Friday, January 11, 2013

Read-along: Chapter 38

Oh, my goodness! We are almost done now! Just today and tomorrow left . . . .

I'll be picking the winner of the Grand Prize giveaway tomorrow evening, so be certain to leave your comments just to make certain your name is entered. You could win Veiled Rose, Moonblood and Starflower!


Better late than never. As I said in the previous book, these last two chapters of resolution didn't come until a much later draft of the novel. It's just so hard after all that drama and tension to then start letting everything unwind.

I ended up starting the chapter with Fidel and Felix because I felt like it would be easier to look at resolution through their eyes rather than Una's. There are just too many emotions to deal with in Una following her transformation, salvation, and that final epic battle! Maybe I was a bit of a coward to do it this way . . . and maybe, as a more experienced writer now, I would have been able to tackle this bit from Una's perspective. But the writer-me of years ago certainly found it far too intimidating.

And face it: we all like getting back to Felix anyway.

Monster's back. Well there you are, dragon-eaten cat! Where were you when all the action was taking place?

But here he is, purring and rubbing around Felix's ankles as though nothing had happened. Silly beast. But who knows, maybe he was involved in some part of all the drama of which we are unaware? Maybe there was something going on with some of the soldiers of Shippening . . .

Running down the hill. I love this moment when Felix, catching sight of his sister--whom, you realize, he might have believed was killed--yelps and goes racing down the hill into her arms. Yes, the squabble and fight. They're siblings! But they really do love each other. All of these adventures have only strengthened the love between these two. I think this is a really touching little scene . . . I might have even teared-up a bit (but shhhh. Don’t tell).

I will return for you. Aethelbald leads the family into the Wood and guides them by Faerie paths across miles and leagues. At last, they emerge at the coastal city of Glencrocus, where they are greeted with much joy by the people of that city.

And there, before they are overwhelmed by the crowds, Aethelbald quietly tells Una that he must go. He has others he must look after, his own servants and those of her father. But he promises that he will return for Una. And he asks, "Will you wait for me?"

The crowd parts them before she can speak, but I'm sure he saw everything he needed in her smile.

Nurse! After many, many, many chapters without her, Nurse finally appears again, well and whole, delighted to be reunited with her dear princess! Hoorah! And, of course, she has to disguise her joy by telling Una what a mess she is and immediately falling into her usual, fussy ways.

*Happy sigh.* I do like the ends of books, so full of meetings and greetings and reunions. I don't like writing them particularly, but they are fun to read!

Felix and Una. While awaiting Aethelbald's return, Una and Felix spend a good bit of time together. I think they know that things will never be the same as they were. They'll never be as close, playing their games, teasing their tutor, running away to the old bridge. They've both grown up a lot, Una especially.

And they know that she is going to marry and move on, never to return. Never to be the sweet, young, immature Princess of Parumvir that she was.

It's a bittersweet time in a way. The fact is, you can't want everything to stay the same. It's not healthy. We have to move and grow and learn how to love each other in new ways along the paths of our lives. But it's hard not be wish--just a little bit--that things could go on the way they always have.

I think that's what this scene is about, between Una and her brother. But they love each other better now than they did before. And ultimately, their love will go on growing.

Aethelbald returns. When he does, he brings with him a certain treasure found in the ruins of Oriana: Una's opal ring, the gift from her mother.

And Una makes the wisest choice she's made through this entire novel. She says to Prince Aethelbald, "I would be . . .  I think I should like you to keep it. If you would."

So we know they're definitely going to get married now!!!

"I'll have to think about it." I liked having Una say, "I'll have to think about it" when Aethelbald proposes to her for the second time. It makes me laugh, because it's so obvious to everyone that she is absolutely ready and willing to marry him! And Felix rolls his eyes, because he knows too . . . he knows Una is just being a pill and tease.

My editors almost took this little bit out, however. In fact, in the advance reader copies of Heartless, this little "I'll have to think about it" section isn't included. They thought it distracted from the romance of the scene. But I asked them to put it back. I like a little laugh along with my romance!

And now, there's nothing but a wedding left . . . .

