Gormenghast Read-Along Review: Titus Alone and Aftermath

BOOK THREE: TITUS ALONE

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  • So we’ve started Titus Alone which is how I wish he would leave me

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  • Peake has decided to switch time periods, genres, modes, registers of fictionality?? We’re in a weird pomo Little Prince riff and nothing means anything, way way more so than nothing was Real for the last 2 books.
  • Titus meets *essentially his mother in like 5 respects* his dick *twangs like a guitar string* & I think I said ‘what?’ audibly, so they bang, of course they bang, and also there are cars idk we’re kind of in Les Cites Obscures now
  • Titus remains obsessed with Gormenghast even though it’s not in this book. He spits at the moon. A camel and a mule fight. Juno is way more interesting than any man she has ever condescended to date.
  • Honestly still creeped out by the two Knight things perpetually following Titus tho? #stilldoesmynutintothisday
  • I worry sometimes that I read literature entirely through a materialist lens that in considering capitalism takes on its prerogatives, its narrow and temporally specific ways of thinking about character. But also Titus needs to get a fucking job.
  • Me earlier: why only adapt the first 2 books?
    Me now: oooooooh
  • what did Peake read before writing this? *suspiciously* was it Joyce?
  • An unnamed friend actually cried reading Titus Alone. ‘This is just so fucking miserable.’ My reaction wasn’t that strong but my lads; my lasses, my enbies, my friendbies: skip this one.
  • Noted birds rights activist Titus Groan is always uncomfortable when we are not about him. In the chapters ‘War Crimes Victims: A Huge Downer’ and ‘EUGH she’s STILL SAD’, we see—
  • In Titus Alone, Gormenghaston succeeds in being so annoying I’m like ‘rewind can we go back to the ivy and try the other one I feel even full crazy he still had some potential left in him—‘
  • Times Titus refers to his own boner in narratively obtrusive fashion: 5ish
    Times ol’ Skewbald hate-ace did that to me: *a most blessed 0*
  • Titus sends 🍆pics honestly believing you want to receive them. On all occasions, he lays a special emphasis on ‘YOU’RE welcome’. He says he doesn’t necessarily believe in the arguments he’s making over dinner, ‘he’s just presenting alternative perspectives!’ YOU’RE welcome! 🙂
  • the other day I was bitching to an anarchist friend on here about how annoying Titus is as a character&he was just like ‘I work on historical anarchists, so.’
  • I was slain bc it is exactly hot topic ‘A in a circle’ hoodie 15 yo boy stuff. Friend nailed the text, me, himself, he was like a nail gun
  • Titus Alone is the most confused I’ve been about the sexuality of a Cheeta since “Survival”. (This is a joke for 6 people ever I’m sorry)
  • Please kill me.

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  • HOW DOES CHEETA KNOW THE ‘GET IN THE SEA’ MEME?!

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  • In which Titus is invited to the cook out

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  • Omfg well I’m done with Titus Alone wooooow
  • my advisor yesterday: I love Titus Alone!

me: *a face journey*

***

AFTERMATH:

  • I think Gormenghast is neither over- nor underrated, but reasonably esteemed, enjoying a sound but not inflated reputation in fantasy.
  • People like to say that in the 50s there was something of a contest as to whether Lord of the Rings or this would ‘win out’ as the dominant text in fantasy, and that this lost (often followed by ‘would that it hadn’t!’).
  • Personally, I think the sub-Gormenghast imitators would be if anything even more embarrassing and off-base than the sub-Lord of the Rings school.
  • This dichotomy seems, and I may be ignorant here, to be chiefly in the minds of Peake fans, bc Gormenghast just can’t be approached and used in the way Lord of the Rings can.
  • There was never *as ready* an opportunity to make ‘sub-Gormenghast’ the commercial, mass audience and politically appropriable thing Lord of the Rings and its imitators became. (Gormenghast was never going to resonate with American counter-culture environmental movements.)
  • Peake’s short story “Danse Macabre” isn’t bad, but it’s a bit like those children’s ghost stories you read, red ribbon around her neck and all that.
  • Btw if you don’t know Sting is a vast Gormenghast Stan in a manner so shameful I cringe to think upon it, it is time for you to learn a fell truth:

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  • Molly: Sting named his dog Steerpike.
    Me: Weird, because like Killmonger, it seems like a natural cat name to me.
    Ana: You know when cats walk horribly on their hind legs, hunched and wobbling?
    Molly:

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I AM SCREAMING

  • I don’t even know that I could say I ‘liked’ these books, I just know that they happened to me, and that I have to live with that forever now.
  • idk maybe I DO like this canon, I’m so grumpy and confused. it’s a lot. I would fight anyone who talked shit about it, like HOW DARE YOU, MY HIDEOUS SON!!
  • Like why not

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  • And so the skewbald, throbbing, grey heartburn pranked up the vast stone—
  • If you did a Steerpike vs Uriah Heep rap battle, the tagline would have to be ‘let’s get ready to humble’. Send tweet.
  • ‘Throb’ in Titus Groan, Boy in Darkness, Gormenghast and Titus Alone

 #digitalhumanities

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Considering the relative lengths of the books involved Peake undeniably throbs at an exponentially increasing rate as he ages. Thank you for my genius grant.

  • Remember when I told you each Doctor’s fav Dickens book? Of course you do. I’m here to officially announce that the Master, whose canon hobbies include listening to King Crimson, quoting Tennyson&otherwise making an ass of himself, likes Peake *too much*. Ainley is the worst about it.
  • Three DID like Peake, until he found the Master in a shit Professor disguise organising a Peake conference ostensibly for his cover, actually for the lols. Three then hard reversed. Eight reread and loves this series, also Too Much. This is word of god level truth.
  • I’m so annoyed this tank top I’m eBay listing is literally ‘fuchsia’ I’m so  tired of spelling this stupid word.
  • Ultimately I don’t blame Kate Bush for ending up a little Tory bc it took so much for that poor girl to escape Gormenghast and manifest in the real world&change her name&she’s still on a journey of personal growth, that’s a v conservative upbringing to overcome you know?

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Breakup song, stuck in the only dress she came over with, smh.

  • oh god we have over 30,000 words worth of notes on the Gormenghast books and miniseries oh /god/ why
  • I’ll just–condense this, shall i??????
  • NO ONE NEEDS TO HAVE THOUGHT THIS MUCH ABOUT BLOODY GORMENGHAST I AM FAIRLY SURE PEAKE DIDN’T

One thought on “Gormenghast Read-Along Review: Titus Alone and Aftermath

  1. […] This adaptation features sequences and design elements I love, and yet ultimately it’s the telling that makes me angriest. The miniseries makes the least defensible decisions: if there needs to be one, it’s The Worst Version. I suppose I’m grateful that there’s a full filmed Gormenghast, but I only have to remember the miniseries’ worst sins to get so angry that I realise I must like these stupid books after all. Please stop violating my amoral and ugly son, who is only trying to have a barbecue— […]

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