Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Read-along: Chapter 18

Don't forget to leave comments! Everyone who leaves a comment for each day of the week will be entered in a name-drawing at the end of the week. You could win a copy of Veiled Rose, Moonblood, or Starflower! And yes, you can go back and leave comments on days that you missed, no worries.

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

Una wakes up imprisoned. Another scene that remained very similar to the way I originally wrote it.  Most of the scenes between Una and the Dragon worked really well the first time around because they were so clear in my mind. And I could really picture how it would be to wake up in this new, horrible, ash-covered world that was once home. What a nightmare!

But this time, it is no nightmare. The Dragon is real. The Dragon is present.

Under the bed. I really believe this moment when Una wakes up and finds herself under her bed. When I thought through how it must be for her, following the Dragon's revelation of his horrible, three-story form, this just made sense! She shut the door on the Dragon and fled back to her own rooms. Somehow, we always think our own rooms will be "safe." But even there, her windows look out upon destruction, and I'm sure her ears are ringing with the sounds of fire and fear.

So the poor princess, her lungs full of dragon smoke, her heart pounding with terror, crawled under her own bed and curled up there in a shivering ball. All alone.

Silence. After the cacophony of the night before, the silence of Oriana Palace must be so horrifying, so jarring. So full of the threat of the Dragon . . . This scene really makes me shudder, reading it now.

Panic. All right, maybe "real" heroines of modern stories don't have panic attacks. But I do think this is an honest reaction. And if there is one thing I strive for in the midst of my outlandish fairy tales and fantasies, it is a sense of underlying honesty. I want the emotions to be real. Not "fictionalized" emotions, the types of feelings and reactions we only see in fictional characters. Real people know real fear.

And a young girl, no more than eighteen years old, who has lived a sheltered, comfortable sort of life without ever a threat of danger, suddenly finding herself alone in her own house, uncertain of her family's fate, held captive by an evil more enormous than all nightmares can conjure . . . well, I think she would panic. I think she would lose what little self-control remains and give in to hysterics, if only for a moment.

But she doesn't stay there. She does eventually pull herself together and go seeking answers. Maybe she doesn't grab a sword and try to go get herself fried by a foe far too great. But Una does demonstrate some honest heroism even so.

The Duke and the Dragon. This scene between Duke Shippening and the Dragon was added into a later draft, probably about draft three. For the first two drafts, I really didn't bring Duke Shippening back into the story. But I really liked his odiousness and thought it would be fun to let him play a larger role. So here he is!

We learn in this scene that the duke is allied with the Dragon . . . and has been for quite some time! We'll learn a little more about that in Veiled Rose. But in this novel, we know at least the Dragon has made the duke some pretty promises, including Una for a wife.

Promises I really don't think the Dragon has any intention whatsoever of keeping . . 

"She's not ready." When the duke demands that the Dragon hand Una over to him as promised, the Dragon makes this cryptic remark, "She's not ready yet." To which, of course, the duke responds, "What's she got to be ready for?"

But we know, that this is foreshadowing of what's to come for Una. The Dragon is biding his time. He knows that soon enough she will be completely his. But not yet. Not just yet.

The cringing Prince of Southlands. Here, for the first time in several chapters, we hear rumor of Lionheart. From the very mouth of the Dragon!

One of my own. The Dragon promises to help hunt down Prince Felix and King Fidel, sending one of his own. So the way is paved for yet another dragon to come on the scene!

He will come. Una, relieved to know that her family is alive, tells herself again and again that Prince Lionheart will come to save her. Though, yet again, I wonder if a small part of her might not mean Aethelbald when she thinks this. After all, she only says he will come, not Leonard will come. I think there is a subconscious trust in the Prince of Farthestshore, deep down in her heart.

But she must find out what happened to her jester.

Una speaks to the Dragon. Yet again, in light of the horror that is the Dragon, I think Una demonstrates surprising courage when she rushes out and demands word of her jester-prince. She's as weak as a mouse in the Dragon's presence, and his poisons must wreck havoc on her senses. And yet she faces him, despite her terror, and demands answers to her questions. She has some spunk, does our princess of Parumvir!

Your jester is dead. In a weird, twisted sort of way, the Dragon speaks the truth. The jester Una loved is no more. He's been swallowed up in the prince Lionheart has been forced to become. In the choices he has made, the path he has elected to follow. There is no room for a jester upon the throne of a prince.

And the prince has chosen another bride . . .

My Personal Favorite Lines:

"I will send one of my own to help you in your task."
"Swear it!" the duke demanded.
The Dragon showed his fangs in an awful smile. "By the fire in the very marrow of my bones." (p. 189)

He regarded her through red slits of pupils. "See what a well-trained puppy I am, coming at your call?" (p. 190)

"You killed him!"
"I? No, not I," the Dragon said. "No, Prince Lionheart killed your jester." (p. 191)

Questions on the Text

1. So, time to use your imagine. Picture yourself in Una's place. When the Dragon had imprisoned you, and you'd shut the door of Oriana Palace, what would you have done next? How similar would your actions have been to Una's? How dissimilar?

