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Welcome to book club! Get your drinks, snacks, and any notes you have, and gather around for the whole-book discussion on Goldfinger! (If you're here and you're not sure where to find the book, check the resources post in the sidebar on the right!)

Book club is designed to be a place where you can go beyond the Bond movies and delve into another medium with our favorite secret agent. We have questions to help get things started, but there are no set discussions. If you have anything interesting that you want to discuss about your reading experience, comments on the text, or thoughts about how reading the book might have changed your view on the characters in the movies, then do share!

Questions to get us started:
1) What are your thoughts on Goldfinger as a villain now that you've read the whole book?
2) We finally met Pussy Galore--what did you think of her as a character, and of Fleming's treatment of lesbians in the book?
3) Were you satisfied with the second half of the book?
4) What were some memorable moments for you from the second half of the book?
5) If you were going to rewrite Goldfinger, what would you change?


This is a spoiler-friendly zone! Everyone is assumed to have read the book at this point, and the comments below will reflect this.

Happy discussing!

Castillon02

Date: 2016-03-27 06:00 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Um wow apparently I have a lot of Goldfinger feelings.

1) Goldfinger seemed wonderfully creepy and real in the first half of the book--I mean, an extremely wealthy guy who can get away with anything and therefore does whatever he wants, even up to murder or weird perverted gold statues? Yeah, buying murder and dangerous fetishes isn't exactly unknown for rich people IRL. Even the whole 'supports the bad guys with his wealth' thing isn't a stretch of the imagination. Goldfinger was a wicked one percent villain; he was smart, he was sadistic (Jill! the cat!), and he was PETTY and emotionally immature--he didn't know how to lose. Despite his exaggerated ugliness and gold fetish, I liked him as a one of the 'realer' and more threatening and creepy Bond villains. I couldn't wait to see Bond have to use his brain and act very cleverly indeed in order to one-up someone with his resources and intellect.

Then Goldfinger just...made Bond and Tilly his secretaries? And monologued his evil plan so Bond could literally take notes on it? That completely broke suspension of disbelief for me. I probably would have followed along with the Fort Knox thing if Bond had discovered it in some other way. (Sneaking around somehow and finding incriminating blueprints? Having to do tasks for Goldfinger and figuring out what they're related to?) We've seen that Goldfinger is obsessive and daring before, and poisoning the water supply is a plan that I could've gone along with despite the evident flaws (i.e., when people see other people foaming at the mouth after they get a drink of water, they might not then themselves drink the poisoned water). But Goldfinger had concrete knowledge that Tilly, at least, would do everything she could against him, and even if he didn't know exactly what Bond was, he was evidently either 1) in league with Tilly, and also out to kill him or 2) some kind of stalker?? Like. Instead of master chess battle between Bond and Goldfinger, Goldfinger moves his king pawn into a vulnerable position just to show off how powerful he is, and then acts shocked when Bond takes advantage of available resources to communicate with the outside world and put him into check.

I mean, I guess that kind of overconfidence might be typical of Goldfinger's mentality? He did bribe them for extra motivation, and I suppose in his "odds" mindset, no one would ever take the huge risk of his retribution just to risk the small odds of success.

Something that bothers me is that Goldfinger didn't get what he wanted out of Bond with his saw, and Goldfinger is used to getting what he wants. How did his admiration for the "durability" he observed in Bond end up outweighing his frustration at Bond thwarting him again? (Did he suspect that he would NEVER beat Bond, and therefore try to save his ego by bringing Bond to his side in another way?)

(...Is Goldfinger kind of a little bit gay for Bond? He apparently seems to appreciate Bond's "simple, unrefined clay" :P)

Kudos to Fleming for the creepiness of the mental hospital scene--knowing that someone can pay to have you living in sedation and completely disbelieved when you're telling the truth...yeah, that's sinister. OTOH, I felt like their captivity as Goldfinger's secretaries wasn't harsh or scary enough?

I'll admit it. I look forward to Bond being captured. I want him to be at the mercy of the people he's been irritating like a fly that won't shut up. I want him to have to freakin' STRUGGLE. For me, Goldfinger didn't really keep his menace during the captivity scenes--he basically was just like "okay, have fun writing up my evil plans! Here's some scotch tape and paper so you can get a message to the outside world!" I would've liked to see Oddjob taking his revenge every time Bond gave him his "white superior" spiel. I would've liked to see Goldfinger exerting his power over Bond a little more. IDEK, maybe he could have made Bond play cards against the other crime bosses in order to earn back the money Goldfinger lost to him, with ~consequences~ when he lost. Something like that.

