"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'" ~ C. S. Lewis

Monday, May 24, 2010

Gregor the Overlander and Lost

Pre Firstly - if you are here from Nikki's blog, the Lost stuff is kinda further down the page - look for the bold purple, but the book is Ah-mazing, so you could peruse that first if you wanna

First - a warning to my blogger lovelies - Um, Lost just kind of ate my head, so there's probably going to be an abnormally large amount of Lost contemplation going on over here for a while.

I will always tell you in the beginning so if you haven't seen the finale, or if you don't care the littlest bit about Lost you can skip it.

This beginning part isn't about Lost and you ALL must read it! I command you! Please :)

And by one, I mean one moment of your time :D

I'm going to take a moment to do a brief book review. For my Lostie Lovelies - I will get back to Lost - It all connects, trust me!

I thought about breaking this into two posts, but these two things are strangely connected to me now as I will explain below :)

Book Review:
The Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins.
(there's actually a fifth book not pictured here, but I couldn't find a good pic)

Some of you might recognize the name, yes, she is the author of the Hunger Games trilogy.

These books are absolutely phenomenal. You will find it in the middle grade or independent reader section of a bookstore, but these are not simply children's books.

Collins somehow manages to deal with issues of death, war, morality, love, family, destiny and sacrifice that will engage adults, yet still be manageable for young readers. This is not your fluffy, feel-good series - it is a serious work of literature that has the potential to invoke some pretty deep thought and conversation. So why is it I have heard virtually nothing about them!?

Here's a brief, unspoilery synopsis (mainly of the first book, but the other four roll off of that one):

Eleven-year-old Gregor is the oldest of three and a lot of weight is resting on his shoulders. His father mysteriously disappeared and now he is the one that has to help his mom care for his ill grandmother and his two younger sisters. While doing the laundry one day, Gregor follows his three-year-old sister, Boots, through a grate and into a world that lies far beneath his own. While there he encounters the city of humans that relocated there long before; their perpetual enemies, yet sometimes allies, the rats; giant cockroaches; and many other creatures. Unfortunately Gregor also gets swept up in an ancient prophecy and is sent on a quest where he must rely on all of his courage, strength, intellect and heart to survive. Is he the answer to the prophecy or simply a boy in the wrong place at the right time?

I'm telling you these books are epic and you will not be disappointed. I wish I had enough money to send you all copies of the first one, but, alas, I do not - so go find them at your bookstore or at your library! Please, read these books!

All right, I am now going to enter Lost spoilery territory, so if you haven't seen the finale you might not want to continue.

My Initial Reaction:
As we entered the last ten minutes or so of the finale, I was so bewildered that I couldn't process much of anything. I was so confused about the flash sideways. All right with the stuff on the Island, but really, really befuddled with the rest.

I was expecting to be sobbing by the end, but my confusion overshadowed all. My only real tears during the entire 2 1/2 hour episode were when Kate helped deliver Aaron and Charlie came up to Claire. I was actually concerned about this, because I am a crier. I cry at commercials sometimes. I get choked up when someone else is choked up. It's a major emotional outlet for me and the fact that I hadn't cried hardly at all made me worry about when it was going to end up hitting me.

I hopped onto the live chat with Nikki and the rest hoping for some kind of clarification. My sister and her friend were as confused as I was and sat there throwing out all of the questions that were roiling through my brain. I got Nikki's initial reaction and it kinda sorta helped, but I couldn't get everything to fit. The rest of the chat ended up being more frustrating for me than anything, because all my serious questions never made it through. I think only 2 of the 6 comments I posted actually got put up and on such a delay that I might as well not have even made them.

Then I typed up my initial reaction to stuff while I waited for Nikki's post. There was so much good stuff that happened in this episode and I'm afraid it's being over shadowed by the end.

Then I read Nikki Stafford's brilliant-as-always recap and it kinda sorta helped a little more. I posted my comment, read the few that were there and then decided to put the computer away and try to read for a little bit. I only had a couple chapters left of Gregor and the Code of Claw the final Underland Chronicles book, so I picked it up. The ending is seriously brilliant. If she ends the Hunger Games as well I will be happy

But it is NOT a closed ending. Not everything wraps up neat and tidy. There are questions left, thoughts to think. It ends, but it doesn't END everything.

And something in me broke and I realized that Lost was like that. It ended, but it didn't END everything. I still didn't get it, I still was confused, but I realized there would be no more "previously on Lost"s. There would be no more "next week"s. There would be no more LOST. and I was literally convulsed with tears until I couldn't breathe. I pretty much cried myself to sleep with a giant headache.

In My Dreams....
But somewhere in the night my subconscious sorted things out for me. My eyes fluttered open this morning and it was seriously like BAM! I get it! Holy cow! It's amazing and I'm happy that I GET IT!

