I just found out that once upon a time they made a TV series of Diana Wynne Jones’ Archer’s Goon. Brilliant book. So I was… excited and wary. We watched the first episode last night and I’m still trying to figure out if I want to watch the rest.
It was terrible but in that way where it’s almost come all the way round the other side into being hysterically bad.* (While remaining a remarkably close adaptation of the original text.)
In the process of watching though, and wincing and muttering, Oh dear god to myself I was thinking about the name of the book again. It’s interesting. Because the book isn’t about the goon. It’s about Howard. (And all kinds of other things and people.) But certainly the goon isn’t the point. He’s just the apparent catalyst. And ‘apparent’ is the key word there.
Then again, maybe the title is meant to work on more than one level to make you pay attention to the character who, despite his imposing appearance, and the fact that his entrance into Howard’s life throws everything into chaos, is quite quickly overshadowed by the drama of the rest of the characters running about. But one shouldn’t overlook the goon.
* I should add that Rick maintains it both was (when he first saw it as a child) and is brilliant. And it suffers (from my perspective) from being an 80’s children’s show, with the accompanying limitations, being compared with one of my all time favourite books. So both reviews are highly suspect.