Monday, December 24, 2012

Read-along: Chapter 23

Merry Christmas Eve! It's been a fun journey with you through the holiday season, and things are really "heating up," so to speak, right here on the brink of Christmas. Sadly, we'll have to take a little break on Christmas day itself, so poor Una is going to spend her holidays in quite an awful plight . . . .


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?


Jennette said...

1. I agree from the standpoint of the flesh, if there was no wood thrush, no Aethelbald, no Jesus, no God, then I am what I am, a dragon like Una. I connected with Una and her struggles, and seeing her weaknesses, failings, etc her feelings of unworthiness, all leads up to not knowing the Truth, and the Truth will set you free, release you from the bondage of sin, the anger, the unworthiness, the dragon that lives within. But he was "releasing" her from the struggle, the constrains of living what is Truth, letting the raging of the flesh run rampant, rather than bridling it, fighting it, etc...

Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

Beka said...

1) I agree with it. I think, as humans with sinful natures, we definitely have dragons inside of us, just waiting to be released. Grace is about freeing us from the burden of having to slay our dragons alone--even as we struggle with them, we know the battle is won. And that takes a lot of pressure off our shoulders! Una's journey, for me, was one to understanding and accepting that grace and thereby slaying her dragon through love. Merry Christmas!

Courtney said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Courtney said...

1. I get that Una is released and becomes what has been hidden inside her. You hint that Felix has this problem as well...

Una represents fallen humanity. She would be already broken and evil. The dragon brought it to the surface.

When I first read the book I was disappointed in Una. It makes sense to want her to be a strong great heroic character but she is suppose to represent us. I think we need a wake up call on the reality of our depravity. My heart certainly needs it. Even though it is hard to swallow, I am glad you made her this way.

Do most of the characters represent fallen humanity in this way? I mean do all have the possibility of becoming dragons? Yet some are given to the sister of the dragon. If I have this correct - The dragon represents dreams that are destroyed (so dismay over what can not be) and the lady represents dreams that have been fulfilled (dreams that consume the heart of man). So depending on which way the character's life is going they will end up meeting with one of the two Fates? Do the people under the lady's power have a physical transformation as well? Lionheart did not so I am guessing no. Do only certain characters represent humanity? I noticed some characters, like Starflower, did not really go through this process.

This is all jumbled up and probably a little confusing. I have a cold and it is not helping me type. =X

You may not want to answer so many questions. And some of this might be cleared up in later books. This is just something I have been pondering over.

Merry Christmas!

Molly said...

1. If she was meant to be a dragon all along, I think that she really was released to be what she truly was all along.
So I partially agree with this. He really has transformed her so that life for her takes a turning point that may have been good for her, yet he hasn't transformed her at the same time... it makes sense to me, at any rate :P lol

Rebekah said...

1) Actually, I kind of agree with Courtney in a way. Because, if evryone has that bit of dragon inside them, she's right; Starflower isn't really a great symbol of fallen humanity. If that makes any sense.
Una is so-oo incredibly imperfect - okay, stretching it, she's evil. But not a dragon. The Dragon just took that imperfection/semi-evil bit in her, and made a dragon out of it.
Again, if that makes any sense.

Anonymous said...

1. I don't know.

2. "No!"