Okay, so I still have questions and I still think there are a lot of things that I would have preferred they answer, but every time I come up with a major question that didn't get answered, I think of something someone on Nikki's blog said and I nod my head. Yeah, I'll take that explanation. Or I can figure something out for myself. Maybe I'll come across something that doesn't jive, but for now I am satisfied. I am content.

So What Does It All Mean?

I am mainly writing this out for myself (and my sister and her friend, because they are still confused and Naomi asked me to post something so she can read it and try to get it too) so excuse me if this gets a little long-winded.

This is MY opinion of how it all fits together. I'm still contemplating things and I'm sure other people will bring up points I haven't fit in, but this is where I am now.

Flash Sideways?

I think it's better if you don't consider it a Flash Sideways. That insinuates some sort of other universe. In fact, it might be easier if you take all of the flashes from S6 and think of them as separate from the narrative - these are (as Shelb on Nikki's blog coined) AfterFlashes.

People are throwing around terms like "purgatory" and "afterlife". I think we have to take the AfterFlashes as a part of the Lost narrative, not as a nod to any specific religion or ideology. Remember the window behind Christian - they put all of those different symbols in for a reason. NOT to say (imo) that you can take your belief and make it fit, but instead to say, it is NOT going to be any of those. They don't want it to be pigeon-holed into a specific belief - they wanted to leave it open. (do I agree with their theology? no, but that was never the point of the show.)

The AfterFlashes are a construct of these people (who exactly? I still have questions about that and will address that in a moment - but it's not just Jack). I don't think it's a specific place (like purgatory). Someone put it this way (sorry I can't remember who): the AfterFlashes were a way for the characters to come to grips with the fact that they were dead. It also was a sort of purgatory in that it was a place for them to work through remaining issues they had before they "moved on". Were they going to heaven? Were people not in the church going to hell? I don't think it's that definite. Remember, this is the Lost mythology, not Christian, Jewish, Buddhist or Hinduism - there are flavors of pieces of each of those belief systems.

But Is It REAL?

Christian says " Yeah, I'm real. You're real, everything that's ever happened to you is real. All those people in the church. They're all real, too."

Here's MY take on it.

The Island is real.
Everyone on the Island is/was real (except some of those ghosts and apparitions, but they were real ghosts/apparitions so I guess that counts)
MOST of the people in the AfterFlashes were real.

Yeah, most of them.

I really believe that a number of them were part of the construct of the AfterFlashes created by certain people.

This includes:
Nadia and Sayid's brother whose name escapes me right now and I'm too lazy to go look it up

This is obviously not an exhaustive list and some of you are probably shaking your head at a couple of these.

That's Why He Was SO Creepy!

In the AfterFlashes Desmond and Bernard TOTALLY wigged me out. Now I can see why. I mean, if you knew you were dead and that most of the people around you were dead and you were just waiting for everyone else to figure it out so you could move on, you might act a little creepy too. They understand. They have seen their lives (Desmond didn't act REALLY creepy until after he met Penny and Bernard would have had each other to trigger the memories) and they have seen their deaths and they realize that there is something binding a group of them together - their shared experiences, their intense need for each other and the way they bonded on the Island - hey, maybe even the Island itself - was a thread that kept them all together and pulled them together to make the "moving on" together.

Umm... Why Was The Island Under Water?

Maybe this was just a plot device to show us that the (then) FlashSideways was going to be different. I think the point was that they didn't need the Island in this construct. The Island was not in play - this was something different. The people building this world needed to work some things out without the interference of or impact of the Island. I think it was also a red herring to make us believe that this was an alternate timeline.

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall..

Remember all of those mirrors? All of those reflections? We've been talking about them all season, but I haven't heard anyone bring it up yet after the finale. And the mirrors figured in this episode too.

I feel like the AfterFlash is like a LookingGlass kind of world (you know, Alice in Wonderland?) Not that things are exactly backwards, but they're a sort of mirror image of what their lives were with the Island. Some things are the same, but a lot of them are turned on their heads.

Jack: Still a surgeon, but with a son and working out his daddy issues with Christian by learning how to be a father to David

Kate: Still a fugitive, but this time with a cop that believes her story and is courteous rather than creepy to her. She's out of places to run.

Sawyer: Still out for vengeance, but now surrounded by people that care about him and that won't let him destroy himself through it.

I could go on - my point is that a lot of things in their AfterFlashes seemed good or better than their actual lives. I think this was to accentuate the one thing that each needed to overcome or come to grips with before being ready to move on.

By looking in this strange mirror at their lives as they could have/might have been they were better able to see those last things that they had to let go. Once they did that they were ready to remember the "truth", ready to "move on".

