Thursday, December 5, 2013

VEILED ROSE Read-Along: Chapter 4

Let me quickly get this business out of the way: For those of you who may be jumping on board this read-along today . . . if you want info on how to enter your name in the weekly  giveaways, please read the November 30 post.

EXTRA NOTE: Sorry I haven't gotten to yesterday's questions yet. I'm going to try to catch up on all the questions for tomorrow's post!

And now that's done, and we can pick up where we left off . . .

PART ONE

Chapter 4


The man she called father: Did anyone else, when reading the narrative, notice that Mousehand is never overtly referred to as Rose Red’s “father?” He is referred to in the text as the man she called father. When speaking of him, she calls him her “old Dad.” But does that mean he is her actual biological parent? Foreshadowing . . .

I believe somewhere in this novel the name of Rose Red’s real father is mentioned. Keep your eyes open for it.

Imaginary Friend: I like how we are told that Rose Red’s Imaginary Friend is a prince, and that the explanation for this is because Rose Red is a romantic child. But that this prince—who is imaginary—appears in the form of a wood thrush. It really couldn’t get much more convoluted! But it makes perfect sense in her mind, and she never bothers to question it. Of course her imaginary friend is a prince, and of course the prince is also a wood thrush! Why would this not be?

But she does question the reality of the wood thrush. While she doesn’t quibble about interact with it—even, in her loneliness, engaging in heartfelt conversation with it—she still carefully refers to it as “imaginary.” As though she is afraid of losing her own, reasoning mind. She doesn’t have much else going for her, and she certainly is surrounded by her share of strange entities: a talking goat, this imaginary friend, and the mysterious Dream.

No wonder she is so desperate for friendship with a “real” boy like Leo!

The town bells ringing: While it is small, this section speak of Rose Red listening to the town bells ringing out “fetes and feast days, weddings and funerals,” is a tiny nod to Quasimodo from Notre Dame de Paris, by Victor Hugo. Or rather, more specifically, to the French-language musical. In the novel (which is fantastic, by the way, and which I did prefer to Les Miserable . . . am I allowed to say that?) Quasimodo is the bell-ringer of the cathedral, and it is his duty to ring out all the various ceremonial bells. In the stage play, there is a sad, strangely exciting, and moving song called “Les Cloches,” in which Quasimodo sings out the all the various ceremonies for which he rings the bells. And he names the bells as his only friends. It’s a song that brilliantly illustrates his own lonely isolation.

Rose Red is a similar type of character to Quasimodo—isolated for some fault in face or form, always hiding from the eyes of others. Longing for connection with the world at large. So I included this tiny little nod to Quasimodo in general and that song in particular here, in the first scene we see from Rose Red’s perspective. Thus I used bells emphasize Rose Red’s seclusion and her craving for human contact.

I want a real friend: I do think it’s a bit telling about Rose Red as a character that, when the wood thrush tells her something she doesn’t like to hear, she responds immediately with, “I want a real friend.” I don’t remember if, when I originally wrote it, I meant for her to sound sad and pathetic. But when I read it this time, I heard her voice in my head as quite petulant!

The nanny: At last we meet the mysterious nanny whom Rose Red has mentioned several times. And it turns out, it is possible for a girl like her to have a nanny after all—a nanny goat.

Beana: Beana is quite possibly my favorite character in this book. She’s one of my favorite characters in the series, though her own personal story has yet to be told. She is a character about whom I’ve been writing since I was seventeen. I wrote a novella which I called Lord Aiven’s Daughter, in which she was the star. That story was the longest work I’d set in Goldstone Wood up to that point, and I was so pleased to discover what I could do with pen and paper! Until then, most of my longer works hadn’t been very successful. (For those of you who know the series, other characters featuring in that story included: Eanrin, Oeric, a fellow named Capaneus, his brother, Melesio, and the Lady Life-in-Death. LumĂ© and HymlumĂ© were prominently featured as well, though they did not possess those names at the time, and were simply the Lordly Sun and the Lady Moon.)

Beana’s inclusion in Veiled Rose was something of a whim. I started drafting the first version of this story, starting from Rose Red’s point of view. That version started with the first line, “Rose Red did not want the old man she called father to die. Unfortunately he did not consult her opinion on the subject. He just died.” It was very sad. I had her go about making some small preparations for his body and then figuring out what to do next. And she had to milk her goat.

