Sunday, December 16, 2012

Read-along: Chapter 15

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

A father's reaction. I think Fidel's reaction to Una's story is pretty understandable. I mean, I can't imagine I would feel any better about it if my child told me that the court jester claims to be a prince and got her to promise him her trust. Not to mention giving away her priceless opal ring like that!

But Fidel is surprisingly understanding, I think. He does tell her that Lionheart proves sincere, he will accept him gladly. He simply doesn't want Una to give her trust--her heart--away so easily.

But Una is quite determined the Lionheart is who he has said he is. She wants to believe him. And who's to blame her? I want to believe him myself!

Felix's age. Well! I'd forgotten that Felix turns fourteen here in the book. Someone asked earlier how old he was, and I said about fifteen, but I was wrong. He turns fourteen in this novel, which means he's probably fifteen by Moonblood, which is where I was pulling that age from. My bad!

Monster. Una's pet has been a bit quiet in the last few chapters. But we continue to get references to him here and there. He's close by, watching over her, even while Aethelbald is away. I'm sure it was frustrating for him, watching his mistress give away her heart to the jester while she continues to refuse the Prince! But Monster remains loyal no matter what.

Una's dream. Once more Una dreams a harsh dream. This time, it flashes quickly across her mind, the face of the evil, death-faced man. and she hears voice saying, 'It's yours! Take it!"

With that she wakes up. But the burns on her hands remain sharp and painful, and they do not fade the next day. Even Nurse notices them and thinks Una was grabbing the fire irons.

Alone in the Wood. Una shuts the door in poor Monster's face as she hastens out to the Wood on her own that cold evening. Winter is coming, and Parumvir is far north enough to promise a very cold winter. I picture it all gray and still, with dark, naked branches tangled above Una's head as she goes. And her nose is biting with cold, and her air steams before her face, but she doesn't care! She is so lost in her own thoughts, worrying about Lionheart, wondering if she will ever see him again, ready to make herself sick with this obsession.

Part of me feels, while reading this, "Wow, Una needs another passion. Something to focus her mind on. Anything to shift her thoughts a little bit! Surely this obsession over Lionheart isn't healthy!" Well, it probably isn't. But it's also very relatable. I've been there myself!

Imagined Moment. Una briefly believes she sees Lionheart return. She believes he came and asked her to come with him, now. But though she is ready to fling herself into his arms, she stops. She wonders if he has done what he said. Did he kill the Dragon?

He hasn't. He must admit that he has not succeeded. And he says that she cannot love him. Una tries to protest, tries to hurry to him.

But then she wakes up from this cruel dream.

She wakes up, and meets the Dragon.

The Dragon. At this moment, the whole of Heartless takes such a drastically new turn, it's almost unbelievable. I remember when I sent the third draft to one of my Beta readers. He told me how shocked he was by this sudden turn of events. To go from dreamy-princess-wants-to-get-married to . . . DRAGONS! FIRE! DESTRUCTION! It's a bit dizzying.

But I've always really liked this moment. And really, when you read carefully, you see that everything has been leading up to it. Even the dream she just had about Leonard . . . I'll bet you anything the Dragon sent her that dream, just to torment her!

And now, the story begins to steamroller at a frightening pace. Are you ready to keep up with it?

My personal favorite lines:

Monster was burrowed somewhere deep, a furry lump at her feet, as near to the bed warmer as he could safely sleep. (p. 166) Such a cat. LOL.

She pretended she slept but couldn't fool herself. Her nose was frozen, but Una was too tired and too cold to lift the blankets to cover it, so she pretended it wasn't cold and failed at that as well. She wondered if the faerie-tale princesses who fell into enchanted sleeps felt like this as they lay for a hundred years, frozen in time. How boring it must be for them after a decade or two. (p. 166) After Starflower, this makes me laugh particularly!

Monster placed himself in her lap and started grooming with all the care of a dandy. (p. 167) Oh, Monster. How we love you.

Questions on the text:

1. Una says the trust is believing without seeing. Fidel says trust is knowing the truth and believing in that. Who do you think is right? Or do you have another perspective neither of these two saw?

2. Have you ever been so upset about something that it consumed your thoughts to the extent Una's thoughts are consumed? I really relate to this bit with her, because I have felt this way many times over. So hard to focus on anything else, and so impossible to get that recurring thought out of your brain, even when you know it should go!

3. So, initial thoughts . . . What about that Dragon?!?!?

8 comments:

Beka said...

1) I think that trust is believing in something that might be unseen, but not without knowing that it's the truth. :D

2) Definitely. It's very easy to become obsessed with something; for me, it can happen when someone has offended me in some way. It's hard to just shrug it off and move on and accept that you're not the centre of the universe. :P

3) The Dragon is sooo creepy. The way he's described takes the worst from ghosts and zombies and mashes them together. If someone like that popped up out of nowhere at me, I'd probably faint dramatically.