2. When you first heard the Dragon mention Lionheart, did you think the prince was dead? Or did you guess at another possible answer?

3. Favorite lines?

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

1. I probably would've done the same as Una, except I would have crawled into the bed not under it; and pulled the covers over myself. It's the I can't see it, it can't see me.

2. In a way, yes. I read, "I? No, not I," the Dragon said. "No, Prince Lionheart killed your jester."

3. "Come, Princess Tidbit," the Dragon said. "Don't keep me in suspense." -pg. 190

In this chapter Una is called Princess Tidbit. Does this name and your Friday's posts have any connection?

Caitlyn

Beka said...

1)I probably would have tried to shut myself in a closet; I don't think I would have done anything half so brave as what Una does.

2) I figured he was dead in a metaphorical sense. And I didn't really like him, either, so I wasn't as worried about him as I was about what would happen to Una.

Bookishqueen said...

2) I guessed it would be something else. Even though Lionheart had said he would fight the dragon, I did not think that he would really have the guts to do it.

Emily Bennett said...

2. I had no clue what was going to happen I just knew I couldn't stop reading until I found out. Good books tend to have that effect on me. :)

Jennette said...

1. I'd probably have done the same thing that Una did. I would have tried to hide, and think about a way to escape. At least, I would like to think so.

2. I don't remember, probably I would have thought him dead, or why else would the Dragon be here rather than Lionheart.

3. I like how the Dragon calls her little mouthful.

Meredith said...

1. I'd probably have sought refuge in a secret passage of some sort, (or, at least, I hope that's what I would have done). Knowing me, I'd have screamed like a banshee and been frozen to the spot. I like that Una hid in her room. I like that she didn't immediately find a sword or something like that. Those types of books simply aren't as satisfying to me as the ones where heroines go through periods of panic or despair in order to grow.

2. When the Dragon first said "your jester is dead," I, like Una, assumed that he was gone for good. However, I really like that Lionheart himself was the one responsible for "killing" or getting rid of Leonard. This fact really sheds light on our own culpability when it comes to evil. We can't be forced into anything, yet temptation is so very strong. It would have been so easy for you, I'm sure, to have the Dragon be the one completely responsible for the evil, yet I love that all your characters must ultimately face themselves as well as the outward villainy that surrounds them. Thanks for such reality in the midst of such wonderfully fantastic books.

3. Lines:
The whole exchange between the Dragon and the Duke. When I first read the book, I was, (and still am), astounded by the Duke's flippancy and outright bossiness when speaking to the Dragon. Phew! Talk about literally playing with fire! I thought the Dragon would go off at any moment and kept waiting for the explosion. Just shows what a calculating and controlled villain you've created. Have you ever read any books on the subject of spiritual warfare? I think you've really captured the persona of our enemy in the Dragon's character. Great work.

The "trained puppy: line always gives me chills. He's so very wicked in his mockery, yet I can easily imagine a suave and courtly person; someone who I would fear yet be drawn to. I picture his voice as very deep-toned, slightly mocking, yet strangely kind-sounding when he speaks this line. I think Ralph Fiennes could play this character well, although someone younger might be better. What do you all think?

Little Brown Sparrow said...

#1 - I would have been afraid of moving freely about that castle, especially upon the discovery that he was inside. That gave me shivers! Also, dragon smoke would have rendered any coherent thought I could conjure useless. Una probably did more than I could have!

#2 - I wasn't sure what the Dragon meant. I think when I first read it, I read the next few chapters to find out. :)

#3 - The great front door of the palace opened. Una's heart went to her mouth as the man with the white face and the black-red eyes stepped out into the yard.
He's been inside. (p.187)

I love how the tension is rising! It's all such a shocking change of pace, though you had warning throughout the whole book. :)


In Christ,
Camryn

Hannah said...

1. I like to think I would have been similar to Una and not just have stayed under my bed. I'd love to think that I'd keep my cool and be a warrior heroine, or at least a crafty escape artist! Maybe a girl like Harry Crewe from the Blue Sword. Nothing seemed to ruin her cool. (Well, almost nothing.) Or really unnoticeable, really small, and really, really clever, like Hathin from The Lost Conspiracy! But no...I would have been like Una...or worse. :)

Anna C. said...

2. I didn't think he was dead. I just assumed the Dragon was lying about everything (which he kinda was). That's the funny thing about evil... it uses the truth to further its lies. I really liked this scene. :)

Courtney said...

2. I am not for certain but I think I believed he was still alive but that he had changed somehow back to his princely self. It is hard for me to remember though, now that I have reread the story and all the others!

Rebekah said...

1)Well, being as it's me, not Una, I would have dropped to my knees and begged God for help (not to sound self-rightous). And then I would have hidden under my bed, woken up, nothing has changed, aah! Panic attack! So, it would be similar.