Congratulations, Nathan! Please email me (email@example.com) your mailing address, and I will be certain to get your prize out to you shortly.
A quick reminder to the rest of you as we head into this new week: If you need information on how to enter your name in the weekly giveaways, please check the November 30 post on the subject. Enlightenment will follow.
And ask your questions. I will answer them as soon as may be.
Now on with the story.
Voices in her head: Rose Red must truly believe she is going mad, for she refuses to believe that the voices in her head are real. Of course we all know that if you think you are mad, that’s probably good reason right there to know that you’re not. Mad people don’t recognize their madness.
But Rose Red will not allow herself to consider this. She simply tells herself that the voice of the Dream, her Imaginary Friend, and even Beana are all simply her own imaginative fancies, brought on by her loneliness. They can’t possibly be real. No matter how dearly she loves or fears them, they can’t be real.
Or can they?
Leaving the Mountain: So Rose Red informs Beana that they must leave the mountain. And Beana nearly has a heart attack, poor goat! She seems almost to mimic the Dragon’s voice in her urgency to keep Rose Red hidden away. No wonder Rose Red is so confused as to who is her friend and who is her enemy . . . her friends and her enemies sound so much alike!
Veil snatched away: When the tree limb snags her veil and drags it off her face, Rose Red immediately crumples into a ball, hiding herself. Even in the middle of the forest. Even though there is no one but Beana to see her. She is so terrified of being seen, of being known, that such a little thing can undo her. Our strong, courageous Rose Red reduced to shuddering terror.
How many of us are like her, I wonder? How many of us live in fear that our true selves, our true faces, will be seen? How many of us hide the truth even from ourselves? Probably more than any of us likes to admit. Rose Red is a unique, individual character. But she is also a universal, an everyman.
The wood thrush’s song: Once more, the wood thrush sings, and his voice brings a certain clarity and peace, even to Rose Red’s troubled mind, even to Beana’s anxieties. I think Beana knew in that moment that she could no longer keep her charge hidden. Rose Red is growing up. No one is meant to hide away for an entire lifetime! She has to live, even if only for a little while. And it would be wrong for Beana to try to shield her.
So, though it is an unwelcome peace, Beana does suddenly feel peace at the prospect of letting her charge out of the little, protective circle she has made.
The name: But Beana does not want Rose Red to leave the mountain unprotected. So she gives her a name. A name readers of Heartless will recognize. A name we saw the goblin merchant, Torkom, hiss through jutting teeth when he encountered the Prince of Farthestshore. It’s a strange, harsh-sounding name in a language Rose Red does not know. Beana tells her, “I give it to you in your own tongue, darling, though you may not understand it.”
“Don’t be daft, Beana.” Rose Red, of course, doesn’t want to believe in this nonsense. She doesn’t want to believe that a name like that in a tongue she does not know can be of any use to her. She lives such a strange life, surrounded by weird imaginings (she believes), so she wants to depend on things she can know and touch, things she calls reality. She wants to depend on her own constitution.
And she wants to depend on Leo.
The Other: Yet another mention of the Other, whom Beana fears will call Rose Red in an irresistible voice. But Beana cannot hide the girl any longer. They will have to take the risk.
There’s a little hint as to the truth about Beana here too. “. . . many times she was tempted to stand upright, to shed all pretenses . . . She would not. No, by grace and good courage, Beana would continue as she had been all these years.”
There is a strong implication here that Beana is not really a goat. That she merely wears the outer form of a goat. And for now at least, she’ll stick to that shape.
A year and a day: And so her Dream realizes that Rose Red will go. But he warns her that she must return to him within a year and a day. Otherwise, he will come for her himself.
The “year and a day” motif is a familiar one in great literature. I think I first encountered it in the Arthurian poem, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, in which the titular Gawain accepts a challenge from a mysterious “Green Knight.” Gawain is told to strike the knight with his axe, but only if he is willing to take a return blow in a year and a day. Gawain beheads the knight with a single blow . . . and the knight proceeds to pick up his head and march from the door, reminding Gawain that he must receive the return at the appointed time.
It’s great reading!
So, in a little nod to Gawain and his quest, I gave my Rose Red a year and a day to return to the mountain. And if she does not . . . well. We’ll see what becomes of her then.
Questions on the text:
1. Why do you think the Dragon is so vehement that Rose Red must stay on the mountain? Why doesn’t he want her going down to Leo’s house?
2. Was Beana right or wrong to give in so quickly, knowing what she knows? Or should she have given in sooner for Rose Red’s sake?
3. Any favorite lines?
Heather wants to know: "You seem to have this fascination with dreams. The topic of it has come up with the first three books. In Dragonwitch too, I believe. So why the fascination?"
I don't know if I have a particular reason for my fascination with dreams. Once I began the theme in Heartless (as inspired by the line "The Nightmare Life-in-Death was she" from Rime of the Ancient Mariner), it was such an interesting one, I wanted to keep exploring it. Dragonwitch deals with dreams in a big way, and Golden Daughter (book 7, coming 2014) is heavily involved in the dream world. In fact, we'll learn a whole lot more about it and its workings then. I had a lot of fun exploring the possibilities, and I've still only just scratched the surface of ideas.
But as for a reason for the fascination, I couldn't really give you one. But seriously, who doesn't find dreams fascinating?
Heather also wants to know: "Did the idea for the Faerie paths come from somewhere else or were they your in invention?"
As far as I know, they are my own invention. I may have been unconsciously inspired by something read way back when, but I cannot honestly recall anything very much like them now. And if I was inspired, it was unconsciously so. But I'm pretty sure they're my own.
Heather also asks: "Unicorns are generally nice in fiction. Why are they frightening in your books?"
Because unicorns are generally nice in fiction . . . so I thought, why not do something completely different!
Jemma wants to know: "Will Shadow hand be released in Autumn for me? Because I live in Australia which is in the southern hemisphere."
I'm afraid I don't actually know the answer to that question. I think it takes a little time for the print copies of my books to release in other parts of the world (though you should be able to get the ebooks right away). How long after the US release does it usually take for the books to get to you?
Caitlyn wants to know: "Is there a 'literary nod' to The Hobbit (Tolkien) when the dwarves sang songs and Bilbo dreamed of adventure?"
Not that I know of, no. I don't remember every intentionally putting a literary nod to Tolkien in any of my books. Was there a particular passage that struck you this way? In my own reading of the chapter, I don't see a bit that makes me think of Tolkien. Though, as I have said, sometimes literary nods may be unconscious, so it's certainly not beyond the realm of possibility! (Sorry I missed this question before.)
Allison wants to know: "Why does the Prince so often take the form of an animal when protecting people?"
I think it's because, as an animal, his presence is less overt. If he appeared in the form of a man every time, his would be so much more dominating of a presence, less of an influential presence. So having him appear in animal form (specifically as the wood thrush in this book) is, I think, more symbolic of the influence of the Holy Spirits in the lives of people. A powerful influence, not necessarily an overt force (though, as necessary, he can be an overt force as well).
Also, it's a fairy tale. The animal forms are much more in keeping with the fairy tale mood and feel.
I think that's everyone's question, but please let me know if I missed you! I will try to keep up a little better this next week.
Here is a piece of fan art by Jemma for Chapter 4, Part 2 of Veiled Rose:
|The Lady and Leo|
Thank you, Jemma! That is one spooky Lady . . . poor Leo!