And feel free to ask any Goldstone Wood related questions you like along the way. I do my best to answer them in the next day's post!
Okay, back to the story . . .
The moon was new and the sky was black: Beana is nervous on new moon nights, for without the moon—Hymlumé, as many of you know her to be named—watching, dark things move about in the deeper shadows. Including that Other which Beana fears and which we do not yet know.
Down in the lowlands, so near the Wilderlands, Beana is much more nervous for the safety of your young charge. But Beana doesn’t yet realize just how great the danger truly is . . . and from a source she does not expect!
“She don’t love him.” Rose Red is not in any doubt as to Daylily’s feelings for Prince Lionheart. She is quite determined that Daylily doesn’t love Lionheart at all, but wants to marry him purely for his title, for the power.
Is this true, do you think? Or is this merely Rose Red’s reaction to the shame and violation of Daylily removing her veil and taking her secret by force? I’m not sure that Rose Red has a very objective perspective on Lady Daylily, whom she may even perceive as a sort of rival. Though I think Rose Red would die before admitting as much. For she is trying very hard to remember that she is only a chambermaid. She’s not even a friend. The gulf between her and Prince Lionheart is greater by far than the gulf between and young, rambunctious Leo. So Daylily is not a threat or a rival, for there could never be any rivalry.
But Rose Red can’t help herself. She does not want to see her dear friend marry the beautiful Lady of Middlecrescent. And she may be right to a certain extent too . . . for even if Daylily loves Leo, it’s not a healthy sort of love that will lead to a happy marriage. Maybe it isn’t love at all.
Beana’s perspective: Beana is a lot kinder to Daylily than Rose Red (or most of my readers!). She insists that Rose Red cannot know Daylily’s heart. Maybe Daylily does love the prince. Who is Rose Red to decide what another person feels?
Beana is possessed of great insight and wisdom . . . for a goat.
Removing her veil: As she cries into Beana’s fur, Rose Red removes her veil. This is particularly touching considering the scene just before this when her veil was removed by force. We see how deeply she trusts Beana (though she continues to insist that Beana is only a goat and can’t really talk), how she allows herself to be herself with Beana. And rightly so! Beana is the smartest, kindest, most mature person in this whole book, for all she’s a goat.
Back to the mountain: Beana tries to convince Rose Red to return to the mountain. This is particularly important, considering it has been close to a year since they left. Beana doesn’t know it, but Rose Red is on a deadline, and it is fast closing in on its end.
Beana, of course, is more concerned to get her away from that Other, whom she’s so afraid will reach out to Rose Red from the darkness. But Rose Red is much more afraid of what she left behind on the mountain than she is of any of the terrible things that might befall her down in the low country.
And she still trying to convince herself that the Dream was no more than a dream . . .
“He ain’t asked her yet.” Rose Red comforts herself as the summer months slip by with the reminder that Leo hasn’t asked for Daylily’s hand yet. Until he has asked, nothing is settled. Until he has asked, Rose Red doesn’t have to face the impending event of his marriage. And perhaps he never will ask. Perhaps he will resist all those expectations.
So she torments herself with this false hope, though I think she knows that it’s coming. Why would Prince Lionheart not marry the beautiful baron’s daughter, who would make him such a perfect wife? Why would he not lover her even?
The baroness is a bit late to the party, but even she catches on to the enthusiasm of the entire nation, waiting to see if Lionheart and Daylily will make a match. I love her question to her husband . . . who doesn’t bother to answer. I really wonder if Daylily takes after her mother at all? The two are so dissimilar!
Shoveling out the grate: There’s a touch of Cinderella-ism about this story. See how Rose Red spends several scenes cleaning out fireplaces, shoveling ash, etc. With this in mind, watch for a ballroom scene and a magical gown! Where there’s one Cinderella theme, more are certain to follow . . .
Tortoiseshell: Lionheart’s manservant only has a mini-appearance in this book. But he does make another mini-appearance in Book 6, so watch for him in Shadow Hand. He’s not important or very interesting, but I didn’t forget him, poor man.
“Just to take them unawares.” Lionheart tells Rose Red that he is planning to propose to Daylily during their ride out together that day. In this declaration, it is easy to see that he is not in love with Daylily. Not even close. He is simply starting to cave into those expectations that have been building all summer . . . and for years before. He claims that he’s not one to “kowtow to tradition.” I don’t know if I entirely believe him. He is so torn apart, so split down the middle in his wishes. One moment, he wants to be free, the next moment he wants to fulfilling his role as prince. He is like two people spliced into one, and he cannot seem to find any sense of balance.
Thus he cannot tell the Lady his true desire. He really doesn’t know it.
But he plans to propose to Daylily anyway.