Anyway. Apparently those are my thoughts on Goldfinger!

Castillon02

Date: 2016-03-27 07:05 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
2) I really like that there was a lesbian crime boss with her gang of lesbians, and how she gave attitude to the other crime bosses in the meeting. I really disliked that Fleming made her a lesbian due to incest as a child, that Bond's healing cock and "T.L.C." apparently cured her lesbianism, and that Tilly basically died because she was a lesbian and therefore apparently incapable of choosing to go with Bond to safety instead of with Pussy. It was like Fleming was playing homophobia bingo.

Also, "His mouth came down ruthlessly on hers" doesn't exactly sound like it qualifies for 'tender loving care,' IMHO. -_-


3) Was I satisfied with the second half of the book? No, not really. I was hoping for some epic cat-and-mouse action between Bond and Goldfinger, and instead we got Bond leaving a cry for help in the toilet for Felix, the government somehow enacting a city-wide conspiracy (how did no one on the ground frickin' cough or get itchy and give themselves away? so hard to believe), Bond FALLING FOR GOLDFINGER'S SHIT AND GETTING KIDNAPPED A SECOND TIME, and then...blowing Oddjob out an airplane window and strangling Goldfinger?

It felt like Fleming wrote all this stuff for the stunning visuals rather than because it completed the arc he started in the first half of the book. I guess there was the whole 'killing bare-handed' theme that started with Bond killing the Mexican and ended with his hands around Goldfinger's neck as he went 'berserk.' But tbh lots of other villains have done worse to him? Without him going berserk? Why now when his personal stakes in the game are (relatively) low? And the whole 'berserk' thing seemed completely different from the single death-blows that Bond and Oddjob could do in the beginning, so it didn't seem like Bond was, idk, developing an increased acceptance of his own body as a weapon or anything like that.

So yeah, I think Fleming could've done better. The Fort Knox scene and the airplane scene had dramatic visuals--the dead coming alive, Felix to the rescue, the airplane window, the strangling--but IDK, for me they lacked narrative follow-through after the intriguing first half of the book.

Castillon02

Date: 2016-03-27 08:38 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
4) Memorable moments:

Bond thinking he was in heaven and wondering how he was going to explain all the girls to Vesper! NEVER OVER IT.

Bond's neat little follow-Goldfinger gadget and how pleased he was to foil his little brick drop.

"Bond walked slowly back up the path looking for the secret entrance the children of Coppet would have made to get at the chestnut trees. He found it - two bars of the railing widened to allow a small body through. Bond stood on the lower railing with all his weight, widened the gap by another couple of inches and wormed his way through."--cutest sneak-in ever tbh

"And SMERSH would gnash its blood-stained teeth and add another page to Bond's bulging zapiska."--great image and call-back to "From Russia, With Love"

Tilly plotting to shoot Goldfinger with a rifle like a badass.

Oddjob freakin' shooting an arrow through Jill's ring like a badass.

"The radar thing on the cowl of the chimney. It wasn't going round any more. It had stopped with its oblong mouth pointing in their direction. The fact had no significance for Bond."--TAKE A WILD GUESS WHAT THIS COULD MEAN, BOND. I'LL WAIT.

"M would know that Goldfinger had killed Bond and he would give 008 licence to kill in return. 258 in Geneva would put him on to the scent that would end with Bond's inquiry about the Entre-prises Auric. Yes, fate would catch up with Goldfinger if Bond could only keep his mouth shut. If he gave the least clue away, Goldfinger would escape. That was unthinkable."--Bond being willing to die in order to bring Goldfinger down ;_;

"'There's no point in being a suffragette about this."--MOTHERFUCKER USE SUFFRAGETTE AS AN INSULT AGAIN I FUCKING DARE YOU MOTHERFUCKER JUST TRY IT.

"Bond sighed wearily. Once more into the breach, dear friends! This time it really was St George and the dragon. And St George had better get a move on and do something before the dragon hatched the little dragon's egg he was now nesting so confidently." Okay, I kinda like the Bond as dragon-slayer motif, though the whole rescuing the princess thing from the legend doesn't really apply in this book.

All the different personalities of the criminal gang leaders were fun to read.

BOND AND FELIX BANTERING AND BEING ADORABLE.

"Sorry C for Charlie but I can't hold five men in my sights and make polite conversation" :D





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