The goat struck me as a possible source of comfort to my grieving little heroine. So I had her start talking to her. At first, the goat replied with nothing but goaty noises—“Bah!” specifically. But suddenly, when Rose Red asked her, “Where else could we go?” Beana turned to her and responded, “Practically anywhere.”

I was startled. I stared at what had just happened on the page, completely taken aback. I had not intended Beana to be a particularly extraordinary goat. She was just a goat! Someone for Rose Red to talk to. But now she has an opinion? And a contrary one, at that!

Intrigued, I decided to let the scene play out, and continued writing it in a way that felt natural. And Beana completely stole the scene, and my heart! And I decided to let her be (SPOILER) a Faerie knight, just like Eanrin. And I even decided to let her be the heroine from Lord Aiven’s Daughter, cast in a very new role.

Of course, that original scene between Rose Red and Beana has long since been scrapped, and only a few lines made it into this version. But the heart of it is still there . . . Beana herself.

Tethered in the yard: In light of the above revelation, it is pretty funny to me to see Beana introduced into the series as a goat tethered in the yard! LOL.

“Hen’s teeth!” Here we see Rose Red’s euphemism for the stronger “Dragon’s teeth.” I think later on somewhere Beana scolds Rose Red for saying, “Dragon’s teeth.” Doesn’t want her charge using naughty phrases! I like Beana. She may be a goat, but she did her best to bring this girl up right.

That Other: I did slip in a small reference to (SPOILER!) the unicorn, though it doesn’t come into the story until Moonblood. While I didn’t have room in this story to deal overtly with the unicorn, I figured it was far too important to not at least mention once or twice. So when Beana considers the dangers of leaving the mountain, she thinks of “that Other unlike all others.”

Into the Dream: In Heartless, I introduced a mode of writing dreams that included a present-tense narrative. This was done to create a sense of “outside time.” When Rose Red enters her dream, we once more return to the present-tense narrative from book 1, and we watch her pass over landscapes that look just like those in which she lives. But inside her dream, other things live, other things move. Inside her dream lurks the person she refers to as her Dream. But who may not prove to be a dream at all . . . indeed, he may prove to be a nightmare.

I find working with the Dream World—and, subsequently, both the Death of Dreams and Lady of Dreams Realized—challenging. And rewarding. But challenging. Because it is a realm outside of nor mortal life, and constantly changing depending on the mind of the one dreaming. Rose Red’s dreams are straightforward. She pictures landscapes like those she encounters every day. But even these humble dreams can be invaded by the Death of Dreams himself.

I can’t say too much about it at the moment, but Golden Daughter deals in large part with the Dream World. So it’s interesting for me to go back and look at these early glimpses of that world as seen through Rosie’s eyes and, later on, through the eyes of the Death of Dreams, who lives and moves in that realm. Helps remind me of what I’ve already done and established.

Princess: The Dream always calls Rose Red “princess.” I debated about this for a little while, just as I debated mention “that Other.” After all, Rose Red’s identity and status are not ultimately revealed in this book. Would it be more frustrating to readers for me to include it here but not compete it, or more frustrating for the second book to come out of the blue? My books are not normally so dependent upon one another as Veiled Rose and Moonblood are, and there were definitely some unique challenges. Again, I decided in the end that it would be better to introduce the them so that everything was properly established for Moonblood. Some reviewers have taken issue with that, rating the book down because of all the “unresolved plot threads.” *shrugs* Can’t win them all . . . .

The shining white bridges: I had to smile at that reference. Those famous bridges of Southlands, connecting the baronies which are separated by deep, forest-filled gorges . . . some say they were built by Faerie hands. Do you want to know who built them? Do you want to know where they came from and why?

Because I’m going to tell you quite soon now . . . 

She will take your own two hands
To save your ancient, sorrowing lands.”

Let me kiss you: The Dream urges her to let him kiss her and end their differences. But readers of Heartless have heard that suggestion before . . . 

(SPOILERS!)

It was interesting for me to try and introduce the Dragon in a new way for this book. Because several of the major events in this story parallel events in Heartless, I knew I ran a serious risk of the two stories sounding repetitive. I wanted to make certain that they felt completely different to the reader. And one of the most important things was making certain the Dragon, while remaining consistent with the established character from Book 1, also felt like a new character full of new possibilities.

In the original version of Veiled Rose—the one my publishing house rejected—I actually didn’t bring the Dragon in so soon. He didn’t appear until midway through the book, when he set upon the Eldest’s House seemingly out of nowhere. We learned over the course of several following chapters that it was Rose Red he sought.