In Conclusion:

All right, so I know I have a ton of thoughts still floating around in my head, but hopefully this helps a little bit. I'll be back later if I think of things I want to clarify. Also to tell you some of the HIGH-larious commentary that took place at our house. And some of my favorite quotes. :D


Falen said...

i'm actually much more sad about Lost ending than i thought i would be. i thought i was ready for it to be done and for me to move on but i guess i was wrong.

I didn't have any troubles at all interpreting the end. also i LOVE things that come full circle and when i realized the island side was going to end exactly how it had started (jack in the bamboo) i was so happy. And then i almost started to cry when vincent laid down beside him. Dogs get me every time.

For the mirrors i look at it as a glimpse into the fact that they are indeed dead. Kind of like, if you were a ghost and didn't know it, when you looked in a mirror what would you see? What you expect to see, or the truth? I think the mirrors were glimpses into the truth

Palindrome said...

I wasn't surprised by the ending at all. I had guessed it pretty early on. It shows that I watch too much TV and too many movies. ;)

I knew so many things would go unanswered and the character arcs came to a close in a satisfying manner for me.

I was pleased overall but oh so sad.

My dreams were filled with Lost randomness as well!

I have yet to read Nikki's blog. I may wait until I'm at home because if I start crying at work...*shaking fist at face*

Medeia Sharif said...

I didn't connect Gregor with Hunger with Collins.

I do have Gregor the Overlander and Hunger Games in my TBR pile. I'll probably get to them this summer.

I've never seen Lost. It seems like I missed out on a good show.

MBW aka Olleymae said...

Wow, I really want to read those books now!! They sound amazing. I just finished HUNGER GAMES a month or so ago and realllllly enjoyed it.

Thanks for the unspoilery review :)

Dangerous With a Pen said...

First of all... YOU TOTALLY MADE MY DAY!!!!! :D My mailbox was a super rainbowy burst of happiness. Giant smiles and puppies and cuddly bunnies to you. :) Thank you, you are the sweetest! I loved the sss!!!

Ok, second, OOOH I never realized that Suzanne Collins = Gregor! Fabulosity! A must-purchase for summer. Thanks for making that connection for my feeble almost-end-of-school-year brain. :)

Third, um, I never saw Lost so I got nuthin'. :) People just always seemed to be mad at it, lol.

WV = flych = Spider slang for "fly lunch". Spiders. Dem hep cats.

Mia said...



Um, so all you're warnings were totally right :( I cried like a baby. No joke.

ALSO, writing down those books *nods* forthe TBR pile.

<3 <3

AchingHope said...


I'm okay with it.

But honestly, most of the time I just pretend the last few minutes didn't happen and take Blam's explanation.

Until it makes more sense to me, that is my default setting.

Thanks for writing this down. It helps.

And Gregor!!!! Omw. I have to finish it.

Blam said...

I haven't read Hunger Games yet, partly 'cause I've heard that the follow-up was really disappointing but mostly because there's So Much to Read.

This is a good group to poll. What should I get to first? Gregor the Overlander, Hunger Games, The Lightning Thief, The Golden Compass [Northern Lights], or something else?

Some background on my taste: I loved Lloyd Alexander's Prydain books, more than Narnia, as far as the classics go. The first Harry Potter book took me a couple tries to get into, but I heard the series was worth it, and it was; Rowling became a much better writer and I caught up to the publishing schedule before Order of the Phoenix came out. Eoin Colfer's first Artemis Fowl book was fun, but the next couple were diminishing returns; I liked his The Supernaturalists much more. Neil Gaiman's almost never worse than solid and sometimes brilliant. There are scores of scores of young-adult fantasy I've yet to read, but it's fun to have some in my diet and I like to keep up with the zeitgeist if the books are worthwhile.

VW: mesaggi — A karate uniform with notes from your friends written on it.

Blam said...

<3 <3

I'm used to tilting my head to the left, so at first I didn't get this. But they're hearts... I think. Or are we in fact being mooned? Mia?

But honestly, most of the time I just pretend the last few minutes didn't happen and take Blam's explanation.

Gee, thanks, AH. I was, however, proven wrong, despite the fact that the EM flashing Des's consciousness into the afterlife makes no sense.

SonshineMusic i.e. Rebecca T. said...

@Blam: As someone who has read all of the books on your list there, I would say Lightning Thief or Gregor. I haven't read Alexander's books yet, but I picked up some at a book sale (not the first one, so I'ma gonna have to hit the library for that) Couldn't get into Artemis Fowl, but I keep thinking maybe I'll give it another try. As for the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy, I actually liked it a bit better than the first, so you can take that for what it's worth.

Also for the <3 ... with Mia, you never can tell...