Real magic is knowledge - Deepstash
Real magic is knowledge

Real magic is knowledge

In the world of The Betrayals, Grand jeu is a mixture of literature, music, maths, philosophy and everything else that’s complex yet beautiful in this world.

You are taken through a journey of surprises, vivid descriptions and poetic language.

According to the author, it’s “an elusive game that combines maths, music and ideas in an atmosphere of meditation.”



The Betrayals

by Bridget Collins


A Woman in a man’s world

The Betrayals depicts what it’s like to be a woman in a man’s world, where even a normal mistake you make will be attributed to your gender - Being the pioneer in a path where no women has traveled before.

Magister Claire Dryden goes through all the facets of this predicament.



A different kind of Magic

The book talks about a kind of arcane game called the grand jeu. It’s unlike any magic system we have read about. In fact, one initially wonders if it is magic or really good science.

It’s unlike the world of Harry Potter, the scholomance world of Naomi Novik or the world of Lev Grossman or the world of Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern though I found a lot of parallels.

According to the author, The Betrayals was inspired by Hermann Hesse’s novel The Glass Bead Game


Darker side of love

The love stories you encounter in The Betrayals are not made for fairy tales. There is no love at first sight. It doesn’t soothe or swoon or serenade. Their love is “full of desire and hostility, reflections and shadows.

According to the author, “The Betrayals is in part a book about the joy we find in our playmates, in moments of shared humour or creativity, in seeing and being seen.”



Alternate interpretation of History

The book is set in late 1930s in an alternate world and one can draw many parallels between the persecution of Jews in real history and that of Christians in the book. The Prime Minister aka Old Man could very well be Adolf Hitler.


Glorious twists

In summary, The Betrayals unravels slowly with one glorious twist after the other. Some are predictable, some not so much. The book itself resembles a tantalising gothic structure.


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Haruki Murakami's world

The surreal stories written by famous Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami are read by millions: The peculiarity of the plot developments dampened by an emotional flatness can feel like a comforting refuge from the real world and its extremes.

Murakami says the fantastical content is meaningful by definition. He states that his job is to record what comes from his subconscious, rather than to try and analyze it.



William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
  • He was the song of a glover and a grammar-school boy that attended Stratford
  • He is famously known as the world's greatest playwright who had a dynamic duality within himself
  • He had become an icon for English-speaking people throughout the world just like how Dante is for the Italians and Goethe for the Germans
  • Shakespeare was a person who kept to himself and died a mysterious man.



Types of people

Category 1: Losers

People who always see negative in everything and put in the least amount of effort or no effort at all. They are least bothered about what is happening around them. They will only crib and complain about how the world is. They will say something like – 

  • Man, the job market is so tough.
  • I hate my job!
  • My business sucks!
  • I could have been more successful if it wasn’t for the company/ manager/ friend/ family/ a particular situation!
  • All my colleagues are losers.
  • Money is not everything, Money will not make you happy!

Category 2: Comforters

These are the people who get comfortable in life and put in minimal efforts to stay afloat. These people just focus on hitting targets. Even if they fall short, it does not bother them. Be it in job, business or health. They will set a goal of losing 5 kg but will settle even if they reduce weight by 2 kg. They will prefer going for movies, hanging out with friends, relaxing on the couch over the weekend instead of reading a book or watching educational videos. They will ask their friends to shut up if they give them advice on work, business or how to become successful. They will label others as “Kitabi Keeda (Nerd), Padhaku, Studious, Loser” etc but in reality, they themselves are semi-losers. They will say something like:

  • I am doing my best to hit my goals.
  • It is so difficult to start your own business.
  • I tried reading a book but it's not for me.

Comforters try to console themselves by telling themselves that they are doing good, or that they are better than others. They always have an excuse for not doing something or not being able to achieve something. They are happy with what they have.

Category 3: Averagers

These are the people who do what they are supposed to do, sometimes creating small success, meeting their goals, or keeping bosses happy. They work hard or pretend to be working hard when it is required for the company or doing what is required for business. They could be on the top 5 performers list. They may read a book once a while if their friends suggest or they may watch some motivational video, but that drive soon fades away, and they go back to their average lives. They have many pending books to read. They buy books but don’t finish them. They would say something like :

  • I am doing good at work.
  • I met my target.
  • Yes , I read that book but I'm not yet finished. Will finish it soon. That soon never comes.
  • I can't take this risk; I have so much responsibilities.
  • Getting into a business is hard.
  • I know the value of money and how important it is.

Category 4: Unstoppables

These are the people who take massive action. They create remarkable success very often. Winning is a habit for them. They are addicted to success. They are looked upon by others as extraordinary humans. They are the people who work extra hours and know how to work smart. Management loves them because they are highly productive. They are people who have started their own businesses and committed to making it big someday. They read books very often, go to seminars, hang out with leaders, have big goals, will be well known for something great, their family loves them but sometimes they are too busy with work. They inspire others to come out of their comfort zone. They become a benchmark for people around them. People tell them things like: slow down; your goals are unrealistic; you are crazy; you are studious; etc. This is what they say:

  • I want to make things happen.
  • I have a mission.
  • I know nothing comes easy in life.
  • I'll do it.
  • I love doing this.