In this version, however, I decided that I needed to take the Dragon in a different direction. So what was the opposite of the surprise visit Una experienced in Heartless? A long, slow manipulation. A twisted form of “courtship,” if you will, with the Dragon trying to befriend and influence Rose Red over the course of her life. All in her mind, of course—he doesn’t appear in any physical sense until much later. This is a battle for her soul, and it goes on in the privacy of her head and heart.

It was fun for me to experiment with this new approach for the Dragon, which also opened up other possibilities for him in later books. For the most part, the Dragon is much more explosive and action-oriented than his sister (more on her later), but he can play the subtle manipulator when need be. He’s just not as good at it as his sister is . . .

Question on the Text:

1. For you bookish types out there . . . there are tons of little “literary nods” to various great works of literature throughout Veiled Rose. The mentioning of the bells is an example. Can you find any others? Remember, these links can be overt or subtle. They can even be consciously and unconsciously done! That’s the fun of literary analysis. Perhaps you can see a theme or connection which I might have missed?

2. Rose Red tells the wood thrush that she wants a friend that “everyone knows and everyone sees is my friend.” What does this say about her as a character? And, for those of you who have read the book before, how do you think this wish motivates her as the story progresses?

3. So how many of you, when you first read Veiled Rose, were surprised when Beana started talking? Or did you figure, “Eh, it’s a fairy tale! Of course the goat talks”?

4. When Beana warns Rose Red not to take Leo back to the mountains, she also reminds her what might happen should Leo see the monster. And poor Rose Red hopes that perhaps he “won’t see it.” What monster is she talking about, do you think?

5. Any favorite lines?

14 comments:

Sarah said...

2. She's romantic, but she knows she can't live entirely in what she thinks are dreams. She wants to be normal.
3. I think I was a bit surprised, but I got over it quickly.
4. I don't remember what I thought originally, but now I assume that Beana is referring to how others see Rose Red.
5. "I ain't forgiven you that much."
"You sound like you were raised by a bunch of sheep!"

Anna said...

3. I love Beana now, but when she spoke for the first time, I rolled my eyes. Seriously! :) I thought, "Oh great. Now a talking goat." Now I love Beana and can't imagine the story without her talking! But that was my first impression. ;)

4. I first thought Rose Red was talking about the actual monster--the Dragon. But now, after I've read the whole book, I wonder if she wasn't talking about (how do I say this without spoilers?!) SOMETHING else. :D Something else that has to do with her not knowing exactly WHAT she was...;)

Erin G. said...


2. I think it stems from her desire to be a normal girl-one who doesn't have to hide who she is, who can go and dance 'round the maypole. She wants to have a friend that everyone sees, because it makes her feel more like a normal girl with normal friends and a normal life. Also, perhaps she feels that other people will treat her with less suspicion if they see she has a friend-maybe they'll be more inclined to see her as the girl she is.
I hope that makes sense . . . I'm not always very good at explaining my thoughts.

3. I was a little surprised, but I got over it quickly. I figured, 'the cat talked and was a person in the last book. Why should the goat be any different?"

4. I think Beana is trying to protect Rosie here. She knows that Rose Red will only be hurt if she becomes friends with Leo and Leo finds out the truth about the monster and abandons her. I thought she was talking about the dragon when I first read it, but now I think she's talking about the 'real' mountain monster, such as it is.

Anonymous said...

Jemma
2 yes I do
3 um I wasn't actually
4 herself or the dragon
5 I should have some I just don't remember them:(

:)

Is Beana's name Leta?
(I have a toy turtle that I called Beana after the goat:)

Rebekah said...

3) I was quite presently surprised when Beana began to speak. And I started wondering if there was more to her then met the eye ...

I have a question:
If "Veiled Rose" ever becomes a novel (and I suppose all us imps hope for that), how would you want Rosie's veils to be handled? I mean, you have her taking off her wrappings all through out it, but never tell us WHAT she looks like until the very end; and you can pull that off because in a book you don't have to describe her. But in a movie you couldn't do that. So, anyway, what would you want them to do?
(Sorry if I kinda babbled on.)

Maid Hannah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hannah said...

I've wondered that too, Rebekah. My guess is that a clever camera man would have every shot of her without her head-covering from the shoulders down or too dark to see her well. As she kneels at the pool, her head out of sight, I can just see her veil drifting down to fold around her knees. :)

Meredith said...

