Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Read-along: Chapter 10


Una screamed. I mean, is there a better opening to a chapter possible? Not sure that there is! Poor Una opens this scene with a bang and a crash as she falls down beneath her mysterious assailant. Then he grabs her and covers her mouth and . . . I don't know about you, but I'd freak out under those circumstances!

I say! Really, I'm sorry! Okay, so the first words out of her "attacker's" mouth aren't so terribly threatening as all that. Maybe he's not such a bad bloke? Wrong place at the wrong time . . . it could happen to anyone.

I'd still freak out. And kick. And elbow. And possibly bite.

A thorough apology. I laughed when I wrote it, and I laughed all over again when the poor jester began making his apology. EXTREMELY over-the-top, and really quite adorable when you think about it. Granted, I probably would have screamed again and booked it up the garden path by this point. But I'm glad Una didn't and therefore allowed us to witness the whole of the jester's apology.

The siege of  Rudiobus. The jester makes reference to this siege and Lady Gleamdren. Would you believe it if I told you this "siege" is recounted in Starflower? Yes, it is . . . but it might not be quite the epic event that poets (coughEanrincough) have made it out to be in later years. By the time of Heartless, it is considered quite the catastrophic episode, and Lady Gleamdren is a tragic heroine. Heh.

And yet another reference comparing Una to Lady Gleamdren! Just how pretty is this Lady Gleamdren?

Leonard. I'm not certain if there is anything in this world more pathetic than an out-of-work Fool. I mean, it's hard enough being a Fool in the first place! Leonard seems to enjoy his foolery well enough, though. I love how he continues his introduction while still lying on the ground. Don't think he realizes he's talking to a princess!

The Geestly Knout: Okay, a song that random must have some meaning behind it, right?



I wrote that poem a good year and a half before Heartless was even dreamed up. I was in my sophomore year of college at the time and taking a wonderful poetry class with Professor Lehman (a long-suffering man if there ever was one). He taught us great things about poetry and also how to make a whistle out of an acorn cap. I mean, how awesome is that?

He also had us writing various types of poetry as class assignments. Now, I am no great poet! But I did have a lot of fun experimenting around with these various poetic types. "The Geestly Knout" was something  called a "Carrolian Carol." We were supposed to find a whole slew of actual English words, archaic or simply strange, and put them together into a nonsense poem, Jabberwocky-style.

"The Geestly Knout" was my contribution. And when it came time for my jester to begin jestering, it was very nice to have a bit of nonsense at the ready to simply hand over to him.

You never know when nonsense will come in handy.

Ooops. And a little late, Leonard realizes that he jumped on the princess. Not a great beginning to his jesterly career! But his charm and easy manner seems to have delighted her, so there's not too much to fret about.

Do notice that he bows quite gracefully for a jester. Foreshadowing . . . 

My Personal Favorite Lines:

. . . he sprang to the pedestal on which stood the marble statue of her many-times-over great-grandfather, Abundiantus V, whose head was turned to look over a marble shoulder. He seemed to glare directly down at the strange young man who wrapped an arm around his stone waist in a familiar manner, balancing beside the old king.
"She says I must die," the stranger told the statue, waving a hand toward Una. "Will you mourn for me?"
King Abundiantus looked severe.
The stranger turned away with a sob. (p. 116)

"The siege of Rudiobus was hardly a greater tragedy, but then, Lady Gleamdren was not such a one as thee!" (p. 117)

"I don't suppose my end could be put off until tomorrow, could it?"
"I--" Una began.
"No!" he cried. "For you and your wounded dignity, I must perish at once. Go to, foul varlet! Meet thy doom!" (p. 117)

"Composed in the immortal spirit of the great Eanrin himself, it is bound to bring tears to your eyes!" (p. 119)
Heheheh. Given Leonard's later-revealed dislike of everything Bard Eanrin ever wrote, I think this line might just have a double meaning.

Questions on the Text

1. See if you can find definitions to one or two of the following words: "geestly," "knout," "foiter," "noggle," "becket," "louche" and "filiferous." If everyone can find a definition to at least some of these words, we'll try to put them together and find out what the first verse of this poem actually means . . .

2. So, based on what you've seen of Leonard the Jester, would you have been as quick as Una to forgive being jumped upon and invite him up to your palace? (Assuming, of course, you live in a palace . . .)

3. What were some of your favorite lines?


Anna C. said...

1. I'm working on it... it's impossible to find a definition of "Geestly", though I did find one of "Geest"...

2. Uh, probably. Leonard is quite charming...

Meredith said...

"Knout," Noun. A knout is a whip with leather thongs that was used in Russia for flogging criminals. (Miriam Webster's Free Dictionary).
Filiferous: Adjective. "Bearing threads," or "producing threads". Carpentry was also mentioned in another definition. (Miriam Webster's Free Dictionary).
This is so cool. Love that poetry doesn't always have to have a meaning! Makes my attempts at poetry more relaxing and fun. That poem made me laugh out loud, and I love the ones he recites later in the book, (although, of course, their meanings are more obvious). I refer to one in particular that I absolutely love!

2. I don't know how quickly I would have been willing to forgive Leonard's "dropping in," but I think, like Una, I'd have been flustered by his constant prattle, so I'd probably forgiven him fairly quickly. Also, I empathize with his plight, and he's so funny you can't stay mad at him for long. I love his character!