My Personal Favorite Lines

1. Una, her father, and her brother were too full of joy after their bitter separation to consider the fragility of their position. They clung to each other and laughed and cried and interrupted each other and laughed and cried some more. When at last Prince Aethelbald asked them to follow him into the Wood, they did so without question, still laughing, still crying, and saying words very little worth hearing save for the glad voices in which they were spoken.
Aethelbald never once let go of Una's hand. (p. 356)

1. "Are you going to marry Aethelbald?" Felix asked . . .
"Marry Aethelbald?" Una said with something like a smile. "I don't know."
Felix snorted.
"Don't snort at me, Felix. It's not seemly." (p. 358)

Questions on the Text

1. What do you think it means when Una tells Aethelbald to keep her ring?

2. Any favorite lines?


Beka said...

It's so sad to be coming to an end of the read-along. It's been a lot of fun seeing how much work goes into a book, and how little things you may not always notice actually have a lot of meaning!

1)When Una tells Aethelbald to keep her ring, I think it shows how much she trusts and loves him. The ring is the symbol of her heart, and that she would willingly give it to Aethelbald shows that she's ready to marry him and follow him wherever he goes. And I think it also shows how much she realizes its value as well--she's not just throwing it off on someone she hardly knows. She's offering it to the man who has shown how trustworthy he is and how much he values her heart. It's finally in the right hands! :D

About Una: Is there any possible way we will see her in the future--a short story perhaps, or a glimpse in a future novel? She's such a great character, and I love her at the end so much! I'd love to see what her new-found wisdom and stateliness could bring to the world. I love seeing characters grow, and I want to see more of grown-up Una! :)

Meredith said...

1. Ms. Beka answers this question beautifully.

2. The whole scene with Una and Felix. He's so much like my own brother, seemingly unsentimental yet with a kind and loving heart. No, he didn't bribe me into saying this! Ha!

I've loved every minute of this read-along and hope that one day you might consider doing one over another book in the series. I, too, wonder if Una might make an appearance in a later book. I loved several of the fan fiction stories that featured her. God bless.

Meredith said...

Sorry. Also loved the line where it is stated that Una never wanted fires to be lit in her room. Totally understandable!

Molly said...

Ergh I meant to comment earlier but it messed up a little and wouldn't publish it.

1. As in my previous answer, I love the way Beka put it. Its exactly what I thought put into more beautiful words. :)

2. I also like the line you put down, when Felix asks Una if she'll marry Aethelbald. I mean, it's so obvious, so her "I don't know" and Felix's snort made me laugh. :)

Anonymous said...

1. I think it means Una trusts Aethelbald.

2. "Why is this fool cat sitting in my lap and not yours?" Felix pushed Monster from his knee, crossed his legs, and folded his arms across his chest. Monster meowed irritably and started grooming a paw. "Una," Felix said without bothering to soften the scowl on his face. "Yes?" "I'll miss you when you're gone. A little." Una reached across and took her brother's hand, sqeezing gently and smiling at his refusal to meet her gaze. "I love you too, Felix."


Courtney said...

I think that giving the ring to Athelbald is about trust? She trusts him now so he gets to keep the ring that she first gave to Lionheart as a symbol of trust?

Christa said...

1. Beka pretty much wrote what I was going to say.

2. Though the weather was somewhat cold, Una discovered that she did not like to order a fire in her rooms but preferred to wrap up in blankets. Felix and Monster complained noisily at this, but she was immovable. (pg. 358)

I also like the part where Felix mutters, "Applebald!"

Anna C. said...

1. She's finally given him her heart!

Haha, I went to look up opals on Wikipedia, just for the fun of it, and their historical background is pretty interesting... In the Middle Ages, they were supposed to have the power of invisibility and were good luck charms. When Sir Walter Scott wrote about a duchess who died after holy water was dropped on her opal ring, the market for opal dropped by 50%, and they began to be associated with bad luck. Not very cheerful, or even related to "Heartless" (I like the idea that Una's heart is symbolized by the opal ring), but it was interesting, all the same. :)

Jennette said...

Yes, this read along has been awesome. I've enjoyed the behind the scenes snip-its, and such.

1. She has given him her heart.

Love all the lines. ha! :-)

Hannah said...

This was such a satisfying chapter. And it was nice to see Monster again. Where was that cat? Maybe they'll be an explanation in a Fan Fiction story or something.

1. The ring represented Una's heart through the novel. But when she gave it to Lionheart she really didn't know just how much it was worth. But now, after she'd lost both the ring and her heart, they far more important to her. So Una giving her ring now is even more significant.

"Felix and Monster complained loudly at nosiily, but she was immoveable."

Rebekah said...

1) The ring symbolizes her heart - Her heart is his.