“Wish me luck, Rosie.” I don’t think Lionheart ever tells anyone but Rose Red what he is truly thinking. There is a part of him, I believe, that still wants them to be the friends they were. That cannot be, of course, but he seems to want it. He wants to know Rose Red’s opinion. He wants to tell her his plans. But she simply cannot respond. And I think that makes him sad, though he’s not one to show it overtly.
Horses: I rarely put my characters on horseback. So rarely, in fact, that I think this might be the only instance in all the series so far! (Note: Correction . . . I just remembered that Felix rode a horse away from Oriana the night of the Dragon's attack, back in Heartless.) I have had riding lessons, and I know a thing or two about horses . . . just enough to not feel comfortable writing about them, for a have tendency to think of them as “furry bicycles.” A means of transport. And this just isn’t the best way to handle horses!
So do take note of this scene for being a singular one in the Tales of Goldstone Wood. My hero actually goes riding! Who would have thought?
Forlorn figure: Poor Foxbrush. He might be as unhappy as Rose Red about all these doings. But he’s such an oily dope, no one cares.
Well, mostly no one.
I care, Foxbrush!
Like a falling star speeding to earth: While looking out the window after the disappearing Lionheart and Daylily, Rose Red glimpses a red flame in the sky.
It’s been a year. A year and a day.
The Dream will wait no longer.
Beana, worried: As we know, Beana has been listening intently to the Other ever since they came down from the mountain. But she gets really nervous when, all of a sudden, “the air was still . .. that trembling murmur from beyond the worlds vanished.”
The Other isn’t calling to Rose Red. Because something more dreadful is on its way.
More hints: There are some interesting little hints about Beana in this scene. Take this for instance: “ . . . the stench that still haunted her nightmares, no matter how many centuries since last she’d smelled it!” (p. 187) How old is this goat? And how does she know the fiery form descending?
But those are questions I cannot yet answer, for they must wait for another book at another time. Keep reading for little hints about Beana along the way, however! She’s an interesting character, and there is still much to be learned about her.
The sound: I do like the use of sound at the end of the chapter. “It was a roar that ended in a sensation of heaviness, like an enormous hand smacking down. WHOMPH! A sound as hot as the flames themselves. One could almost believe that the sound alone consumed the marble Starflower Fountain, that massive edifice two stories tall; consumed and destroyed it in a matter of seconds.” (p. 188)
That is a description straight out of the first (rejected) draft. The whole coming the Dragon, in fact, is very similar to the first version I wrote. But I particularly liked the use of sound to describe heat. It’s a bit unusual, but I think it works to emphasize the power of the Dragon’s blast.
And now the Dragon has truly come, incarnate into the mortal world.
Questions on the text:
1. So what do you think about Rose Red’s reaction to all of this? Her frustration that Daylily doesn’t love Lionheart . . . and her obvious sorrow when Lionheart tells her that he plans to propose marriage to Daylily. Is she sad for a friend? Frustrated to see him making a big mistake? Or is there more to her feelings for Lionheart than she is admitting to anyone?
2. What are some of your guesses and speculations about Beana and her history?
3. Any favorite lines?
Allison wants to know: "Did you base Daylily on anyone you know?"
Daylily loosely based on a few different people I know. But I won't go into any more detail than that, since I wouldn't want anyone to be offended! I will say again, however, how much I really love the character of Daylily, and how often I think people misunderstand her based on their assumptions about her character rather than reading what the text actually says. She's complex and interesting . . . just like the people I loosely modeled her after.
Ruth wants to know: "Did you base Leo and Foxbrush on anyone?"
Leo yes certainly. But again, I'll mention no names. Foxbrush to a lesser extent, yes. But ultimately, both of them (and Daylily too!) are extrapolations on people I know. I take what I know of various individuals, analyze, dissect, arrange in new contexts and new histories . . . and there is a lot of me thrown in too, because ultimately every character I base on someone I know is truly based on my perspective on someone I know. Make sense?
Caitlyn wants to know: "In this chapter, did Lionheart prepare those verses ahead of time, or did he make those up as he went along?"
I think he prepared them ahead of time, personally. Given his long-standing hatred of all things written by Bard Eanrin, I suspect he's been writing these gag songs for years. However, in Moonblood he demonstrates a gift for spontaneous creativity, so perhaps he did the same here?
Caitlyn also wants to know (sorry I missed this one before!): "Why did you decide to do the books in parts? What would you name the parts if you could?"
I covered that back in the discussion of Chapter 1, Part 1. You can click on the link to see that answer!
Caitlyn also wants to know: "Do you have any favorite lines from the chapter we're reading?"
Oh, no! That question is for you guys, not me! :) But, really, I wrote the book, so I feel a little silly picking "favorite lines." I picked favorites for the chapters last year with the Heartless read-along, but ended up feeling awkward. So this year, I'm just asking that question as an easy question option each day. Gives the busy reader a chance to quickly answer a question without having to think too much about it.
Another picture by Jemma: