If you would like to have your name entered in a name-drawing for the end of the week giveaway, leave an answer to at least one of the questions for each day of the week.
And remember, if you have any questions yourself, feel free to ask, and I'll try to answer them over the next few days!
Abundiantus V: Once more, we see Abundiantus V mentioned . . . that's at least the second or third time within these first three chapters! Abundiantus doesn't feature in this novel (he was alive a good five hundred years ago), but, based off of all these references, you can bet he's an important character in the series. Be watching for Abundiantuses in later books!
The King's Hall: I was also tickled to notice the description of King Fidel's hall, which was built "in the old style with enormous doors opening to the east and the west." This is another important detail . . . not in this book, but in later books! There was a reason the old halls were built this way. You will see the first of them come Dragonwitch.
Felix's clothes: I was cracking up as a read the description of Felix's princely garments, that big collar sticking out behind his head. I've always envisioned it looking a bit Elizabethan, I suppose. Not something Felix would enjoy at all! But it's only fair since Una's stuck in her monstrosity of a dress . . .
Una's mother: We learn in this chapter that Una's mother, the queen, is dead. She's been dead for many years, in fact. But she remains an important influence in Una's life via the opal ring she gave her . . . the "gift of the heart." I can't help but wonder how different Una's story might have been if she'd had a mother through all of this to offer her council and perspective.
Una's hands: In this chapter, for the first time, we see Aethelbald inquire after Una's burnt hands . . . but she's forgotten already that she burned them! This ongoing little mystery of the burns on Una's hands was a thread I wove into the story in a later draft, and it created some fun and interesting moments between her and Aethelbald. And still more fun foreshadowing of the Dragon!
The proposal: Iubdan's beard! How embarrassing.
This scene with Aethelbald's startling proposal used to be the ending of chapter one . . . and it was at least as embarrassing for poor Una there as it is here! But Aethelbald certainly doesn't beat around the bush now, does he? A bit unexpected from such a quiet, self-possessed sort of man as he.
This was quite a short chapter. But I bet we can still get some fun discussion going!
My Personal Favorite Lines:
Of all the remarkable sights she had seen that day, Prince Aethelbald had surpassed them all simply by virtue of being so remarkably unremarkable. The notion of that soft-spoken gentleman casting spells on anybody was a stretch even Una's limber imagination could not make. (p. 43)
Was Nurse right and he'd already fallen in love with her? Despite the feathers? (p. 45)
Aethelbald smiled again, and Una wished she could take both the plumes from her hair, flap them hard, and fly away. (p. 46)
Questions on the text:
1. (This one is for my girl readers.) How would you react to such a proposal? Would you be horrified? Amused? How do you think you would react to Prince Aethelbald upon first meeting him?
2. Can you find how many times King Abundiantus V (or his father, Abundiantus IV) is mentioned in Heartless? Can you remember another reference to him from Moonblood? See if you can find that reference!
3. Any ideas what kind of food might have been served at a banquet like this? I read the chapter hoping for culinary details, but the me-of-several-years-ago left them out! So what do you think they should have eaten? Feel free to share links to pictures!
4. What were some of your favorite lines?
"How do you pronounce Aethelbald's name? I could never exactly figure that out :D" -- Jenna C.
I think it's SUPPOSED to be pronounced Aay-thelbald, like "Day." I've always pronounced with a hard "A" more like "Apple." (Thus the apple jokes.) But I'm actually probably wrong! LOL.
"One thing I'm curious about, but I'm thinking we might not get the answer to yet...but how did Monster get his eyes scratched out?" -- Jennette
Can't tell you! You'll get a HINT about that in Moonblood, but the actual story won't be told for a little while yet. Hopefully I'll be able to share it with you soon, though!
Why did you write Heartless? -- AC
That's a very . . . BIG question. It started out as a short story that I put upon the blog I was keeping at the time. I wrote the short story in order to process some things I had been considering at the time: For instance, the fact that gentlemen these days aren't as bold when it comes to being the hero and fighting evil and valuing the ladies in their lives, particularly in the context of romantic relationships. And then I started thinking that perhaps that's because we girls aren't the "ladies" we should be. Perhaps we are expecting men to fight the dragons, but then we become the dragons ourselves.
All of this, coupled with some recent disappointment in my personal life, when a guy didn't follow through on his promises and half-promises--leaving me a bit bitter--led to me writing the short story version of Heartless, which can be read here.
And I am VERY thankful for those disappointing circumstances now. If I hadn't experienced them, I wouldn't have written Heartless!
I asked in the comments of the Chapter One read-along if anyone had ideas for a song the sea unicorns might sing. And Clara took that question and, inspired, created a beautiful piece of music! I know you would all love to hear it, so I'm posting a link to it HERE.