Quick note to all you faithful readers: If you want to be entered in the big giveaway at the end, what you need to do is comment between this last Monday and the end of the read-along. As long as you comment most days, you'll be entered. If you miss a day, I'll still count you, no worries. Sound good?
All right, back to the story . . . Give me another day or two to catch up on reader questions, but feel free to leave more questions as we go along!
Back to Felix. It's been a
little while since we saw Felix in the Haven, so I was pleased to start this
chapter this morning and see that we were back to him. Felix is a favorite!
Plus this scene uses the word "susurrus," which is just an awesome word . . . .
Felix is getting restless, however. As his wound heals--or, at least, apparently heals--he finds himself
thinking more and more of his father and sister, far away in a dragon-ridden
kingdom. Being the heroic lad he is at heart, he wants to return to them.
when the wind brings word to Imraldera that Fidel has been captured by the
Dragon, Felix cannot bear to remain in the Haven a moment more.
Blood ties. A theme is
introduced here that goes on to be a very important one later in the series.
Felix, when arguing with Imraldera to permit him to go to his father, reminds
her that "there is power in blood ties that . . . that sometimes can
overcome foes much too great otherwise."
is a very fairy tale theme. It's only
lightly touched on here, but later on in the series, it's going to be vital.
Particularly in Dragonwitch . . .
which, granted, doesn’t come out until this summer, so you'll have to trust me
on this in the meanwhile. Watch for that theme, however!
Dragon poison. But Imraldera
warns Felix that he has not yet received the full healing of his wounds. If he
leaves now, the dragon poison could pump through all his veins, down into his
heart. And it will kill him. Maybe not right away, Imraldera admits. But
eventually, he will die.
promises that he will return for the rest of his healing long before then,
however. But he needs to go to his father now.
cautions Felix that she will not be able to make
him return for his healing. If he does not come back of his own free will,
there is nothing she can do about it. Felix sees no problem in this, however.
He'll rescue his father before the year is out and be back before she knows it!
course, we readers know that this is just not how stories like to play
themselves out . . .
The key and the
no longer believes she is Una, but
simply the dragon-girl--shakes too much to turn the key in its lock. So
Aethelbald reaches through the bars and does it for her. Again, I read this and
think that he is not out of control in this
situation at all. But he is careful when, where, and how he chooses to use his
hastily backs away from his hand, trying to hide her arm. She is ashamed that
he might see the scales, even though he knows already what she has become. This
reminds me of how I am with God sometimes. I try, even in my prayers, to put on
a brave, "holy" face, hoping to hide the scales. But He knows what I
am, and He knows what I've been. He also knows the likeness to which He is
conforming me. So what is the purpose of hiding? Of false pretenses?
Don't be afraid.
tells Una that she needn't be concerned about the other dragons. They are so
"caught up in their own burning." Like Una herself, they are consumed
in selfish, disappointed, dying dreams, so consumed that they can't even be
aware of what goes on right around them. They certainly aren't aware of each
other's pain . . . they are all too selfish for that, include Una. They
probably all believe that the pain of their brethren is as nothing to their own
is demonstrated in the image we have of the dragon's pacing. They cannot focus
their minds on any real destination, on any real goal. All they do is pace,
going over and over again their hurts and their betrayals, all the reasons they
would give to justify their transformation.
Trust me. Aethelbald asks
Una to trust him, and it is almost as though he put a knife to her ear. She's
been asked to trust before, and she's seen her trust betrayed.
it is different with Aethelbald, and she knows it somehow. Unlike Lionheart, he
has already proven his trustworthiness. Has he not returned to her, as he
promised? Has he not pursued her even to the depths of this evil village? She
knows, deep down, that she can trust
this man. So she finds the courage, even within her quivering, dragon spirit,
to step forward into the darkness.
I'll die before
I leave you. Una
tries to show Aethelbald the way out and then make him go on without her. But
Aethelbald refuses, quietly and firmly. He declares, without an excess of
emotion or drama, quite simply that he will die before he leaves her. What a
difference between him and Lionheart!
difference that, at the moment at least, only stirs up Una's wrath and hatred.
She wanted Lionheart to be this
faithful, this true, not Aethelbald! Why did Lionheart have to prove the
why did Aethelbald have to prove himself a love she could never deserve? It is
too hateful for her in this dragon form.
Leading. Una believes for
a time that she leads Aethelbald, but soon realizes that he is leading her,
even though he walks behind. Even this aggravates her dragon spirit, which
wants to be independent, which wants to trust no one anymore.
Moonlight. A small part of
Una still longs for purity, for goodness, for light. This is reflected by her
reaction when she sees the moonlight--the glow of Hymlumé--shining down into
the mouth of the tunnel. Later on in the series, we learn about the Sun and the
Moon singing the Sphere Songs. I wonder if Una somehow heard the Sphere Song,
deep down beneath the roar of her furnace, and responded to it without
realizing why? Because she is so filled with sudden delight, that she runs out
of the tunnel, into the night, longing to drink in as much of that moon-glow as
of course, runs right into the clutches of the yellow-eyed dragon.
Hounded down. The yellow-eyed
dragon begins to tell Una his story, about being pursued by the Prince and his
knights following his transformation. He even uses the phrase "hounded
down," which is kind of fun considering what I wrote in Starflower. I don't know if it counts as
foreshadowing, per se, when it wasn't planned. But hey!
Anyway, the Prince long ago took up his sword and
offered to run the yellow-eyed dragon through, delivering him from his living
the yellow-eyed dragon who had been Diarmid did not trust the Prince and
refused his sword. And he tells Una now that the Prince is manipulative, that
he will twist her around, making her long for the death he offers.
Don't look at
escaping the clutches of the yellow-eyed dragon, begins to transform into her
dragon form. She cannot bear for Aethelbald to see her like this. Even though
he knows. Even though she knows he knows. But there is a part of her that longs
for him to still think well of her, and the idea of him seeing her in her
dragon form is unbearable!
she transforms and takes to the air, fleeing from Aethelbald once more, fleeing
from the Village. And the yellow-eyed dragon calls after her, "Burn,
sister, burn! Don't let him quench your flame!"
that look for?" Felix asked, watching her.
look?" She blinked and turned back to him.
faraway, no-longer-paying-attention-to-what-you're-doing look. Like you were
suddenly a thousand miles away."
no!" Imraldera laughed. "I am very present."
because you've got a knife in your hand." (p. 308)
Invisibles! Can you get me some real
clothes? Something other than a nightshirt? And boots and things. And a
sword! Don't forget a sword! A sharp one!" (p. 311) I love Felix. LOL.
Questions on the
1. Do you think
Felix was right or wrong to leave the Haven before receiving his full healing?
Do you think Imraldera was right to let him go, or should she have forced him
2. What do you
think of Una's wish for Aethelbald not to see her in dragon form? Did she
demonstrate that same wish for Lionheart?
3. Favorite lines?