Anna C. said...

1. Ok, here's what I came up with...
From phrontistery.info:
Knout - to flog or scourge
Becket - large hook or bracket used to hold tackle or spars
Louche - squinting; ambiguous; shady
Filiferous - thread-bearing (I don't know if this means it's threadbare, or something is carrying threads...)

From kokogiak.com:
Foiter - riddle or puzzle

I had a very hard time with the word "Geestly"... I couldn't find a definition anywhere. However, I did find a definition of "Geest", which I'm thinking is close enough to be useful:
Geest - old superficial alluvial (silty) soil

I don't know if these definitions are sufficient, but they're all I could find. :)

Anna C. said...

I forgot noggle! A noggle is a fairy-horse-thing that dashes into water and turns into a burning blue mist if anyone tries to ride it.
Or, if you want a more prosaic definition, a noggle is a bug that keeps mill wheels from turning.
Or it means to walk unsteadily.

I like the fairy-horse definition. :D

Rebekah said...

Ha! Yes! I KNEW it. I told my sister that was what "the siege on Rudiobus." was. But she didn't think so. Ah... sweet success.
Sorry, I got carried away.

2)Yes, I would invite him. I have a serious weakness for humor. Make me laugh, and my life savings are your's.

I have a question, if rather late. Gevais is supposed to have an accent. What accent does he have? I'd always thought it was like a scottish brogue.

Bookishqueen said...

2) I would forgive Leonard but I don't think I would have invited him to my house. He is a little too crazy for that.

Clara said...

2. Considering that Leonard is charming, funny, and rather cute, and the fact that I am a hopeless romantic, yes, I would have forgiven, forgotten, and invited him in!

3. The whole scene where Leonard apologizes. Seriously, it's one of my favorite scenes in the whole book!

(I'm working on question 1!)

Beka said...

2) I love to laugh, and I must admit that if some jester was rolling around on the ground in front of me, begging my forgiveness, I'd probably give it to him, just because I got a good laugh out of it. Inviting him to the palace, however... well, I agreed with Una in the fact that he didn't appear threatening, and, if I were a princess, isn't it decorum to invite the poor into one's home?

3)'"Yes." He, still lying on the ground, waved a hand in a grand, sweeping gesture. "Singer, storyteller, acrobat, and clown. Also known as," he coughed modestly, "a Fool."

Loved that line, perhaps because I could picture his facial expression and everything in my head. I love your style of writing!

Anonymous said...

1. Knout - is a heavy scourge-like multiple whip, usually made of a bunch of rawhide thongs attached to a long handle, sometimes with metal wire or hooks incorporated. Foiter - riddle or puzzle. Becket - a ring of rope or metal. Louchenot - reputable or decent. Filiferous - bearing threads.

3. "She says I must die." the stranger told the statue, waving a hand toward Una. "Will you mourn for me?" King Abundiatus looked sever.

"Yes, about that...I'm sorry?"


Anonymous said...

Quick question: I read in one of your interviews that Eanrin has one of the more tragic stories, and this concerns me. Do you mean that he has a tragic background, or that... that... he might-might... die... by the end?! This would make this lover of cats and charming poets very, very sad! :( I know you probably can't say whether or not he'll die, but a bit of clarification on this point would offer some relief!

Jennette said...

2. With him all prattling like he was, I think it would have taken me by surprise and continued to anchor me to the spot. Still, he's breaking in, so, part of me he is screaming, rule breaker don't trust him! then the other part of me his gullible and I would be swayed with his words...

well, that's all I have time for. gotta go. will come back later :-)

Clara said...

"geestly" means ghostly, or something spiritual.
A "knout" is basically a whip.
(a spiritual or ghostly whip? Interesting...)
"foiter" is a riddle or a puzzle...much like this poem!
"noggle" means to walk awkwardly.
"becket" is a device used to hold or fasten ropes. A looped rope.
"louche" is questionable taste or morality.
"filiferous" producing something threadlike.

Hope I got the correct definitions!!

Rebekah said...

Gah! Anonymous, if you see this, where can I find that interview?
I mean, tragic losing his eyes, but don't kill him!

Rae said...

3) Oh, I'd forgive him, but I'd very wary of him thereafter...

Courtney said...

2. I really like Leonard and his sense of humor. I would like to think I would have tried to help him right away somehow. Of course, if this happen in my world today, hmmm... probably not. I would have gotten away from him as quickly as possible.

Anonymous said...

2. Probably yes, but i'd be a bit wary.

3. With a strange cry, none too loud but bone-chilling, he flung himself from the pedestal, somersaulted across the path, lay still at Una's feet. His left arm twitched.
Una gasped.
The stranger raised an eyelid. "Satisfied, m'lady?"
Una, much to her surprise, laughed.


Camryn Lockhart said...

#2 - Based off of what I've seen through Una's eyes, I would probably forgive him. However, as soon as he let me go, I would have probably run off so fast I wouldn't have seen anything that would incline me to forgive him. ;P Good thing Una stayed!

#3 - "I don't suppose my end could be put off until tomorrow, could it?"
"I—" Una began.
"No!" he cried. "For you and your wounded dignity, I must perish at once. Go to, foul Varlet! Meet thy doom!" With a strangled cry, none too loud but bone-chilling, he flung himself from the pedestal, somersaulted across the path and lay still at Una's feet. His left arm twitched. (p. 117)