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Author Topic: Group Re-read 2.0 #19 The Departure  (Read 1507 times)

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Offline RYTX

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Group Re-read 2.0 #19 The Departure
« on: March 24, 2012, 08:29:49 PM »
Synopsis
There's always room for a little change....
Cassie's had enough. No more fighting, no more killing, she's done with the Animorphs. And then she gets trapped with a Controller who discovers her secret. Now she must either give up her values and return to fighting, or sacrifice everything on the off chance of peace with the enemy...

Questions
   1. What was your reaction to Cassie leaving the team? Does her return absolve her for affectively abandoning the effort?

   2. Thoughts on Aftran, the insights she provides to the mind of a Yeerk, and the progress of her attitudes about taking unwilling hosts?

   3. Though polar opposites Cassie and Rachel have been best friends for years. What do you think of their friendship; where does it come from and what makes it endure? What impression does this book make on their relationship, particularly the way Rachel reacts to Cassie's leaving the team and being trapped in morph?

   4. In a deal with the enemy, Cassie morphs a caterpillar, and ultimately becomes a butterfly. What do you think of this animal as a morph, and it's place in the deal they strike up? What do you think of the vast change in the body- "naturally occurring morphing" - and nature of this creature within it's own lifetime?

   5. What is freedom? Is a yeerk in a pool totally free, or less free than when it has a host? Many probably think one trapped as a hawk could be free, but a person stuck in the body of an insect, or a rodent, are they free? What makes something free? Can that standard be applied universally? How much freedom do we have in our lives?

   6. Would you have accepted the deal Aftran proposed? Would you have sacrificed everything for peace with one Yeerk, and a child you didn't know?

   7. With these things in mind, what right do the Yeerks have taking over others?  Do you think if you were a blind, helpless slug with a chance to change you would take it, or would you really relinquish yourself to remaining  that way?

   8. Approximately when is the last time you read this book? What changes do you expect or would like to see in a re-release?

   9.Anything else?

Answer, ignore and submit your own questions and comments as you please; but remember to vote!

Next week: #20 The Discovery

« Last Edit: March 24, 2012, 08:37:09 PM by RYTX »
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Offline Noelle

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Re: Group Re-read 2.0 #19 The Departure
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2012, 09:09:34 PM »
1. I kind of have mixed feelings about that.  One half of me says, if you can't handle fighting in the war, there's nothing wrong with leaving it.  If you  can't handle it, and you're going to drag the team down, it is best to get out.  But what she said when she left bugged me and really rang as just self-righteousness and taunting the others with their ability to do what had to be done.  It would have been more sincere/tolerable if she had some sort of mental meltdown and just couldn't handle killing anymore, with someone like Cassie it's bound to happen.  But her throwing it in everyone's faces that they were becoming monsters was just really arrogant, and not even a 'thanks for saving the world, btw.'  I think that the main reason, in this book, that made Cassie drop from my favorite character to my least favorite character.  She's so stuck in her moral mentality that she can't see the huge picture, the fact that they essentially have the whole world to think about now.  Granted, some of the other Animorphs, particularly Marco, were kind of cruel about the departure.

2. I really liked that about this book, I think that is what really sets this series apart from most series/books.  It broke the series from the moral 'black and white' and made readers realize that Yeerks are people too.  It added depth to the series.

3. In a relatively peaceful setting, I think anyone can be friends, even polar opposites.  I think each of the characters (Cassie and Rachel) had things that the other respected, perhaps Cassie at one point liked Rachel's gung-ho attitude, but it took a war for Cassie to realize just how far that attitude went.  I think despite their differences, what tied them together was how much they cared for each other, they just cared for each other in different ways.  Cassie nurtured while Rachel fought to save her and the world no matter the cost.  When Cassie left, I think the way in which Cassie left really hurt Rachel, because Cassie just couldn't see how much Rachel cared for her, and it was a real slap in the face to Rachel,  which was why Rachel said they couldn't be friends.  Yet it was apparent Rachel still cared for Cassie a lot.


5. I think Yeerks are stuck between a rock and hard place.  As their natural form, they really can't be free in any way, whether they are stuck in their pool or in a host.  They still have to leave their host to feed, they still have to (usually) forcibly capture an unwilling creature to experience any sort of freedom.  Honestly, I think being free is just being happy in the situation you are in.  There will always be a degree of 'unfreedom' in our lives, whether it's government, a relationship, or biology/lifespan.  The only way to really be 'free' is to just be happy despite limitations.

