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Back to the story . . . .
at the opening of chapter 7, we really see Una for the romantic little fool
that she is. "Prince Gervais was so handsome! Prince Gervais was so
charming! Prince Gervais was come to pay his respects!" Without a thought
for actual character or even whether or not they might have a reasonable
conversation! But that's typical Una for you . . . sweet, but not very wise.
second vision of Una's is much shorter than the first. But it provides some
interesting hints! She sees an "enormous face surrounded by fire,"
and this face says, "Where are you? Five years I have searched. Five years
I have wasted."
now we know that this person--whoever he might be--has been searching for Una
for five years . . . the same amount of time that she has had Monster, her
secret guardian. And so far, though obviously powerful, this dream danger has
been unable to locate her . . . possibly due to the protections Monster (who we
now know serves Prince Aethelbald) has offered.
will also notice that the dream-stranger says, "Are you not the one I
seek?" Is he speaking to Una when he says this? Or--as a reading of Veiled Rose might reveal--is he speaking
to someone else and Una is merely overhearing it in her dream?
Monster: Monster is so
full of mystery, but he is also SO full of cattishness! As a cat-person myself,
I can't tell you how many times I have been woken by prickling whiskers in my
face, opening my eyes to a pink, prodding nose.
The ring: Una's ring
continues to be an important reference in this chapter. Here we have it described
as a "cluster of opals."
ring was originally inspired by the opal ring worn by Princess Irene in George
MacDonald's The Princess and the Goblin.
In that book, the princess is given the ring by her magical grandmother, but it
could still be said to symbolize her heart . . . though in a different way than
the opal ring Una's mother gave her. I loved The Princess and the Goblin when I was growing up, so I liked
slipping in a little nod to MacDonald here in my first novel.
described the ring to look like one that my
grandmother gave me. That's a picture
of it up there . . . not very good quality picture, but you get the idea. Isn't it pretty? I don't
wear it too often since opals are soft stones and too-easily break. But I still
really like it!
another opal ring, modeled by the lovely Clara in a Heartless photo-shoot.
Una's braid: Whenever I
picture my sweet Princess Una, I always picture her in the look described in
this chapter . . . a loose braid down her back, a simple gown, a journal in her
pocket. For all she's a spoiled princess, she's also a sweet girl. I feel like
she's someone I could be friends with!
another appearance in this chapter, this time as a marble statue. We get a few
interesting details about him when this statue is described. We're told he's
got one hand on the hilt of his sword and the other "resting upon his
breast, fingering a pair of incongruous spectacles on a chain."
you know if it's slipped in there, it's going to be important later . . .
Sadly, you'll have to keep reading for many books before you'll find out why!
But don't forget King Abundiantus and his spectacles.
The Rose Garden:
was called the Rose Garden, though no roses had bloomed there in over twenty
years." Another little mysterious thread in Heartless that is not resolved within this novel. In Veiled Rose, we learn that roses haven't
bloomed in any other country for twenty years as well. But the reason why, we
won't learn until Moonblood. Rest
assured, dear reader! There is an explanation.
Gervais's song: A sad little
mimic of the beautiful Burns' ballad, My
Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose . . . Gervais's song for Una was written by
"the great Eanrin of Rudiobus."
Wait! Isn't that the name Prince
Aethelbald called Monster in an earlier chapter?
yes it is . . . And the enigma deepens!
Gervais, of course, uses the song to further enchant Una. He flirts with rare
gusto and obviously knows much more about wooing than my inexperienced little
princess does. Poor Una can do nothing but blush in hot, red blotches! But it
doesn't take a whole lot of smarts to realize Gervais is merely throwing clichéd
romanticism at the princess without a sincere word in the mix. He doesn't even
get her eye-color right, and she's standing right in front of him!
this "romantic" interlude with Prince Gervais, Una finds Prince
Aethelbald that much more infuriating . . . especially when he continues to be
as sweet and solicitous as always, no matter how nasty she gets! Poor Una
really does get the worst of it in this scene, leaping from embarrassment to
Una's burns: Once more,
Aethelbald inquires after Una's hands. He tells her she is badly burned, but
she insists that there is no burn to be seen. Aethelbald gently tells her,
"I see what you cannot."
Gotta love it, right?
Aethelbald asks Una if she will allow him to tend to her hurts, she refuses,
stumbling over her words rather badly as she does so. Do any of you do that?
Get so caught up in what you want to say that you can't quite get it to come out right? I sure do! At least when I'm
nervous. That's where Una's little speech-problem stemmed from . . . my own
shyness when speaking in public. (I'm much better now, but when I was Una's age
I had the worst time trying to keep
my words in order!)
plumped her pillows so many times that Monster gave an irate squawk and stalked
to the foot of the bed, curling up like a chipmunk with his tail wrapped over
his nose. (p. 82)
Abundiantus's] marble face scowled severely down upon Una as though to say
there were far more important things to consider on a spring morning than love
did not believe she and her great-grandsire would have seen eye to eye on many
subjects. (p. 83)
Una," he said, his voice low and soft, "did you know that your eyes
shine like the stars?"
the star analogy might have come from so early in the morning, Una could not
guess, but that hardly mattered at such a moment. (p. 85)
first moment I gazed into the limid blue depths of your eyes," he said,
"I knew I might drown there and die a happy man."
small part of her deep inside winced that he'd gotten her eye color wrong. (p.
she gasped, then inwardly kicked herself when the next word from her mouth was
a resounding, "Uh!" (p. 86)
up on people," she snapped. "Really, sir, there are proprieties to
was standing in plain sight."
couldn't have been that plain since I didn't see you!"
might have seen me had you been looking where you went."
was looking where I went right up until I stopped . . . looking . . . "
now all this rot about invisible injuries and interrupting Prince Gervais as he
and I don’t see what business it is of I can do what I like and I think you're
simply and that's that!"
paused there, wondering if what she'd just said had made a lick of sense.
Judging from Prince Aethelbald's face, it hadn't. "Well, now you
know," she finished. (p. 88)
help her, she would not turn around
to see whether or not he was still watching her!
her teeth, Una fled to her chambers, determined never to leave them again. (p.
Questions for the
1. So, if you
were Una, would you have fallen for Gervais's charm? Would you have fallen for
2. While this chapter focuses primarily on Una's
interest in Gervais, there are a number of hints of developing danger and
storyline to come. Which hints did you pick out? Which ones intrigued you most?
3. Any favorite
1. "If cats have nine lives, how many does Eanrin have? And is it just the Faerie royalty that have three lives (like Dragonwitch and Vahe)?" -- the Ever-Mysterious Anonymous
I'm afraid Eanrin only has one. I'm sure he would like you to think he has nine (and sometimes, with the variety of scrapes he barely makes it through, it would be easy to believe he has nine). But he only has one. A nice loooooong, immortal one, but one. Only the Faerie lords and ladies, rulers of demesnes have three lives. And then, they only get three lives when the come into power. So, for instance, Vahe's daughter does not have three lives until she becomes Queen of Arpiar.
2. "How far apart are Una and Felix (in age)?" -- Caitlyn
I think they're about three years apart. I picture Una as approximately 18 (she just came of age that year), and Felix as about 15. Sound about right to you?