And please tell your friends that Heartless is still available for free e-book download through the end of the month. Now is the time to start reading the Tales of Goldstone Wood!
Back to Heartless . . .
Fencing: For those of you who don't know, this scene of Felix going to practice fencing is directly responsible for me meeting my husband! After writing the first draft of this scene, I decided I should probably try to take fencing class myself in order to write it with a little more conviction and knowledge.
And guess who happened to be studying fencing at the club where I signed up? You can read the whole story here if you like. J
Swashbuckling romance aside, Felix's scene in the soldiers' yard is one of my favorites. It's fun to get Felix's perspective on Aethelbald, and the scene itself is full of funny moments and action. I like seeing Aethelbald in the teacher role. He's a good influence on pestly Felix, I think.
Una's tapestry: Poor Una really seems to hate her tapestry, doesn't she? Personally I enjoy embroidery and quilting, though I probably have better needles and thread, so I shouldn't judge.
Una's tapestry gives us our first glimpse of yet another famous figure in the world: The Bane of Corrilond. The red dragon is scene raining fire down upon the heads of little stitched soldiers--little bean-men, as Una thinks of them, since they look like beans stacked on top of each other with twig arms and legs. It's a dramatic story, but a comic rendition, and Una is obviously less than impressed by the whole business.
But all of this is foreshadowing for a character we will meet in just another few chapters . . . and a character who will be important in books to come!
Supposedly the scene of the Bane of Corrilond is taken from an epic poem. Can you guess who wrote that poem? (Is he possibly even now sleeping at the foot of Una's bed under the covers?)
Monster's bath: In the context of what we learned in the previous chapter--that Monster is not only a talking cat, but Sir Eanrin, a servant of Prince Aethelbald--the idea of Una scruffing him and dragging him away for a bath just tickles me! Poor ginger cat.
Felix and Aethelbald talk: When Aethelbald and Felix take a break, we get a little more information about Aethelbald and his followers via their subsequent conversation. We learn, for instance, that the knights who came with Aethelbald are not originally from Farthestshore, but from many varied countries.
We also hear our first rumor of King Vahe of the Veiled People . . .
Arpiar: In this conversation, we also learn a little more about Arpiar, which was mentioned by Torkom in Chapter 1. We learn that it is the land of the goblins, and the Oeric originated there. But, according to Prince Aethelbald, Oeric is not a goblin.
An important arrival: And right at the end of this chapter, we glimpse the second of Una's princely suitors. Gervais, Crown Prince of Beauclair, rides up with his entourage, ready to pay his respects. Will he win Una's vulnerable young heart? Before quiet Prince Aethelbald even has a chance?
We'll have to watch that drama unfold tomorrow . . .
My personal favorite lines:
He lunged again and struck the dummy in the shoulder. It rocked about, its blank face spinning balefully before him, and Felix suddenly wanted very badly to whack it a few times over the head. (p. 59)
Felix sneered at him. "Everyone's a critic."
"Yes," Aethelbald said, "but no one else, I gather, has bothered to voice his criticism." (p. 59)
That morning Una woke freezing. Nurse scolded her, saying it was her own fault for letting in all that unhealthy fresh air when sensible people would have left the windows shut. Monster refused to leave his next beneath the covers at the foot of the bed, obliging the maid to make the bed around him. (p. 62)
Nurse caught her and made her sit down to her tapestry stitching.
"It'll steady your nerves," Nurse said.
"I'll impale myself." Una's skill with a needle was feeble at best and worsened by her strong dislike of the pastime.
"Nonsense," Nurse replied. Against this argument there could be no rebuttal, so Una took her place (p. 62).
Questions for the text:
1. What do you think Prince Aethelbald meant when he told Felix that Oeric wasn't a goblin?
2. Could you relate to Una as her poor mind goes back over and over the embarrassing events of the night before?
3. On the whole, do you think Monster enjoys being a housecat? Why or why not?
"In which book (book 7, book 8...) do we get learn the full story of Eanrin's eyes getting destroyed by...?" -- Hannah
I really shouldn't say! It might spoil the suspense of all the other books. Every time my husband reads a new manuscript of mine (he gets to read them even before the editors), he's always on edge about Eanrin's fate. I feel a little mean . . . but really, would you want me to destroy one of the most suspenseful threads in the series?
"Also loved all the lines you mentioned. Aethelbald is remarkable by being so unremarkable. Subtle reference to Isaiah 53:2:3?" -- Meredith
Yes, it was. But not in a "planned" sort of way, if that makes sense. It just worked so well with the character, and later on I realized why!
"Do you have a specific actor or anyone picked out that is your vision of Aethelbald?" -- Clara
You know, I never have an actor in mind when I write my novels. I get asked in interviews who I would cast, so after the fact I'll go searching around for someone who might work! But when I write the books themselves, the characters are just themselves in my head.
But my husband said that he pictured Clive Owen as Aethelbald when he first read Heartless. So I guess I'll make Clive Owen my pick as well!
What do you think, readers all? Who would you pick?
Yesterday, I asked if any of you talented artists wanted to tackle an illustraton of Una's canopy, depicting Lumé and Hymlumé. Well, talented Kathleen, one of our award-winners from the last fan art contest, took up the challenge and, this morning, sent me this beautiful piece!
Thank you so much, Kathleen! I love it.