6. Nope.

7.  I don't think the Yeerks have the 'right' to take over anything, which goes back to the rock and hard spot above.  If I were a Yeerk, giving the things I knew, and seeing no other way out, I probably would have just done what they were doing.  It's hard to say what I'd do, completely, as a Yeerk, but knowing more than what a Yeerk would know, I would hope I would try to find some other solution, like morphing power to get myself out of my Yeerk body, but since relations with Andalites were worse than hostile, I can see that the chances of that would be slim to none, so fighting for hosts would probably be the way to go.

8.I read it a few months ago, I'm not expecting any changes. Without any sort of massive change to Cassie's character/motivations, I really don't think any changes would work.  But one thing I think should be addressed is just how Karen managed to fly under the radar after she was released.  She had a HUGE part to do with the Yeerks plan...exactly how did they not notice their main source of information on an important resource (her father's money) was gone?

9. I think that Cassie's being able to morph from a butterfly to human, and choosing to do so, kind of highlights the hypocrisy that Cassie displays throughout the whole series.  Basically, she broke her pact with Aftran by becoming human again, and she never gives it any more thought, yet she still seems to think she took the moral high-road.  There was no self-introspection as to the fact that she broke the pact, that she is now free even though they mutually agreed to give up their freedom.  Cassie can't see her own moral failings, literally just blind to them, and I think that's a theme that follows her throughout the whole series.  (Though, it was thoroughly reinforced by KAA herself.)
« Last Edit: March 25, 2012, 11:54:03 AM by Noelle »

Offline Alan Fangor

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Re: Group Re-read 2.0 #19 The Departure
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2012, 10:07:25 AM »
Quote
really liked that about this book, I think that is what really sets this series apart from most series/books.  It broke the series from the moral 'black and white' and made readers realize that Yeerks are people too.  It added depth to the series.

I agree with this statement. This book makes the series more mature. Finally the Yeerks are not depicted as standard villains, stupid, brutal and with a stereotypical cruelty as the only distinctive feature.
This is not one of my favourite books, but I like it. And the final is good...it's a great idea the natural metamorphosis that resets the time of morphing...at the time I was astonished at the idea that Cassie ha become a nothlit.

Offline Ember Nickel

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Re: Group Re-read 2.0 #19 The Departure
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2012, 09:14:28 PM »
This is my favorite main-sequence book, or at least was the first time through.

Placing it right after Megamorphs 2 seemed effective, when I was reading the early part about her losing control of the wolf morph I was like "oh, it's like the T-Rex thing..." and then that came up. Although since she's supposed to be the best morpher that was a little dubious.

Chapter 4 with the Animorphs in Cassie's barn is interesting--first of all, why are they all there if she's quitting? And then we get:

"See, you've just said the whole world can drop dead, so long as you, Cassie, don't have to end up turning into me." I think for this point in the series that's a little overly self-deprecating (or foreshadowing) on Rachel's end...

Also, more misguided teleology? "They were smart, adaptable, cunning, and ruthless. They were the ultimate hunters. Human hunters, professional, experienced hunters armed with high-powered rifles and telescopic sights, had waited in trees for hours for a leopard to return to the place where it had stashed a kill. They had waited with eyes wide-open, nerves tingling, guns at the ready ... and had suddenly felt the faint tingling warning that they were being watched. And they had turned to find the leopard sitting right behind them in the tree. The last thing they ever saw." If they died right then and there how did people know there was a tingling warning?!  :P

Edit: I really did enjoy the trick of "naturally-occurring morphing," but it is hard to understand the science of it if morphing works on the species level. Though Elfangor describes the Skrit Na as "made up of two races" even though they have a metamorphosis cycle. Hmm...

