But today, I was drawing a picture for my Untitled Book 6. I hope to be able to share both the title and the picture sometime in the next few months . . . .
Meanwhile, back to the story!
Dragon-girl. Trying to hide what is becoming increasingly more apparent (her dragon nature), Una determines to climb to the top of the high gorge and find word of Prince Lionheart. At the thought of him, her fire keeps threatening to mount up and explode out of her, but she is still able to control it, at least a little. So she swallows it back and begins her climb.
Strangers on the path. Perhaps one of the most awkward things to do in a novel is to introduce random new characters who then never reappear in the story. If you are an aspiring novelist, don't do that. Keep your novel trim and tidy, free of superfluous characters.
Basically, do as I say . . . not as I do.
Here in this scene we are briefly introduced to the veiled girl and her goat. It was, of course, necessary for me to include these two characters considering the events of Moonblood . . . We learn in that novel that these two characters are much more deeply embroiled in the story than we can guess from their bit-parts in Heartless.
Still, I confess, I kind of wish in retrospect that I had handled Rose Red and Beana's involvement in the scene a little differently. They are interesting little glimpses here, but since they don't actively contribute to this novel, they feel more than a bit random.
It's nice to see someone, even a complete stranger, extend grace to our poor little princess at this juncture. The goat doesn't seem too happy about it, but the nameless veiled girl seems to feel a certain sympathy with Una and her plight.
But you'll have to read on in the series to find out just why!
Una in the city. Una manages to slip through the city gates, despite the initial heckling from the guards. At first they think her awkward movements are due to drunkenness . . . but when the guard gets a good look in her eyes, he hastily passes her through, trying, I believe, to pretend he did not see what he saw. These are a people recently plagued by the Dragon, still full of his poison. I cannot imagine how awful the notion of another dragon come into their midst would be!
Thus, whenever anyone makes eye-contact, they duck their heads quickly, telling themselves they are mistaken. So Una passes into the crowded streets and loses herself in the merry-making throng. And she learns why the city is decked for celebration.
It is Prince Lionheart's wedding week.
The kitten. I like the little moment when Una sees the orange kitten in the alley. Cats are not so easily deceived as humans, nor willing to deceive themselves! It recognizes her in a moment and flees, snarling. Poor Una! This can only be testimony not only to how Monster would react were he to see her again, but also to how her own dear family would react.
But she tries to tell herself that Lionheart will know her, and Lionheart will not be afraid.
Lady Daylily, the Baron of Middlecrescent's daughter, is mentioned by name for the first time in this scene. She becomes a major character later on in the series, but here in this book, she has only one brief scene. Una glimpses her on the balcony, smiling at the crowd, smiling at Lionheart. She is beautiful, clad in furs, crowned in red hair. She has won the prince of Southlands for her husband . . . why should she not be joyful?
And Una, watches Lionheart bestow smiles upon Daylily that should have been hers.
Leonard. Una shouts the name of her beloved jester, and I'm sure the very sound of it, nearly forgotten, must have rung loudly in Lionheart's ears, despite the noise all around. And when he looks down into the crowd, he spots Una at once.
But he is not glad to see her.
My Personal Favorite Line
1. Blood like lava pounded in her veins, and she panted with the terror of it. For Una felt, in that moment when she saw the look on his face--not a look of joy or delight, as she had so long dreamed of seeing when at least reunited with him, but of pure surprise and, an instant later, pure horror--that she would burn him alive with the heat of her eyes if she could. (p. 258)
Questions on the Text
1. What do you make of the merrymakers of Southlands? Do you think they are truly happy on this day?
2. What do you think of Una's reaction when Lionheart is so horrified to see her? Do you think this was the dragon inside her reacting, or simply the hurt young woman? Or both?
3. Favorite lines?