Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Read-along: Chapter 31

Things are really starting to point toward the climax and ending now! This chapter sets in motion some of the climactic-aiming action. It also contains more hints of the history behind these characters and this world. Hints that may or may not connect to some of the hints dropped early on in this novel . . . .

Keep leaving comments for an opportunity to be entered in the big final giveaway!

I feel a little funny to keep posting this "Christmas" banner after the New Year . . . but hey, they twelve days of Christmas are still going, so that counts, right?


Last Scene with Lionheart. This is the last time we see the struggling Prince of Southlands in Heartless. And it is quite a revealing scene, I think!

Early on in the novel, in chapter four, we saw the scene between the Dragon and the Lady of Dreams as they played dice for Una's life. Now, for the first time since then, we glimpse the Lady of Dreams again. And we learn of her influence over Lionheart. She whispers into his mind, and he seems, at least in part, to believe that her thoughts are his own.

But, as the Lady whispers the words, "Rid yourself of them as soon as possible. Just as you did the girl," Lionheart puts his head in his hands and replies, "Get out of my head!"

He's not so unaware of her presence as all that. He's not so blind, though he might be mostly blind at this point. He knows he has given in and submitted to a darkness . . . a darkness to which he does not like to admit, a darkness he will excuse as much as possible.

But when she mentions "the girl," he becomes angry enough even to grab and throw burning embers with his bare hands!

We assume, of course, that "the girl" referred to here is Princess Una. But, as you read deeper into the series, you might find a different possibility . . .

Fidel. Finally, after many chapters away from him, we see Fidel again. He is in hiding, protected by Aethelbald's men as promised. He is still struggling to rule his kingdom even from hiding, however, receiving reports and sending out judgments. But ultimately, he has to admit that the real king of Parumvir at this time is the Dragon himself.

Under attack. Despite the defense put in place by Oeric, Imoo, and Rogan, the Duke of Shippening's forces--as led by the Dragon, no doubt--break through and wreck havoc on Fidel's loyal men. But Fidel proves that he is no soft-skinned king, but a true warrior at heart, despite the suffering he's endured and the dragon poison. With the aid of the knights, he battles bravely, and for a moment it looks as though Parumvir might win the day . . .

Then the Dragon himself arrives.

Rogan's death. The Dragon proves himself more than a match for Aethelbald's men. Wild-hearted Rogan attacks, but is completely destroyed in the blast of the Dragon's fire. Imoo himself only just avoids the same fate, and is soon sent flying across the yard by a single sweep of the Dragon's arm. They are like so many dolls before this foe!

Oeric and the Dragon. An interesting little exchange happens here between Sir Oeric and the Dragon. An exchange which might shed some light on various back-stories hinted at earlier in the novel.

The Dragon, calling Oeric "goblin," asks if he's found himself a name yet. Names, as we know, bear great importance in this world. And when last the Dragon and Oeric met, Oeric had no name.

The Dragon goes on to say that he will not kill Oeric because, "I owe you too much to crisp you to cinders . . . I do not forget a service rendered, however unwillingly. If not for you, little knight, I might yet be bound to the Gold Stone!"

Think back now to the ugly picture on the wall in Oriana, mentioned a few times. The picture of the Dragon in his awful man's shape, lying upon a golden altar. Might we now have some idea who one of the three men mentioned might have been?

Of course, I hope to tell the whole story eventually. And more of it is revealed in Moonblood, though not the whole of it. Just hints. Just hints . . .

Fidel taken. Meanwhile, our good King Fidel is taken by the Dragon and stolen away back to Oriana, we must presume.

By the cage. Una is almost too frightened to approach the cage in which the dragon kin have imprisoned Prince Aethelbald. But he calls to her by her name--her lost name--and though it hurts to hear, she cannot resist, but draws near. It's interesting to me, seeing the importance placed on names in this book! I had forgotten that this theme was so iatrical to the plotting of Heartless. It is a massively important theme in Starflower, but I like to see that it was set-up for so early on. I like internal consistency of themes within my series . . . whether planned or otherwise! LOL.

