The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper : Creepy quote of the day

Crow caught in a spider's web

Image: Pixabay


Young Will Stanton has discovered he is one of the Old Ones, defenders of the Light against the forces of Darkness. It’s Christmas Day and the service has just ended at the local country church. Snow has the land in an icy grip, sinister black birds lurk in every tree and as the congregation fades away, the Dark pins Will and other Old Ones inside the church …

The Old Ones stood in the doorway of the church, their arms linked together. None spoke a word to another. Wild noise and turbulence rose outside; the light darkened, the wind howled and whined, the snow whirled in and whipped their faces with white chips of ice. And suddenly the rooks were in the snow, hundreds of them, black flurries of malevolence, cawing and croaking, diving down at the porch in shrieking attack and then swooping up, away. They could not come close enough to claw and tear; it was as if an invisible wall made them fall back within inches of their targets. But that would be only for as long as the Old Ones’ strength could hold. In a wild storm of black and white the Dark attacked, beating at their minds as at their bodies, and above all driving hard at the Sign-seeker, Will.


The lovely Mandibelle 16 has nominated me for the Three Quotes, Three Days – thanks Amanda – which is a lovely thread where bloggers post edifying quotes to inspire and encourage others.

Sadly, I find I am not the inspiring and encouraging type. So I thought I’d spin the prompt into something more ‘me’ and (it being the season for the scary) post some favourite quotes from crackingly terrifying books instead.

I can’t talk about Susan Cooper’s criminally underrated* The Dark is Rising without, quite frankly, coming across as a bit weird. 

It is without doubt the book that has shaped me the most so far as taste in literature and my own writing is concerned. It’s the mix of Christmas and the snow covered English countryside and pagan, Celtic and Arthurian myth, magic and danger and good versus evil. I’ve basically been looking all my life for a book that will take hold of me the way this book did. Still searching.

*I only say this because so many people haven’t heard of or read these books. Which should be a criminal offence – no exceptions.

P.S I have not watched the film adaptation made in 2007 where all pagan elements were removed along with most of the back story and several major characters and our hero became American. With apologies to my lovely blogging cousins across the Atlantic, but that’s like adapting The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and having Tom Sawyer come from a council estate in Central London. Poor show! 

10 thoughts on “The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper : Creepy quote of the day

    1. As I say in my post, I get a bit weird about it. I think you can only feel this way about a book if you read it when you’re twelve, though, so I hope you don’t feel disappointed if you do read it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I read this, I think, in my teens (or possibly early 20s) and I remember it being powerful stuff though rather unremitting in its, er, dark tone.

    More to my taste were the two Masefield books The Midnight Folkand The Box of Delights — more mysterious, more magical and ultimately more optimistic. Must reread and review them, though I lent out my copy of the first and never got it back. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve never read Box of Delights, though that has similar, magical, wintry themes, doesn’t it? It shows you what kind of 12 year old I was that I revelled in the darkness of Cooper’s writing. Still the same really, but always sinister over gore 🙂 Thanks for reading Chris

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You are a person of great taste and style 🙂 Yes, I saw the Box of Delights at the time and loved it. Haven’t seen it since but pretty sure I’ve seen it on DVD. Be fun to search it out. Do you know The Children of the Stones, a TV series from the 80s? Bought that recently on DVD – still creepy 🙂


      1. Ah yes, The Children of the Stones. I’m old enough to remember loving it when it came out. I was in Avebury this year in June and I bought the DVD. Still fun.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ah, a fellow Stones fan! I’m old enough to have loved it too – surely one of the creepiest kid’s shows ever? They’d never make anything so disturbing now. Though of course, it would have been made by people who were young during the war and after that, nothing would seem scary.Never been to Avebury. Only went to Stonehenge this year. Shame on me 🙂


      3. Well, that was a double whammy! Though the solidity of all those ancient stones must have put political instability into perspective 🙂


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