Also, is it mostly fanon that Rachel keeps trying to convince Tobias to stay human? Because that's pretty hypocritical considering her behavior here.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2012, 09:56:28 AM by Ember Nickel »

Offline RYTX

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Re: Group Re-read 2.0 #19 The Departure
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2012, 06:41:57 PM »
   1. I know this is a horrible comparison, but it makes me think of the Confederates seceding from the US. Independence movements in Hawaii. As sympathetic as I can be to her suffering, I don't think you can leave, on those reasons, at this point. It's noble to want to retain your morals, but leaving so many who depend on you is painfully selfish. That she came back I don't think absolves her-if she'd just come back I'd never trust her again, but she came back with a win, however small (and based on dumb luck), and when you come back opening up new doors in the fight, I'm more inclined to forgive.
   2. Kind of a speedy progression of thoughts I thought. It's good to see the thoughts of your lower ranking Yeerk. Doesn't seem properly brain-washed with Empire propaganda to me.
   3. I've never seen opposites like this be good friends. I don't know that it's doable. They differ over the most fundamental stuff, stuff that their lives can't let them glaze over. It's good to have someone to give you strength, or hold you back- but if the methods they use you can't agree with, that's not a good relationship, and these two out and out disagree on what's acceptable behavior.  As reckless as she is, Rachel rarely gets credit for being insightful, but I thought she nailed Cassie on her departure, and that I think exemplifies their differences.. Still, when she decided not to kill Aftran and then keep Cassie safe, well that's one of the most beautiful things I've ever read. It's the thing that makes me think I missed something about this character despite reading 64 books a dozen times. No matter how irrational it is based on my understanding of relations, this is a remarkably touching moment.
   4. This is one of the last things I'd take on a a morph on my own accord, but for the deal it really is quite striking. I don't think caterpillars are as blind as all that, but still being a quarter inch long with limited mobility and defenses does seem frightening.  Butterfly, well it's a bit bulky for me, but definitely a step up. Most insects metamorph, though most don't think about it except with caterpillar/butterfly, but this group does do it very well: supposed that's why it's one of the largest orders of insects-almost total niche separation, which other metamorphers don't do as much. As a loophole for the 2 hr limit it's bull.  Cocoon phase is hard to imagine, so if I was going to do this, that be the chief reason. 2 weeks as a mutating mess in a shell. Fun
   5. In my mind freedom is to have 0 limitations, potential that exceeds that of Gods. In the practical since, freedom is what we are physically capable of doing. Societies function to revoke several of those freedoms, but enable more people to exercise the freedoms they have left. So is a Yeerk in a pool free? Yes. Is it less free than when it has a host? Also yes. Hawk, rat, bug, all have freedom, but it is not the same between them, and so the equality of it differs.

   6. ABSO-FRIGGIN'-LUTELY NOT. Sorry Karen.

   7. I sight back to 5, and say they have no right on the societal sense. They have complete right on the biological or limit-inducing sense.  As a Yeerk, I would certainly take a host-as long as doing so wasn't  more likely to get me killed, which I think would severely reduce my freedoms. Or if so long as there were not practices to punish the taking a host. Fear of the law maintains order, securing freedom at the cost of freedom.
   8.

   9. One of the best written books I've ever read. Honestly, all the "classic" literature I had to read in school holds nothing to this. Especially Marco in this one. His rescues, and the scene between him Cassie and Aftran are riddled with power.  And I still well up on Rachel taking the caterpillar. HATE the last line though. It's lameness is amplified by the otherwise heart wrenching story telling in this book.
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Offline Tim Bruening

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Re: Group Re-read 2.0 #19 The Departure
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2015, 11:31:30 PM »
After Aftran freed Karen, how did Karen escape from the Yeerk Pool without being reinfested?  How did Karen remain free from the Yeerks thereafter?  After all, the Yeerks would have noticed that Aftran/Karen had stopped sending in reports about her father, and had stopped coming to the Pool altogether.  They would therefore have sent a Hork-Bajir goon squad to investigate, and infested her entire family!

PP 4-6 of paperback The Departure, Book 19: The Animorphs are spying on a meeting of the Sharing when they suddenly notice that a Human-controller is being arrested and dragged off to a Bug fighter to meet Visser 3!  They decide to rescue her in the hopes that her Yeerk would be grateful enough to reveal secrets to the Animorphs.

How did the Animorphs intend to keep that Yeerk alive for more then 3 days so that they could debrief it completely?  I am confident that the Yeerk won't cooperate unless the Animorphs have a source of Kandrona rays for it.
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« Last Edit: August 15, 2015, 01:40:45 AM by Tim Bruening »