Felix is alive. Una learns for the first time that her brother did not die. It has been quite a while now since the Dragon whispered word of Felix's supposed death into her poisoned mind. But now she knows he lives, and for a moment, we almost think that love of her brother and joy at this news might be enough to bring Una back around to herself.

But instead, she says, "He may as well be dead, for I am dead to him, dead to all of them!"

The key. But perhaps Una isn't as far gone as even she believes. Perhaps news of her brother's life was enough to pluck at some living string. For she steals a key from the Bane of Corrilond's robes . . . they key to the cage in which Aethelbald is held.

My Personal Favorite Lines

1. "Una?"
She froze as though paralyzed at the sound of her name. It hurt to hear it, like a knife in her mind. (p. 304)

Questions on the Text

1. Did you recognize the Lady of Dreams in that scene with Lionheart? What did you think was going on with him at first? What do you think of the difference between the Dragon and his sister?

2. So in this chapter, we learn that one of the Dragon's names is "Death-in-Life." What do you think this means?

3. Favorite lines?


Anonymous said...

1. I did recognize the Lady of Dreams. I got that someone was 'talking' to him. "You should punish them." The Dragon works up close and his sister works from afar.

3. "What can I do against the Dragon? There are no heroes left in this day and age who can fight him." pg. 300


Hannah said...

1. I instantly realized that the Lady of Dreams had Lionheart in her grip. It was quite a revelation and for me a great one, because at that moment I began to understand what tortured state Lionheart lived in to lead him to betray Una.

3. "Sir Oeric brandished his sword. "Stay back," he repeated, then charged forward alone into the attack. For a moment he seemed to be swallowed up by the enemy. Then bit by bit, Fidel watched in amazement as the men of Shippening fell away, fleeing back out into the yard in the face of one man's defense."

Oh, Oeric how we love you.

"But they stood as pale as three ghosts. Sir Oeric said in a low voice, "He has come."'

Such a horrible realization. My heart quite sunk. And for some reason, this always reminds me of Frodo speaking of the Nazgul's approach.

"Go to the hell prepared for you, Death-in-life," the knight spat, his deep voice strangely thin before the monster's might."

I simply love Oeric's attitude in this scene. He seems determined not to be afraid of the Dragon. And yet we see quite clearly that the Dragon is not afraid of him. Hmmm...and yet in Veiled Rose, we see the Dragon very much dismayed at Beana's entrance. Interesting. What did one lady knight do that has made her so much more fearful to the Dragon then the other brave knights? We see the Dragon mock Eanrin and Oeric to their face. We see the Dragon mock Beana...on the other side of an impassable gate. Very interesting.

"Greetings King Fidel," the Dragon said. "It's time to come home."

Christa said...

#3) Aethelbald reached out to her. "Una-"
"That is no longer my name!" she snarled.
"That name is precious to me," he whispered.
"More's the pity for you, then."
(pg. 305)

Aethelbald slowly shook his head. "Woman, I fear you have long since forgotten the meaning of love." (pg. 306) [Actually, I had to smile a little at this, since it reminded me of all the different times in the New Testament when Jesus called His mother and various ladies, "Woman." Yep, the Prince is definitely a Christ-like figure. =D ]

Courtney said...

1. I don't think I really understood who she was until later. At first (Una's dream) I thought that the the dragon was bad and the lady might be good. Then I realized neither were.

2. I stated my thoughts earlier for this question. Death-In-Life to me seems to be that you are alive but you live in death. He represents lives that are destroyed.

Courtney said...

I was wondering... Do we have to go back and find all the post (way way back) that we did not do in order to be entered in the contest or is it just the recent ones? Also are you going to be putting some of the last chapters together to make this go faster? The reason I am asking is that I will probably not have any internet access until Sunday. If you don't it wont be a problem obviously but I was concerned I would get back on to find that I had missed everything. >.<'

Rebekah said...

