Author Topic: PC104: The Dog King  (Read 6691 times)

Heradel

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on: May 18, 2010, 04:31:55 AM
PodCastle 104: The Dog King

By Holly Black
Read by Erik Luke (of the Extruding America podcast)
Originally published in The Poison Eaters & Other Stories

Each year, wolves are caught in traps or, very occasionally, a litter is discovered and they are brought to the city to die spectacularly. Arn wolves are striking, black and slim as demons, with the unsettling habit of watching the audience as they tear out the throats of their opponents. City dwellers are made to feel both uneasy and inviolable by the dog fights; the caged wolf might be terrible, but it is caged. And the dog fights are majestic tented affairs, with the best bred dogs from all parts of the world as challengers. Expensive and exotic foods perfume the air, lulling one into the sense that danger is just another alluring spice.
 
Not to be outdone by his subjects, the king of Dunbardain obtained his own wolf pup and has trained it to be his constant companion. He calls it Elienad. It is quite a coup to have one, not unlike making the son of a great foreign lord one’s slave. The wolf has very nice manners, too. He rests beneath the king’s table, eats scraps of food daintily from the king’s hand, and lets the ladies of the court ruffle his thick, black fur.

Rated R For Wolves in the Fold, No Matter Their Manners
« Last Edit: June 02, 2010, 03:26:46 AM by Heradel »

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lisavilisa

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Reply #1 on: May 18, 2010, 09:43:14 PM
Other werewolf story:  Red Riding Hood's Child.

I too love it when the story has a werewolf that isn't pushed aside by a vampire. 

I liked this one, especially the 3rd person narrative.  It gave us mystery as to what the child was thinking, and it let the story unfold rather nicely.



DKT

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Reply #2 on: May 18, 2010, 10:33:37 PM
Other werewolf story:  Red Riding Hood's Child.

Ha! I wasn't even thinking of that one, but you're right! No Prize for you. (And there's still one more for whoever can finger the other story.)


stePH

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Reply #3 on: May 19, 2010, 03:34:12 AM
Other werewolf story:  Red Riding Hood's Child.

Ha! I wasn't even thinking of that one, but you're right! No Prize for you. (And there's still one more for whoever can finger the other story.)

That's the one I was thinking of as well.

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sixftflame

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Reply #4 on: May 19, 2010, 04:20:17 PM
This story actually made me get off my butt and register for the forums, to see how others reacted to it. 
For myself, I fell in love with this tale and fell hard.  Even though you could see the direction we were going in, I still wanted to take the trip and hold his hand along the way.  I love the resolution that comes at the end, as well.  It's revenge of the purest form and the fact that the King is the only one with the knowledge, but to weak of courage and helpless of spirit to say anything, makes it all the more sweet.  Great story.  This is why I listen to Podcastle.



Unblinking

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Reply #5 on: May 19, 2010, 06:00:38 PM
Other werewolf story:  Red Riding Hood's Child.

Ha! I wasn't even thinking of that one, but you're right! No Prize for you. (And there's still one more for whoever can finger the other story.)

That was the one I had in mind as well, and I was glad to see this one did not involve humans having sex with animals!  I'll have to think on the other one...



Allie

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Reply #6 on: May 20, 2010, 02:40:09 AM
For the ever elusive non-prize.. I first thought of Komodo (Which clearly does not fit but.. lycan-lizards?) XD
But I'm saying The Fiddler of Bayou Teche had some awesome wolves. I wouldn't mind attending a loupgarou ball myself...



Scattercat

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Reply #7 on: May 20, 2010, 04:05:34 AM
I suppose he did have to SAY "Father" just to make it clear.  Ah, well.

I liked this one.  I enjoyed the nod to the classic werewolf tales (the lady's hand, severed by the hunter, recognized by its ring).  The story itself was largely traditional (including the traditional red herrings), but I very much appreciated the subtler path to revenge the boy chose.



