And continue to comment and leave questions. There will be three winners of books drawn at the end of the week!
Poor Felix. As soon as prince arrives safely in Dompstead, he is separated from both his father and Monster! His father is whisked away to be treated for dragon-poison, and Monster leaps from his shoulders and vanishes into the night. Now we, of course, knowing that Monster is also Sir Eanrin, a knight of Farthestshore, probably figure he's off to attend to his knightly duties. But as far as Felix knows, it's just his sister's pet cat, running away into the unknown night. I think how I would feel if one of my darling pets ran off into the night like that! After all the rest of the stress and terror of that evening, I think that would just be the final straw. I'd probably poke out the eye of anyone who tried to stop me from following him!
Felix, however, allows himself to be dragged away into the fort.
Captain Janus. The only person who shows Felix any consideration is the young officer, Captain Janus, who brings him a stool to sit on as Felix waits outside his father's sickroom door. Keep an eye on that Captain Janus . . . he'll come back into the story in another chapter or two . . . .
Dragon Poison. After a long night of waiting, Felix learns that they are treating his father for dragon poisoning. His father did have a much closer encounter with the Dragon than most of those in the palace, including their tussle at the dinner table. Whatever amount he breathed in is dealing harshly inside him.
Can you imagine how badly poisoned Una must be by this time if Fidel is suffering so after so brief an encounter?
Irony. I do think it's pretty funny when Felix considers Bard Eanrin, who wrote The Bane of Corrilond epic poem. Bard Eanrin whom Felix had just carried draped over his shoulder that night! HA!
And yet another reference to the Bane of Corrilond. You can bet she's going to be important!
Fidel's gruffness. Yet again, Fidel is surprisingly rough with his son. When he comes to from his poison-induced state, he immediately demands to know where General Argus is and sends Felix off to find him. He states later on in the next scene that he sent Felix away to distract him, knowing that the boy had probably been sitting outside his door, stewing all night. But it still comes across very gruff! I wonder if that might have something to do with the poison. Or just simply Fidel's fear in this dreadful situation. I can't blame him, but I do wish he would be a little gentler on the boy . . .
Out of the Wood. We learn in the scene between Fidel and Argus that Shippening's army came out of Goldstone Wood itself! This should be impossible. Shippening is far south of Parumvir, and an army that size should have been spotted long before it could have reached Goldstone Wood. But somehow, the duke and his men crossed unnoticed.
It can only be by evil magic.
He warned me. Fidel's mind is full of the warnings with which Prince Aethelbald left him. And when Argus suggests that Una might already have perished, Fidel answers with the dreadful comment, "That would be almost too much to hope for."
A tiny scene. That short little scene with Una was another one from the original manuscript. If I wrote the book now, I probably wouldn't have included it, figuring that it interrupted the narrative of Fidel and Felix. But you know, that's one of the reasons I'm glad that I didn't write the book now. While I am a better writer now than I was at age 21--sounder at narrative construction, etc.--I think some of my natural instincts as a less-experienced writer worked well here. This short little scene with Una, following on the heels of her father's cryptic comments, is rather haunting. The imagery of her, hollow-eyed as she brushes her hair and tells herself that Leonard hasn't forgotten her . . . well, it's actually quite spooky! And I like it.
All that to say, you writers out there who cringe at your old work, don't be hard on your former writer-self. Yes, we grow in our craft. And we improve. But sometimes those untutored instincts are more real and raw than the polish we achieve later on. Sometimes. Not always. But sometimes.
Worth. Una asks herself, "How can I be worthy of his love if I do not trust him now?" She's thinking of Leonard, of course. But the whole theme of worth is an important one in Una's story. Earlier, she wondered if she wasn't "worth" Gervais's love. And now, she's determined to prove her own worth to herself when it comes to Prince Lionheart's love.
But, given what is to come, we all know that Una ultimately cannot prove worthy. No matter how she might try.
Felix is sent north. I appreciate that Felix tried to find Monster! I feel so bad for the forlorn young prince, pushed around and ignored in the midst of all these great doings. He's not old enough to be counted part of battle plans, but he's important enough to be hastened off to safety. The poor boy must be completely overwhelmed and worried sick about his sister! So he tries to find Monster and can't even succeed in that. I really feel for Felix in this scene.
My Personal Favorite Line:
1. Yet he neither died nor turned evil but was a hero who figured in a hundred tales, most of which he had written. (p. 195) LOL. Ah, Eanrin, how we love you . . .
Questions on the Text
1. When Fidel made his comment, "That would be almost too much to hope for," what did you think he meant when you first read the novel? Could you guess at this point what was in store for Princess Una?
2. Why do you think Fidel was so harsh on Prince Felix in these scenes?
3. Favorite lines?