2) Like what Una said, sort of. The dragons are still alive, but after Death-in Life has them, they may as well be dead. Their existance is living in death. Death in life.

Jennette said...

1. Yes I recognized the Lady of Dreams. I knew she was talking to him. the Dragon is more in your face, out to get you, the lady maybe more reserved and slow. Like Caitlyn said, the Dragon works up close, quicker, but the Lady is working from a distance, slower, harder to see it happening.

2.Death-in-Life. He is death walking around. Dead spiritually alive physically, sort of. He brings Death to your life, but you're still alive, changing into a dragon, burning things, but you are spiritually dead, your identity is dead. maybe like a zombie, but with brains. :-)

Molly said...

2. I think that "Death-in-Life" means that they die as humans, but yet they live, just in the form of dragons.

I saw your Fan Art Contest and I don't know if I've asked already, but can we enter pictures that we've taken with a camera, or do we just have to draw it? Or is it like last year, where anything is entered (like the sculptures, drawings, pictures, etc.)?
(I also saw Clara and Anna's drawing in there...yay!! :D)

Also, are we allowed to start working on our art now or when you announce the start of the Fan Art Contest?

Meredith said...

1. I knew that the mysterious voice was the same entity with whom the Dragon King played the game, yet I never realized until you clarified that the Lady and the Dragonwitch were different characters. I guess I just assumed, after Leo's story to Rose Red, that the Dragon King and Dragonwitch somehow were representative of Satan/sin. Kind of like Milton's Paradise Lost where Satan and Sin copulate and birth a daughter named Death. (I think I have that right, but definitely don't quote me on it).

All this is to say that I like what you've done much better than my original thoughts. The Dragon's relationship with his sister kind of reminds me of the novel, Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K. Le Guin. Your take is kind of a negative spin on the shadow archetype, and you take it to a whole new level. Two distinct forces of evil working ultimately for the same goal yet ready to turn upon each other if the need arose. It is exciting that I haven't actually met the Dragonwitch yet, so I have another character with which to become acquainted. Just shows you shouldn't assume.
The Dragon and his sister are fascinating and such vivid depictions of the voracious disstructiveness and subtlity of evil. I love how the Lady's seductive suggestions are copied by Lionheart, "You should rid yourself of those men". "I should rid myself of them" (paraphrased). It's like he can still think for himself, yet he is becoming more and more influenced and bespelled. Excellent work!

Anne Elisabeth Stengl said...

@Courtney: I'm probably going to count everyone who comments starting from this last Monday through to the end. As long as you comment at least MOSTLY every day, you'll be included (if you miss a day or two, I'll probably be nice and let it slide though . . . .)

As for the chapter plan, at this point I'm just planning to post a chapter a day like I've been doing. I hope that will work for you! :)

@Molly: Yes, you can include photography for sure! You can include any and all forms of art, just so long as it is A) Goldstone Wood-related and B) Not something you have submitted for a contest before. And yes, you can go ahead and send submissions early, just be certain that you label it as "For Art Contest 2013" so I know. Otherwise I'll assume you're just sending me artwork for the fun of it!

I'll be announcing the contest and the rules officially after the read-along has finished. You can definitely start planning!

Beka said...

1)I didn't recognize the Lady of Dreams. I like how the two different evils are distinguished; the Lady of Dreams appears much more subtle, a lot like how dreams can be.

2) I think "Death-in-Life" refers to how the dragons are still alive, but empty of true life--that provided by Aethelbald.

Hannah said...

I forgot to say that when I first read this the sudden death of Rogan was quite tragic. I mean, I didn't cry, but I remember being let down in spirits considerably. I want to learn more about Rogan and Imoo, but if I learn too much about Rogan his one-sentence death will be even harder!