DKT

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Reply #8 on: May 20, 2010, 04:13:38 AM
For the ever elusive non-prize.. I first thought of Komodo (Which clearly does not fit but.. lycan-lizards?) XD
But I'm saying The Fiddler of Bayou Teche had some awesome wolves. I wouldn't mind attending a loupgarou ball myself...

Wow the other No Prize goes to you, Allie. Again! Well played. If we ever need an archivist at PodCastle, we just may end up dropping you a line :)


stePH

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Reply #9 on: May 20, 2010, 04:55:26 AM
I think the first story about werewolves that I remember reading was The Howling by Gary Brandner.  I read it (and its sequel) at around age ten, which was probably far too young to be reading those books.

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Reply #10 on: May 20, 2010, 01:45:00 PM
Near the beginning was a very cool comparison that really stuck in my head.  That sort of thing usually slides off my brain like a non-stick surface, but this one stuck--comparing the tablecloth hanging down around the dog to bed curtains.  The description works perfectly, and also gives a very good hint into the mindset of the dog.

The rest of the story was okay, didn't really draw me in much.  The were becoming king at the end was a nice turn, but up til then it just felt too familiar.



Listener

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Reply #11 on: May 20, 2010, 01:48:27 PM
I didn't really enjoy this story. The beginning started out too slowly, with too much exposition, and once we found out that the kid was a werewolf, I didn't really care. I mean, was the story about the kid or the king? To me the most compelling character was the werewolf-lady who fed the MC a quail wing under the table. And the whole thing about the kid being the king's son... that was either way too obvious or way too out-of-left-field, depending upon how suspicious you were of the king's story in the beginning. (I wasn't, so it was the latter for me.)

That said, I did like how the kid took over the kingdom at the end. That was well-done.

I also really liked the intro, and will be using "moo" in conversation more frequently. Bit of an acknowledgment there to the "Three Days in Lord Darkdrake's Hall" intro, huh?  :-*

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Ocicat

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Reply #12 on: May 20, 2010, 06:39:27 PM

I also really liked the intro, and will be using "moo" in conversation more frequently.


If you want to imitate a cow, by all means say Moo.  On the other hand, if you want to be zen, say Mu.



HugoGrim

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Reply #13 on: May 27, 2010, 07:10:53 PM
I enjoyed this one a lot.  The ending was a bit predictable, but that didn't take away from my likeing it.



Gamercow

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Reply #14 on: June 01, 2010, 02:29:15 PM
Moo moo, moo moooo moo?  Moo!  Moo moo mooooo moo mooooo mooo mooo.  Moo?  Moo mooo mooo?  Moo...

Hmm, I guess MK is not fluent in Cow.  That's ok, I suppose, though she should make that clear if she ever decides to moo in an intro again.   

The story itself was very predictable if you ask me, but that did not take away from the excellent writing.  Even though I knew where the train was headed, I enjoyed the view out the windows.  Holly Black's descriptives are always excellent, and this story was no different. 

The cow says "Mooooooooo"


eytanz

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Reply #15 on: June 02, 2010, 10:47:35 PM
Loved the intro.

The story itself was good, though not stellar. The ending was a bit overblown; it's not like the king couldn't have figured out a way to get rid of his pesky werewolf son. And it seemed odd that the king's features were so obvious in his son that looking at the reflection in a blade resolved the parentage question immediately, but no one in court (including the chamberlin who knew the king as a kid) suspected.

I also didn't understand whether all the wolves were supposed to be werewolves, or whether only some of them. Though I guess this doesn't matter much.

Still, nitpicks and unanswered questions aside, I enjoyed this story, and I thought it was very well written.



mbrennan

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Reply #16 on: June 11, 2010, 06:32:38 AM
Glad to see people saying that predictability isn't always a bad thing.  I enjoy novelty, too, but sometimes there's equal pleasure in a mostly-familiar story well told.



LaShawn

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Reply #17 on: July 20, 2010, 04:31:27 PM
Ohhh...I love the image of the ending. So right and yet soooo chilling. Well done!

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