Book Talk: HEX, Chapter 8

Posted January 8, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Not-A-Review / 0 Comments

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Bilingual read-through of HEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

List of Prominent Characters

So, the NL and EN tags are the ones actually used in the story. If it’s listed for both then it’s a shorthand I’m using to note which of the characters is which. Where no name for ‘both’ is included I haven’t used a name for both. (Expect this list to get updated per chapter!)

  • Beek (NL), Black Spring/Black Rock (EN), Black Beek (both)
  • Stefan (NL), Steve (EN), Ste (both)
  • Katherina (NL), Katherine (EN), Kat (both), aka Wylerheks (NL), Black Rock Witch (EN) Wyler Witch (both)
  • Jolanda (NL), Jocelyn (EN), Jo (both)
  • Timo (NL), Tyler (EN), Tiy (both)
  • Oma (NL), Gramma (EN), Granny (both)
  • Max (NL), Matt (EN), Maxmatt (both)
  • Robert Grim (NL, EN)
  • Claire Hamer (NL), Claire Hammer (EN)
  • Jens van der Heijden (NL), Warren Castillo (EN), Jenren (both)
  • Jasmine Aerendonck (NL), Bammy Delarosa (EN), Jasmy (both)
  • The Aerandoncks/The Delarosas, Aerenrosa (both)
  • Martijn Winkel (NL), Marty Keller (EN),Winler (both)
  • Loes Krijgsman (NL), Lucy Everett (EN), Loucy (both)
  • Pieter van Meerten (NL), Pete VanderMeer (EN), Pete van Meer (both)
  • Marieke (NL), Mary (EN), Marie (both)
  • Laurens (NL), Lawrence (EN), Lau (both)
  • Jelmer Holst (NL), Jaydon Holst (EN), Jaymer (both)
  • Mirna (NL), Sue (EN)
  • Burak Sayers (NL), Burak Şayers (EN)
  • Bert Aerendonck (NL), Burt Delarosa (EN)
  • Gemma Holst (NL), Griselda Holst (EN), Gemelda (both)

Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay ’til death. Whoever settles, never leaves.

Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a seventeenth century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. She stands next to children’s bed for nights on end. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened or the consequences will be too terrible to bear.

The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town’s teenagers decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting. But, in so doing, they send the town spiraling into dark, medieval practices of the distant past.

In chapter 7: Ste and Tiy have a big ideological fight over how to deal with the Wyler Witch. Generational differences clash as teenagers rebel against the rules designed to keep them safe. (Given what we know of the rules, I can’t blame them for wanting freedom.)

Chapter 8

This chapter comes with warnings for depictions of physical and verbal abuse. Both also contain an element of sexual abuse.

Gemma Holst has become Griselda Holst. There’s no real reason for the change here that I can think of. Anyway, Gemelda is Jaymer’s mother, we’ll discover. She owns the local butcher’s shop. She was married to Jan Holst or Jim Holst, who committed suicide. And if you think that story thread is going to go in a particular direction, you are probably right, and since the story isn’t going to take forever to explain the foreshadowing: her husband is abusive. (The chapter itself comes with a content warning for depictions of abuse.)

We also learn that there is someone named Arthur Swinckels (Arthur Roth) who has hurled verbal abuse at her and that she and her son have a… Well, we’ve seen how free Jaymer is with his cussing already.

An interesting change is that the Dutch version has the townspeople watch GTST, which is a Dutch soap along the lines of As the World Turns. In the English version they are, of course, watching something else: Law and Order to reflect both the hour at which the show is broadcast and the national popularity.

Oh and you know that part of the town’s rules where you absolutely must not under any circumstance interact with the witch in any way? Gemelda is about to break that rule. She’s sought out the witch and here I do actually need to make another note. You see the English version gives her a dialect that stands out from the others. Everyone in Black Spring so far has spoken grammatically correct English. Except for Roth and Griselda. We don’t know enough about Roth to know what his normal speech pattern is like because we’ve only seen one line of his dialogue in a flashback and for all we know he might’ve been drunk. Griselda is not. It’s a curious change.

Gemelda also thinks Jaymer can do no wrong and his friends put him up to pranking the witch. This is important because she vocally blames Burak for it because he’s Muslim.

Mevrouw Schaek becomes Mrs. Schaeffer.

And here we learn that Gemelda’s feelings to Kat are… rather a bit different to the townspeople because she’s grateful the witch killed her husband. Given the scene we were presented with earlier in the chapter, I’d probably be grateful to Kat too. Anyway, she’s deeply devoted to Kat because Kat was the only one who did something about the abusive relationship she was in. Also she thinks trying to gift the witch things and doing small kindnesses will spare her family from the witch’s wrath.

And because English no longer has a formal pronoun to use, it switches to addressing the Witch by her surname and first name.

And now also learn that she’s capable of being physically abusive herself and we get confirmation that Jaymer was just as much a victim of his father’s as Gemelda was. Also that he’s also capable of hitting back.

Interestingly, while the Dutch version is consistent about the name of the location of Arthur’s whereabouts, the English version uses different names for it. Nicknames, of course, but still. It’s an interesting change. I’m not entirely sure why. It doesn’t seem like it’s particularly necessary to change it up and I don’t think it really adds anything for me. It just makes the area layout more confusing for me.

And that’s it! We learn a little more about who Arthur is, but it’s not particularly interesting stuff and it’s not going to be super-important. Well, no. I lie. It’s actually fairly important for the narrative and readers’ understanding, but I gain nothing by spoiling it for you all here because it’s not relevant to the kind of things I’m looking at in these posts, and the book has something to lose by it.

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