1. "dancing round the maypole": Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Interesting, since Tess actually does dance, yet she is just as isolated as Rose Red.
I love that the references to the bells was a reference to Hunchback of Notre Dame. Outstanding book, (and it's perfectly acceptable to say you like it more than Les Miserables as long as you acknowledge that that's a pretty good book, too! After all, Rose Red is another Eponine. Gotta love those loyal, unrequited women.

3. I was surprised since Beana actually talked directly to Rose Red. At first, I thought the conversation might have been in Rosie's head, but I was thrilled when I figured out the conversation was real. Interesting that Monster never speaks to Una. Both girls were equally lonely but in their own ways.

4. I am not sure, but at this point in the story, I think Rosie is referring to either herself or to the mountain inhabitants who run from her. Later, she reaches a different conclusion as to who the mountain monster really is. This conclusion might be right, (in a way, it definitely is), but the real monstrosity is much deeper. Will stop here. Beana seeks to protect her.

5. Lines: The beginning of the chapter where Rosie retrieves Leo's hat and places it on her own head. So poignant and sweet.

He was a prince, of course. Rose Red, being a romantic at heart, would not imagine anything less. (Love it!)

"Who taught you to speak? ... You sound as if you were raised by sheep". LOL!

"Tied in the yard like a common animal!" "Beana, you are an animal."

I'll spit in your pool, so help me."

Meredith said...

Sorry. Just wanted to add that I only spotted the references to the Faerie-built bridges today. Loved that new bit of information.

Anonymous said...

1. Is there a "literary nod" to The Chronicles of Prydain (Lloyd Alexander)? Leo kind of reminds me of him in the fact that he wants to be a hero.

2. To know that she is telling the truth. I think I remember her saying, "Why do you think I make up stories?". It made her make a choice against Beanna's wishes.

3. I think I read the paragraph twice.

4. The person in the pool of water.

5. "What's eating me she asks? Cruel, cruel girl! Running off like that without so much as a by-your-leave, and leaving me tied to a stake all day!"

Caitlyn

Rebecca Stanford said...

2. I think Rosie's desire for a "real friend" reveals her pride to some extent. She always prides herself on her self-reliance and now she wants to appease that same pride by proving to herself and others that she is not a monster, but likeable and not so different from other people. I think this comes out in her continual attempts to please Leo and her constant rejection of older, wiser advice her protectors try to give her. Rosie acts like everyone is out to ruin her life and so is always determined to prove that her logic is the correct one.
3. Haha! Since we had already met one talking
imaginary friend who was a bird, the talking goat didn't surprise me. What I was struggling with was whether or not the goat's conversation was real or in Rosie's imagination as she thought it was

Anonymous said...

2. One, she's awfully lonely and really wanting a human friend. Not talking Dreams, wood thrushes, or goats. Two, wanting to be normal. Wanting to be like everyone else. But that isn't possible is it?

3. A little surprised. But Beana is a very enjoyable character.

4. I kind of assumed it was the Dragon. Or perhaps, so to speak, the monster inside of him. If you get what I mean.

What gave you the idea for the Dragon's kiss?

Will the Lady of Dreams Realized appear more often in the books to come? Will she ever be the main villain for a book?

- Heather

Athelas Hale said...


2. Well... I think this was sort of her way of emphasizing the fact that the friend she wishes for is real. Since her dream and her Imaginary Friend are invisible to everyone else, and thus must be fake, she wants to differentiate between the real friend, and the two that she makes up. I have an answer to the second questions, but, for the sake of spoilers, won't say it here.

3. I think I blinked, looked back, and said, "Did the goat talk?" once, and then once it was clear that, yes, Beana did indeed say something, I accepted it and moved on with the story.

4. They're talking about the monster that everyone runs from when they see, the monster that Leo thought she was at first and... Eh. Spoilers agai.

5. “Whoever taught you to speak?” The goat snorted. “ ‘Wasn’t in any trouble.’ You sound like you were raised by a bunch of sheep!”

“That’s a silly game from when I was a bit of a girl! I’m grown up now; I’m nearly ten! I don’t need to play games no more. No pretend.”

Therru Ghibli said...

2. I wasn't really surprised at all when Beana started talking. I simply wondered if the conversation was in Rose Red's head or if the goat was like Eanrin in Heartless.