Courtney said...

1.I think trust is believing whether you can see it or not but it should be truth. So... both of them?

Anna C. said...

1. I think trust is knowing that someone is generally truthful, and they ask you to believe something which can't be verified, and you place your belief in them.

2. Yes, but I'm really kinda strange in that I'm usually able to get rid of any such thoughts in a relatively short time. So I might have an all-consuming thought/emotion, but I can (luckily) remove it within a half-hour or so...

3. The dragon was completely unexpected. Honestly, I thought "Heartless" was going to be a fluffy romance that I could whip through in a day, and that there wouldn't be anything deeper than a slight allegory. I. Was. So. Wrong. It was disconcerting in the extreme when the Dragon popped up, but I LOVED IT! :D

Hannah said...

1. I loved the conversation between Una and Fidel here. Fidel is such a wise and caring father. I agree with the rest of you girls that trust is probably a combination of what they said. But then again, you can choose to trust anyone, with truth or not. The consequences that follows may not be what you want at all. Look at Una.

2. I'm sure I have.

3. When the Dragon entered, I realized that the story was about to get a whole lot more interesting. Because, while I was enjoying the first half very well, I love action and drama. The Dragon was deliciously baaaaaaaad. He's one of those characters whom you love to hate.

Bookishqueen said...

2)I often get consumed with thinking on something that upset me even when I know I should let it go. It takes a while to give it up.

Jennette said...

1. I think they are both a little right. Fidel is trying to capture that a person proves he or she is trustworthy by his actions. We are known by our fruit. If our actions are shady, how can we be trusted until we have proven otherwise? Now, if a person has a hard time trusting, perhaps, then we could ask them to trust them, to prove themself. so depending on the circumstances. Leonard could be telling the truth, but since he's had to live a lie to survive, he could ask her to trust him, but he would have to prove himself trustworthy. So give him a chance to prove himself. Unfortunately, he didn't live up to the requested "trust". on a different note, we are asked to trust God and not lean on our own understanding...which many times means believing without seeing, but you have to know the truth...so they kind of go hand in hand.

2. Yes, I have been like this, not necessarily over a "boyfriend" or anything like. If I'm unable to let go, I start self-destructing.

3. Ah, the Dragon. I was completely surprised to see him as human. I was like what? I don't know why I didn't connect the dots about the man with the black skull and white skin...loved how you described him.

Little Brown Sparrow said...

#1 - This is a difficult question. Perhaps it is a little bit of both? Trust is earned, yet at the same time, it is given. It is a delicate balance, methinks.

#2 - I have had times where I was upset and I would go to my room and cry. My mom isn't used to me crying so she would leave me in my room because she didn't know what to do with me. ;P But I can most definitely relate to Una obsessing over something so small (yet so big).

#3 - Gah! He has such a dramatic entrance. Here Una is, one minute dreaming of Lionheart, the next minute screaming at the sight of the Dragon who only says, "Hello, Una." Wow! Almost as good as the opening, "Una screamed." ^_^

I love how Monster is always there when she is daydreaming. He's such a good protector!

Finally, I caught up with the chapters. Phew! :)

In Christ,
Camryn

Meredith said...

1. I agree with Fidel's statement a great deal, yet I also know that faith "is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we cannot see," (Hebrews 11:1:2). I also know that "we walk by faith not by sight," (2 Corinthians 5). This does not mean that we stumble around without any clear direction. Faith stems from our hearing of the Word of God. Relating this concept to Heartless: Fidel could trust Aethelbald because his actions were consistent with what he said. Lionheart, on the other hand, showed up in disguise, so he seemed to be mysterious and, to Fidel's way of thinking, up to no good. I'm trying to say that I agree with all the others because trust must be based upon the truth. Great question!

2. Una's preoccupation with Leonard really irked me the first time I read the book, (and I'm really sorry to admit that). Perhaps this fact is a clear indication of how Una is so relatable. Her obsessive pining hits very close to home and can be applied to any manner of things.

3. I loved when the Dragon first made his appearance. The dreams were really whetting my appetite, and I'll admit that I'm not a reader of romance novels. So, when the Dragon King finally came out in the open, it really got to where I couldn't put the book down. I am struck by his seductiveness. I remember feeling distinctly uneasy, yet his mannerisms are courtly in a way. Therefore, I didn't know what he was going to do. Before reading Heartless, I pictured a dragon as something that swooped down and took its prey by force. So, I was shocked by his entrance because it was different from what I've read in other books about dragons. The scene where he first appears is so jarring yet amazingly suspenseful. A true depiction of how evil shows up when you least expect it.