Una transformed. This is one of the shortest chapters in the book . . . so, this will be one of the shortest write-ups as well! But there are exciting things going on here. We see Una in the first few moments of her transformation, flailing in the rubble and burning from the inside out. And we learn at last the true purpose behind the Dragon's urge to find her.
Procreation. So the Dragon procreates in a similar method to vampires and werewolves. His kind are not "born" but "created" out of already living things. In later books, we learn that he doesn't just make dragons out of mortals, but out of immortals too, giving these dragons slightly different abilities. The Dragonwitch, for instance, was once a Faerie queen, so she is gifted (as all Faerie kings and queens are in this world) with three lives.
This book, which is the introduction to the series, focuses primarily on this one transformation of this one character, however.
Spirit unbound. Unlike vampire and werewolf mythology (because I'm not a huge fan of the current werewolf/vampire craze, so I do want to point out the dissimilarity), Una is transformed into a dragon because, deep down inside, that's what she truly was. The Dragon claims that he has "released" her, not merely transformed her.
Five years. The Dragon again mentions searching for Una these last five years (since Monster came to guard her, you'll notice). But there was more going on in this particular time frame. The Dragon was also in Southlands for five years, during Lionheart's exile. If he was searching for Una, what was he doing down so far south for so long?
Well, you'll have to pick up Veiled Rose to learn that secret . . . .
Una, ferocious. Once more, Una demonstrates that she is not just the weak-willed little princess. When it comes to her family, Una can have quite the ferocious side. She is fiercely protective, even when her fierceness is to no avail. For when the monstrous Dragon rises up to breathe fire upon King Fidel's approaching forces, Una attacks him, breathing fire in his face and clawing at him with her talons. She is hopelessly unmatched, but in that heated moment, she does not care. She believes her brother is dead, and she, even in the first heat of her new fire, does not want to lose her father as well.
But the Dragon is brutal in his response, and savages his young "offspring," tearing at her scales and burning with his fire.
My kin. I find the moment when the Dragon tells Una that he is now all her kinfolk very chilling. Especially in light of the vicious savagery he has just shown her.
She's lost. And the chapter ends on that dreadful moment when Fidel realizes that everything Prince Aethelbald had warned him of has come to pass. Una has suffered a fate worse than death. She has become the very child of Death.
And on that horror-filled note . . . Merry Christmas Eve to all of you! Hope this didn't depress you too badly. Go drink some eggnog and listen to some cheerful Christmas music while sitting and smelling your Christmas tree. It'll fix it!
And do have a lovely holiday. As said above, I'll probably not get a chance to do the chapter write-up for tomorrow, but I'll be back on Boxing Day to find out what happens to our poor, beleaguered princess. Christmas hugs and kisses to all of you!
My Personal Favorite Lines
He rose like a black sun, fire pouring from his gaping mouth, and the army halted. Screams filled the air, both from Parumvir's men and those of Shippening. King Fidel's horn sounded again, and the army moved forward once more, but the Dragon's shadow fell upon their hearts.
The Dragon circled them, a vast vulture, as the fire grew inside him that his black scales glowed red and flames leapt from the corners of his eyes. (p. 228)
Questions on the Text
1. The Dragon tells Una that he has not transformed her but "released" her to be what she truly was all along. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Why or why not?
2. Favorite lines?