I did smile at Gotee joining the duo, of course there were more! And as little as Rilla liked the singing, I loved Matron reminding her that it’s a lot of good to do without doing much- I suppose the theme of taking/giving what happiness you can is right through this chapter. Ken is very much that older, wiser brother here, and of course he would see what Rilla didn’t- does the rest of the family know yet? I love be Ken’s compassion and his wisdom, I love that he is truly tied to the Ingleside family, and by extension the Meredith’s. I have to say, i’m with Eliza, Mildred, that was most uncool- and don’t bug someone who is going through hell, most especially not Nan while her husband is barely recovering. For Di’s sake, at least. As to that little gem of information that Ken is engaged: some ideas occur to me- that he’s kind camouflaging himself by not denying it from showing his interest in Rilla... that he IS engaged and is going to make someone very unhappy... and yet Ken and Rilla- it’s something I want to happen-although I’ll need to be convinced too. But you can do the convincing easily. The thing that sticks with me though is Ken’s logical reasoning that his luck will most likely run out- and he has to be stoic about that, admitting that they have to do whatever it takes to keep their chins up, when tomorrow they may die. It’s so nakedly true- although I have better hopes for Ken.
1/20/2018 c19 14elizasky
I will not spend too much time commenting on Di and Mildred because that is just a True Fact (I quite agree). Though come on, Mildred, you couldn’t keep the radical politics on hold for just a couple of days to meet the family? Di must have been so nervous and then you go and pick a fight with her grieving twin sister?

The concert: Oh, I would have given those boys more kitchen duty. That is not a very nice trick to pull. But it was very perceptive (and kind) of Rilla to realize that it wasn’t about her at all and that what she was giving the men was really a glimpse of home and all the women they wanted to be seeing instead of her.

So Ken is engaged. Very interesting development. I’m sure we will hear plenty more on this subject and perhaps will be brought around to rooting for Ken and Rilla. But I am stating for the record that I am starting out on Selina’s side, whoever she is. I’m imagining Nan or Faith getting a letter several years into the war saying that Jerry or Jem has run off with a nurse, so sorry, bye. Now, maybe Selina is not a Nan or a Faith, but that is where I’m starting and you’ll have to win me over from there.

This Ken is turning out to be quite a surprise in general. He’s very open and forward thinking (despite the smoking, which is an excellent period detail and I’m glad you left it in – they’d be smoking like chimneys). Not just about Di being queer, but about communism and pacifism, and who knows what else. He’s worldly, as in the books, but wiser and kinder than in the books. I assume he and Di got to be better friends because they were both in Toronto and maybe because Di needed someone when Walter went away to seminary? She obviously trusts him and he seems to be earning that trust.

Rilla’s reaction was well written — she’s confused, she’s disoriented, but she settles on “weird” not “unforgiveable.” That really does seem like a positive initial reaction, given her time period and the fact that the possibility never seems to have occurred to her before (though, honestly, Rilla, there must be rather a lot of the old Rilla who doesn’t notice things if you could get through nursing school and living in women’s barracks without EVER wondering if some of those girls were more than “friends”). And it’s good that she’s having her mini freak-out somewhere where Di doesn’t have to see it. It’s not all that surprising when people are weirded out by learning that you’re queer, but it can be a bit tiresome to tend to other people’s emotions. It’s actually quite funny — people ask the same boring, predictable, basic questions, as though they are going to think of something in the first five minutes of considering the subject that you haven’t obsessed about in minute detail for years. So I think it’s probably a positive thing that Ken told Rilla and can bear the brunt of that (though we’ll see if Di agrees or sees it as a betrayal of her trust in Ken).

I was a little surprised that Walter didn’t have a bit more to say about Di and Mildred, being both a priest and a convert. I know he loves Di very much, but the Church is not generally a welcoming place for queer people, even now. Perhaps this is an example of love winning out, or of Walter actually taking all of those teachings about compassion seriously. It’s not impossible. But honestly, Di’s coming out is going pretty well so far, even by 2018 standards, not 1918 standards. Ken has a good line about “if there’s one thing I’ve realized over here it’s that happiness is a precious thing.” And, as you point out, things were a bit easier for queer women than for men :(

Ken is 100% right about Dr. Murray and, again, Rilla is oblivious. Rilla! Start paying attention!

Looking forward to seeing where this goes! Very curious about Selina/Ken.
1/20/2018 c19 5McFishie 7759380
What a chapter! There is so much here. I love the humour of Beardless, Moustache and Goatee. If they were alive today they would have a YouTube channel. Matron is cool. It's nice to had someone who is in charge of Rilla looking out for her, something she didn't really have at the last hospital. The concert was fun. Something from a simplier (albeit more complicated) time. I would roll my eyes if someone suggested one here, and yet how much do they all get from the creative effort and shared enjoyment? Ken is right about it keeping them all from being like Jerry. Perhaps that's why we have the greater need for counsellors and psychologists today. How much courage does it take for Rilla to sing, and how good does she feel after. She's right they don't care if she hits all the notes, they are thinking of their own girls back home. Was that line pair of hands that started the clapping Kens? It was lovely having Ken and Rilla chat. First shock, Kens engaged? So no romance? I can't think of how they could break up cleanly for love to develop here. He clearly is waiting to die. He's aware of the stats and respects his luck to run out at some point. There is a deep sadness here. His injury was nicely done. A hark back to cannon in both it being his ankle and how it frustrated him. I'm sensing some guilt in not having been injured so far. As for Di there is a lot to unpack here too. We see Ken as really part of the Ingleside life, not just beside it, with a trusted friendship with both Walter and Di. His breaking the news of Mildred was like that of an older brother, opening her eyes to the world , waiting for her reaction and signposting that it's OK, getting her used to this new world. He really is a deeply caring chap. His mention of Dr Murray I assume is in the same vein (no romance between him and Rilla, or is he beginning to care?) opening her eyes to the world. Here Rilla steps beck and draws a line, She doesn't need to process this now, too much of family stuff to work through first. Looking forward to more!
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